Ultralearning by Scott Young

A friend recommended this book recently and I just finished it! It was sooo good. If you’re a fan of Cal Newport, you’ll also enjoy.

If you haven’t heard of Scott Young he gained some fame a few years ago when he completed the “MIT Challenge” where he learned everything in their computer science degree program in one year.

The book itself talks about principles and research he’s gathered around this idea of “ultralearning.” In my own words, ultralearning is essentially going deep on a particular area or subject. It can be anything. In the book, he gives a few examples such as a man who spent months focused on public speaking. Another talks about a girl who became a chess grand master. He shares their stories and the tries to stay practical when it comes to applying these principles in your own life.

I really enjoyed the book and felt motivated to start my own ultralearning project. I’ve decided on TypeScript so I’ll be doing #100DaysOfTypeScript. My goal is to master TypeScript and become the “in-house expert” at my company. If you’re interested in seeing more details on my learning project, here’s a Notion doc I’ve used to organize the project:

Ultralearning Project - TypeScript

Have you read the book? Does it look interesting to you? What ideas do you have for your own ultralearning project?


Great review! Just picked up my copy from Amazon. Haven’t decided what my next tech deep dive will be. I currently participate in a 100 days of practice music group on Facebook.

My intention is to keep all my different parts learning at the same time. :slight_smile:


Aw, that’s fantastic! I’m sure you’ll love it.

Ooo - haven’t heard of that before, but love the idea! For your practice, do you sing or play instruments?

Yes! I admire that. It has been challenging for me in the past but I hope to do the same. It’s funny. After reading this book, every time I do something that I want to learn more about (like cooking or dog training for instance), I say to myself, “Ooo! This would make for a great month-long ultralearning project!” It feels addicting in a good way!

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Thanks for sharing Joe! Long time reader of Scott’s stuff, but haven’t grabbed this one yet.
Gonna go pick it up!

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Sweet! You’ll have to share your thoughts after you finish!

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I’m a classically trained violist married to a very definitely not classically trained professional guitarist. :grin:

I mostly stick to viola but have been known to play violin and guitar too. The best thing that can be said about my singing is that I can sing in tune and harmonize. I usually leave the singing to the bonafide singer people in my life!

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Thanks for sharing this Scott! Put it on my reading list!

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Seeing your TypeScript project on Twitter has gotten me interested in Ultralearning! Gotta wait until I get a new audible credit!

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Hey Joe! Definitely adding this book to my list. I’m a Cal Newport’s fan too! I saw your your Notion doc and, since today is December 30th, I’m curious to know how did it go!


Hey Jorge!

Awesome! So glad to meet another Cal Newport fan.

since today is December 30th, I’m curious to know how did it go!

Thanks for following up on that! Honestly, I lost track of time a bit :joy: But overall, I think it was a success! I didn’t complete everything on my list but I did:

  • Contribute to react-typescript-cheatsheets
  • Read “Programming TypeScript”
  • Read the Official TypeScript Handbook
  • Started working on a PR for TypeScript (the language/compiler itself)

Here’s a tweet thread a wrote (thanks to you asking about this):

Next steps, think about my next ultralearning project. This time, I think I’ll stick to 30 days instead of 100. 3 months was too long!

Do you have any ultralearning projects in mind? Or any projects you’re currently working on?

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