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Ultralearning – Book Notes

Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career
Scott Young and James Clear

Your deepest moments of happiness don’t come from doing easy things; they come from realizing your potential and overcoming your own limiting beliefs about yourself. Ultralearning offers a path to master those things that will bring you deep satisfaction and self-confidence.

Being able to see how a subject works, what kinds of skills and information must be mastered, and what methods are available to do so more effectively is at the heart of success of all ultralearning projects. Metalearning thus forms the map, showing you how to get to your destination without getting lost.

Ultralearning is a skill, just like riding a bicycle. The more practice you get with it, the more skills and knowledge you’ll pick up for how to do it well. This long-term advantage likely outweighs the short-term benefits and is what’s easiest to mistake for intelligence or talent when seen in others.

A good rule of thumb is that you should invest approximately 10 percent of your total expected learning time into research prior to starting.

In the realm of great intellectual accomplishments an ability to focus quickly and deeply is nearly ubiquitous.

Why do we procrastinate? The simple answer is that at some level there’s a craving that drives you to do something else, there’s an aversion to doing the task itself, or both.

By taking notes as questions instead of answers, you generate the material to practice retrieval on later.

feedback-seeking efforts are often underused and thus remain a potent source of comparative advantage for ultralearners. Feedback is uncomfortable. It can be harsh and discouraging, and it doesn’t always feel nice.

All of these acts require self-confidence, resolve, and persistence, which is why many self-directed learning efforts ignore seeking the aggressive feedback that could generate faster results. Instead of going to the source, taking feedback directly, and using that information to learn quickly, people often choose to dodge the punches and avoid a potentially huge source of learning. Ultralearners acquire skills quickly because they seek aggressive feedback when others opt for practice that includes weaker forms of feedback or no feedback at all.

This suggests that moving up a level to a more advanced skill enabled the earlier skill to be overlearned, thus preventing some forgetting.

What we do know about him fits the picture of other ultralearners who have dominated memory-intensive subjects: active recall, spaced rehearsal, and an obsessive commitment to intense practice.