The Best of Scott Young
10+ most popular Scott Young articles, as voted by our community.
My book, ULTRALEARNING, is out now: https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/ultralearning/
Scott Young on Better Living
You’re Never Too Good for the Basics
Everyone wants advanced techniques. But it's really the basics that count.
«All skills break down into elemental components–coding has commands, painting has brushstrokes, comedy has jokes. Mastery of the performance results from mastery of the parts.»
Scott Young on Habits
What are the Limits of Building Better Habits?
Can you achieve anything just by building better habits? After decades of experiments, I share what can and can't be done.
«picking an approach, the foremost decision is to do what works. Sometimes that’s amenable to a process of slowly accumulating long-term habits. Other times, a more serious, obsessive effort will be needed. (And, sometimes you need both.)»
Which Works Better: Habits or Projects?
Daily habits or intense, one-off projects? In this article I explain why both are necessary to do great things.
«Often, the habit works against improvement, rather than for it, as I have such ingrained writing behaviors that they are difficult to dislodge.»
Scott Young on Hobbies
Who Has Time for Hobbies?
Should you schedule time for your hobbies? How to prevent digital distractions from eating up your time and what to do instead.
Scott Young on Learning
The 85% Rule for Learning
How often should you succeed at a task, to maximize learning? I review research suggesting the answer is close to 85%.
«we find that the optimal error rate for training is around 15.87% or, conversely, that the optimal training accuracy is about 85%.»
Maximize Your Learning Time with These Seven Habits
How do you learn more in a busy life? Follow these seven habits to increase the amount of learning, without overwhelming your schedule.
«Crash courses, for instance, are faster and more visually dense than many recorded classroom lectures and thus hold your attention more easily.»
Scott Young on Mental Models
Ten Mental Models for Learning
Ten central ideas to keep in mind whenever you need to learn anything new.
«How much you’re able to learn depends on what you already know. Research finds that the amount of knowledge retained from a text depends on prior knowledge of the topic»
Scott Young on Note Taking
How to Take Notes While Reading
Note-taking is a powerful tool. But it can be hard to take notes while reading. Here's how you can maximize your ability to remember, reference and learn.
«I take notes, not so much to help me pay attention or memorize the facts, but to serve as anchors to find later if I’m looking for a quote, factoid or reference»
Scott Young on Passion
The Key to Career Progress
Think career capital, not passion, if you're trying to find work you love.
Scott Young on Productivity
What Would You Do With More Time?
Suppose you could add an extra two hours to every day: what would you do with your time? Would you take up a new hobby? Spend more time with friends or your family? Learn a new skill? Or simply give…
Desirable Difficulties: When Harder is Better for Learning
Can you learn more efficiently by making things harder for yourself? These three strategies let you learn faster (even if it feels slower).
«However, practice testing is one of the most effective learning methods that has been systematically studied, while re-reading is one of the worst.»
Scott Young on Speed Reading
I Was Wrong About Speed Reading: Here are the Facts
Seven years ago, I read some books and articles on speed reading and started practicing some of the methods. I found I was able to increase my reading speed from 450 word per minute to 900 in the…
The Real Way to Improve Your Reading Speed
Most speed-reading techniques don't increase your speed without big costs to comprehension. But there is a way to read faster, and it's very simple.
These are some all-time favorites with Refind users.
The Nine Habits to Increase Your Energy
Your energy levels are the basis of your success and happiness. Here are nine habits you can start today to feel more energetic in work and at home.
«Make the first four hours of your morning a quiet, deep work zone.»
Brain Training Doesn't Work
Debunking an alluring (but ultimately harmful) myth about how to get smarter.
«we must let go of the false promise that broad-ranging skills can come from practice on narrow tasks. Brain training is a dead-end, but learning is timeless.»
The Ten-Book Rule for Smarter Thinking
Ten well-chosen books are usually enough to understand the expert consensus on any reasonable question you might have.
«Ten well-chosen books are usually enough to understand the expert consensus on any reasonable question you might have.»
Seven Easy Habits to Read More Books Next Year
Reading books is one of the best habits you can create for yourself. Here are seven easy habits you can implement to finish more books next year.
«Reading is a habit of compounding growth. Learn more and you’ll generate ideas and enthusiasm for making other changes.»
Which Matters More: Method or Motivation?
Surprising results about what matters for learning from a famous study.
«you need a system. You need to understand how learning works, and how you can make best use of your time to make a difference.»
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