How much I want to read more: 7/10


Over the next ten years education will be massively disrupted.
Everyone will be able to learn anything they want five to ten times faster than they do now.
Tansel Ali has already started this disruption,
he introduces us to concepts and techniques that give the reader tools to learn anything in record time.
This enjoyable book also provides practical exercises, tools, tips and tricks to practise these skills not traditionally taught in schools.
Congratulations to Tansel for leading the way to faster and better learning, and setting the groundwork for the next decade of education. The future of learning is here.

Nolan Bushnell
Founder of Atari Corporation
March 2015


1. Gather materials and resources to learn (Up to 3 hours)

You’ve made the choice to learn something. The first step then is to gather all the resources and materials you need to get started.

2. Develop memorisation strategy (Up to 2 hours)

make a decision on the memory techniques you plan to use from this book.
Ex for long lists: Method of Loci.
Ex For content acquisition: mind map of the content and using visualisation methods such as SMASHIN SCOPE to create engaging associations in your mind with the knowledge.

3. Organise/prioritise materials (Up to 1 hour)

With your strategy developed, the next step is to organise the materials and resources you have to fit inside your strategy.
set out in a way that will make it easy for you to go through them one by one. One method of doing that is to enter or copy and paste each phrase into a spreadsheet so that it becomes easy to access.

4. Create accountability (Up to 1 hour)

It is important to share your learning task with a family member, friend, or anyone else that will hold you accountable.
Accountability to others creates motivation to get you going so that you don’t let others down.

5. Memorise (Up to 30 hours)

it is time for action. It is best to start with short periods of memorisation rather than long.
The reason for this is that it is less strain on the brain, you will complete a set memorisation period quickly, and as you get better you will increase your time.
If you start with longer memorisation periods then it will overwhelm you very quickly. Keep it short and simple.

6. Review (spaced repetition) (Up to 1 hour)

Once you have memorised you will need to go back and review your work.
the rule for spaced repetition is to review an hour later, then a day later, then a week later, a month later, three months later, six months later and finally a year later.

7. Practise and apply (Up to 10 hours)

This is the test of how much you have learned.
Having the chance to practise what you have memorised is crucial to the learning process.
Memorisation only helps you to store the information, whereas learning helps you understand.
Practise is the intersection where these two meet.


[quote, Audrey Hepburn]
‘Nothing is impossible—the word itself says “I’m possible”!

Time is perhaps the most precious thing we possess. We only have it once, it’s not renewable and we could all use it better.
I frequently hear people say they wish they could learn a language, play a musical instrument or even hang out with their family more—if only they had the time.

We’re not just bombarded with information from online but from schools, universities, short courses, seminars, workshops and conferences.

Learning should be exciting and fun and never frightening.
this book is a deliberate, conscious disruption to traditional learning methods, especially that of rote learning.

Studying memory has made me appreciate that the brain is far more amazing than most of us realise.

You just need your imagination and the will to try.

Key points


[quote, Mark Twain]
‘The secret of getting ahead is getting stated.’


Imagination is the key

For generations rote learning has been our principal way of remembering things, with repetition the sole focus of our memorisation.
Rather than repeat information over and over again we can create highly imaginative visual stories to connect with what is to be remembered.

Aside from being fun, remembering made-up stories engages our brain in many more ways than traditional memorisation.
Words are processed on one side of the brain, images on the other.
Repeating words is ineffective, but creating images from those words is incredibly strong.

rewind in a book: yes. in a movie: no.
the movie visually engages us; we see body language, environments, we feel emotion, we experience being in the moment, we are one with the movie.

Reading text can also trigger the imagination far beyond what we see on a movie screen. It is the use of imagination that will give you a better mind and memory to learn faster and better.

Memory foundation: the building blocks to a better memory

Without it you will not learn as effectively and will need to keep going back to review your work.


These twelve principles not only help us remember better, they help us become a more creative and lateral thinker.


This interesting word refers to our senses and sensations.
If I said ‘whiteboard’, Rather than just ‘seeing’ the image, if we use our other senses we can become further engaged
think of smell, touch, taste and sound. If you went up to the whiteboard and licked it, what would it taste like?


Using the whiteboard example, we can now visualise it spinning around, moving from side to side, or even growing legs and walking out of the room.
Movement creates traction in the brain that connects its subject, making it more memorable.


Visualise a pen next to paper—this is a weak association because there is no physical connection
but if the pen writes on the paper there is a connection.
what if the pen scribbles on the paper, ripping it to shreds?
(Writing on paper is a very logical and common thing)


Tony Buzan says we all have a good memory around this topic.
When I’m working with kids, though, I tell them to visualise themselves as the subject: imagine being the actual whiteboard. How does it feel to have people write on your face all day?


Something funny can be a huge help with your visualising.
When I meet someone called John, for example, I immediately picture him sitting on a toilet.


Logical associations are not memorable.
If we want to have a great memory and become more creative, we need to step outside this logical realm.
Instead of just imagining sitting on a chair, how about the chair turning around, jumping and then sitting on you?
As Victor Hugo so vividly put it: ‘Imagination is intelligence with an erection.’


The number 23, for example, reminds me of the great sporting hero Michael Jordan.
If I see the number 23 anywhere it reminds me of him.


What would happen, say, if street signs were written in sentences? You wouldn’t have time to read them before another sign appeared, and then another, then Bang! you’ve crashed. Your brain processes images much faster than words, which is exactly how speed reading works.


Instead of visualising a bright red tomato, perhaps see it as a bright blue tomato.
Try and feel the colour if you can.


Creating a sequence of events or stories allows our brain to follow a visual pattern that helps us to remember.
This is where techniques such as the Method of Loci help us connect random objects together.

Positive Images.

When visualising you can use either: the bright red tomato looked so tasty I ate it; the tomato was rotten, but I still ate it—and then I vomited. The brain loves drama and gets attached to it.


Visualise a kebab six metres tall waddling down the road with garlic sauce dripping down its sides and crowds of screaming, hungry people running up to it, tripping over themselves from all directions with absolute joy.


Make memorable stories from the following pairs of words using SMASHIN SCOPE.
You’ll need to create an image for the abstract noun and connect it back to the other word.

Often the best people in sport and business are creative and are making the best decisions.
Once you’ve done some practising it should take around thirty seconds to create a story using SMASHIN SCOPE. For difficult, non-concrete words, it may take up to one minute.

The Yellow Elephant Memory Model

a four-step guide to make something memorable.

1. Abstract

Information, ideas or concepts (without physical form), or things that do not make sense to us are likely to be abstract.
such as quantum physics. Strings of numbers, words, and even people’s names can be abstract. Abstract things are slippery to understand and don’t mean anything to us unless an image is created inside our brain.

2. Image

To make things more memorable we need to convert the abstract into an image.
The word ‘creativity’, for example, we can use the image of a lightbulb or even that of Albert Einstein

3. Association

Ex: when the pen writes on paper, or better yet shreds the paper by pressing too firmly on it, a stronger association is made.

4. Communication

How do you then make this memorable for others? may require some adapting and adjusting.

Remembering names: How it works

the trick to remembering names is to create the image and make an association.

If you’re trying to remember the name Clare, for example, you could picture Clare being eaten by a bear. ‘Bear’ will trigger the name Clare because of their shared rhyming properties.
You may also picture Clare looking like a bear. Or perhaps Clare has lots of hair sprouting from her nose, or claw-like hands!
You may even imagine Clare being chased by a bear—but because there is no physical connection or contact between Clare and the bear it weakens the memorisation.

When listening

When listening to anything, visualise the images using SMASHIN SCOPE principles to make better stories and you’ll remember much more than before.

When trying to learn anything new

When you first come across information it needs to be organised and arranged in a way for your brain to make sense of it and create images.
Techniques such as mind maps (chapter 3) and drawings help you visualise and order information. Once you have visual order, you can make connecting stories.

Key points