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Why The Way We Read Sucks and How to Fix It: Part 4 — Why SRS Personal Development Books?

November 19, 2009
By
This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Why The Way We Read Sucks, And How To Fix It

This is the fourth article in an ongoing series. To read this series from the beginning, go here.

Now that we’ve talked about the Unified Reading Process (check out the previous article in the series) in general, let’s take a little walk down Specificity Lane. The following advice probably applies to all kinds of books, but I’ve written it from the specific perspective of personal development/business books, which account for most of my reading right now.

Funnily enough, the methods I am going to share with you in this and future articles seem to be on their way to allowing me to read less and less of this type of book: since SRSing allows me to remember so much of what I’ve already read, there’s no need to buy any old (unoriginal, low-quality, or simply well-promoted) personal development book just for “review” or a “motivitational boost”.

The personal development (PD) genre is as popular as it is despised…the reasons for that are interesting and warrant their own article. But for now, let’s keep to the topic at hand.

By way of note, for the uninitiated, an SRS is a smart electronic flashcard system.

OK, here we go!

Anyone can read a good PD book and be at least temporarily inspired to alter her behavior…but what about 7 days, 7 weeks, 7 months and 7 years later?

Perhaps you can’t always be surrounded by positive people, but you can at least have positive books. And that’s almost as good. The key is that contact with the information in these books be:

  • Frequent or otherwise of a nature that will change your behavior for the better.
  • But also not so frequent that you go numb to it (see: “quotes pasted on wall” for details).
  • Available to you whenever pertinent situations arise — the good ideas you come across need to be immediately available to you in a form such that action is possible. Since, fundamentally, you can only act based on the information you have in your head, these ideas, this information, effectively also needs to be in your head if it’s to be of any value. When you’re dealing with a jerk, you’re unlikely to have your trusty, well-underlined copy of How To Deal With Jerks handy — but you still need to act.

Of course, there are some exceptions; we’re speaking very generally here.

One is reminded of that rather sinister-sounding quote by Lenin (?apparently?):

“A lie told often enough becomes the truth” .

Human beings’ judgment of the correctness of many ideas appears to be determined in large part by exposure count. Expose yourself to a quote, an idea, a product enough times, and it becomes part of your reality; it becomes part of your choice-set; it becomes “true”…regardless of actual veracity or quality.

It’s a lot like how advertising works — Coca-Cola doesn’t ceaselessly advertise that strange, corrosive beverage of theirs in order to tell you it exists — we all know it exists — they advertise it to you in order to alter your environment, your psychology, and therefore your choices. These frequent “nudges” seem to be what’s needed to push human beings over the edge.

I mean, you didn’t think all that money was being spent on advertising with no real idea whether it worked or not, did you?*

*I guess this did happen during the “Dot Com Boom” but…then again (at the risk of “interpreting the results to fit the theory”) while many of the Dot Coms spent a lot of $$ advertising, they didn’t continue the onslaught for years on end, plus they didn’t give their products and business models time to mature. Internet or no Internet, things like that still seem to take a few years. Not that I really know, but… :D

A lot of the ideas we come into contact with in our daily lives are, at the very least, half-truths; they also tend to be of a negative, destructive, or otherwise unproductive nature. Turn on the news, a movie or a pop song, and you’re likely to be assaulted with a stream of incredibly repetetive, low-quality assumptions about life and human capability, wrapped in an immensely entertaining package, sort of like junk food for the mind: tastes great, widely condoned, kills, and it’s mostly high-fructose corn syrup anyway. Personal development books, at their best, are collections of better ideas, better techniques, better alternatives for working our lives. Better food for the mind. And if some people accuse you of mental orthorexia? Well, stupidity and blindly following the crowd tend to be their own “punishment” (said in menacing tone), in the long run.

The more we can expose ourselves to these better ideas…the better. And in my brief experience on the topic, I’ve found that it’s not enough to just have vaguely remembered inklings of certain ideas — it seems like it’s important to re-view them somewhat more fully, more directly. Basically, “repetition is the mother of skill“, if you will. You can’t just have seen that Coke ad once. In fact, I read somewhere that a typical consumer needs to be exposed to an ad about 7 times before they actually make the purchase. Magic number, I know. But clearly, either way, what we’re dealing with is not an inherent property of advertising, but of the relationship between human beings, ideas and action.

So, rather than passively receiving other people’s advertising your messages, why not “advertise” to yourself the ideas that you like and find important? That’s the basic idea. If we want to change our habitual behavior, then it comes as no surprise that we may need some level of habitual expsosure to the behavior-changing ideas.

Another problem I found with not SRSing or otherwise broadly reviewing personal development books, was that my behavior and opinions would become completely biased in the direction of whichever author I was currently reading. Of course, there is some good in this. But the problem with being so totally saturated in one author’s world is that one inherits all her blindspots and biases as well. Much good can be gained, but much good also gets lost, ignored, or replaced by the bad-to-mediocre.

Intellectually, we all know that no single author is going to have the fullest, best answers on every issue. But recency can blind us to this in a practical sense. SRSing information allows your techniques and philosophy to remain a unique, well-balanced amalgam of all the good stuff you’ve been exposed to: your very own syncretic approach, taking the best from wherever you find it — like a mental file that is actually appended to, not just constantly overwritten.

But, at the end of the day, I don’t really know, it’s all really experimental :) . Maybe you can pick up on some of these ideas, and take them somewhere interesting.

I really hope this has helped you…it may just be me going off on a personal tangent. Anyway, let me know…gently :)

In the next article in this series, we’ll cover some practical elements of this SRSing-beyond-pure-language-learning business (including demonstrating some actual SRS cards), as well as answer some pertinent questions. If you have anything you want answered, now’s the time to put it forward. It may or may not get dealt with, but, you never know until you try, right? ;)

Series Navigation<< Why The Way We Read Sucks and How to Fix It: Part 3 — The Unified Reading ProcessWhy The Way We Read Sucks and How To Fix It, Part 5: Examples Shown and Questions Answered >>
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44 Responses to Why The Way We Read Sucks and How to Fix It: Part 4 — Why SRS Personal Development Books?

  1. Matt on November 19, 2009 at 12:44

    I considered doing exactly this with Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography (packed with insightful gems on industry and frugality), Wooden’s Leadership, and some others, but then figured the cards would only pop up a few times before the intervals became almost meaningless (since the cards aren’t “questions,” wouldn’t they just get pushed farther and farther away?). Perhaps phrasing the quotes as questions, or failing the critical cards every now and then would solve this? I’d love to hear how you keep cards from getting spacebar-ed right into infinity.

  2. NT on November 19, 2009 at 12:55

    Do you use one massive deck for all of your SRS-ing, or switch off between decks?

  3. Santiago on November 19, 2009 at 13:15

    I also want to know the answer to NT’s question. How do you manage your decks?

  4. spencer on November 19, 2009 at 13:55

    This is a very interesting take on PD and SRS, 2 good things coming together to help learn a language and your own development = Pure gold! :D

  5. Chris on November 19, 2009 at 13:58

    I’ll third the above question as well. I personally use separate decks for hanzi and sentences, and would use another for unrelated information.

  6. Alec on November 19, 2009 at 14:24

    Nice post. I’m enjoying this series you’re doing and I think I might start reading more PD books and SRSing them because I also find that I read it, get really fired-up for one week, and then completely forget.

    Interesting how you’re expanding outside of just writing about languages too. You’re the new Oprah! Hehe (^_-)

  7. Brad on November 19, 2009 at 14:36

    Could you list a few of your absolute favorite Japanese books? Personal development and otherwise?

  8. Terence on November 19, 2009 at 15:44

    (Off the subject of this post) Men in black, IN JAPANESE!!!↓

  9. slats on November 19, 2009 at 16:25

    Hey cheers for posting with the bold key sentences, they sum up you entire message without having to trawl through all of your extra text :) They should make all books like that!

  10. Drewskie on November 19, 2009 at 16:46

    TERENCE

    I LOVE YOU

  11. Nukemarine on November 19, 2009 at 18:08

    @Matt,

    I’m guessing it’s not about “memorizing” the information, so much as getting reminded about it at a spaced interval. More of a “Spaced Reminder System” in this case than a “Spaced Rememberance System”.

  12. Maya on November 19, 2009 at 20:45

    I’d like to second Brad’s request. Since I (and many other people here) don’t read in English nowadays (other than this site :P), it would be nice to have some more recommendations for PD books in Japanese.

  13. Amanda on November 19, 2009 at 21:02

    Well, I asked this on the last post.. but just in case you skimmed over it ;)…

    Do you have any advice for someone that has been learning their L2 (spanish, in my case) the wrong way for a long time?

    I know a lot of words, but when I’m reading, I revert back to grammer knowledge to get the meaning of each sentence. This habit makes listening very difficult! I’m hoping lots of input will help me out with this?

    Anyway, more importantly, I only know most of the words enough to recognize them, not enough to reproduce. Should I put the words I already know/recognize in my SRS, or should I just allow my “input” to ram them into my brain enough for “output”? Will I see them often enough that way?

  14. Maya on November 19, 2009 at 21:12

    @Amanda

    I’m not Khatz, but I’ve previously studied French and Spanish with less than ideal methods, so maybe I can offer some advice.

    If I were in that situation, I would just get tons of input (you seem to be doing this already) and then put sentences into my SRS – not words, sentences. Now, as for choosing which ones should actually get put in, I would focus on those sentences whose meaning I can’t immediately understand without reference to some secondary material (grammar guide or otherwise). I wouldn’t worry about words as much – some of the sentences you put in might have only words that you already know, others might have some that you don’t. In your case, really getting a practical feel for the sentence structure seems to be more urgent than learning new words anyway.

    As for listening comprehension… the only way to get better at that is to listen a lot. If there’s a short cut to it, I have yet to find it, despite my years of learning (wanting to learn?) various languages. Just listen to something that you like a lot – that way you’ll barely even notice that you’re “working”. Comedy does the job well :)

    Hope that made sense/is helpful.

  15. Boris on November 19, 2009 at 22:45

    sounds a lot like Incremental Reading to me. (www.supermemo.com/help/read.htm)

  16. Amanda on November 20, 2009 at 00:41

    @Maya

    Thanks! That was helpful. Gave me some insight to what my real problem is. I guess I thought if I started putting things I knew in my SRS, I wouldn’t get anything out of it, but you’re right, sentence structures should definitely be a huge focus for me right now. My vocab is at a certain level, but my knowledge of sentence structures (without analyzing them piece by piece and translating) is lacking. I actually hardly ever need to reference a grammer guide – it’s all in my brain (from a textbook that could be wrong…), but it takes a while to access it, and it involves translating to English. From what I read on here and elsewhere, I have to stop doing that!

    BTW, I actually meant to say sentences, when it comes to putting things in my new SRS, words in sentences, lol.

  17. Seth on November 20, 2009 at 04:51

    “Do you use one massive deck for all of your SRS-ing, or switch off between decks?”

    Hey, yeah, can you, like, break your comment-response silence and answer this one? I’d really like to know what your current setup is.

    For me, I think as far as language goes, you should have separate decks… like, if you’re studying Japanese and Mandarin, have a deck for each… Then maybe you could have a separate person development deck, in which you put everything from all the books.

    I think you should have decks based on category, but not to the extend many people do (my KO20202049248 deck, my Japanese Sentences About Fruit deck, my idiomatic phrase deck, my good japanese pick-up lines deck, etc.)..

    Whatchoo think, Khatz?

  18. Frank V. on November 20, 2009 at 05:22

    One thing I’d really like to recommend to people in terms of acquiring sentences is in video games! It annoys me so much that I can’t find japanese subs for animes…(other than in the opening songs..) But for whatever reason it’s easy to find these in just about all games with cut scenes. particularly rpgs…getting even more particular…handheld rpgs with voice acting! I’m currently playing tales of rebirth and I gotta say playing that has been one of the coolest ways to study that I’ve discovered thus far.

    about the category thing that the guy above me mentioned…I’d have to disagree. We didn’t learn our first language by hearing and reading everything in different categories. Instead I think that when you add sentences to your srs, you should do so from a few different sources. Me personally I currently like to take words from songs/tales of rebirth/newspapers/j-blogs/websites (youtube, facebook, smart.fm etc.) try to mix it up and not stick to one thing. Every time you add sentences try and do with at least 3 different sources each time.

    question: Still I would like to hear your thoughts on categories, since whatever you say I’ll follow probably follow like a mindless sheep ;) Also what are some of your favorite manga/animes?

  19. Seth on November 20, 2009 at 06:16

    Frank: I don’t think I was clear. I only meant you should categorize with interest. I think within a language, you should have 1 deck (except for maybe a kanji/hanzi deck). I mean categorize by topic. Like, one deck for Japanese, one for Chinese, one for Personal Development, one for English words you can never remember how to spell/new english words, etc.

  20. Michael on November 20, 2009 at 08:21

    Wondering how you would score these… thoughts you feel are less integrated, you give a low score. Things you know you are thinking of regularly, day in and day out, you give a higher score. Hmm.

    Also, the Q/A format.

    Looking forward to the next post.

  21. Jonathan Mahoney on November 20, 2009 at 11:40

    I’m pretty much w/ a lot of previous posters. I love the idea of SRSing everything, but I haven’t been able to break into it. I don’t know where to start. There are a lot of quotes I really want to memorize, what what kind of card would you make to memorize a paragraph? I’m looking forward to seeing many example.

    Thanks for everything you do Khatz. I love your blog and writing style.

  22. フランク様 on November 20, 2009 at 14:44

    ah well in that case Seth then i totally agree!

    One other thing I think people would like to know too is how long you study/studied. I’m not asking how long should we study (well I kind of am, but in a round about way) but rather what your srs habits were/are. Or perhaps, describe to us an average day! C’mon you know you want to, everyone likes talking about themselves. :)

  23. VChu on November 20, 2009 at 17:05

    This idea just hit me while reading the post. Maybe SRS could be used for forming new habits?

    For example, you want to start flossing your teeth every day, but you just never remember to do it. Then you put in SRS a card asking you if you flossed regularly since the last time you saw the card and fail it every time you can’t say that you’ve remembered to do it every day.

    I’m wondering if that would work, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t.

  24. magdalena on November 20, 2009 at 19:02

    Hi,
    just stopped to say hi and write that the quote “A lie told often enough becomes the truth” is by goebbles. :)

  25. Tommy Newbhall on November 20, 2009 at 22:28

    @VChu
    >This 意dea just 当it 僕e while reading the 職ost. Maybe SRS could be used for forming 新ew habits?

    Actually I’ve tried that before, and it works to a degree. Obviously it works better than just saying “i’m going to do X everyday!!!” and having no reminder system. But I imagine there may be better habit-forming methods available out there.

    The particular experiment I tried was really simple, and rather silly: try to get in the habit of putting my wallet in a different one of my back pockets every day. Why? basically I always put it in my back right pocket, and then sit on a chair all day, and I was getting some back pain on only one side when I was sitting. So i would switch off, and see if it fixed the problem.

    I had a card that said on the front side “Where did you put your wallet today?” and on the back side said “switch every other day.” If I had forgotten to switch, fail the card. This went ok for a while, and it did remind me to switch if I forgot, and was sort of a mini-reward for actually remembering, but eventually the interval got long on the card and I started forgetting to do it.

    I think the main problem is that this method is that with most habits, the time that you need to be reminded is different than when you are doing cards. You would basically need to be reminded immediately before you actually do the action (and rewarded immediately after, if necessary) to really reinforce the habit. There’s also the question of formatting–whether to answer a question “What pocket are you going to put your wallet in tomorrow?,” or to have some statement like simply “Wallet” or maybe even a cloze deletion for that routine “put cellphone in left pocket, , put [...] in [...] pocket, put notebook in right pocket.” It has potential but like I said, I’d bet there are better “tricks” for teaching yourself habits…

    Ok, enough about back problems and my weird morning routines….

    Tommy

  26. Curry Lover on November 21, 2009 at 05:09

    Matz, this is an interesting idea and I was thinking of doing SRS for anything and everything new that I learn, that would benefit from the repeition that SRS provides.
    That being said, I’m eagerly anticipating your next post, to see examples of these SRS cards.

  27. anon on November 23, 2009 at 07:58

    I agree with previous. For next article, please post examples of actual paragraphs, and how they were turned to srs cards, and the end result card. Also info, on how you would rate these cards. Thx.

  28. Theo on November 23, 2009 at 11:32

    I know there’s nothing to do with but anyone has read this guy talking about learning languages in 1 hour?, isn’t what really what it means ok?

    www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/11/07/how-to-learn-but-not-master-any-language-in-1-hour-plus-a-favor/

  29. SRS Addict on November 24, 2009 at 00:40

    This is a LONG comment, here it goes:
    I find this post very interesting. Here’s why:

    About 3 1/2 years ago I began to use the SRS program “Supermemo” (Which I will refer to as “SM”). Since I began using SM, other programs have emerged that specialize in language study, but since I’ve been using SM for so long and have so much time invested in it, it is far too late to think about jumping ship. No doubt the other SRS programs out there work great, so don’t think that I’m knocking them. In the end, use SOMETHING, it’s better than nothing.

    Anyways, I began to use SM about 3 years ago to retain Japanese vocabulary. Despite living in America, uncommon words that one does not use very often (Such as “round-trip”) continued to remain in my memory, and it required very little thought to recall them. This feeling of satisfaction was very addictive, and I began to intigrate more and more of my intellectual life with Supermemo.

    I can now speak, read and write Japanese fluently. I passed the JLPT 2Q a couple of years ago without even going to Japan. And the reason that I’ve progressed this much has little to do with my abilities (I am really quite average, I think), but I believe that it is purely because Supermemo has helped to augment my abilities and to focus my efforts so as little time and effort is wasted (At least when those are being used on Supermemo). Here is why:

    Humans need a variety of food to remain healthy. In the same way, no SINGLE specific method will gain you fluency in a language. Language study requires a balance of different methods and inputs.
    But SM seems to have become my intellectual equivilancy of a video game “save point.” While up until that time, I might have seen/read/heard many interesting or useful things, but until I “save” my intellectual progress, such information only occupies a temporary place in the mind.

    www.rarityguide.com/articles/content_images/3/SNES/smetroid_a.jpg

    While SM is not the only thing I use, it is part of my ‘balanced diet.’

    I began by putting Japanese sentences into SM, with the word I wanted to memorise written in English (It was easier than trying to describe the word in Japanese). This created context and usage hints. I would usually enter at least two flashcards for each word (Like firing multiple bullets to ensure I hit the desired target), thus ensuring that unless I made a big mistake in structing the material (Poor word choice), the algorithms would ensure that I would remember the word in due time (After about a week or two it would stick very well in my mind).

    This worked for vocabulary words, so I thought “Would this work for idiomatic expressions, also?” So I began to experiment, and as time went on, when the appropriate time to use such an idiom presented itself, it required as little time as it took to remember a simple vocabulary word. Now it was easy to rack up idioms (As well as 4-character idioms) in my head. Using James Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji volumes one and two (Although I went my own way with book two), I learned all of the ON yomi for the kanji, which made learning most vocabulary words much, much simpler (Most being a combination of two kanji using the ON yomi). In the end learning Japanese simply came down to shooting fish in a barrel, racking up more and more vocabulary that was easily accessable and would be forever retained using SM.

    Japanese has now passed on from the “I need to study” phase to the “I speak it fluently” phase. If I were playing World of Warcraft, my Japanese character would be at level 80 (Although I do not play that game, as I want to defend my time from such bandits). I still add Japanese words to SM, but it is like killing low-level monsters at this point, although I would like to eventually take JLPT 1Q, the “final boss.”

    But since Japanese is, for all intents and purposes, done, I am moving onto Chinese.
    Knowing the kanji has helped out a great deal, and the ON yomi bears a strong enough resemblence to the actual Chinese reading of the character that it is helpful. But each language poses a different set of problems, and I am always experimenting with variations of methods to try to make it a step further in my Chinese progress. Like you mentioned, keeping a foreward thinking, open mind about how to do things helps to ensure progress. Once you find something that works, exploit it until it stops working or you find something better. Currently I’m experimenting with the flashcard format used by the web site “Smart.fm.” I’m trying to impliment it in SM to see if I learn words better than my present flashcard format for Chinese. You might want to give that site a try, if you haven’t already.
    We soldier on.

    About a year after I began using SM to learn Japanese, I began to expeirment with using SM on non-Japanese desirable knowledge. To learn something FOREVER required such a SMALL investment of time (Less than a minute for the next 30 years of retention). Therefore, one hour of “entertainment-consumption time” could be converted into “self-enrichment through knowledge” time; the long-lasting benefits are so obvious that it makes many other tasks and pursuits seem trivial by comparison (But one must find balance in life, you have to eat some candy every now and then). But rather than simply being a useful study tool, SM has opened up a new way of life for me, where tangible knowledge consumption and retention is well within the grasp of everyone, regardless of anything else. All that is required is a small amount of time and motivation.

    As another commenter mentioned above, the process you describe is very similar to incremental reading, a feature advertised on the SM web site. Traditional reading is very much the equivilent of listening to a long speech by someone, and your ‘input’ is limited: Start, stop, or highlight. Incremental reading is basically a process of taking raw electronic reading material, extracting the useful information, and processing for long term retention (Making something into a flashcard is the end-goal of this process). It is the same as digesting food; take food in, extract neutritious parts, get rid of what you don’t need. Since the world has yet to go “fully digital” when it comes to reading material, it seems that we must suffer for a while without having “buy/borrow as a .txt document” as an option for our local libraries or book stores. On the bright side, books are very small compared to mp3s, and music is pirated very often. Therefore, the potential to download books that you buy is very possible, although spotty. For example, I purchased “Atlas Shrugged,” but found that reading it incrementally on SM was more fun than carrying the big book around with me. I was able to find Atlas Shrugged online with little trouble, now I’m currently reading it through SM.

    Where traditional reading is more of a lecture, incremental reading is more of an organic dialgue. Granted, the text no longer retains its form, it gets “chopped up” rather quickly (Like clipping out parts of a magazine article that you like), but we want knowledge in our head, not pretty looking words on paper. This philosophy has made me enjoy reading much, much more. (I recommend you read more about incremental reading, it echos the sentiments expressed here. Also, I don’t want to write what has already been written).

    But another expriment that I started about a year ago (That I believe conclusively works) was to see if semi-knowledge put into Supermemo could create subtle changes in my personality and thought-process. You mention putting inspirational quotes into Supermemo, and this is pretty much what I did, but I went about it in a different way. Everyone makes decisions based on principles. Someone might see someone else in need, if they are raised as a Christian, they might think “Do unto others…” so they decide to help that person out. Others might operate on a different principle, which would lead to a different action. The question was “could I take those different principles, put them into SM, and just like the idiomatic expressions, when that principle would come into play, would such principles come to mind, and give more options when making decisions?” I believe that the answer is ‘yes.’

    For example, one could take key phrases from various philosophy or religious books (That are deemed useful and beneficial by the user, of course), put them into SM, and over time would have such views of the world at their disposal; whether or not they are adopted is up to the user. Therefore you do not have to adopt the philosophy to undersatnd it and have it at your disposal. For example, I have a number of quotes from Hitler in SM because his twisted mind demonstrates a certain cunning and manipulative evil, which it does good to recognize when seen elsewhere (Even in subtle ways).

    So basically SM has become a tool with which I program myself. It has grown to encompass my entire life, and has become my primary means of retaining information about the world around me. I spend about one hour using SM every day. Right now I have about 33,000 active flashcards in my big flashcard “deck.”

  30. SRS Addict on November 24, 2009 at 01:02

    Sorry, I typed the above very quickly without revising it or running it through with Spellcheck (I’m usually most concerned with getting my ideas on ‘digital paper,’ spelling comes next). Ignore the poor spelling of the following words:

    integrate
    equivalency
    structuring
    accessible
    resemblance
    forward
    implement
    experiment
    equivalent
    nutritious
    dialogue
    experiment
    understand

  31. Maya on November 25, 2009 at 07:55

    @SRS Addict

    33 000 items entered – is that 33 000 words? or 33 000 sentences?
    Either way, it seems like a lot just for passing the 2Q level.

  32. SRSAddict on November 25, 2009 at 12:56

    No, no. 33,000 is the total number of cards for EVERYTHING (Language study as well as other general learning). I don’t keep tabs on how many flashcards I have for each “genre” of knowledge, but after some analysis, I believe the number of Japanese-specific flashcards I have is around 5,000. About 2,000 of those are the flashcards for the “Remembering the Kanji” book, and the other 3,000 are various vocabulary words, idiomatic expressions and grammar exercises.

    Most of the vocabulary cards look like this:

    (Flashcards are wonderful!)
    Q: フラッシュカードはWONDERFUL物です。
    A: 素晴らしい

    (Those computer viruses are so annoying; I swear, it’s like a never-ending-battle).
    Q: パソコンのウィルスはめんどくせぇな〜。まったく、[Idiom] NEVER ENDING BATTLEなんだ、これ。
    A: モグラたたき
    (It’s basically “whack-a-mole.”)

    (His Spanish is fluent)
    Q: 彼のスペイン語は[Giongo] FLUENT (in a language)なんだね。
    A: ペラペラ

    As of recent I’ve stopped using sentences when adding new Japanese words, they have mostly become like this:

    Q: scout out; reconnaissance
    A: 偵察

    But because of my gradually-developing autodidactic lifestyle, I’ve devoted less and less time to adding Japanese vocabulary flashcards and more time learning other things (Hence why it only occupies a fraction of my total flashcard count). But I’m not afraid of “losing” my Japanese because I know that as long as I keep up with my daily repetitions, I won’t forget the information I’ve learned.
    Now that I think about it, I wonder how many cards it will take to get to this same level in Chinese…?

  33. kuraido on November 25, 2009 at 17:09

    SRS Addict

    I’m not going to lie…I think you just changed my life a little bit! Wow. I had wrapped my mind around using SRS for other things: like helping my father study for his electrician test. What you said about using SRS to change your behavior…I am intrigued.

  34. SRS Addict on November 25, 2009 at 23:11

    I am thoroughly convinced that the future of meaningful education will have SOMETHING to do with the implementation of SRS programs. Imagine if it was built into everything (You would wake up, do a few flashcards while you check your e-mail, do a few more on your phone while waiting to get the food you ordered, etc.).

  35. Richard on November 30, 2009 at 00:02

    SRS Addict’s comment might just be the most fascinating comment I’ve ever read on the Internet.

  36. Gary on December 1, 2009 at 09:09

    Ditto that….
    gives me more motivation to continue my Japanese and maybe start on Korean as well as apply SRS to every aspect of my life. SRS is in some sense linked to “deliberate practice” which is the ultimate way of getting good at something given that you practice in an efficient manner.

  37. SRS Addict on December 1, 2009 at 16:09

    I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to crowbar this to get more traffic, but rather than making super long comments on different blogs I decided to make my own Supermemo blog which I will update every so often about Supermemo stuff: supermemoadventures.blogspot.com/
    I’m not out to make money or get traffic or whatever.

  38. The Expatriate on December 4, 2009 at 22:20

    Nice blog, SRS Addict. I look forward to seeing more entries – it’s pretty sparse right now.

    I’m biding my time waiting for Khatz’s next post. This whole series is great!

  39. Juan Rivera on December 14, 2009 at 01:36

    I’m finding that as I am concentrating on moving books out but SRS’ing them first, I’m actually making them more an integral part of what I do and think….moving out means moving in

  40. SRSAddict on December 14, 2009 at 12:22

    Learning and knowledge absorption becomes a more tangible process, and thus you don’t feel as bad about getting rid of stuff, I’ve felt the same way.

  41. [...] This is part 5 of a multipart series that is boldly freaking going where no series has gone before. Go here to read the series from the start. And here to read the previous installment. [...]

  42. [...] The original post was about using the SRS to remember the best parts of the best examples of personal development literature. [...]

  43. Common Sense | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time on December 14, 2010 at 15:02

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