Episode #14: Learning How to Learn with Celebrity Brain & Memory Coach Jim Kwik


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Jim is the founder of Kwik Learning, with online students in over 150 countries. He is a world-renowned expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, and accelerated learning.

For over two decades, he has served as the brain coach to students, seniors, entrepreneurs, and educators, and as an advisor to many of the world’s leading CEOs and celebrities.

In this episode we talk about the meta-skills of learning how to learn and learning how to read more effectively and efficiently.

What are meta-skills?

When I say meta-skills, I'm talking about skill sets or behaviors that have a cascade effect on many other areas of your life. (In this context, “meta” roughly means “up a level”).

One way to think of meta-skills is like this: Your actions can be categorized into different levels. For example:

Level 1 (base level) - Let's say you get a job at Starbucks as a barista. This is an action that is directly improving your life. The job-specific skill set you acquire as an employee will help you create income for yourself.

Level 2 (meta level) - Now let's suppose you invest some time in reading a book on, say, emotional intelligence. By doing so, you learn to cultivate better social skills that help you get a raise and move up in the company. You have simultaneously increased your value as an employee and acquired a skill set that is transferable to many other opportunities.

Level 3 (meta meta level) - This level would consist of something like investing time in learning how to read or learning how to learn more effectively and efficiently so you can comprehend more books in less time, leading to even more opportunities or maybe a different career path altogether. (This is the level we're working on in today's episode).

Level 4 (meta meta meta level) - This would be something like diet, which affects your physical and mental state. Your body and mind factor into everything you do. The better you feel and think, the more effective you will be in virtually every area of your life.

The important thing to remember is this:

Meta-skills and actions improve the effectiveness of the previous level, which improve the effectiveness of the level before that, and so on.

The main difference between Level 1 and the higher levels is that Level 1 actions are actions are additive --they add value in one direct way. Meta-level actions on the other hand, are multiplicative. This means their value multiplies across time and across opportunities. This is why meta-skills are such excellent investments of time, provided you put them to use for lower level actions (e.g. it would be useless to spending all your time reading or learning how to read better but never applying it to anything concrete).

A Special Request From My Guest

Jim made a request of the TGP audience at the end of this episode. In the spirit of learning, he suggested you take a screenshot of this episode in your podcast app, post it on your social, tag both of us (@jimkwik and @thinkgrowprosper) and share your biggest takeaway from this episode. I'm excited to see what you take away from this episode! We will be both looking for those posts and engaging with them. 

You can also let me know your biggest takeaway by leaving a review on iTunes with something you learned in this episode. (I read every single review).

Show Notes and Time Stamps

  • Jim’s origin story (9:45)
  • My most coveted superpower (24:35)
  • His conversation with Bill Gates about learning (25:25)
  • Jim’s levels of learning hierarchy (34:05)
  • Tips for improving your reading speed and comprehension (46:25)
  • The obstacles to effective reading (50:05)
  • Tips for effective reading (52:35)
  • Two beliefs that have helped Jim develop his unique skill set (59:35)
  • Why it’s important to remember your dreams (1:01:35)

Books & Other Resources Mentioned In This Episode


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If you have any suggestions for future guests or topics you’d like to hear covered, you can email podcast@thinkgrowprosper.org.

What did you think about this episode? Leave me a comment below!

Ruben Chavez is a writer, personal development educator, and host of The Think Grow Podcast. His Instagram account, ThinkGrowProsper, has amassed over 3 million followers. Along with his blog, these platforms are his way of inspiring and connecting with thoughtful, creative, and ambitious people just like you.