- Scott H Young - https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog -

My Best Writing of 2019

I shared a lot of ideas this year. I published a Wall Street Journal bestselling book [1]. I recorded 100+ podcast episodes. I also wrote 116 new articles to this blog.

Here are some of my most popular essays from last year:

The Complete Guides

I worked on three in-depth, research-based guides with Jakub Jilek, who is doing his PhD in cognitive science. These were some of the most popular essays this year, at over 10,000 words each, they’re more like small books than blog articles:

  1. The Complete Guide to Memory [2] – Understanding how you remember and forget, with practical tips on how to study and learn better.
  2. The Complete Guide to Working Memory [3] – How to think smarter and better, by managing your attention and cognitive resources.
  3. The Complete Guide to Self-Control [4] – How can you be more disciplined? What does research say about willpower and effort?

The Best Essays

Here are my favorite essays that I wrote last year:

  1. Ultralearning Environments: Why Where You Learn Determines How Much You Learn [5] – Why, decades after the peak of its popularity, are we just now getting much better at Tetris? The answer to this has striking implications about innovation, learning and mastery.
  2. Unraveling the Enigma of Reason [6] – A summary of one of the most profound ideas I’ve ever read. Our faculties of reason may not be doing what we think they are.
  3. Stupid Advice: “You’ll Never Be Rich Working for Someone Else” [7] – Contrary to internet wisdom, I argue that its wrong to assume entrepreneurs are better off than employees.
  4. How to Stop Feeling Like an Imposter [8] – Why do the most successful people often feel like failures? How can you be comfortable with yourself rather than undermining your own achievements?
  5. What Medieval People Got Right About Learning [9] – Classrooms may not be the best way to learn. Here’s how to think about learning instead.
  6. Can Life Have Too Much Meaning? [10] – We tend to think of purpose and meaning as being good things. But what if it’s possible to have too much meaning? Implications for anxiety, ambition and happiness.
  7. How Should I Get Better at Writing? [11] – Getting better at a skill you’ve worked on full-time for decades isn’t easy. Here I list some different *possible* paths forward. Useful thinking in case you’re wondering how to get better at your own work.
  8. The Neuroscience of Anxiety [12] – Summary of NYU neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux’s fascinating (if challenging) book, Anxious. Not only interesting for worrying less, but understanding how our minds operate.
  9. Most Books Won’t Change Your Life (But You Should Read Them Anyways) [13] – Applying some simple economic reasoning, it’s clear that most people should read more books than they do already.
  10. Why is Taking Action Hard? [14] – A recent foray into a question I find fascinating–why do we struggle so much with taking action? Why do we procrastinate, abandon goals and projects, fail to take easy steps to make our lives better?

Of course, with over 100 more articles I haven’t mentioned published just this year, there’s plenty more to read (or listen to [15], on our podcast) in case you’re interested. My archive page [16] is organized to help you find something you might like.

Thanks for reading in 2019. I look forward to a new year of writing. As always, I’ll share what I find with you.