This episode is by request. You have asked me many times for an episode on education, accelerated learning, and my mentors. It will all be covered in the following conversation with Charles Best (@charlesbest), the founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org, a non-profit website that enables anyone to help a classroom in need. It is one of my favorite companies — profit or non-profit — in the world. (And I’m not just saying that because we used to be wrestling partners in high school.)
Charles founded DonorsChoose.org back in 2000 at a public high school in the Bronx where he taught history. Flash forward to 2017, and DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey’s “ultimate favorite things” and made the cover of Fast Company as one of the “50 Most Innovative Companies in the World,” the first time a charity has received such recognition.
To date, teachers at more than seventy percent of all the public schools in America have created classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org, and more than two million people have given to those projects.
Charles joined me for a conversation at SXSWedu in front of an audience of educators and administrators to talk about learning things faster, good teaching versus bad teaching, the value of tough love, and much more. Enjoy!
- 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):
This podcast is brought to you by Alibaba and Gateway17. If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner in the US, the stars don’t always align — but this might get close. Alibaba (if you’re not familiar with it, imagine Amazon and Google having a baby in China) is hosting Gateway17, a conference designed to help US businesses tap into the five hundred million consumers of China’s growing middle class.
Gateway17 takes place June 20-21 in Detroit, Michigan, and it puts you in direct contact with experts who want to help you grow your business into the booming Chinese marketplace. Speakers include Alibaba founder Jack Ma (in his only speaking engagement of the year), UPS CEO David Abney, and master interviewer Charlie Rose. As a Tim Ferriss Show listener, Alibaba is offering you a ticket for $125 (they’re usually $500) if you sign up at gateway17.com by May 25 and use the code “Tim” at checkout.
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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
- Connect with Charles Best:
- The Art and Science of Learning Anything Faster
- Total Immersion: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days and You Can Too
- The Pareto principle (80/20 approach)
- How to Learn Any Language in Record Time and Never Forget It
- Tango World Record — Tim Ferriss and Alicia Monti
- Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier by Terry Laughlin and John Delves
- Recommendations and Resolutions for 2016
- Why Can’t You Draw The Face of a Penny? Understand the Reason and Learn Spanish Twice as Fast
- Memory Palace (Method of loci)
- Michael Gruneberg demonstrating how to learn a language with word association and visualization mnemonics.
- When learning a new language, reading comic books for dialogue and watching familiar movies like Die Hard or Babe in that language work well for me.
- Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks by Ben Goldacre
- The Art of Learning Project
- Searching for Bobby Fischer: book and movie
- Marcelo Garcia In Action
- Meta learning
- Jocko Willink on Discipline, Leadership, and Overcoming Doubt
- Maria Popova
- Brain Pickings
- The Man Who Studied 1,000 Deaths to Learn How to Live
- The 7 Biggest Facebook Distractions and How to Avoid Them by Ravi Shukle at Post Planner
- The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World by Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen
- Stoicism Resources and Recommendations
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Serenity Prayer
- How to Not Be Evil — Dr. Phil Zimbardo
- The Stanford Prison Experiment
- Stoicism for Modern Stresses: 5 Lessons from Cato
- Marpac Dohm-DS All Natural Sound Machine
- Classical and Operant Conditioning by Christopher Real
- Don’t Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor
- The Princess Bride — battle of wits scene
- Toastmasters International
- Charles discloses our shared history and asks me to recall a teacher who made a really big difference in my life. [07:56]
- We’re both very grateful to our wrestling coach Mr. Buxton. [09:34]
- I talk about my framework for accelerated learning: DiSSS (deconstruction, selection, sequencing, and stakes). [10:46]
- Which of my personal experiments could a teacher safely assign to a kid to “try at home?” [22:11]
- During experimentation, do I ever go by intuition over data? [26:37]
- Of all my podcast guests, who would I nominate to design the ideal school? [30:07]
- What subject would I teach at such a school, and what might the first day of lessons look like? [33:26]
- In this school, what other podcast guests would be a virtuoso teacher? [36:16]
- How has technology enriched — and hindered — the pursuit of learning? [39:25]
- My one-minute primer on Stoic philosophy and how Stoicism could inform our public school system. [43:22]
- Why am I such an advocate for DonorsChoose.org? [48:55]
- What is the number one skill I think our students need to learn today that isn’t taught enough? [51:27]
- Is there any skill I wouldn’t recommend learning rapidly? [53:41]
- What purchase of less than a hundred dollars has changed my life in the last six months? [54:07]
- How tools and systems I’ve helped develop can be used to address inequity in public schools. [54:39]
- When does the transition between memorizing and internalizing/learning happen in my framework? [57:06]
- How do I recommend teachers address students who struggle with competition tasks due to anxiety or learning disabilities? [59:27]
- What legacy do I hope to leave in the field of education and learning? [1:02:19]
- Farewell from the benevolent army of learners. [1:03:17]
- Oprah Winfrey
- Kathleen Vinski
- John Buxton
- Masatoshi Shimano
- Josh Waitzkin
- Bobby Fischer
- Derek Sivers
- Terry Laughlin
- Kevin Rose
- Michael Gruneberg
- Ben Goldacre
- Marcelo Garcia
- Mike Tyson
- Wayne Gretzky
- Mickey Mantle
- Jamie Foxx
- Jocko Willink
- Maria Popova
- BJ Miller
- Luis Von Ahn
- Adam Gazzaley
- Marcus Aurelius
- George Washington
- Thomas Jefferson
- William J. Clinton
- Phil Zimbardo
- Leo Tolstoy
- B.J. Fogg
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 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.