A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times


The above video is a short presentation I gave at The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam.

It covers a basic framework for mastering any skill quickly, including languages, music, dance, and more.

What skill have you put off learning for longest… and why? Let me know in the comments. Perhaps I (or other readers) can help. Second, if you could learn one skill in the next six months, what would it be?


Important afterword:
NOTE — For my competition launched last week (not too late to join), roundtrip airfare is covered for all four winners.

Related content:
The 4-Hour Chef and Meta-Learning — 200+ pages on all I know about accelerated learning
Total Immersion: How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days and You Can Too
Scientific Speed Reading: How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes
How I Deconstruct Languages (scroll through the list)

Posted on: May 20, 2013.

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394 comments on “A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times

  1. I would like to help, work in the corporate sector and have Attention Deficit. Forget important information easy, get bored with things that do not work and I am interested in something where these qualities are needed. As
    can alleviate the symptoms?


  2. Hi Guys,

    This is for those techies out there.

    Been struggling to learn Exchange Powershell Scripting. I would like that to be my first test before moving onto more exciting things :-)



  3. I used to draw a lot as a kid. Id love to learn to get good at it quickly. It’s one of those skills that being ok at gives no proud feelings lol. Either you’re good or not. I’ve tried to think of ways to apply previously stated 80/20 rules to this and most of them I don’t think applies. If anybody has any advice other than ”practice a lot” I’d LOVE to hear it


  4. Hi Tim,
    Bought your book, based on the subtitle,learning anything. just finished viewing
    your talk, and am really excited to try using your plan. I am a frustrated golfer been playing for 30 yrs, and have been between 10 and 15 hdcp for the past 15 yrs. i have taken dozens and dozens of lessons, read book after book, including my favourite, and yours Hogan’s 5 fundamentals, yet am frustratingly stuck, i am resonably intelligent, yet what I have been doing for years is a sign of insanity, could you or one of your readers point me in an alternative direction or give me a starting point, based on DiSSS.
    Thank you Paul Martin


  5. Dear mr. Ferris
    I was wondering if you could give me your keep opinion on applying these mastery principles in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments.

    I know Marcelo Garcia uses a simple system of strong fundamentals and this why his students are successful also adding the amount of time they spend training.

    But what I have noticed is many competitors bring to the table one small system of moves that are fairly unfamiliar and new and are able to practice that to a point where they are winning or have a great advantage.

    This could shorten the time needed to train to build a higher level skillet because the opponents are unfamiliar with the attacks.

    Examples would be Eddie bravo when he starting the Twister or Rafael mendes recent years when he start using the berimbolo. Anytime someone introduces a new effective technique it gives them and advantage for a short while.

    Do you think there is a way to do something like this? And are there any other things I can look into for mastery skills of body movement mechanics and move muscle memory.
    Thank for your time,


  6. BJJ I know Tim is a practitioner and would like to know how he applied his system to jiu jitsu and how it can help me learn jiu jitsu


  7. I’m trying to design a meta learning program for investing. Any ideas on how I can apply tim’s rules of deconstruction, compression, etc. best?


  8. I really want to do whatever I can to improve my memory. I see people memorize a stack of cards in 5 minutes and it just blows my mind. I’d like to just be able to remember the people I meet at a networking event. I bet there are some mnemonic techniques I can implement, but this really makes it seem like it won’t be as hard as I think. Great video, thank you so much for sharing it!


  9. Ever since I began Chinese I wondered if there was a more efficient way to memorize Chinese characters, and in the video, you mentioned deconstructing characters. What ways are there to do this, and of them, which would you recommend?


  10. Two questions I am 59 love reading but I am not overly quick and need to jump around to remember names etc( a specially in science fiction ) this was a problem even when I was young I have a nine year old son in grade four and he is a good student but I can see that he struggles to retain info he is a c+ student and a good contributor in class according to his teachers. Would your system help him( he doesn’t see a problem and I don’t want to be one of those pushy fathers)


  11. Ok. The cooking thing seemed overly complicated, time consuming and used to many resources that most people do not have access to. So, I decided to try to learn a skill using the principles to “feel” the process for myself.

    The skill: Bartending
    The 80/20:
    1) The pour. Everything revolves around this and (using the “start with a win” principle) seems the easiest to learn.
    2) Recipes- I will Google “100 most popular bar drinks” and “100 hundred bar drinks every bartender should know”. I will omit single liquor/mixer drinks (i.e. Jack and coke)
    3) I will divide into groups using main (first) liquors ( vodka, gin, ect.) and into groups within using the number of liquors in each drink. (i.e. vodka drinks with two liquors in one group, three liquors in another)
    4) I will then use the site “Flashcard Machine” to develop cards for each group.
    5) As I study the cards I will “pour” the drinks. I will use liquor bottles filled with water to simulate the pour of each liquor in the recipe.

    There are of course things that may seem important that have been omitted such as cutting garnish but as a server I don’t think that the transition should be difficult. Also, things that will be trained at any new establishment that you work at, how to run their register and how they set the well and speed rails, are cut to save time.

    Good luck to me. LOL!
    But, Still I wonder won’t skills like learning to snowboard or scuba dive be very complicated to decode?
    Your thoughts please.