“If effectiveness is doing the right things, efficiency is doing things right.”
This is a special episode because it doesn’t focus on the lessons of one particular person. Instead, I explore the tips, tricks, and framework I’ve used to learn just about any skill.
This is the meta-skill of meta-learning, or learning how to learn.
I’m going to share techniques that can help you — even if you’re sub-par or a rote beginner — take the smartest first steps and use 80/20 analysis to accelerate your progress.
This is adapted from The 4-Hour Chef, which is the cookbook that’s not a cookbook — it’s a book on accelerated learning.
Without further ado, please enjoy this episode on meta-learning.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another episode about accelerated learning? — Listen to my interview with Luis Von Ahn, the co-founder of Duolingo. In this episode, we discuss what 2-3 books and resources he’d recommend to entrepreneurs, language learning tips, early mentors and key lessons learned, and how to recruit and vet technical talent (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss
- Smart Design
- Burton Snowboards
- OXO Good Grips kitchenware
- The Objectified documentary
- The Holy Grail in Speed Training by Barry Ross, Dragon Door
- Efficient-Market Hypothesis (EMH)
- The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville by Warren E. Buffett, Columbia Business School
- Michael Phelps Freestyle Multi Angle Camera
- The Most Graceful Freestyle Swimming by Shinji Takeuchi
- Nootropics: An Ethical Discussion by Lilly Pham, Princeton Journal of Bioethics
- Raiding the Medicine Cabinet to Become Superhuman by Peter Rubin, Wired (about my use of desmopressin and other nootropics)
- Chinese Primer: Character Text by Ta-tuan Ch’en, Perry Link, Yih-jian Tai, and Hai-tao Tang
- Seikei Gakuen
- The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
- The Jouyou Kanji
- The Asahi Shimbun
- Acquisition of Japanese Kanji: Conventional Practice and Mnemonic Supplementation (my sexy Princeton senior thesis)
- Berlitz language learning
- Better Basketball videos by Rick Torbett
- Meta-learning allows us to mimic the world’s fastest learners to become world class — in just about anything — in six months or less. [06:05]
- When Dan Formosa created Smart Design, the extremes informed the mean, but not vice versa. [06:28]
- Sometimes it pays to model the outliers, not flatten them into averages. [08:06]
- WWWBS? (What would Warren Buffett say) about outliers and averages? [09:31]
- Just about everything you need to know about meta-learning can be understood — or at least observed — by watching these two videos. (Michael Phelps vs. Shinji Takeuchi) [12:06]
- The top one percent often succeed in spite of how they train, not because of it. [13:21]
- Shifting from frequent nootropics use to understanding the blueprints behind high-performance. [15:33]
- On using judo textbooks for transferring the principles of Japanese. [21:10]
- The missing piece: is the method efficient? [22:30]
- The catalyst for finding the method (which involved me dropping out of college in the middle of my senior year). [23:11]
- Using the DiSSS (deconstruction, selection, sequencing, and stakes) process to drastically shorten the time it took to learn languages. [25:04]
- Deconstruction: What are the minimal learnable units with which you should start? [27:50]
- Sequencing: In what order should you learn the blocks? [28:14]
- Stakes: How do you set up stakes to create real consequences and guarantee you follow the program? [28:19]
- The secondary principles of CaFE (compression, frequency, encoding). [28:32]
- Compression: Can you encapsulate the most important 20 percent into an easily graspable one-pager? [28:51]
- Frequency: How frequently should you practice? What is the minimum effective dose (MED) for volume? [29:00]
- Encoding: How do you anchor the new material to what you already know for rapid recall? [29:13]
- How I began interviewing people as a way to deconstruct and learn any skill. [29:36]
- My general interviewing process. [31:36]
- Learning from the process: applying the answers to your own experiences. [34:40]
- Dan Formosa
- Bill Gates
- Chris Rock
- Barry Ross
- Mark Bell
- Allyson Felix
- Warren Buffett
- Benjamin Graham
- David Dodd
- Michael Phelps
- Shinji Takeuchi
- Arthur Jones
- Erik Cosselmon
- Daniel Burka
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Bernie Feria
- Babak Nivi
- Kevin Rose
- Darya Rose
- Rick Torbett
- Scott Jurek
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 600 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.