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Scott H Young


Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2016 18:05:21 +0000


The Hard, But Effective Way to Learn a New Language

Tue, 29 Nov 2016 17:12:22 +0000

Since learning French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese and Korean, I get asked a lot about what’s the best way to learn a language. In this article, I’d like to share what I think works, what I think doesn’t and what I think doesn’t matter to learn a new language from zero to a conversational ability. Before […]

Back to China: Thoughts on Business, Culture and Language Learning in Beijing

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 13:50:01 +0000

I just got back from a two week trip to Beijing. Well actually I got back yesterday, but it’s 3:36am now and my body has decided sleep is over so I thought I might as well write. My first trip to China was almost three years ago. In addition to being the third stop in […]

How is Ultralearning Different?

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 18:55:20 +0000

Recently, I tried to introduce the idea of ultralearning: deep, aggressive self-education. Since I’ve been discussing it more frequently, I thought it would be useful to clarify more precisely what I mean by it. To the casual reader this may seem pedantic, but I’m hoping for the more frequent reader of this blog this will […]

Advice Reversals

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 15:57:43 +0000

One of the topics I like to explore on this blog is meta-advice. That is, advice about advice. I don’t think this is as silly and abstract as it might at first seem. After all, we’re constantly being bombarded with suggestions for how to work, live, study, exercise, eat, sleep, date, etc. I think there’s […]

What Should Your Goals Be?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 19:15:40 +0000

Often I get emails asking me how to learn better or be more productive. I can’t always give a good response. Presumably, if my articles failed to satisfy that curiosity, I don’t know how much better advice I can give to a stranger via email. But, I at least understand that desire—I write a lot […]

Fluency vs Mastery: Can You Be Fluent Without Being Good?

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:29:09 +0000

One of the things that surprised me the most during the year without English, was how quickly it became fairly easy and natural to live your life completely in a new language. In Spain, for instance, after a month of speaking only Spanish, it didn’t feel much more effortful than speaking English. However, after just […]

Should You Try Learning More Than One Thing at a Time?

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 23:29:15 +0000

How many different subjects should you try to learn at once? It’s obviously not impossible to learn more than one thing at a time—in school you often have to learn many different subjects simultaneously. Is there a compelling reason to stick to learning only one thing? Or will you learn more if you try to […]

How Should I Learn Cognitive Science?

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 22:54:40 +0000

My usual approach on this blog is to write about a strategy once I’ve already got it working. This time, I thought it would be interesting to instead focus on a current learning challenge I have, and my thinking process about resolving it. One of the big learning challenges I’m working on right now is […]

Learning What Can’t Be Taught

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 15:38:06 +0000

The example most people think of for learning is school. However, I’d like to argue that many of the features of learning in school are the exception, not the rule. One example of this is that learning in school is almost always based on a standardized curriculum that teaches a heavily codified set of facts, […]

Three Strategies for Behavior Change

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 16:10:48 +0000

Most of self-improvement boils down to behavior change. You want to exercise more, eat better, earn more money, learn a new language, stop worrying so much. All of it is a form of changing your behavior. Looking around, there seems to be broadly three ways of changing behavior: Bottom-up Top-down Inside-out I notice that people […]