(Easy as A-B-C-D-E-F-G

Checklist Template

1. Motivation

What is the best way to learn a new skill or discipline?  My old strategy was to jump into a textbook, journal article or online course, and see where it takes me.  Sometimes it worked, but often I found myself a year later having moved on to others things, and having forgotten almost everything I "learned."  Therefore, I've reviewed a number of books, articles, podcasts, and online courses to see what lessons I can find.  The checklist below represents my current understanding.  If you're an audio-learner and prefer podcasts,  Tim Ferriss has an episode and Daniel Willingham has an interview where many of these ideas are discussed.

2. How to Use this Guide

The checklist below provides a structured list of ideas for effective learning.  However, every person is unique and techniques that work for 95% of the population may not work for you.   I invite you to try out anything that appeals to you; if you get the sense it's not working, then let it go.  I created a Google Doc template to help in applying the checklist to an area of interest for you.

3. Learning Checklist (A-B-C-D-E-F-G)

4. Learning Approaches

Many approaches exist for learning a new skill.   Chose the approach that works best for you and that is appropriate for the skill.  If you're overwhelmed by the options, just pick something, try it for 10 minutes, and if you like it, then keep going, otherwise try something else.

Useful Concepts 


On my first pass through this material, I noticed some disagreement between Josh Waitzkin and Tim Ferriss/Scott Young.  I suspect it's likely that when you get down to specifics, they'd largely agree.  But for now, I just wanted to highlight some of the disagreements, to come back to later.

Favorite Quotes


References that shaped the structure of the checklist

References that influenced elements of the checklist

References I plan to review


People that helped me the most with this document