When you’re trying to learn something new, you can choose to learn it fast or learn it deep, and there is a place for both.
For example, I’m using Anki right now to work on my knowledge of the Periodic Table. I just want a better cursory understanding of it (“Au” = “Gold”, for example) and this will do the trick. For many things that I want to learn, though, a deeper dive is really what I’m after.
Nassim Taleb said it well:
I don’t want to “learn fast”, in any subject. I don’t want shortcuts. If I don’t enjoy the subject, I don’t want to learn it; and if I enjoy it, I want to prolong the pleasure. I avoid what exam-takers do: I trade speed for depth.
For most of what I’m trying to learn, I work to learn deeply. For years, that largely surrounded coding and development, but for the last decade or so it has largely shifted to business and marketing and that’s reflected in the number of posts I write about both of those subjects (categories: business, marketing).
I’ve said before that in order to write more I need to read more, and that’s true, but the execution is essentially reversed. I read things that interest me which I desire to know more about, and that reading leads into subsequent posts about those topics.
I’ll continue to add more shallow/quick learning into my life, for things like the periodic table, geography and other general knowledge type subjects, but knowing when to choose to go deep is a great thing to consider.
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