Get Better at Anything Book Summary - Get Better at Anything Book explained in key points
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Get Better at Anything summary

Scott H. Young

12 Maxims for Mastery

4.2 (50 ratings)
21 mins
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    Get Better at Anything
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    Want to perform better? See, do, and seek feedback.

    If you’ve ever played the classic video game Tetris, you’ll know the aim is to manipulate colorful shapes composed of four square blocks into horizontal lines, winning points for each line you complete. What you might not know is that Tetris can tell us something profound about how we are wired to learn and improve skills.

    Tetris was developed in 1984 by a Soviet computer scientist called Alexey Pajitnov. Passed along from one floppy disk to another, it reached enormous popularity in the Soviet Union and, eventually, around the world. For two decades, avid players tried to reach 999,999 points, the top score possible in the game. In 2009, after years of dedicated practice, a player called Harry Hong became the first person in 25 years to achieve the maximum score. In 2020, Joseph Saelee, achieved the maximum score 12 times over the course of a single Tetris tournament. Another 40 players at that same tournament also achieved the maximum score at least once. 

    So, what happened? Between 2009 and 2020, how did we get so much better at Tetris? 

    Well, three fundamental things shifted. 

    First, the advent of YouTube made it easy for top Tetris players to share their record-breaking performances. Before online video-sharing, top Tetris players submitted record-breaking results to a video-game record database called Twin Galaxies. Twin Galaxies would then post players' top scores online. On YouTube players could directly upload videos of their world record performances. Twin Galaxies only ever posted game results; on YouTube actual footage of the full match was available. This meant other players could see how these champions were playing, as well as what their final results were. Through livestreams, top players were sharing their tactics, hacks, and even their hand movement techniques with an interconnected group of enthusiastic Tetris players around the world. 

    Second, as the audience for live streamed video game performances grew, top players were incentivized to practice, as they streamed more and more content of themselves playing the game. In other words: these expert players racked up a lot of hours of gameplay.

    Third, the proliferation of video footage as well as online forums devoted to the game led to the creation of an informal database of specialized Tetris knowledge – a database that even the top players themselves benefited from. For example, many champion players didn’t know it was possible to execute a maneuver known as a T-spin, where the T-shaped tetris block is rotated, until this knowledge was shared online. Now, even newbie players are aware of this strategy.

    These three factors map neatly onto what we’re going to call the three keys to getting better at anything: see, do, and seek feedback. Let’s break them down:

    First, we learn better when we see what the experts do. Tetris players rapidly improved their performance when they were easily able to see how expert-level players were approaching the game.

    Next, we need to do the thing we want to get better at, over and over again, in order to improve. As champion tetris players live streamed their games, they accumulated hours upon hours of practice.

    And finally, we improve our performance through incorporating feedback. YouTube comments sections and online Tetris forums functioned as feedback channels. Players used this feedback to adopt new techniques and styles of play, iterating and improving their performance.

    In the next three sections we’ll take a deep dive into these three keys for improving performance, uncovering detailed strategies for seeing, for doing, and for seeking feedback. 

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    What is Get Better at Anything about?

    Get Better at Anything (2024) identifies three key factors for effective learning: observing others, practicing extensively, and receiving reliable feedback. Drawing on research and real-life examples, it provides valuable insights for anyone looking to improve their skills.

    Get Better at Anything Review

    Get Better at Anything (2020) is a compelling read for those seeking to enhance their skills in any area. Here's why this book is worth your time:

    • Offers practical strategies that can be applied to various aspects of life, empowering readers to achieve continuous growth.
    • Includes insights from top performers and experts across different fields, providing valuable perspectives and inspiration for improvement.
    • Utilizes engaging storytelling techniques that make complex concepts easy to understand and apply, ensuring readers stay captivated and motivated throughout.

    Who should read Get Better at Anything?

    • Anyone who wants to learn something new and doesn’t know where to start
    • Those who have stalled on their learning journey
    • People who feel their skillset is starting to backslide

    About the Author

    Scott Young is an entrepreneur, podcast host, and author known for the best selling title Ultralearning, which explores strategies for self-directed learning and personal development.

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    Get Better at Anything FAQs 

    What is the main message of Get Better at Anything?

    The book emphasizes the power of deliberate practice and effective learning strategies for mastering new skills.

    How long does it take to read Get Better at Anything?

    It takes a few hours to read the book. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Get Better at Anything a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Get Better at Anything is a practical guide to skill improvement. It offers valuable insights and strategies in a concise format.

    Who is the author of Get Better at Anything?

    The author of Get Better at Anything is Scott H. Young.

    What to read after Get Better at Anything?

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