How to Learn Stuff Quickly (and Avoid "Tutorial Hell")

This article is about programming, but I think it’s relevant to many kinds of skills.

If you only follow guided resources, you’ll wind up in tutorial hell. You won’t develop the problem-solving skills needed to succeed as a developer. When you try to build your own project, you won’t know where to start. It will feel like you’ve spent so much time practicing without developing any tangible, practical skills.

On the other hand, if you focus entirely on unguided learning, it’ll take forever. Without an experienced guide, you’ll need to reinvent every wheel, spending days or weeks solving already-solved problems. This is a long and frustrating road. In the worst case, you might wind up quitting altogether, convinced (incorrectly!) that you just aren’t smart enough for this stuff.

We want to walk the tightrope between these two extremes, using guided and unguided learning together. There are lots of ways to do this.

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