GoldList Method


The GoldList Method Explained

Here is a new landing page for the GoldList Method.

If you are looking for the original explanation now superseded, please find this here

The new, revised explanation of the GoldList Method is in parts, and these will be published over the coming days as it is all nearly ready (as at 15th June 2018).

Here are the parts

1. The Problem
2. The Basic Concepts
3. How to go about starting a GoldList project – Material Selection and Plan
4. The GoldList Book – Headlist
5. The GoldList Book – Distillations
6. Bronze, Silver, Gold
7. Where to go from here?

We are half-way through part 5 and have the rest still to do as at 14th June 2018, but for people embarking on their GoldList adventure now, it will be enough for the first month of activity, by whch time I will have been able to do most, if not all, of the rest.


  1. Hi! Once again I’m back to shoot you some questions, David. I really appreciate your answers.

    1) After Heisig RTK1, I am headlisting Japanese vocabulary. The 6300 words taught in WaniKani. I don’t know how sane it is to only start distilling after I have finished, but I want to have every word headlisted by the end of August. Then I’ll have 10 days when have to dedicate all my time to a separate exam, and by half of September I’ll start to distille. That’s my plan, and I’ll be taking advantage on the main advantage I find here against Anki: GLM does not snowball, I don’t have to work on X quantity of it every day, unless I want to be buried. The 14days to 2 months period to reach to long term memory is my salvation. Also, I want to mention I am not doing clear separate columns (like dividing the page with a vertical line), as I write:
    kanji word ——- kana word ——– english translation and legend (adjective, noun ,etc)
    Is this a problem?

    2) When distilling is it better to read the translation and think of the kanji, or read the kanji and think of the meaning? My goal is reading proficiency mainly. I ask because I’ve seen both versions.

    3) Can GLM be applied to the study of history, mythology, philosophy or art?

    For example, I have this chunk on the Punic Wars.
    – First Punic War → Rome wanted Sicily, controlled by the Carthaginians.
    – Second Punic war → because Carthage got angry after Rome won
    **219 BCE, Hannibal attacked a Roman town, then led an army across Spain, and then crossed the freaking Alps with elephants.
    **Hannibal and his elephant army almost won, but finally the Romans got Spain.
    ***People in Spain were NOT Romans at the moment, and that’s the reason why by 201 BCE Rome was definitely an empire.
    – Third Punic War → a formality, Rome found some excuse to attack Carthage and then wipe it out of the map

    I am thinking that unless I am talking bullet list information like the order of Chinese dynasties, the best approach is to formulate questions on the subject. Example: What was the first punic war? Although I don’t know how much information I could add inside only 1 question: what it was, when it happened (year), why, result… Neither do I know whats the best way to write the answer. A full paragraph with details? Thats not very effective volume wise. Some schematics words and ideas, or a tiny diagram?. I don’t know, but writing one question(line) for each detail would be hell.

    My source of information would be CrashCourse, amazing condensed courses on the most interestings sciences and arts. They do Youtube vids, and there are transcripts of those in a sister web. I trust the quality of the material, and the quantity is just good enough to get a general grasp of everything, and be able to dive deep alone next.

    I think it may be easier on mythology, talking pantheons, names, associations to what powers and so on. Maybe entering history territory when talking about the myths themselves. Essentially I would need to remember stories.

    With philosophy, wow, how do you GLM abstraction? This will need the most work before writing the headlist, processing the information, and condensing it.

    On art, I don’t think it’s attainable in paper, or maybe it is? Dividing the Headlist space in maybe 8 chunks, one per picture, and you try to sketch. Not striving for perfection, but only a rough sketch, enough to differentiate shapes? Using some colors as well? I think that could work to remember the picture itself, but how do we work around the Name and the Author, and the Date? Once again, too much details.It may be easier to draw with a tablet on a computer.

    Hoping to hear from you back! Cheers!


    • Ping, in case message went unnoticed. Although for 1) be it is sane or not, I am doing it till the end as I’m already halfway through, and for 2) the answer is taking into account the huge amount of homophones in Japanese, and the flexibility of translation, to read the kanji first. Still doubts with 3).


      • I doubt I can give you a full answer this week other than to say that’s a very big workload for Japanese. I would be inclined to do two lines per word anyway in H and include sentences if given. The advantage of using kana instead of Roumaji for the readings is twofold, first you can use the convention of katakana for onyomi and hiragana for kunyomi, although if you are talking about specific words rather than the kanji itself then the yomi is fixed, be it a kunyomi, an onyomi or an ateji.

        You may have the advantage of learning the compounds which are mainly onyomi with the verb forms which tend to be kunyomi (other than in the obvious case of noun plus suru verbs).

        In the main I would say, and this refers to the third point also, that we talk about GoldListing subjects whereas I prefer to think in terms of projects, with a project being based on one or more sets of materials. You identified your Japanese materials and I don’t know them. Clearly I know Heisig, but not the other one. I would have gone Heisig one, two then three personally, but then I don’t have an exam schedule. Also I am not happy with my earlier Heisig GL attempt and want to start it over, with multiple lines per entry in H, so as to really get the stories in.

        If you are talking about history, philosophy, even to a degree art it all depends on the material how you use GLM, and indeed if it can be used.

        I am pretty sure that most history books and a lot of philosophy textbooks can be GLMd. I would say that Russell’s History of Western Philosophy can be GLM’d but you know how I would go about it? The whole process described in these pages would be brought to bear. Audible has the book available for one credit, nicely read, so first while walking or driving I would listen to it. That in itself would take me one to two months at my usual run rate. Then having listened to another audiobook I would go back and listen to that one again. I would have had two listens to the whole material with proper >2wk spacing prior to sitting with the text and a GLM book. I would then have a pretty good idea of what needed to be Goldlisted as a lot of it I would have remembered and certainly key things I knew I hadn’t remembered could go into the GLM and then be processed as normal that way.


  2. Muss ich ab D2 auch mindestens 20 Minuten warten, bis ich zum nächsten Dx gehen kann? Das kostet ja viel Zeit: Wenn ich z.B. 3 D2 und 2 D3 mache …


    • Sehr gute Frage. Die Idee ist, genuegende Pausen zu machen, und nicht unbedingt bei jeder Seitedrehung wenn wir nur ein Paar Linien auf der gegebenen Seite gehabt haben.

      Ich muss das eigentlich zum Text noch hinzufuegen.

      Bei D1 koennte man eine Pause am Ende von jee Seite machen oder zwar anderthalb, aber bei anderthalb ist das nicht so elegant und einfach zu erinnern, deshalb vielleicht nach jeder Seite, aber bei D2 kann mann ruhig dei jeder zweiten und bei D3 jeder dritten Seite pausen.

      Eine ganze 20 Minutenpause ist zu lang. Normalerweise arbeiten wir 20 Minuten und pausen 10.

      Hoffentlich habe ich ein bisschen geholfen.


  3. Hello, Uncle Davy! Thanks for developing and sharing this method. I find Anki tedious, and thus I’ll be trying this instead for the coming months. Is part 6 finished? It ends somewhat abruptly… and what about part 7? It’s not linked on here.


    • Part 7 will be written soon, part 6 finished nicely. Also coming up are more of the live examples and the implementation of some proofing edits I’ve received.

      Thanks for your positive feedback and much success with the method. I hope you find a lot of pleasure in watching the content of your GoldList books grow.


  4. Pardon me if I’ve missed it, but I would be pleased to see the link to this new explanation headpage more widely popularized! The only automated notifications for new pages not on the homepage “stream” are sent through WP accounts, and I don’t log into mine all that often. Nevermind those without WP accounts.

    As far as comments on the content, I’ll have to read through it first! At any rate, congratulations on how the system is taking off and helping you to the necessary information and feedback to streamline and clarify.

    If and when you publish a book, I do hope and urge that it be made to a higher level of production and editing “values” than a certain PDF/paperback book which I’ve seen popularized in these circles. I value the historical and personal accounts of that project, but it would be unfortunate if the worth of your system were not adequately presented.


    • You are probably referring to Uncle Claude’s Polyglot Project book. What you say about the level of proofreading there is true, although Jimmy Mello saved the day by attempting to do a better one which was actually even worse and made Uncle Claude Cartaginese win that particular Punic war, if you’ll pardon my punics around his name.

      I don’t want to rub salt into the wound of a fabulous chap (I mean Claude of course, although Jimmy Mello is also OK in small doses) but just between you and me, I imagined from the hype that he was going to do or get done a professional level set of proofreadings around these articles, instead of which he pretty much printed what folk wrote. Had I known this, I think, time permitting, I would have subjected my own text to a bit more rigour, and certainly what you have in these sections now about the GLM will need going over a few more times and supplementing with lots of diagrams and inlays and icons and lay-out tricks before ink goes to paper in any sizeable amounts.


  1. Pingback: The Journey Begins – Mukhya Bhasha

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