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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  5,961 ratings  ·  608 reviews

Learn a new talent, stay relevant, reinvent yourself, and adapt to whatever the workplace throws your way. Ultralearning offers nine principles to master hard skills quickly. This is the essential guide to future-proof your career and maximize your competitive advantage through self-education.

In these tumultuous times of economic and technological change, staying ahead

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by HarperBusiness (first published 2019)
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Andreea Visanoiu The book is always send pre-publication to select few. I received such a book when I knew the author directly and I was part of a select group that re…moreThe book is always send pre-publication to select few. I received such a book when I knew the author directly and I was part of a select group that read the book before publication (also gave feedback on it). (less)

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Poyan Nabati
Warning: The rating on Goodreads is wildly inflated!

"Ultralearning" is a really mediocre book on how to learn an arbitrary skill more efficiently, whether it's a language, programming or playing the piano. I was really suckered in by the fancy title. "Ultralearning?? Shut up and take my money!". But honestly, this book reads like a giant blog post and is exactly type of soft writing that I strongly dislike in non-fiction.
In any case, the book didn't contain that many new insights for me, but her
Ahmad Abugosh
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, it has a great premise and the examples are interesting, but it's another example of a non-fiction book with so much padding and fluff! It could have been 10 times shorter, and I would have loved it, but because it was a published book it needs to hit a word count, which sacrificed its quality.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Just maybe 10x longer than it needed to be.
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: learning, non-fiction
Scott Young describes ultralearning as learning something hard in a short period of time. I'm more interested in learning than ultralearning but a few things he talks about can be useful. A lot of 'principles' he discusses are already well-known learning concepts. The best thing I took away from this book is to attack my weakest point first.

He prescribes nine principles for his method:

1. Metalearning - have a road map
2. Focus - concentrate
3. Directness - go into action mode
4. Drill - attack you
Emil Petersen
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
If you want a book on how to learn, then there are better books; you should read this one for the 'ultra' part. There are some nice anecdotes on people who worked their asses off and became some of the best at what they do. Young tries to generalize on their behavior and serves the result as principles on ultralearning, by which is meant the more extreme and dedicated kind of learning. There is a definition somewhere in the book, but I have forgotten what it is. The achievements of these ultrale ...more
Ian Pitchford
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ultralearning is “a strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge that is both self-directed and intense.” The book is Young’s clear, concise, and well-written explanation of how to master this strategy. The excellent chapter on metalearning alone is worth the price of the book and the rest is full of insights and tips that are noteworthy and practical. Get it, read it, and start putting ultralearning principles to practice in your own life.
Manuel Antão
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

“Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits...”

Should we all be learning the same things? This is a rather odd view, and one I've heard before. I would make the following comments. Using history just as an example:

1. If everyone learned the same thing... so let's suggest everyone studied the Greco-Persian wars but no-one studied the French Revolution, then we'd have lots of knowledge floating around about one thing, but no
Robbie Engler
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I don't understand the high reviews on this book. The author seems to be attempting to coin a phrase to describe pretty normal modes of learning outside of school.
Scott Wozniak
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Most books on learning are narrowly focused on academic tests, but this book actually helps you learn skills you can use in real life. And I think learning to learn is one of the most important things we can do in life.

Some good learning principles from the book:

Directness: the best way to practice is to do very thing you want to do. Instead of reading about painting, actually paint. Instead of taking a test on vocabulary, actually practice speaking the language you're trying to learn. Instead o
George A
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm very interested in the topic of "ultralearning", although I hadn't heard that exact term before. More importantly, I've already worked through Scott Young's programme Rapid Learner, which is excellent and covers much of the same material as Ultralearning. So for that reason, not much in this book was new to me.

Still, if you haven't got the time or inclination to work through an expensive six-week online course, this book is an excellent lesson in how humans can learn effectively, efficiently
Stephen Lubin
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was drawn to this book because I like to read a lot of self-help / personal development books. I’ve read a good amount of them and I always pull something out of them but I wouldn’t say I absorb 100%. I probably retain subconsciously 50% and apply consciously 10% which I felt is pretty low. I figured reading Ultralearning would help me get more out of the books I plan on reading this year. This was an accurate assumption.

This book will help you learn better. It gives a lot of practical tools
Olem Diga
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
The idea for the book is a great one, but the execution was a total failure.
I really liked the book when starting it, but the further I read on, the more I hated it and just found it to be unnecessarily long.

As much as the author is trying to make it seem original by coining the term "ultralearning" there is nothing original in the book, almost everything in the book can be better learned elsewhere with much better success and enjoyment.

I like the fact that the author went through the effort of
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: meta-learning
You’re in good company when your book is recommended by James Clear and Barbara Oakley.

Ultralearning shares some overlapping information with Atomic Habits and Learning How to Learn, but stands on its own with valuable self-study strategies taught in the "Nine Universal Principles of Ultralearning". There’s also overlapping topics from Range (by David Epstein), to the point that both books have chapters on the Polgár family and Vincent van Gogh.

The methods taught in Ultralearning can greatly he
Bjoern Rochel
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, eng-mgmt
A good structured guide for approaching focused learning. Some of the bits I already was familiar with through Levi’s “Becoming a Superlearner”, but this book expands on the ideas and also nicely generalizes and structures them.

If you’re in IT and constant learning is part of your job, you should give this one a try
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: miscellaneous
A good companion to Cal Newport’s ‘Deep Work.’ According to Young, ultralearning is a “strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge that is both self-directed and intense.”
Max Martin
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ULTRALEARNING: A strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge that is both self-directed and intense.

This book really hit the spot for me. It combines learning, productivity, and doing things in unconventional ways to increase effectiveness. There was no way I was not going to read this. I think I learnt about it from a mention by Cal Newport somewhere. It has a similar feel to his own writing.

I found much of the advice matched my own experience of language learning: while I didn't have names for
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neelam Babul
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love learning about different things. I always have since I was a child exploring the library at school or the town library. The domain of knowledge is expanding every second, new discoveries are being made every hour and new fields of study are created almost with every technological breakthrough. The only way to stay informed and up to date with the happenings of the world is to learn, read, ask questions and explore the universe.

Scott Young describes ultralearning as an intense practice re
Oct 01, 2019 rated it liked it
A little bit disappointed with the book. Could have been a 2 stars.
With James Clear's forward (he's the author of "Atomic Habits"), I expected the book to be more practical. However, it's quite generic and as the author said, they are just principles.
The examples he's used to prove for the principles were also idiosyncratic.
Allysia K
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book! I took copious notes. I almost wish for some more specific step-by-step ideas, as the concepts are largely taught via stories and examples, but I understand how tricky of a thing that would be to do.
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1-favorites

I’ve always loved learning and is naturally self-taught in several things. Nice to know that there is a science to it, and that I’m not among oddballs.
Tõnu Vahtra
Sep 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Push yourself out of your comfort zone and don't forget about metalearning. I really wanted to like this book because of the title and concept (while considering myself an ultralearner also) but eventually was not very impressed. The book was only 300 pages long but could have been significantly shorter as could not be considered very "dense". It was built upon a relatively limited number of examples: home-schooling for MIT Computer Science degree, learning new language in 3 months, improving dr ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-improvement
The pace at which our industries change and adapt new tools, new methods, or even become obsolete in favour of new branches, is ever increasing. Therefore, the key predictor for people's careers isn't so much their current skillset, but rather their adaptability and their ability to quickly learn an additional skill or even to switch course and master an entirely new field.

The most extraordinary learning results - such as mastering the MIT computer science curriculum in a quarter of the regular
A.G. Stranger
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Learning is a lifelong endeavor. In this day and age, it is no longer an option to keep on learning, it's a must. It's not about having an edge on other people. It is a prerequisite to survive in a knowledge economy.
If learning is this important, how come none of us truly knows how to learn?
I drew a blank the last time my cousin asked me "Uhm, okay and how should I study?".
This book is an answer to that question and more. Its author finished the MIT curriculum and graduated in just one year. He
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
5/5 for quality of advice and cultivating inspiration, 3/5 for rigor. The anecdotes are piled much higher than I prefer, the studies cited frequently don’t merit their terse summarization (the surgeon versus internist doctors example being one), and some of the anecdotes undercut each other (Van Gogh versus raising geniuses, for instance). All that said, following the steps outlined is likely to lead to results, I just would be unconvinced by this book’s arguments in favor of its approach if I w ...more
August Andersson
Jun 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Scott H. Young provides the reader with a well-blended mix of inspiration, guidelines and scientific facts. I agree with Cal Newport that if the reader makes an effort and incorporates Young's teachings, he or she will get an edge in the professional life. Also, I think ultralearning gives people opportunities to "improve" their spare time by learning and getting good at new hobbies. Young's drawing portrait ultralearning project is an example of this, I believe.

However, like any
Jay Hennessey
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
ULTRALEARNING is an Amazing book, especially for anyone passionate about learning and personal development. I really appreciated how the author, Steve Young,shares so many examples of his 9 principles in practice. Having read a lot of other books on the learning, my favorite being Make It Stick by Brown and Rodiger, many of the principles were the same. That said, the part that I really appreciated was Steve’s deliberate methodology to learning, specifically Principle 1 Metalearning - First Draw ...more
Kair Käsper
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: übermensch
Another one of those popular science books that is 90% based on the author's own experience, anecdotal stories and opinions (from mostly other such authors).

The book aims to structure the process of “ultralearning”, but comes off as an attempt to draw the first map of unfamiliar territory. It feels like it’s all duct-taped together with some of the parts described superficially, and others incoherently pulled together to form a whole.

A for effort, and 2/5 for execution. In its current form it do
Tadas Talaikis
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
There is better and clear how to use one: Learning How to Learn, which is actually used in real schools, can be verified by anyone that "it's possible to teach oneself anything", and can be summarized into "there are three barriers that prevent students from learning: "absence of mass*", too steep a gradient, and the misunderstood word". Study Tech

* "Absence of mass" is the idea that abstractions must be illustrated physically (including physical contact with the equipment, as an example) before
Baskoro Indrayana
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really struggle continuing thru chapters in this book--not because the concepts were difficult. But because they were really easy, insubstantial methods, yet encased in a pretentious exterior. I tried my best to commit. Once you crack them open, they are but very simple ways to improve learning, which is not worth the 'ultra-' prefix. (And they are easily found by experience or other books)

I'm sorry, Scott. I appreciate the idea of Ultralearning. But your blog post already explains it enough.
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Goodreads Librari...: Book duplicate 2 35 Aug 13, 2019 05:23AM  

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Scott Young is the author of Wall Street Journal and National best selling book: "Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career".

Scott has been a prolific writer on his blog since 2006 where he writes about learning, productivity, career, habits and living well. He is know for documenting learning challenges such as the learning a 4-year MIT computer scien

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