2 hr 24 min

Andy Matuschak - Self-Teaching, Spaced Repetition, & Why Books Don’t Work Dwarkesh Podcast (Lunar Society formerly)

    • Society & Culture

A few weeks ago, I sat beside Andy Matuschak to record how he reads a textbook.
Even though my own job is to learn things, I was shocked with how much more intense, painstaking, and effective his learning process was.
So I asked if we could record a conversation about how he learns and a bunch of other topics:
* How he identifies and interrogates his confusion (much harder than it seems, and requires an extremely effortful and slow pace)
* Why memorization is essential to understanding and decision-making
* How come some people (like Tyler Cowen) can integrate so much information without an explicit note taking or spaced repetition system.
* How LLMs and video games will change education
* How independent researchers and writers can make money
* The balance of freedom and discipline in education
* Why we produce fewer von Neumann-like prodigies nowadays
* How multi-trillion dollar companies like Apple (where he was previously responsible for bedrock iOS features) manage to coordinate millions of different considerations (from the cost of different components to the needs of users, etc) into new products designed by 10s of 1000s of people.
Watch on YouTube. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast platform. Read the full transcript here. Follow me on Twitter for updates on future episodes.
To see Andy’s process in action, check out the video where we record him studying a quantum physics textbook, talking aloud about his thought process, and using his memory system prototype to internalize the material.
You can check out his website and personal notes, and follow him on Twitter.
Cometeer
Visit cometeer.com/lunar for $20 off your first order on the best coffee of your life!
If you want to sponsor an episode, contact me at dwarkesh.sanjay.patel@gmail.com.
Timestamps
(00:02:32) - Skillful reading
(00:04:10) - Do people care about understanding?
(00:08:32) - Structuring effective self-teaching
(00:18:17) - Memory and forgetting
(00:34:50) - Andy’s memory practice
(00:41:47) - Intellectual stamina
(00:46:07) - New media for learning (video, games, streaming)
(01:00:31) - Schools are designed for the median student
(01:06:52) - Is learning inherently miserable?
(01:13:37) - How Andy would structure his kids’ education
(01:31:40) - The usefulness of hypertext
(01:43:02) - How computer tools enable iteration
(01:52:24) - Monetizing public work
(02:10:16) - Spaced repetition
(02:11:56) - Andy’s personal website and notes
(02:14:24) - Working at Apple
(02:21:05) - Spaced repetition 2


This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.dwarkeshpatel.com

A few weeks ago, I sat beside Andy Matuschak to record how he reads a textbook.
Even though my own job is to learn things, I was shocked with how much more intense, painstaking, and effective his learning process was.
So I asked if we could record a conversation about how he learns and a bunch of other topics:
* How he identifies and interrogates his confusion (much harder than it seems, and requires an extremely effortful and slow pace)
* Why memorization is essential to understanding and decision-making
* How come some people (like Tyler Cowen) can integrate so much information without an explicit note taking or spaced repetition system.
* How LLMs and video games will change education
* How independent researchers and writers can make money
* The balance of freedom and discipline in education
* Why we produce fewer von Neumann-like prodigies nowadays
* How multi-trillion dollar companies like Apple (where he was previously responsible for bedrock iOS features) manage to coordinate millions of different considerations (from the cost of different components to the needs of users, etc) into new products designed by 10s of 1000s of people.
Watch on YouTube. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast platform. Read the full transcript here. Follow me on Twitter for updates on future episodes.
To see Andy’s process in action, check out the video where we record him studying a quantum physics textbook, talking aloud about his thought process, and using his memory system prototype to internalize the material.
You can check out his website and personal notes, and follow him on Twitter.
Cometeer
Visit cometeer.com/lunar for $20 off your first order on the best coffee of your life!
If you want to sponsor an episode, contact me at dwarkesh.sanjay.patel@gmail.com.
Timestamps
(00:02:32) - Skillful reading
(00:04:10) - Do people care about understanding?
(00:08:32) - Structuring effective self-teaching
(00:18:17) - Memory and forgetting
(00:34:50) - Andy’s memory practice
(00:41:47) - Intellectual stamina
(00:46:07) - New media for learning (video, games, streaming)
(01:00:31) - Schools are designed for the median student
(01:06:52) - Is learning inherently miserable?
(01:13:37) - How Andy would structure his kids’ education
(01:31:40) - The usefulness of hypertext
(01:43:02) - How computer tools enable iteration
(01:52:24) - Monetizing public work
(02:10:16) - Spaced repetition
(02:11:56) - Andy’s personal website and notes
(02:14:24) - Working at Apple
(02:21:05) - Spaced repetition 2


This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit www.dwarkeshpatel.com

2 hr 24 min

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