How to Explore a New Topic Efficiently - Deepstash

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How to Quickly Extract the Best Insights from a Huge Topic | Scott H Young

How to Explore a New Topic Efficiently

When learning any new topic efficiently, we need to learn the most useful, basic and broadly applicable ideas first.

After that, we can move onto the obscure, advanced or specialized.

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The best routine for studying
The best routine for studying

It is often unhelpful to hear that the perfect routine is the one you can stick to to help you reach your goals. As everyone is different in personality, constraints, and preferences, the ideal met...

The ingredient of the perfect studying routine
  1. Instructions can be in the form of lessons, books, or tutoring. They are useful to avoid wasting time with trial-and-error.
  2. Retrieval involves deliberately remembering the knowledge, not just passively reviewing it.
  3. Spacing is repeated reviews, spread out over time. It forms part of a regular routine where you cover old knowledge along with new.
  4. Understanding. The goal of learning is for ideas to make sense. Explain the concept to yourself. When you get stuck, find a textbook or teacher to help you.
  5. Feedback. You don't have to get feedback from other people. When you can get accurate feedback that doesn't need another person, go there first.
Fixing your current studying routine

To perfect your studying routine, look at your current routine, and see what's missing. For example:

  • An amateur painter will grow faster if they add instruction to their existing knowledge.
  • Learning history by reading a lot: Why not write an essay or converse with other history buffs?
  • You work correctly through a course, but don't space your learning: A ten-minute pop-quiz on previous topics can help you remember and save hours later.
Directness in learning
Directness in learning

If you have a concrete objective (speaking a language, passing an exam), how you practice should match the intended use.

An extension of this idea is that learning broadly ...

Direct learning works for a particular goal

We tend to think of skills reasonably broadly, but our skills are very specific.

Direct learning minimizes the chance that we will focus on learning information unrelated to our actual goal.

Many goals in learning require transfer

The magical "intuition" for hard subjects we notice in people like Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman is owed to their extensive knowledge base they could draw from.

The broader and more varied the situations you need to perform in, the broader your knowledge base should be to help you think better.

Learning comes from doing
Learning comes from doing

Most people have a faulty idea about when they have actually learned something.

Learning doesn't come from reading or listening. Reading creates ideas and opportunities. You only le...

Personal development books

Reading personal development books and articles is extremely valuable. The only problem is when you confuse this with real learning. 

Reading a book on exercise doesn't make you fit. Reading an article on time management doesn't make you productive.

Turning Ideas into Learning

We can increase our learning when we understand that reading is like a seed - the ideas you read about have the power to create incredible learning and understanding, but only if you act on it.

Pick a few ideas that you think have the potential to benefit your life most. Then allocate time, energy and resources to practice those ideas.