Published September 2019 by Lioncrest Publishers
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
In the next ten years, every knowledge worker on earth will become one of two things: invaluable or obsolete. No matter the industry, the pace of progress and new information is faster today than ever before in human history—and it's accelerating exponentially.
In this new reality, how can we possibly hope to keep up? How can we learn, unlearn, and relearn fast enough to stay relevant in the world to come?
In The Only Skill That Matters, Jonathan Levi unveils a powerful, neuroscience-based approach to reading faster, remembering more, and learning more effectively. You'll master the ancient techniques being used by world record holders and competitive memory athletes to unlock the incredible capacity of the human brain. You'll learn to double or triple your reading speed, enhance your focus, and optimize your cognitive performance. Most importantly, you'll be empowered to confidently approach any subject—from technical skills, to names and faces, to foreign languages, and even speeches—and learn it with ease.
I've been working with the ladies at TLC Book Tours for ten years now, almost as long as I've been blogging. When they contact me with a list of upcoming tours and ask what I might be interested in reading and reviewing, they often have one or two particular tours they are asking me to take a look at. They are often for books I might never have picked up with a nudge. Over the last ten years, I've learned to trust those nudges. Those books always give me food for thought. This book is no exception.
As a young man, Levi struggled with learning and suffered from ADHD. Eventually, he discovered that Ritalin and working harder than other students could make a big difference but keeping up was tough. And then he met Lev and Anna Goldentouch and trained with them for six weeks in what Levi would later call SuperLearning. Since then, along with the Goldentouchs, Levi has extensively researched how we learn and to read faster. Here he shares much of what he has learned and provides beginning instruction on how to make yourself better able to learn and retain skills and how to speed read.
Can I speed read now that I've finished this book? Am I ready to learn a new skill in record time? No. And, to his credit, Levi doesn't claim that you will finish this book ready to go. He is 100% convinced that if you follow his methods, you will get there. But he is equally firm about the fact that it will take work and time before you are skilled enough for these lessons to pay off. Will I put in that work? That's yet to be determined. Even if I never fully utilize these methods, Levi has certainly put some tools in my hands that I can readily use with very little effort.
Even if I never do use Levi's methods, he absolutely gave me food for thought in this book and my husband may have gotten tired of me telling him things that I was learning. For example:
"As Homo Sapiens, we're especially adapted to learning in ways that are vivid, visual, and experiential. Scientists refer to this as "the picture superiority effect." And though many of you have been led to believer that you're an "auditory" or "tactile" leaner, the truth is, we are each naturally gifted at remembering pictures."Levi doesn't just make this statement. He backs it up with evolutionary facts. Our predecessors survived because they could remember what things were edible, where their shelter was, and how to find their stored winter food by visual cues.
Levi makes much of the use of memory palaces and I was wracking my brain trying to figure out where I knew that term from. Yes, it's a technique that's been around for centuries; but I swear I was reading about it in the recent past in a work of fiction. Was it Sherlock Holmes? Trying to remember is going to drive me crazy which is, I guess, the actual point of using memory palaces.
I am pretty stoked to learn that Levi, and Dr. Malcolm Knowles who spent decades studying adult learning, that old dogs can learn new tricks. Levi suggests that adult learners "should actively leverage our prior knowledge and experience when learning."
Two problems I had with the book: a) Levi provides a lot of links to dig deeper into his theories and techniques and the references began to make the book feel like a commercial for Levi's podcasts and other products to me (although others may find the links helpful); and b) while Levi has certainly accomplished a lot in his life, it sometimes felt like so much braggadocio. Still, if what Levi has developed with the Goldentouchs works as well as he says it will with practice, maybe he's entitled to that.
check out the full book tour.