Progressive overload (training methodology)

“Frustration is normal”

Speed reading can help with attention deficit and memory issues

Superlearner (noun): One who is repeatedly able to synthesize, understand, and retain vast amounts of information in abnormally short periods of time.

The 4-hour week has the same principle but a different approach. The Pareto principle states that 20% of efforts yield 80% of results, and 80% of extra effort yields only 20%.

“Anyone can be a super learner”

Improving Memory

Superlearning is only possible with the proper infrastructure in place.

The usual memorization behaviors aren’t sufficient for this kind of learning.

For example Mathematical convention, these usual techniques limit flexibility, depth, and application of information.

What if you need much more complex information, we need a new system of memorization.

Neurons are electrically excitable cells that transmit information. The more connections there are to a neuron, the less likely it is to fade away.

This is why you can’t “unlearn” information that was once important to you.

Super learners rely on creating dense connections. we have to learn to artificially create rich connections.

Visual information is more memorable than auditory and comes pre-encoded with details.

We need to transform concepts and ideas into pictures, so we can better remember them.

Detailed images related to personal experiences are highly effective for memory.

Which image type is right for you?

  • Stereotypical images
  • Personal images
  • Fictional images
  • Graphical images

Images with more neural connections are better but go with what comes naturally to you.

  1. Imagine as much detail as possible.
  2. Create a connection to that image - this will give you reference points and various ideas to you can connect around that image

Using mental markers for learning

The 3 stages of memory

  • Encoding
  • Storage
  • Retrieval

Take a long pause (~0:30) at least every 10 minutes.

Micro-pauses: 0:01 or less, between paragraphs or pages.

Working Memory → (Micro pause) → Short term memory → (longer pause) → Long Term memory

The mental images we’ve been practicing are called “markers”

We review our markers very quickly after each page, and in more depth after each chapter.

Not all memory is about images, but also smell.

Markers remind us of all the significant details.

How to Train Your Brain and Boost Your Memory Like a USA Memory Champion

What makes a good marker

  1. It can be summarized in 1-2 words, but it isn’t generic
  2. Each marker is encoded with rich, vivid details → try to remember up to 4 details about each marker.
  3. Markers have logical, clear connections to each other - not creative or loose ones.
  4. can be easily converted into a memorable image ( or sensation such as smell)
  5. When there are problems or questions, choose markers for solutions or answers.
  6. create markers for any detail you wish to remember → create markers for people, dates, formulas, events, etc.

strive to create 2-4 markers per paragraph, lots of detailed, connected markers help us re-assemble the important concepts later.

High-quality markers :

  1. are details we can describe in 1-2 words
  2. are themselves encoded with rich detail
  3. are clearly and logically inter-connected
  4. Emphasize outcomes ( solution, answers)
  5. are numerous!

Pre-reading & Preparation

Pre-reading is especially important for dense materials and textbooks.

When previewing a page, spend 2-3 seconds per page or 5-8x your reading speed.

Pay attention to :

  • titles
  • subheadings
  • proper nouns
  • numbers
  • words that don’t fit

Preread the 20% of details that help you understand 80% of what the text is about.

With practice, you can learn to store high-quality markers even at your prereading speed.

It may feel like you’re not registering anything, but you’re building a mental map.

Requirements of adult learners:

  • use of prior experience and knowledge
  • clear goals and appropriate readiness
  • Internal motivation and self-direction
  • Practical application in their lives
  • Understanding of relevance
  • Respect
Adult students become ready to learn when they experience a need to learn, in order to cope more satisfyingly with real-life tasks or problems - Knowles 1980

The more curious you are, the more you’ll learn - so let’s hack it to our benefit.

Envision scenarios in which you will apply this knowledge in your life.

Adult learners must draw on experiences on knowledge, to make connections.

Generate questions and curiosities within the text.

Eagerness and curiosity lead to increased concentration.

Read with your eyes, not your inner voice

Saccade: A rapid movement of the eye between fixation points.

A normal reader does 10-20 small saccades on each line ( our eyes are physically incapable of gradual movement )

Speed reading saccades:

  • 2-3 in a normal-sized book
  • 4-5 full-width web pages

If possible, we zoom and resize until the text is 2-3 saccade wide.

Determine in advance how many saccades you will do per line.

Jumping back in the text and re-reading are bad habits we have to break. Never, ever, ever go back on the text ( if you’re practicing speed-reading with your life insurance policy, we’ll make an exception ) If you have to break this rule wait till the end of the chapter.

“If I lose focus or drift off, I can always go back” NO.

Peripheral vision will distract you, after all, you’ve been improving it. Let it distract you with what’s coming up, now what you’ve read.

It’s better to push yourself to a high speed with low comprehension and not understand anything and let your comprehension will catch up with practice.

You want to force yourself to input information at your desired speed.

Spreeder will help you acclimate to speed while expanding your focal span - but it is only a training tool.

Progressive Overload

Phase 1: 250wpm on spreeder ( just over 1 minute a page )
Phase 2: 350wpm on spreeder ( just under 1 minute a page )
Phase 3: 500 wpm on spreeder (under 40 seconds a page )
Phase 4: 700 wpm on spreeder (under 30 seconds a page )
Phase 5 1000 wpm on spreeder (about 15 seconds a page )


can incorporate imagery and represent neural connections better than notes.

Memory templates

are imaginary structures in our minds where we organize memories spacially.

The secret to remembering numbers is - surprise surprise - detailed visual markers. Create a system for yourself = with a marker for each digit. The more outrageous and ridiculous your markers are the better.


helps us break down information into more digestible formats. is great for small bits of information such as license plates or passwords. can also use chunking for stories, or to better remember our groups of markers.

Sleeping and learning

Sleep is essential for memory transfer.

Neural activity creates toxic metabolic waste, More active brains generate waste faster, and sleep helps us clear that toxic waste out.

Memory naps allow your brain to clear the buffer of your short-term memory.

Your body will tell you what it needs - make sure you’re listening.

Proper learning environment

Physical exertion stimulates the brain the same way as A.D.D medication works… Be physically active!

Light: Color and amount matter. Bright white sun color - alert, yellow lights tell your body it needs to be tired

Fresh oxygen, do you get enough oxygen?

Coffee is great, in moderation, a great stimulant but not for sleeping → another great stimulant Ginko Biloba + ginseng are also effective.

Long-term storage maintains memories

you have to refresh your knowledge and keep it relevant, use it or lose it!

Tailoring the skills to dense material or textbooks

Pre-reading becomes more important as text complexity and density increase.

if it’s really dense like medicine or law, creating interest is more difficult for dense materials, but it is even more important.

Try to transform theoretical concepts ( medicine, law, etc) into actual events, and picture them with vivid imagery.

Learning languages

when learning languages, never study by translating into your native tongue.

Tie new words to sensory data such as images or feelings.
To learn pronunciation, also make use of imagery and markers.
We’re not translating! just linking different sounds and ideas.
Languages are hard - do you have the proper need, relevance, and practical use?

Never forget a face or a name

You can remember faces and tie them to names using markers of individual features. Features that stand out or can be tied to the sound of their name are especially effective ( Fred has freckles, Joy has a dimpled smile, Mark has a birthmark on his neck, etc ).

Superlearning by video or audio

Many super learners become frustrated with learning through lectures ( especially in school )

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