I heard you speak on Nelson Dellis’s show about how you flashcarded an entire book and, in doing so, learned how to properly structure your own book. Can you tell me more about this? 

For non-language topics, you have to start being creative when it comes to flashcard models, though the basic principles are the same as I use for languages (as per: https://fluent-forever.com/create-better-flashcards/ )

In the case of this particular book, the information was consistently presented as follows:

Here’s sentence A. It sucks.

Here’s sentence B. It’s awesome.

Sentences A and B convey the same information.

Let’s talk about what makes sentence A crappy and sentence B awesome.

So I did this:

Basically I created a test that required me to know whether a sentence was “good” or “bad” without any context clues other than the sentence itself.

I chose an image that represented the information contained in both sentences (in this case I used a book, since this sentence is about writing short books). That made the questions more concrete and memorable.

Then I chose an image that represented the concept I was trying to teach myself, in this case a see-saw symbolizing the idea of balancing parallels in sentences. This makes the concept I’m trying to teach myself more memorable.

Then I did it 100 more times. 

These were the necessary ingredients:

– I read and understood the source book.

– I came up with a way to test that understanding, that I’d be able to succeed at immediately after reading the book, but would probably forget the next day.

– I came up with my own visual reminders of those lessons

If you use those 3 ingredients in whatever it is you’re trying to learn, you’ll be able to remember it via SRS.

The only thing I’d add to that is that complex topics--like biochemistry, for example--benefit a LOT from mnemonics and memory palaces. I can actually strongly recommend http://picmonic.com for the former when it comes to medical school – my fiancee is using their stuff and loves it. As for the latter, I might suggest Anthony Metivier’s stuff on the subject: http://www.magneticmemorymethod.com. He uses memory palaces a lot more than I do and I think would be a better source for info on them.

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