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Novice to Expert: 6 Steps to Learn Anything, Increase Your Knowledge, and Master New Skills Paperback – January 2, 2017
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In Novice To Expert, Steve Scott sets out to answer that very question by introducing ‘6 Steps to Learn Anything' that lead to mastering any essential skill. In this book, the author gets into the specifics of the learning process and how to master one skill at a time. In a world that is becoming increasingly focused on content creation and information overload, people are confused with what really matters when it comes to learning and, more specifically, what to focus on without feeling overwhelmed. With everything out there, we are losing our patience for sticking with anything for more than a few days or weeks.
Novice To Expert puts the fun back into learning. First of all, the level of competence pyramid, although well-known, is a great way to measure your competency level. Through identifying your learning style, you can learn more effectively instead of wasting time learning in a way that is difficult. Steve runs us through the 7 learning styles that saves tons of time on researching it yourself. That’s another strong benefit of this book: the hard research is already done for you. everything you need to start learning that new skill today you can find in this book.
What Skill Do You Want To Master?
When building the learning habit, Steve gives plenty of suggestion for taking action everyday and focusing on the one thing to learn. In asking yourself the important questions in the book, you can niche down and identify the important areas of your life. Some strategies are:
* Read top related books on your skill
* Listen to podcasts
* Watch video tutorials
* Learn from others in person
* Learn from others virtually
* Purchase products or courses
The learning habit is an essential piece to the learning process. As Steve Scott teaches, it isn’t everything we need to learn but, only the elements of that information we can put into action.
To do this, in Step #4 he recommends "taking notes strategically." We can do this by using several suggested note-taking tools such as implementing The Cornell Method. I have never heard of this Method before reading this book, and now that I have, I am definitely using this from now on as someone who loves to take notes while learning, such as listening to a podcast or watching a video.
Another excellent idea in the book is how to create a cheat sheet of information gathered from reading a book, attending a lecture, or other learning platform. The author shows us how to drill down written notes to the essential ideas that matter and at the end of it, have a list or cheat sheet of core actionable items. Perfect for making the learning process not only faster but is the quintessential style for learning. Taking Actionable Notes is definitely what I will be using for learning from now on.
Step#5 in the learning process is: "Create a Project Around the Skill." As Steve Scott explains, we can do this using two of my favorite suggested tools: Evernote and Todoist. These tools are perfect as we digitize everything we learn and they are completely accessible no matter where we go. Steve offers tip for getting started with these tools as well as links to the relevant site blogs and a video he has created in the free resources section available for download.
In this chapter/step the author shows us how to implement the tools for better learning and, by asking yourself important questions such as, “What is my next step?” This reduces anxiety and overwhelm, getting you more focused on the very next step instead of focusing on learning it all as a whole.
There are some other great concepts discussed here such as: “Practice Just In Time Learning”, Form a Skill Specific Habit and the Two-Task Daily Rule For Skill Mastery. Steve gives a concise list for users to “Create a Project Around the Skill.” The list includes:
* Create a skill-specific project folder for your skill
* Write down all tasks you need to complete
* Jot down every new lesson learned
* Focus on tasks directly related to your current challenge
* build a habit related to your skill
* Use the two-tsk rule to work at the task daily
Step 6 is “Deliberately Practice Everyday.” In the final step Steve delivers valuable content on how to break down the skill into its smallest component and work at it to achieve mastery. This last step really is the best part of the book, with the first five steps leading up to it. But it is here where we get our real value by learning the steps of mastering the skills.
The author breaks it down into an eight-step process for deliberately mastering the skill. I won’t list the steps here but rather encourage you to grab the book and check it out;definitely worth it. With this step you get focused on the “deliberate practice” required to master a skill by daily repetition, tracking your success, and receiving feedback from a coach or mentor.
The end of the book has a nice added ‘gem’ where Steve Scott gives readers “6 Habit-Learning Challenges” and how to overcome them. The book also comes with a great set of FREE resources including a small companion website that includes the resources mentioned throughout the book.
***So What’s the Bottom Line on Novice To Expert?***
This is definitely a book you want in your library as a solid resource and action guide for achieving mastery of your skills through a system that is practical and realistic. By combining the habit skills with knowledge, you can learn to practice what you learn without the added anxiety of thinking “I have to know it all.” I have already started to put what I’ve learned in this book to work in order to manage my projects better while focusing on the micro components to get it done.
I believe "Novice to Expert" is a fantastic resource for someone new to learning, or for someone who has struggled to learn anything new. Also, if you simply want a break down of what it means to learn something new, and you want a clear path to get there, this is the book for it. This should be a great resource for a high school student or someone entering college.
A strength in most of Steve Scott's books is that he cuts the fluff and gets straight to the point. He gives you actionable information that you can use right away to learn something in your life. The mistake some books in this genre make is to over-promise results, when the reality is that learning something will take time and effort. I like that he was clear with what you can expect to gain. Of course, he provides a path that will minimize the frustration and will help you to make progress faster in your learning.
There is also a list of learning resources which I think should be a good starting place to actually begin learning what you are interested in.
This book is a practical guide, which takes the reader through all the steps necessary to decide what you want to learn (and how to do it), chose the resources (which great suggestions for good resources), develop a learning habit, take effective notes, and apply the learning in practice.
What's interesting is that SJ does not follow the crowd touting the 10k hrs of practice, but takes a more practical and pragmatic approach, showing how to 'learn enough to be able to teach it to others' and the practical/applicability of what you learn.
I agree with his emphasis on learning 'just in time'and to have a project that you can base your learning on. This way you learn stuff you can immediately implement, which reinforces the learning process and is very rewarding - this is, in my opinion, the best way to learn for adults.
SJ Scott is a habit master, no wonder then that he focuses on showing how to build a learning habit, which is very useful and distinguish his approach from books only focused on showing studying techniques.
I also like his practical tips on how to learn from podcasts/audio material and videos, how to tell an expert from 'an expert' and a good online course from a worthless rip-off.
A great investment into your future. Recommended!