Why Can’t You Draw The Face of a Penny? Understand the Reason and Learn Spanish Twice as Fast

86 Comments

Allow me to explain using a related problem.

Vocabulary lists in a run-of-the-mill Spanish textbook usually look something like the below, taken from real-world sources I won’t shame by naming:

  • La mano – the hand
  • El arbol – the tree
  • Las muñecas – the wrists
  • ¡Nos vemos mañana! – See you tomorrow!
  • Mande? – Sorry? Pardon? What did you say?
  • Ahorita vengo! – I’ll be back in a minute!

Pretty typical, right?

Sadly, this format is also priming students for failure.  Two reasons:

Spanish is listed first, so we’re training recognition.  If you want to be able to speak (produce) Spanish, you should list English first, then Spanish: cue and target.  For at least the first month, you will be translating from English in your head before most speaking.  Have your materials mimic this process, or you’re working backwards.

Incredibly, almost no textbooks get this ordering right.  If you train for recall, you get recognition automatically; if you train for recognition, recall is terrible, or as slow as molasses.

Think I’m exaggerating?  How many times have you handled or seen pennies and quarters in your life?  Tens of thousands of times?  Millions?  Try and draw both sides of either from memory.  Recognition does not = recall.  You have to train specifically for the latter.

A fixed list equals inflexible recall.  By illustration, answer this: what number is the letter “L” in the alphabet?  5th, 14th, which?  What is the third line of your national anthem?  Slow, isn’t it?  The answers depend on order – on the pieces before them acting as cues.  If you learn words in a fixed list, the preceding words act as a recall crutch for your target word.  You’ll eventually get it, but it’s plodding and haphazard.  This is a major problem.  This is also why, 10 years later, I can still sing (poorly) a few entire songs in Italian, but I could never recall those words independently for conversation.

We want RAM—random-access memory—where we can pull any word from memory quickly.

Mixing up flash cards accomplishes this, as does a software program like Anki or Duolingo (I advise), which does it automatically.

If you have a textbook with a fixed list, just practice doing them backwards and also in evens, odds, every-third item, etc.

¡Mucha suerte, ché!

###

If you like these shorter posts (as opposed to my longer, monster posts), please let me know in the comments and I’ll do more of them!

86 Comments / Leave a comment or question

Jony Ive’s Secret Coffee Ritual

175 Comments

Jony Ive and his elite design team at Apple are coffee snobs. And rightfully so.

Coffee is the fuel that drives their brainstorming sessions, which are arguably the most important meetings in the design department. These sessions are where Apple has birthed some of the greatest products of all-time: the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad.

In this guest post by Leander Kahney (author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products), you’ll learn the secret coffee ritual performed by Jony Ive’s design team.

Remember: Apple’s standards are notoriously high.  As is the case with their products, Apple’s coffee is not for those with meager budgets…or without Monk-ish tendencies.

HOWEVER, for almost every uber-expensive ideal, I’ve indicated the Poor Man’s alternative that I personally use.  It’s not hard to cheaply get it about 90% right.

Enjoy the obsessive detail… Read More

175 Comments / Leave a comment or question

The BitTorrent Strikes Back: The 4-Hour Chef Audiobook Goes Loose

103 Comments

The_4-Hour_Chef__Download_the_Full_Audiobook__Free_On_BitTorrent___The_Official_BitTorrent_Blog-2

As a thank-you to all of you today, I am today releasing the audiobook of The 4-Hour Chef…for free.

This includes almost 10 hours of recording: all of the chapters on accelerated learning, all of the ridiculous experiments and related stories, and much more.

I’m partnering with BitTorrent again to bring you a bundle of goodies. The full unlocked bundle for this release is 5.4 GB of free content (!), whereas my first BitTorrent release for the print edition was 187 MB. HD instructional videos? Bonus PDFs? You got it.

The audiobook also features guest narration from one of my heroes–bestselling author Neil Gaiman!  

I’ve written about Neil before (read my gushing here), and if you’re not a fan yet, you will be. Special thanks to Neil, his amazing assistant Cat, and also to Max Adams, who acted as Twitter matchmaker:

I hope you enjoy the audiobook as much as I enjoyed producing it.  Here’s the announcement and download links from BitTorrent…

The 4-Hour Chef: Accelerating Learning for Free

What’s the value of a free read?

Last November, we partnered with best-selling author Tim Ferriss to find out. We handed out sections and drafts from his new book, The 4-Hour Chef, to BitTorrent fans. In turn, 880 thousand of them checked out the hardcover on Amazon. And 2012′s boycotted book about meta-learning hit 2013’s bestseller lists, from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal.

A free read, it turns out, is a powerful thing.

So, what’s a listen worth?

We’re letting the people decide. Today, Tim Ferriss is giving away the full audiobook of The 4-Hour Chef, complete with six hours of HD creativeLIVE tutorials that bring the 4-Hour lessons to life. Call it an experiment in anti-cannibalization. Our goal is to see how different formats can feed off of, and feed, one another.

Here’s the deal:

Check out Tim Ferriss’s page on BitTorrent. You can instantly download several chapters of The 4-Hour Chef audio, Part 1 of the full-color ebook (62 pages), and three workshop videos from creativeLIVE.

Subscribe to the book’s email list, and unlock the full audiobook narrated by Ferriss, Neil Gaiman, and Adam Verner, plus ten additional workshop videos. It’s everything you need to master everything, basically: from the kitchen to the basketball court. Except the hardcover. (You’ll need to go here for that.)

Download The 4-Hour Chef Bundle

button-free-download1

Instant Download:

The 4-Hour Chef: eBook Part 1 [PDF]
The 4-Hour Chef: AudioBook Introduction [Audio]
The 4-Hour Chef: creativeLIVE Workshop, Day 1 [3 Videos]

Unlocked Bundle

The 4-Hour Chef: Full AudioBook [Audio]
The 4-Hour Chef: Creative Live Workshop, Day 2 [9 Videos]

Get the hardcover / ebook.

###

Also Tonight (9/10) from 6-7pm PT (9-10pm ET)…

I’ll be doing a live Q&A on Twitter for 60 minutes. Ask me anything. Really. To make my day, download the audiobook first and let me know what you think! Here’s how it works:

1) Follow @merrelloutside. I’m partnering with them for this, so you’ll need to follow them to see my responses to questions.

2) Ask questions in the following format:
“@tferriss @merrelloutside [insert question]? #asktim”

3) I’ll answer ‘em as fast as I can! Hope to see you tonight.

103 Comments / Leave a comment or question

A How-To Guide: Accelerated Learning for Accelerated Times

399 Comments

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)

399 Comments / Leave a comment or question

How to Create a Viral Book Trailer (or Get 1,000,000 Views for Almost Anything)

91 Comments

How do you create a viral video?

I am asked this quite a lot. I’ve been asked by authors, TV producers, and first-time Kickstarter entrepreneurs. In my experience, the answers are the same for all of them.

In this post, I’ll deconstruct one example: The 4-Hour Chef (4HC) book trailer, which is now the most-viewed non-fiction book trailer of all time. Roughly 1.5 million views and counting.

Before we dig in…

First, let’s make a distinction: creating a “viral” video is not the same a creating a “popular” video, but both can be valuable.

If you use ads to drive 1,000,000+ views, a video is not viral; it is popular. If your views come from organic sharing (or incentivized sharing like DropBox), it can be considered viral.

This post is also intended as a companion to my post, Behind the Scenes: How to Make a Movie Trailer for Your Product (or Book), which goes into equipment, planning, and (tons of) other details that I’ve omitted here.

For later — below are resources that will save you a TON of time and tail-chasing… Read More

91 Comments / Leave a comment or question

A World Map of Flavors – 36 Regions, 36 Herb and Spice Combinations

55 Comments

tim ferriss typographic map of flavors

Inspired by The 4-Hour Chef, the friendly folks over at the startup Maptia (launching soon) have created this fun typographic map of flavors from around the world. You can download a large version by clicking here.

Aside from the map, this post showcases 36 simple recipes and flavor combinations from the 36 regions covered in the map… Read More

55 Comments / Leave a comment or question

The 4-Hour Chef Wins — Gourmand Awards "Best in the World"

142 Comments

Greetings from Paris!

I am ecstatic to announce that The 4-Hour Chef has won Best First Cookbook at the 18th Annual “Best in the World” Gourmand World Cookbook Awards (!!!).

26,000+ food and wine books are produced every year, and 8,000+ books from more than 100 countries participate in the Gourmand Awards.

I was at a loss for words on the platform above. I was more surprised than this (see :08 forward).

Thank you to everyone who helped make this book a reality. It was all worth it.
Thank you to my incredible family.
Thank you to my wonderfully supportive girlfriend.
Thank you to every one of you, my dear readers. You’re the reason I keep writing.

Woohoo!

Tim

142 Comments / Leave a comment or question