32 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. There are four essential capabilities that we can rely on a SecondBrain to perform for us:1. Making our ideas concrete.2. Revealing new associations between ideas.3. Incubating our ideas over time.4. Sharpening our unique perspectives.

      Does the system really do each of these? Writing things down for our future selves is the thing that makes ideas concrete, not the system itself. Most notebooks don't reveal new associations, we actively have to do that ourselves via memory or through active search and linking within the system itself. The system may help, but it doesn't automatically create associations nor reveal them. By keeping our ideas in one place they do incubate to some extent, but isn't the real incubation taking place in a diffuse way in our minds to come out later?

  2. May 2022
    1. The minute we saw his frantic, hand-lettered presentation of the Field Notes credo — “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now” — we knew just what to do.

      https://fieldnotesbrand.com/apparel/remember-it-now-tee

      Field Notes, a manufacturer of notebooks, uses the credo "I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now." This is an fun restatement of the idea behind the power of the Feynman technique.

      Link to Ahrens' version of this idea.

  3. Apr 2022
    1. There is, however, one thing to learn from writers that non-writers don’t always understand. Most writers don’t write to express what they think. They write to figure out what they think. Writing is a process of discovery.
    1. YOU should write blogs.Even if nobody reads them, you should write them. It's become pretty clear to me that blogging is a source of both innovation and clarity. I have many of my best ideas and insights while blogging. Struggling to express things that you're thinking or feeling helps you understand them better.
    1. Blogging is my way of pulling together into a coherent form all the stray thoughts rolling around in my mind. Writing helps me sift the good thoughts from all the bad and fit them all together in a logical pattern.
    1. One of the most interesting aspects to blogging is discourse - the idea that in order to write something you must think about it with a critical eye and that this process actually helps you clarify your thinking around it.
    1. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Sönke Ahrens outlines this broad idea of how one practices the Feynman technique for understanding using one's notes in How to Take Smart Notes, but he doesn't use the name Feynman technique. Certainly the idea of writing things down to test one's understanding predated Feynman, does anyone know of historical examples of this pattern/technique prior to Feynman? Does it have other names in the literature?

    1. https://blog.sjm.codes/202204231657

      Nothing new or earth shattering to me, but I did manage to squeeze out a few literature notes that may be useful later.

    2. Zettelkasten notes are little atomic Feynman Technique experiences.

      The creation of literature notes for one's zettelkasten are atomic instances of the use of the Feynman technique to test one's understanding.

    3. The Zettelkasten System is a Superset of the Feynman Technique

      Not exactly my specific framing, but I've noted this correspondence before. Glad to see others have the same perception.

    1. Francis Bacon explained succinctlythat notes could be made either “by epitome or abridgement” (that is, by sum-marizing the source) or “by heads or commonplaces” (that is, by copying a pas-sage verbatim or nearly so and storing it in a notebook under a commonplaceheading for later retrieval and use). Bacon considered the latter method “of farmore profit and use,” and most note-taking advice focused on this practice of ex-cerpting.46

      This quote is worth looking up and checking its context. Particularly I'm interested to know if the purpose of summarizing the source is to check one's understanding of the ideas as is done in the Feynman technique, or if the purpose is a reminder summary of the piece itself?


      Link to Ahrens mentions of this technique for checking understanding. (Did he use the phrase Feynman in his text?)

    1. “The exam is open book and open note, but you MUST NOT work with another person while taking it,” the instructions read. “You also MUST not copy/paste anything directly from ANY source other than your own personal notes. This includes no copy/pasting from lecture slides, from the internet, or from any of the readings. All short answers must be compiled in your own words.”

      While students apparently have ignored the instructions in the past resulting in breaches of academic integrity, teachers can prompt active learning even during exams by prompting students to write answers to questions on open book/open notes in their own words.

    1. Research has shown that when we give students complete, well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after they take their own notes, they learn significantly more than with their own notes alone (Kiewra, 1985).

      Students who are given well-written, instructor-prepared notes to review after taking their own notes have been shown to learn significantly more than with only using their own notes.

      These notes can provide valuable additional feedback and might also be supplemented with additional texts or books. The issue may be how to encourage students to use these resources appropriately rather than relying on them as a crutch or backstop which may encourage them not to take their own notes? It's the work of making the notes and the forced context shift that are likely creating the most benefit rather than simply reviewing over what they already know.


      Link this to review effects mentioned in Ahrens versus using questions and being forced to manufacture an answer.

    2. Reynolds’ students have had strong positive reactions to this style of notes and consistently attribute the notes as a key factor in their engagement and learning in the course (Reynolds & Tackie, 2016).

      Susan Reynolds' paper indicates that students have positive reactions to her skeletal notes, but does her research indicate that they are measurably better?

      What is the right balance of encouraging attention and participation in the process versus saving time for the students? Active work in the process is likely to be shown to work best.

      Has anyone done research on actively helping students and modeling for them after a lecture experience to show them the appropriate follow up methods?

  4. Mar 2022
    1. RichardFeynman once had a visitor in his office, a historian who wanted tointerview him. When he spotted Feynman’s notebooks, he said howdelighted he was to see such “wonderful records of Feynman’sthinking.”“No, no!” Feynman protested. “They aren’t a record of my thinkingprocess. They are my thinking process. I actually did the work on thepaper.”“Well,” the historian said, “the work was done in your head, but therecord of it is still here.”“No, it’s not a record, not really. It’s working. You have to work onpaper, and this is the paper.”[33]

      Genius: The Life And Science of Richard Feynman,” James Gleick, Pantheon Books, 1992 (see pg. 409).

  5. Feb 2022
    1. By annotating, you take ownership over the message that the book is trying to make.

      Annotating a text allows the reader to more closely interact with the ideas and take ownership of them.

    1. he best-researched and mostsuccessful learning method is elaboration. It is very similar to whatwe do when we take smart notes and combine them with others,which is the opposite of mere re-viewing (Stein et al. 1984)Elaboration means nothing other than really thinking about themeaning of what we read, how it could inform different questions andtopics and how it could be combined with other knowledge

      Elaboration is thinking deeply about the meaning of what we've read, how it could inform or answer different questions, and how it can be linked or combined with other knowledge. It is one of the best-researched and most successful learning methods. While it seems to have some subtle differences, it sounds broadly similar to the Feynman technique and is related to the idea of writing questions based on one's notes in the Cornell note taking method.

    2. Reading with a pen in yourhand is the small-scale equivalent of a lecture.

      Active reading with a pen in your hand and the creation of smart notes is a small-scale equivalent of a full introductory lecture from the perspective of Richard Feynman's technique for testing understanding.

      Active reading is roughly equivalent to the idea of reading with a pen in your hand or showing evidence of a mind at play.

    3. “If you can’t say it clearly, you don’t understand it yourself.” (JohnSearle)

      Searle, John R. 1983. Intentionality, an Essay in the Philosophy of Mind. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

      An alternate statement of the Feynman technique.

      Again, earlier incarnations?

    4. Reading with a pen in the hand, for example, forces, us to thinkabout what we read and check upon our understanding. It is thesimplest test: We tend to think we understand what we read – untilwe try to rewrite it in our own words. By doing this, we not only get abetter sense of our ability to understand, but also increase our abilityto clearly and concisely express our understanding – which in returnhelps to grasp ideas more quickly. If we try to fool ourselves hereand write down incomprehensible words, we will detect it in the nextstep when we try to turn our literature notes into permanent notesand try to connect them with others.
    5. Make literature notes. Whenever you read something, make notesabout the content. Write down what you don’t want to forget or thinkyou might use in your own thinking or writing. Keep it very short, beextremely selective, and use your own words.

      Literature notes could also be considered progressive summaries of what one has read. They are also a form of practicing the Feynman technique where one explains what one knows as a means of embracing an idea and better understanding it.

  6. Jan 2022
    1. https://words.jamoe.org/highlight-question-and-answer/

      A somewhat disingenuous reframing of the Cornell notes method. They've given it a different name potentially for marketing purposes to sell in a book. At least HQ&A is a reasonable mnemonic for what the process is.

      They do highlight the value of modality shift from reading to thinking about how to formulate a question and answer as a means of learning. They don't seem to know the name or broader value of the technique however.

      This question technique is also highlighted in the work of Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen. Cross reference: https://andymatuschak.org/prompts/ and their quantum mechanics course experiments.

    1. learning doesn’t happen from skimming through a book or remembering enough to pass a test.

      One of the biggest misconceptions is that learning occurs when we skim through a book or briefly just remember enough information for a test or exam. Changing our mindset from this way of thinking is the first step in the process of utilizing the Feynman technique

  7. Oct 2021
    1. Be ready, as soon as you have read or heard the thing, to repeat it exactly in as far as you want to fix it in your memory. If it is a book, do not leave it without being able to sum it up and to estimate its value. Ta

      Sounds much like the Feynman technique and is quite similar to the advice of Sonke Ahrens.

  8. Sep 2021
    1. Turning a mental representation into shapes and lines on a page helped them to elucidate more fully what they already knew while revealing with ruthless rigor what they did not yet comprehend.

      The modality shift of putting ideas onto a page like this is similar to the idea behind the Feynman technique.

    1. “I never understand anything until I have written about it.” Supposedly Horace Walpole (1717-1797) wrote that, but Google can't help me pin down where he might have done so. Frankly, it doesn't sound to me like a sentence written in the eighteenth century. But it may be a useful hyperbole.

      Track down the source of this for future use.

      Related to the idea of the Feynman Technique.

    1. Another effective technique is to start your notetaking by writing a short summary of each chapter and transcribing any meaningful passages or phrases. If you are unsure how to simplify your thoughts, imagine that someone has tapped you on the shoulder and asked you to explain the chapter you just finished reading. They have never read this book and lack any idea of the subject matter. How would you explain it to them?

      The so-called Richard Feynman technique, n'cest pas?

      From whom did he crib it? Did he credit them, or was it just distilled into part of the culture?

      This is also similar to the rubber duck method of debugging a program in some sense.

  9. Jul 2021
    1. This distinction is familiar in terms of the differences be­tween being able to remember something and being able to explain it.

      This quote is similar and generally related to the Feynman Technique. (see: https://fs.blog/2021/02/feynman-learning-technique/) It's based apparently on quotes attributed to Feynman which include:

      • "I couldn't reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don't understand it."
      • "If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't really understand it."
  10. Sep 2020
    1. In this one fable is all of Herbert's wisdom. When people want the future to be like the present, they must reject what is different. And in what is different is the seed of change. It may look warped and stunted now, but it will be normal when we are gone.

      Another echo of Feynman. Progress might not be inevitable but change is.

    2. Among many analogues to the twentieth century, one might note that the very scientists who discovered the fundamental principles of relativity and physical uncertainty upon which Paul's teachings are based are considered purveyors of an absolute, priestly knowledge too difficult for the uninitiated public to understand.

      Quote by Feynam is relevant here

      "Right. I don't believe in the idea that there are a few peculiar people capable of understanding math, and the rest of the world is normal. Math is a human discovery, and it's no more complicated than humans can understand. I had a calculus book once that said, ‘What one fool can do, another can." What we've been able to work out about nature may look abstract and threatening to someone who hasn't studied it, but it was fools who did it, and in the next generation, all the fools will understand it. There's a tendency to pomposity in all this, to make it deep and profound." - Richard Feynman, Omni 1979