The Feynman Technique Model

Authors Note: All frameworks have moved to a new home at Strategy Umwelt. Please join me at this new platform for a revised list of mental models, strategy frameworks and principles including a revised version of the Feynman Technique.

The Feynman Technique is a Mental Model named after Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize Winning Physicist. It is designed as a technique to help you learn pretty much learn anything - so understand concepts you don't really get, remember stuff you have already learnt, or study more efficiently.

The Feynman Technique was actually a big inspiration for this blog - I try and apply this to a lot of the concepts and Mental Models that I write about.

The technique can be broken down into four easy steps, but first a quick video from Scott Young that sums it up very simply.

Learn Faster with the Feynman Technique 

So now for a recap of the steps:

Step 1

Write the name of the concept at the top of a blank piece of paper.

Step 2

Write down an explanation of the concept on the page. Use plain English. Pretend you are teaching it to someone else (e.g a new student). This should highlight what you understand, but more importantly pinpoint what you don't quite know.

Step 3

Review what you have pinpointed you don't know. Go back to the source material, re-read, and re-learn it. Repeat Step 2.

Step 4

If you are using overly wordy or confusing language (or simply paraphrasing the source material) try again so you filter the content. Simplify your language, and where possible use simple analogy.


That's it. A simple and powerful technique to ensure you can rapidly learn and retain new concepts and information. 

A revised version of this article is available at Strategy Umwelt.