Learning & MemoryPodcast

Prof. Anna & Dr. Lev Goldentouch on Memory, Speed Reading, and Becoming a SuperLearner

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“The most global and important questions in our lives are the ‘why’ questions.”
— Prof. Anna Goldentouch

For most of my adult life, I’ve had a very keen interest in optimizing in improving my physical health, mental capacities, and my productive life (hence this blog and podcast). In 2009, I met someone with incredible superhuman ability to learn and it dramatically accelerated rate – one of the first true “Superhumans” I had ever come into contact with. As the story goes, I went on to train with that individual and his wife, from whom he learned these skills, and soon became able to absorb and retain information on a whole new level.

However, it was until about a year or so later (when I approached my two private tutors with a proposition to create an online course teaching their methodology) that things really got interesting. Fast-forward over a year, and our course, Become a SuperLearner, has over 22,000 students over the world! From there (and with significant support and encouragement from students) , I developed my passion for helping people achieve superhuman feats, and this blog and podcast are just the next logical step in that journey.

For the inaugural episode of the podcast, I thought it only fitting to interview the husband-and-wife team that started it all, Professor Anna and Dr. Lev Goldentouch. Their combined backgrounds in both psychology and information theory are the basis of the methodology for training what I would later brand “SuperLearners,” and together the three of us have taught tens of thousands of people to read, learn, and memorize information at a rate of about 3X.

If you’re just tuning in, and have never seen or heard of our course, this podcast certainly pique your interest, and will get you thinking about different ways to enhance your  learning and memory. If you have attended the course going, you’ll find this episode to be a fascinating deep dive into some of the topics that we covered, as well as a clarification on some of the things you may have struggled with.

Furthermore, if you want to learn more about Anna and Lev, or read some of their work, you can check out their blog, KeyToStudy.

I hope you enjoy it!

“Once we stop getting new stimulus, our brain will deteriorate very fast. But even if we suffer some temporary deterioration, by exposing ourselves to new stimulus, we can develop the neural networks back.”
— Dr. Lev Goldentouch
“I think that the future [of academia] is to give students the big picture – the templates, the patterns. Because you can fill the details with your own learning.”
— Prof. Anna Goldentouch

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How Professor Anna & Dr. Lev developed their methodology
  • Why their methodology has been so successful where many other speed reading programs have failed
  • How “markers”  work, and how they fit into the bigger picture of accelerated learning
  • How Dr. Lev loads up different modalities or categories to prepare for reading an article or text
  • An explanation of why and how different learners with different skill sets and backgrounds create different markers
  • How basic principles, such as markers, must be taken by students and modified and adapted to their own characteristics
  • How short micro-breaks play a role for accelerated learners
  • How Lev organizes and stores his vast knowledge from nearly a decade of accelerated learning (with a pretty wild demonstration)
  • An alternative to the ancient Memory Palace technique developed by Lev, the “Memory Landscape”
  • Whether or not there is a benefit to reaching the upper echelon of speed readers – 1,000wpm and beyond
  • The upper limits of speed reading – 5,000wpm – and whether or not people who are not “naturally gifted” can reach that level
  • Some tips from Dr. Lev on how to apply the methodology to a popular and technical subject like computer programming
  • The importance of making the information fun and engaging – and useable – for learning
  • The incidence of falling into “bad habits” such as slow reading, and why it happens
  • Does the SuperLearner methodology work for children?
  • What exercises do Anna and Lev do with their own children?
  • What would a SuperLearner class for senior citizens look like?
  • The effects of active learning on dementia and Alzheimers
  • “Hacks” to stimulate the brain and promote neuroplasticity
  • The differences between SuperLearning audio vs. text
  • What Anna and Lev are currently learning – and how
  • Anna’s recent successes in bringing students from a “C” to an “A” average
  • The future of academia as Dr. Lev and Professor Anna see it
  • The pro’s and con’s of digital vs. analog learning
  • How Anna and Lev each approach highly technical & difficult materials
  • What devices Anna, Lev, and Jonathan prefer for reading on
  • Does the better peripheral vision of the female eye help in speed reading?

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

“The first step of reading, when you acquire the reading process, needs to be vocalized. But, by the step where you know and remember all the symbols of your language, you should be able to read words as whole.”
— Prof. Anna Goldentouch
“Eventually, we’ll be merged with computers one way or another. It’s just a question of how and when.”
— Dr. Lev Goldentouch
Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan Levi is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor from Silicon Valley.

After successfully selling his Inc 5,000 rated startup in April of 2011, Levi enlisted the help of speed-reading expert and university professor Anna Goldentouch, who tutored him in speed-reading, advanced memorization, and more. Levi saw incredible results while earning his MBA from INSEAD, and later went on to teach a best-selling online course on the subject. With this unique skill, he has become a proficient lifehacker, optimizing and "hacking" such processes as travel, sleep, language learning, and fitness.

  • Gil

    Hi Jonathan

    I have a suggestion.
    when you interviewing Non native English speakers it will be good to have a transcript of the talk.
    because several times while Lev was talking i didn’t understood what he was saying at all.

    At least do it for this talk because pepole like me which come here from your Udemy course find this talk with your co-authors to be the most interesting one.

    live long and prosper

    • Jonathan Levi

      Thanks for this feedback – I will look into transcription. Did you have an equally hard time with Erwan Le Corre’s episode?

      • Gil

        I’ve just listened to your talk with Erwan Le Corre and i manged to understand him.
        No disrespect to Dr. Lev, but i was struggling to understand him the first time i listened to the podcast but my second go at it was easier.
        my point is that i needed to listen few times to understand what he was saying.

        • Jonathan Levi

          Thanks, this is good feedback I will certainly keep in mind in the future. My next few episodes are all with native english speakers, and they’re really excellent – I hope you’re subscribed…

      • Vincent

        I second transcription for this episode please Jonathan. Prof Anna and Dr Lev are saying lots of interesting helpful things, but more often than not I am unable to understand what Dr Lev is saying.

  • Chris

    Hi Jonathan! Thanks for the interesting podcast. I have just a quick question, where is Anna currently a professor and where did she get her PhD?

    • Jonathan Levi

      Hi! Anna is an adjunct professor at Bar Ilan University in Israel. She doesn’t hold a Ph.D, but rather an MS.c from Ben Gurion University of the Negev!

      • Chris

        Thanks for your reply!

        I’m taking your course on Udemy now while I’m spending some time getting familiar with Metivier’s work and listening to various podcasts.

        Keep up the good work Jonathan! You have a really awesome podcast and the most complete and comprehensive accelerated learning course out there!

  • Rodrigo Rocha

    Hi mr Jonathan,

    Thanks for this work and interview!

    I really like the suggestions and the follow to focus in learning.

    Best regards, a long life for your work,

    Rodrigo Rocha, 34
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Project Manager
    br.linkedin.com/in/rodrigorozelli

  • hussein

    prof. Anna mentioned that she have a course which about improving C student to be an A student how I can reach that course?

  • symphony

    love the idea of using video games for a memory palace. opens up countless possibilities and useful for someone who has moved around a lot and doesn’t want to use their current address.