META-Learning: Who Would You Rather Have As A Teacher–Phelps or Shinji?
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on December 4th, 2012

I just opened my new copy of Tim Ferriss’s latest book 4 Hour Chef. The first chapter is about META-Learning — how to become world class in a chosen discipline and learn anything faster. Flipping pages I was surprised to come across a familiar image — a screen shot of Shinji’s #1 Youtube video, and one of Michael Phelps’s #2 video .


The heading of this section is
BEING the Best Vs. BECOMING the Best.

Here’s what Ferriss wrote:

“As I write this the two most-viewed swimming videos in the world are of:
1. Shinji Takeuchi
2. Michael Phelps.
Phelps makes sense but . . . who the hell is Shinji Takeuchi?

Phelps learned to swim at the tender age of seven. Shinji learned to swim well at the well-ripened age of 37. More interesting to me. Shinji learned by doing practically the opposite of Phelps.
Phelps looks like he’s attached to an outboard motor. It’s a heroic output of horsepower.

Shinji has been watched millions of times because he offers the flipside–effortless propulsion.

So who would you rather have as a teacher: Phelps or Shinji?”

Tim devoted one full chapter to TI in his last book, 4 Hour Body. In interviews after its publication, he was asked what was the most satisfying thing he learned in pursuing dozens of different self-improvement disciplines. He said that learning to swim for distance in open water via TI was his favorite experience.

While their topics have been different, 4HB and 4HC have both really been about the same thing — the Art of META-Learning, or how to attain mastery in anything by ‘cracking its code.’  When you crack the code on becoming a World Class Learner, you have an invaluable skill that can be applied to anything.

TI is known best for turning strugglers into skilled swimmers. But our higher purpose is to teach the Art of META-Learning.

Related Posts

How Shinji Created the #1 Youtube Video

Shinji’s Account of the Meta-Learning Process by which he became the World’s Most Graceful Swimmer

6 Responses to “META-Learning: Who Would You Rather Have As A Teacher–Phelps or Shinji?”

  1. Don Jarvis says:

    Shinji demonstrates a graceful swimming style I knew I could do with practice. He demonstrated to me a joining of his body with the water and now I can do the same although not as good as Shinji.

  2. Tom Smith says:

    I have been a TI fan for many years and have watched Shinji’s videos countless times, always finding something new to try during my next swim.
    I can imitate Shinji’s 9-stroke technique over a 25 yd. pool length but can’t match his pace in the 12-stroke Freestyle video.
    I have been reading your “Triatlon Swimming: Made Easy” where you say on page 120-121 that once you learned to do 100 yards in 39 strokes, your time for doing 100 yards at 50 strokes dropped from 1:24 to 1:14. How about producing a video of you in a 50 yd. pool doing the whole length in the Super Slow Swimming, 39 strokes/100 yd. pace and then again at the 50 strokes/100 yd pace of 1:14? I would love to study that over and over, since while people compliment me on my gracefull stroke, my time for 100 yards is still in the 1:50 range.
    My thanks to you and Shinji for making swimming so relaxing and enjoyable.

  3. […] blog di Terry Laughlin mi arriva uno spunto interessante che non posso […]

  4. Tom
    I’m delighted to hear you’ve read that book and now find swimming so relaxing and enjoyable. And I don’t want to disappoint you, but I haven’t tried to swim 100y in 39 strokes in many years. Now my lowest stroke total for 100y is closer to 50 or a bit higher. As I got into my mid-50s I became a bit more speed-oriented and knew I needed to allow myself more strokes than that. I’m working on a new book on triathlon swimming, which we’ll publish as an ebook early next year.

  5. […] Mind is my favored term for what author Tim Ferris, in his latest book, The Four-Hour Chef, calls Meta-Learning the ability to learn anything unusually quickly by ‘cracking its code.’ The capacity […]

  6. […] soon as the book arrived, I leafed through it and, as I related in the blog  META-Learning: Who Would You Rather Have As A Teacher–Phelps or Shinji? was surprised to find on p. 31 a familiar picture—a screen shot of TI Coach Shinji Takeuchi’s […]

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