Jethro's Braindump

Syntopic Reading

Syntopic reading is reading to build up an understanding on an entire literature.

Michael Nielsen 1 does syntopic reading by doing the following steps:

  1. Engaging deeply in an important paper in the literature (e.g. AlphaGo paper).
  2. Engaging deeply in around 5-10 other key papers in the field, and shallow reads of other papers in the field.
    1. This is because it is hard to identify what the most important papers are, and shallow reads help identify them.
  3. Identify open problems and questions to ask.
  4. Identify tricks, and observations.
  5. Identify field-wide blind spots.

Michael Nielsen uses spaced repetition, adding Anki cards for each of the items in 3-5.

  1. Augmenting Long-term Memory ↩︎