Explanation Effect: Why You Should Always Teach What You Learn

Michael Simmons
Accelerated Intelligence
4 min readFeb 15, 2020


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I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” ― Joan Didion

It is peculiar irony in life that the fastest and best way to learn something is to give it to others as soon as you learn it — not to hog it yourself.

Knowledge wants to be free. To rest in other people’s minds. To connect to other knowledge. It’s an innately social organism.

Therefore, teaching is knowledge’s oxygen.

In teaching what you learn as soon as you learn it, magical things happen before, during, and after:

(Click here for a deeper explanation of the research)

Not only do you learn faster when you teach others, you:

  • Help others succeed.
  • Build deeper relationships with others.
  • Build a reputation as someone who is smart and who is a giver.
  • Become a better teacher.
  • Get paid (if you’re a teacher, coach, consultant, or writer).

How The Explanation Effect Helps You Learn Faster

“While we teach, we learn.” — Seneca

Learning is NOT just about taking in information. In my experience coaching hundreds of people on learning how to learn, almost no one has a system for processing information. It’s almost as if people just expect the learning to happen automatically after they read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a lecture, or have a life…



Michael Simmons
Accelerated Intelligence

I teach people to learn HOW to learn / Serial entrepreneur / Bestselling author / Contributor: Time, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review