Ep74: How to Master the Metaskill of ‘Ultralearning’ | with Scott Young

In today’s freelance economy where knowledge is a ubiquitous commodity and employees are essentially disposable and replaceable within days (we are…let’s admit it), there is perhaps no more important skill than having the ability to learn new (and difficult) technology VERY quickly. Throw some gasoline on that fire for knowledge, and you’ve got yourself ULTRALEARNING.

Today’s conversation is with Scott Young, the author of the (soon-to-be bestselling) book Ultralearning. He’s also a writer & blogger, a programmer, traveler, and as he puts it, “an avid reader of interesting things.” For the last ten years Scott has been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better. He is known for learning the 4 year curriculum at MIT (one of the toughest schools for science and technology in the world) in under 12 months without taking any classes there. He’s also traveled the world and at one point challenged himself to go a year without English and in the process learned four languages in that year: Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, and Korean.

Needless to say, Scott knows a thing or two about undertaking incredibly difficult learning challenges. And in our conversation Scott and I discuss the principles he outlines in his new book Ultralearning that you can follow to develop and master this skill and thus become better (and more effective) at learning just about anything you want or need to in order to achieve your most important goals.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • How Scott’s difficulty with learning led him to become an ‘Ultralearner’
  • The method that you choose to learn with will change your results
  • Pushing your learning bubble of comfort
  • What limiting beliefs do you have that are keeping you from chasing your goals?
  • Approaching meta-learning concepts for the first time
  • Mapping out how you are going to learn a new skill rather than approaching it cold
  • The path towards the same goal is different for different people
  • Placing yourself in a position with an invaluable skill, so that you have a say in how you are paid (and what your time is worth)

Useful Resources Mentioned:


Scott’s Blog


Optimize Yourself Elite

Our Generous Sponsors:

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Guest Bio:


Scott is a writer, programmer, traveler and avid reader of interesting things. For the last ten years he’s been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

He rose to autodidact stardom when he learned MIT’s 4-year computer science curriculum in less than twelve months. Next, he taught himself four new languages in a year. Such extreme self- improvement projects may seem outside the realm of most of our capabilities, but Young believes that the principles and methods that he and other ultralearners employ are essential tools for anyone who wants a competitive edge in the fast-changing, aggressive workplace. In ULTRALEARNING: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career, Young reveals how basic strategies that he and other ultralearners embrace can give anyone the edge in organizing and executing a plan to learn something new deeply and quickly—and without teachers or tuition.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Elyse Rintelman. The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”