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

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  1,424 ratings  ·  157 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 depends on continual self-edu

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 6th 2019 by HarperBusiness
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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…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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Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Just maybe 10x longer than it needed to be.
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.
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.
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.
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 serve 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. These achievements of these ultral ...more
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 tr
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 ca
Oct 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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 subscribes nine principles for his method:

1. Metalearning - have a road map
2. Focus - concentrate
3. Directness - go into ac
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, and fast
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, b
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 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 we
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.”
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.
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 h
Tanya Mulkidzhanova
To a reader of Scott H. Young's blog, this book comes as a good revision and a (timely) push towards a new learning project. The desire is to start learning — now, today. The book, however, calls for a systematic approach, i.e., allocating sufficient time for planning first what you want to learn. About 10% of the time the whole ultralearning project would take should be planning, Young says.

Which is where I'm going to leave writing my brief review of the book and go learn (strike th
Saurabh Sharma
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book with practical instructions. Do note that more than anything else, this book tries to underscore the different learning strategies that exists. One will have to adapt the strategies oneself. And the book also says that the learning won't get easier. It's just that you will probably make progress, or at least realise when you are not making progress. I am yet to try the principles in this book but will certainly do so.
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
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
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
Yushi Wei
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wanted to obtain some techniques with regards to learning. Suffice to say, this book exceeded expectations. Great read if you want to get more knowledgeable about how to learn and how to realize your ambitions!
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is so full of good information it will take a bit to process. The writing style was easy for me to keep progressing through the book without extra effort. I see a few people read this book in a day which I thought was crazy, but now that I've finished it I can see how that wouldn't be too hard to do.

I'm trying to apply some of these techniques as I work towards a project manager professional certification. I have taken a few good online courses, but I felt like I wasn't progressing. I
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Has quite a few good principles to try out.

- Metalearning: understand what is learned and develop a plan on how to learn.
- Focus: identify the key tasks
- Directness: focus on practicing as close to the final effort as possible
- Drill: continuously improve
- Retrieval: test how good you can actively recall (not just passive answer)
- Feedback: get others to comment on your performance
- Retention: restore paths to recalling the info (SRS, spacing, overlearning, mnemonic) ...more
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
Nicholas Tong
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
"Ultralearning" provides a decent skeletal to a structured approach towards learning but suffers from being too verbose without offering much inspiration or utility in the form of impactful content.

Most of its 9-step formula appears either commonsensical (e.g. be focused, do the activity directly, drill/practise) or too superficial (e.g. the section on retention of knowledge can be largely reduced to advice on using spaced-repetition systems and mnemonics).

Steven Rybicki
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book on self directed learning

I've been reading Scott's blog for a while, and while some of the individual tips are contained within, I think this book has a great value add. I'm not qualified to judge the advice, but it's compellingly presented and I buy the content. I'm looking forward to applying this in my own ultralearning projects.
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
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author presents a lot of short stories on people’s learning experiences. I didn’t enjoy this book. I didn’t find new ideas on how to learn better. Elon Musk’s advice on first principles approach is a good advice to improve learning.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Concept is great and Scott has accomplished a lot. Book needs editing.
Oct 25, 2019 added it
Shelves: summary
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Goodreads Librari...: Book duplicate 2 29 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 co
“One rule I’ve found helpful for this is to restrict myself to one question per section of a text, thus forcing myself to acknowledge and rephrase the main point rather than zoom in on a detail that will be largely irrelevant later.” 1 likes
“Learning, at its core, is a broadening of horizons, of seeing things that were previously invisible and of recognizing capabilities within yourself that you didn't know existed” 1 likes
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