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Not your average scientist. I spent 12 years in industry, co-founded a brain training startup NeuroNation, ran a web design firm and only at 36 decided to do a PhD in biology.

At this point I didn’t know much about biology – yet 6 months later I had a paper in peer review and a glowing recommendation from my supervisor:

Ilya’s ability to assimilate the knowledge he had read and gleaned from our conversations, and then independently propose hypotheses, that I also had considered, was in my view remarkable as it is a skill that most graduate students take a year or two to get good at. Frankly, I feel like Ilya can already intellectually “spar” with me at the same level as my most senior graduate student of 4 years.

My secret to learning very fast is not talent. It’s “Knowledge Management”, something I did routinely as a CEO.

You and I play chess with the same pieces, right? But who wins? The person with a better strategy – continuously & predictably. Research is not different.

But has anyone ever taught you a strategy on how to “do science”? If you’re lucky your supervisor can show you a thing or two. More likely, they won’t even have the time. I decided to change that and in December 2022 launched a Twitter account to showcase some of the techniques that helped me. It grew to more than 10000 followers in 3 months. I bundled all my learnings and strategies into courses on Literature Review and Note Taking.

The Effortless Academic’s Blog

You can find numerous articles on literature review, note taking, AI tools and in-depth tutorials in my old blog on substack. And the new blog on this website.

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