Eric Drexler offers some tips:
- Read and skim journals and textbooks that (at the moment) you only half understand. . Include Science and Nature.
- Seldom stop to study a single subject with a student’s intensity, as if you had to pass a test on it.
- Don’t drop a subject because you know you’d fail a test – instead,
read other half-understandable journals and textbooks to accumulate
vocabulary, perspective, and context.
- Notice that concepts make more sense when you revisit a topic, and note which topics provide keys to many others.
- Continue until almost everything you encounter in Science and Nature makes sense as a contribution to a field you know something about.
The three-word version of that is "Get context first."