How to Learn Anything
- Decide what you want to learn. But you can’t know exactly, because of course you don’t know exactly how any field is structured until you know about it.
- Read everything you can on it, especially what you enjoy, since that way you can read more of it and faster.
- Grab for insights. Regardless of points others are trying to make, when you recognize an insight that has meaning for you, make it your own. It may have to do with the shape of molecules, or the personality of a specific emperor, or the quirks of a Great Man in the Field. Its importance is not how central it is, but how clear and interesting and memorable to you. Remember it. Then go for another.
- Tie insights together. Soon you will have your own string of insights in a field, like the string of lights around a Christmas tree.
- Concentrate on magazines, not books. Magazines have a far more insights per inch of text, and can be read much faster. But when a book really speaks to you, lavish attentions on it.
- Find your own special topics, and pursue them.
- Go to conventions. For some reason, conventions are a splendid concentrated way to learn things; talking to people helps. Don’t think you have to be anybody special to get to a convention; just plunk down your money. But you have to have a handle. Calling yourself a Consultant is good; “Student” is perfectly honorable.
- “Find your man.” Somewhere in the world is someone who will answer your questions extraordinarily well. If you find him, dog him. He may be a janitor or a teenage kid; no matter. Follow him with your begging-bowl, if that’s what he wants, or take him to expensive restaurants, or whatever.
- Keep improving your questions. Probably in your head there are questions, that don’t seem to line up with what you are hearing. Don’t assume that you don’t understand; keep adjusting the questions till you can get an answer that relates to what you wanted.
- Your field is bounded where you want it to be. Just because others group and stereotype things in conventional ways does not mean they are necessarily right. Intellectual subjects are connected every whichway; your field is what you think it is. (Again, this is one of the things what will get you into trouble if you try to go for degrees.)
How to Learn Anything, Ted Nelson
1) pick (two) books of the month. one non-fiction, one fiction. they don't have to complement each other.
2) set strict studio hours between 3-6pm. determine what you'll be practicing within those hours at least a day in advance.
3) set minimum and maximum non-personal working hours. this includes when you check emails and slack.
4) document your life for your life.
5) keep track of the stars and planets in transit, and make note of the seasons and the weather. get accustomed to making sense of the physical world by using your senses, intuition, and memory. use this knowledge to cast spells and do good.
6) when you learn things, take good notes. when you dream things, jot them down. everything is important.