Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career

A book by Scott Young “Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career”



The big idea behind Scott Young’s “Ultralearning” is that school teaches you a lot of theory that’s super relevant if you want to become a PhD student, but doesn’t help you with real-world skills.  Instead of relying on schools, courses, or mentors, there IS A way to actually learn EXACTLY what you need in order to accomplish your goals… and it’s much faster too!


First, decide on your goal.  “I want to learn Mandarin” is too vague.  Because if you simply want to be able to hold a conversation in Mandarin, then you don’t need to waste any time learning the characters, right?

Next, create a METALEARNING MAP, which is a list of:

One- the concepts you need to understand.

Two- the facts or building blocks you need to memorize, like rules or verbs and conjugation.

And three- the processes you need to practice in order to improve, such as Mandarin tones or drafting architectural drawings.

Then, design DRILLS to ingrain each element on your MAP.  Think of it as exercises to help you isolate a specific muscle, or skill you want to learn.

If you’re learning how to draw faces, maybe you just draw the key features and overlay them on reference photos to learn exactly what mistakes you made.

Finally, commit to OVERLEARN by practicing at a higher level.  Take your stated goal and think “what’s the next level?”  Exposing yourself to a higher level will help you NAIL your performance.

It’s similar to how they’ve found that students who take Calculus right after Algebra in fact retain much more Algebra knowledge.

Another example: if you’re training to become a public speaker, give a speech in front of 7-graders.  They have a much shorter attention span so your arguments have to be crystal clear and to the point in order to keep them engaged.


Now, how do you apply the key lessons from “Ultralearning” to your business?

Perhaps you want to learn networking, public speaking, sales, or coding.

If you’re an introvert and whenever you attend a conference you lament that you didn’t take advantage of it, maybe your goal is to come out with 10 solid connections next time.

To get there: what do you need to learn, how do you practice, and what’s the next level?

The first part involves some research.  Maybe you want to learn: how to strike an engaging conversation, the basics of body language, and how to become a good listener.

For practice, sign up for ALL the meetups in your area, no matter the topic.  This is part of your “overlearning” too.  If you’re in tech and can network at a healthcare meetup, then you should be able to nail your performance at your industry conference.

What do YOU want to learn to grow your business?  Research how to get to your destination, practice, and commit to your plan!

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Scott Young author

Scott Young

Book Author

Scott Young is a writer who undertakes interesting self-education projects, such as attempting to learn MIT’s four-year computer science curriculum in twelve months and learning four languages in one year. He lives in Vancouver Canada.

More about the author at ScottHYoung.com