Write to Learn

How the Feynman Technique Keeps Me Writing

Steven Gambardella
4 min readDec 3, 2020

Writing is learning in disguise.

I’ve learned a huge amount over the last two years I’ve been writing regularly, perhaps the most since I was a young child. I’ve learned more than in the last couple of years than I did at university, or even as a postgraduate studying for a PhD.

Writing is a powerful way to learn. Just ask any journalist who’s been put on assignment. I usually decide to write about things I know about, but not in depth. I put myself “on assignment”. By doing so, I ensure I research the person or concept thoroughly, since I cannot publish a half-baked explanation — there’s too much at stake.

The Feynman Technique is often cited as the best way to learn anything. It’s a tried and tested way to understand and memorise even complex concepts in a short amount of time.

The technique takes its name from Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Feynman made groundbreaking discoveries in the understanding of subatomic particles. He also had a knack for explaining complicated ideas. Watching him unpack scientific complexities into graspable images is a wonder to behold (see below).

Here’s how the Feynman Technique works, its simplicity is exquisite:

  1. Choose a concept