How To Learn Faster—Don’t Read Books


I always thought school was pretty useless.

For one, they don’t teach you the most basic life skills like personal finance, relationships, negotiation and survival.

And two, they throw a bunch of books at you, expecting you to memorize every detail and perform a new skill without fail.

Now I’m not saying you should completely cut out books from your life. They’re still an enjoyable source for imagination and inspiration.

But if books are your only way for learning a new skill — be it cooking, building relationships, displaying leadership, marketing — you’re learning too slow.

I remember when I first lived away from home, for college. I had this fiery drive to cook.

No one taught me. So I resorted to my old school habits and bought a bagful of recipe + beginner cookbooks to help me get started.

I was pretty sure I wouldn’t mess up. And fairly positive I’d be able to blow people’s minds in the midst of their 1st bite.

“Just keep reading…” I’d tell myself, “and eventually you’ll become an Iron Chef.”

(Note: Iron Chef is a cooking show that features some of the world’s most talented chefs who flaunt off their skills in a culinary battle.)

10 years later

F***!!! My chicken’s too salty!
Wait, did I need 3 tomatoes or 2 for this sauce?
This sandwich has a nice crunch, but tastes a bit bland. 🙁

After 10 years of playing in the kitchen, I still couldn’t make a solid dish, without glancing back at a recipe. Nor could I make something on the fly.

It was a sad reality I couldn’t swallow. The fact that I spent so many years digesting books to help me achieve the one skill I genuinely wanted to excel at, when really, I’d not gone far.

I’d relied on books too much, to the point where I failed to realize my own greatest tool: my intuition and my taste buds.

But now, after just a few short weeks, I’d learned how to fix up a dish if it turned out too spicy. What alternatives I could use if I didn’t have mayo. What sauces I could make for white fishes.

This all happened because I started tasting my food and tweaking the flavors based on my own judgment. Not by the book. At the very end, my dishes became more creative. And much more flavorful.

Human error > Book

When you learn a skill through human error, you learn at an accelerated pace. You pick up mistakes faster and think of better ways to optimize your skills.

Books cannot do that for you. In fact, they can never surpass the knowledge you gain to the knowledge you get from doing it yourself.

Want to learn how to talk to people?
Walk up to them and start talking.

Want to learn about the culture of ______ (country)?
Book a trip there for 3 weeks.

Want to learn how to build a business?
Try selling something first.

You learn fastest how much faster you achieved.