Book Cover - Book Review: Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career

I’ve read a lot of books about learning. This book is one of my favorites.

Ultralearning is defined by the author as “a strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge that is both self-directed and intense.”

I’m not a huge fan of the term ultralearning as it doesn’t reflect accurately the content of this book. Ultralearning is not learning pushed to the extreme. Ultralearning is learning hard things quickly and effectively using rational principles.

To illustrate these principles, the author reuses the stories of some of the most famous hard learners in recent history, as they are inspiring and memorable. But this should not dissuade you from applying the same principles. When it comes to learning, committing to the right approach is far more important than the time you devote to it.

You will be able to use those lessons to learn a new language, play an instrument, start a new hobby project, or even a whole new career. The book provides a strategy, a map to move toward your goal without being stuck along the way. Ultralearning is the super skill to learn hard skills and feel the happiness that results from doing it.

In the end, I think this book is a great contribution. Lifelong learning is becoming more and more crucial in an economy that leaves less and less room for average knowledge. I found the principle of directness particularly eye-opening and the argumentation about the limits of far transfer very interesting.

On his blog, the author declares “[f]or the last ten years I’ve been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better. I don’t promise I have all the answers, just a place to start.” This book is a really great place to start!

About the author

Julien Sobczak works as a software developer for Scaleway, a French cloud provider. He is a passionate reader who likes to see the world differently to measure the extent of his ignorance. His main areas of interest are productivity (doing less and better), human potential, and everything that contributes in being a better person (including a better dad and a better developer).

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