Blog Archives

Some scenes from time back in Poland

Original YT playout date: 28 June 2009
Duration: 17:02

In between the Prague vlogs, obviously I am back home in Poland. Here are a few scenes from Poland in May. They are mixed content, and include a further discussion of the goldlist methodology, of weather, and my usual trick of filming what I see, not all of it particularly pleasant, but we are, after all, sharing this planet with the girl who was sitting crying on the kerb next to her own vomit, and with the gentleman who was slapping his bitch near my house, who also got caught on camera. These people we share the planet with, and the scenes are real and not staged, as you can find on many channels on youtube, unfortunately! There is also joy and family pleasure among the grim reality, such as seeing a Portuguese student band in traditional garb in the tram as they were visiting Warsaw, Sophie’s birthday, and treating my wife to a fine meal of sushi. In short this is a mixed bag of everything.
A demo of the GoldList Method is included.
Includes Sophie’s 9th birthday party.

***Statistics and Credits***
Views at the time added to HTV: 790
Likes at the time added to HTV: 16
Dislikes at time added to HTV: 1
Popularity % ” ” ” =L/(L+D): 94.1%
Comments at time added: 3
Total interactions at time added: 20
Total interactions to views 2.5%
Location: Home in Ochota
Other people featured: Family
Genre: Family, miscellaneous
Music used: Various
Languages used: English
Animals/plants featured: None
Other remarks:

Musings from the road at sunset

Original YT playout date: 1 May 2009
Duration: 8:06

Featuring thoughts on applying the GoldList Method to the learning of poety, a presentation of Wordsworth’s “”Daffodils”” and whether man’s release of chemicals into the sky has affected the natural world much or not.

You might say “”why get sidetracked onto daffodils when there aren’t any there?””. Ah, but that’s precisely the *point* of the poem, isn’t it?
Read the rest of this entry

Finally Convinced the GoldList Method works!

Original YT playout date: 6 April 2009
Duration: 1:22

Lord Moggy has always been one of the hardest people to convince about the GoldList Method, but finally, after giving it a go, he is surprised at the retention level he could achieve when he finally let go of the standard short-termist methods. Look up the other gold list videos on my channel to find out more about this system, which is my invention and a free gift to mankind. It does not cost anything to learn using the GoldList Method. It only saves you money and wasted time.
Read the rest of this entry

Goldylists and the Three Learners

Original YT playout date: 1 March 2009
Duration: 4:20

We take a sneak peek at three goldlists in progress, just to show that this is a living system, in use to learn languages for a variety of learners.
Read the rest of this entry

Cheryl from Manitoba asks about the GoldList Method

Original YT playout date: 28 February 2009
Duration: 1:14:13

Cheryl from Manitoba in Canada gives 5 great questions about the Gold List method which will certainly help people who are using the method and still have uncertainties about its application.

Some of these ideas are of course superseded and the best thing that you can do is look at the GoldList Method section in the navigation at the top of this site, and soon anyway the Guidebook is coming out.
Read the rest of this entry

Uncle Davey Lectures on the GoldList Method at Moscow BKC-IH

Original YT playout date: 2 November 2008
Duration: 1:00:19

My subscriber blueclue57 kindly invited me to come along and visit him while in Moscow – he said he had a class on Business English. I was taken by surprise that he wanted me to be guest lecturer, but I managed to cobble a couple of notes together during an earlier part of his lesson while he was doing an exercise – actually I don’t use the notes till the second half as I can’t really abide speaking from notes, I always prefer to adlib – and what came out is probably the best lecture yet done by me on the Gold List System. Thankfully blueclue57 was kind enough to film it on my cam, and the Vado held out somehow. No idea how, but it did.

The message here will help enlarge on what I already stated in the two earlier discussions of the Gold List system. Clearly I couldn’t stay in character as Huliganov while addressing a roomful of Russians learning English, so I’ve taken this out of the Second Huliganov’s Russia series, which is coming up soon.

The goldlist system is free but should be attributed to me. I have started writing a book on this subject, although all that is really needed to know is freely available in these videos and on

The system has been seen now by thousands of people and put to the test by many of them. I have received literally hundreds of mails stating that the system works for people and has saved them from wasting time and failing, or else improved their result in learning languages.

Read the rest of this entry

See Lydia Machova’s TED talk – in which the GLM is mentioned. Thank you Lydia.

Victor Berrjod’s excellent rebuttal of Bartosz Czekała’s hatchet piece against the GoldList Method

Thank you for your interest in the Goldlist Method! I see that your article contains a lot of misconceptions about it, so that even though your understanding of memory is accurate, you reach the wrong conclusion in the end. I’ll try to clear things up for you, since I have been using the GLM for many years and to great effect.

“But how do you know it’s effective? Is it actually based on any real science?”

This is a rhetorical question, but I will answer it anyway. You know it’s effective when it does what it is designed to do. And the GLM does do what it is designed to. And it is based on real science, namely on the forgetting curve. The two weeks are the core of the method; everything else is more or less optional.

“First of all, here is a great video which sums up what this method is all about.”

Christopher Huff’s video is indeed great, but it is intended as a tl;dr version of the full explanation, so it is good that you have included a link to a fuller explanation. However, it would have been even better if you had also included the link to David’s newly refined explanation so that readers could get it straight from the horse’s mouth. The new explanation seeks to clear up common misunderstandings that have become apparent and that he was not (and couldn’t have been) aware of when he first posted it.

“The author of the method maintains that:
1. The method allows you to retain up to thirty percent of the words in your long-term memory.”

This is only partly true. It isn’t the method itself that gives you a 30% retention rate. Rather, the method is based on the observation that, on average, people remember around 30% of the words after two weeks. This is illustrated by Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve later in the article, so I will get back to this.

“2. It is also claimed that the process circumvents your short-term memory – you are expected to make no conscious effort to remember words. Thanks to this the information will be retained in your long-term memory.”

A better way to put it is that it is claimed that conscious memorization is discouraged because it is less effective for long-term retention (but indeed better for short-term retention). David does speak in terms of switching on and off memory functions, but he is not a memory scholar, so his hypotheses are not written in the standard academic terminology.

“1. It doesn’t circumvent short-term memory
One of the big claims of this method is that it is able to circumvent your short-term memory. Somehow, thanks to it, you are able to place all the information straight in your long-term memory.”

Well, around 30% of it, and the method is based on the retention rczekalsate, not the other way around.

“In other words, initiation of consolidation is under conscious control and requires the use of central attention. The mere fact of looking at a piece of paper and reading/writing words activates it.”

That’s right, but remember that what David calls ‘short-term memory’ is not the same as ‘working memory’. In GLM terms, the long-term memory is everything you still remember after two weeks, and anything you didn’t remember for two weeks is considered to have been stored in the short-term memory. In standard academic terminology, both of these would be considered ‘long-term memory’.

“Next, the items you learn undergo working memory consolidation.
Working memory consolidation refers to the: transformation of transient sensory input into a stable memory representation that can be manipulated and recalled after a delay.
Contrary to what the creator of this method believes, after this process is complete, be it 2 weeks or more, the short-term memories are not gone. They are simply not easily accessible.”

In practical terms, it doesn’t really make much of a difference whether a memory is gone or you are unable to access it. The result is the same: you have forgotten it.

“You probably have experienced this phenomenon yourself many times. You learned something in the past. Then, after some years, you took it up again and were able to regain your ability relatively quickly. It was possible because your memories were still there. They just became “neuronally disconnected” and thus inaccessible.”

Indeed. This is what is called ‘activation’ in GLM terms.

“What’s more, the Ebbinghaus curve’s numbers are based on the assumption that the learned material :
– means nothing to you
– has no relevance to your life
– has no emotional load and meaning for you
On the curve, you can see that if you memorize information now and try to recall after 14 days, you will be able to retrieve about 21-23% of the previously memorized knowledge. Mind you that this is the knowledge which is incoherent, bears no emotional load and means nothing to you.”

Exactly. So when the words (or whatever else you want to remember) aren’t random, but part of a language you want to learn, we would expect this number to be somewhat higher. And it does indeed seem to be around 30% on average.

“What happens when you start manually writing down words which interest you or when you are able to establish some connection between them and your life? Well, this number can definitely go up.

Keep in mind that your recall rate will also be affected by:
– frequency of occurrence
– prior vocabulary knowledge
– cognateness.

So is there anything magical about the method and the number “30”?
Nope. It follows very precisely the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve which takes into account your short-term memory. Sometimes this number will be higher, sometimes it will be lower depending on your choice of words.”

That’s right. And this is what the GLM is based on.

“The Gold List Method is just a spaced repetition method with bigger intervals.”

That’s right, and for good reason. Normal spaced repetition systems try to catch words and bring them back as soon as you forget them, but by doing so, you end up reviewing a lot of words that you already know. In fact, based on the forgetting curve you probably know about 30% of the material essentially for life after having looked at it only once, and yet you will spend valuable study time reviewing it.

In the GLM system, you instead wait until you’ve forgotten all or almost all of what you won’t remember for life, and only then do your review. After two weeks, the forgetting curve is almost completely flat, so that is a good cut-off point.

“Even though the Gold List Method has initially the low activation energy, it starts growing considerably with each and every distillation.”

I’m sorry, what? Each distillation lessens it, if anything, because there are fewer lines for each distillation.

“Having to carry with you a couple of A4 notebooks seems also very impractical to me.”

The vast majority of distillations require only one book, and it does not have to be A4. Only the initial headlist and each transfer into a new book require more than one book.

“However, the biggest problem I have with this method in this department is that it suggests I only learn words I am interested in.”

No, it doesn’t mean that in the way you take it to mean. With any method you have to decide which words you are going to learn, e.g. all the words in your textbook, all the words of a certain frequency, etc. These words are the ones you want to learn, or in other words, the ones you are interested in learning.

“Good learning methods should work for any kind of vocabulary.s
And they should work particularly well for the vocabulary you’re interested in.”

Yeah, like the GLM. 🙂

Read the rest of this entry

GoldList Method part 2

Schedule for 24 December 2017
Keywords: `


Playout date: 22 May 2007
Duration: 20:05

One of the most important parts of my message on this site and on the YouTube channel, the film which took the GLM public. This is part two of a two parter, so as to keep within the recommendation not to work for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Read the rest of this entry

GoldList Method part 1

Playout date: 22 May 2007
Duration: 18:02

One of the most important parts of my message on this site and on the YouTube channel, the film which took the GLM public. This is part one of a two parter, so as to keep within the recommendation not to work for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Read the rest of this entry

Gold List Method for Scripture Memorisation

Man shall not live by bread alone…

Greetings gentle readers after a long lapse in posting.

I was recently contacted in e-mail by a Christian polyglot some of my readers will know personally from Gatherings, Brother Fiel Sahir, who wrote:

Hi David! I did some googling but maybe I messed up and I haven’t found where you’ve discussed this, but have you further developed the GLM for scripture memorization?  I know for a fact that you were goldlisting sentences when I met you, but what I recall was you used those sentences to help you remember a focus word rather than the sentence itself.  Just something interesting, because a friend of mine has encouraged me to begin memorizing scripture. A spiritual discipline that is definitely underated and under practiced in my opinion, first and foremost by myself.  Anyways, I look forward to your response, but a blogpost would be more beneficial to the world, so I await that as well!  Thanks David. I hope to see you around soon!

In response to this, I wrote the following:

Dear Br. Fiel,

Anything which is to be learned to the Long Term Memory can best be learned using GLM. My suggestion would be to select a passage which you would like to be able to repeat verbatim, at any time later in you life, and place it into the headlist with let us say no more than five words per line.


  1. The Lord is my shepherd
  2. I shall not want. He
  3. Maketh me to lie down in
  4. Green pastures, he leadeth me
  5. Beside the quiet waters. He
  6. Restoreth my soul…


When you have left this two weeks as with any other GoldList project, if it is a passage you already substantially knew, but are trying to get word perfect I would try to write it on D1 position as accurately as possible, but in pencil, covering the original over on the left side. Here you can write maybe seven words at a time. Then note any mistakes you made, in the little words, bits missed out altogether, punctuation, if that’s something you want to get right too, verse numbers (which I didn’t include in the example, but if you ant to be able to remember them, then pay attention to that) and highlight those errors with a red pen or highlighter. Your 25 lines will now anyway be 17 lines just by dint of writing 7 words instead of 5 at D1.

Obviously that’s not a strategy that can continue indefinitely, so at D2 you will take a slightly different approach. You will probably not try to write out the whole from memory at D2, but instead write out the parts where you had had a problem before. The bits where you had no problem, just write the first letter of each word. Write tightly, allowing as many words per line as is comfortable.

Remember you are leaving at least two weeks again between D1 and D2, and the same when you turn D2 to D3, but here you can simply leave out and not even write the first letter of words if you know that you remember confidently the whole sentence. In order to remember the flow of idea in a longer passage, consider writing the first and last words in each clause, and maybe with abbreviations.

  1. The Lord..want, he maketh..gpast,he leadeth beside tqw. Restoreth.

That may well be where you are by D3 or D4, with 6 lines now looking like a single line.

And you can carry on that way. So, please let me know how you get on. And since you asked for a blogpost, I will base one on your query and my answer. Can I use your name and text?

To which Fiel responded that I could. And thanks to his query and willingness to let me share, we have here something which I hope will encourage many of you to try a project of GLM for long term memorization of a holy text.

Even if you are not Bible believing, you can probably try it on the Qur’aan or on some poetry you want to rote learn for life. I recommend Scripture though. It is what David said needed to be “hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”, and if this tool can help towards the hiding of Divine words in the heart, I don’t know what higher thing can be said of the GoldList Method.


One commentator on Chris Huff’s Video states “I’m not sure that Davey’s method does reflect Ebbinghaus, but it seems to work anyway”. True or False?

True. It is only a working approximation to Ebbinghaus. Supermemo and Anki can get on his curve much closer, but the problem is in order to work they repeat material you really already know and this method enables you to skip writing that again, thus focusing only on the unlearned material. In order to achieve that economy, I have a working approximation to the curve, which works on reiteration of unlearned material. Like scissors cutting the hair too long but then cutting again until you get what you want versus electric shears with a set depth which might not be precisely the depth you wanted and only work if a short cut is desired, and the shears won’t work at all unless you have electricity.

It’s harder to see the curve that it is with the Supermemo algorithm, but by the application of the 14 days with iteration, you do cover the same thing, only with less work and less risk of switching on more short-term memory.

In addition to that I have a scientifically untested hypothesis which is divergent from Ebbinghaus, namely that short-term memory and long-term memory are distinct functions, the one happening when we remember consciously and the other when we allow it to function like breathing when we forget about it. This idea is my own conclusion from non-scientific observation of my own case and the case of users.

The number of contented users of GLM who keep going with it into repeated projects year on year, some of whom have done as many if not more than I have and probably will end up doing much more, proves that the method certainly works, it works probably regardless of people’s views about their own learning type as long as they at least enjoy the process of writing.

In short you’ve made a fair comment about the relation of Ebbinghaus. I want to acknowledge the input of what I learned from Ebbinghaus, but you correctly note it doesn’t stop there.

Not enough real science has been done with memory and if anyone wants to fund or test in a real university setting the hypotheses underlying the GLM then I’m happy to be involved.

%d bloggers like this: