How to use the Feynman technique to understand complex concepts

Legendary physicist and all-round genius Richard Feynman developed his technique for learning while he was a student, and it’s credited with playing a significant part in his success. He took copious notes, which he used to develop his understanding and knowledge of complex concepts, and to make connections between them.

This is the technique:

1. Identify a subject

  • Write down everything you know about it.
  • Add new thoughts and notes as you find them.

2. Explain it as you would to a child

  • Simplify and clarify as much as you can
  • Keep your language straightforward
  • Keep it brief

3. Identify your knowledge gaps

  • This will show you where you need to do more research or spend more time developing your understanding

4. Tell it as a story

  • Bring together your key points and shape them into a story
  • Try reading it aloud, imagining you’re telling it to a child

This will reveal over-complex language and stumbles will highlight incomplete or unclear thoughts.