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The Most Expensive English Learning Method

Recently I’ve done a really crap job of bookkeeping.

Really, really crap.

Money comes in and out of my business, and cash flow is good. Which is good. But then I got lazy and didn’t keep up with bookkeeping. So I got so lost and confused that I’m now not sure where to start again.

So today I jumped on Skype with my assistant Kim and two accountants.

They’re going to set up a system for us.

Then we just need to fill in the details every day.


But there are all kinds of options. There are free ways to do book keeping and there are ways that cost money. Some more money than others.

One of the accountants seemed concerned about cost.

So I stopped her…

… and said:

“I don’t care about the cost. I just want it sorted, fast. If the ‘free’ method takes us more time and hassle we lose money from not doing other things. Free is the most expensive way to do it.”

And this is true.

Of bookkeeping, and of English.

There’s nothing more expensive than free, simply because you end up wasting time and energy to do it free.

Whereas if you just paid for a proper system…

Then you’d have more time and energy to make money.

This attitude has never failed me.

And I doubt it will fail you, either.

Not considering that my book costs a measly £19.97 (and if you can’t afford that… well, you’ve got waaaaaay bigger problems than your English).

Go here to get the first chapter free.


Julian Northbrook
Language Punk


Garbage in, garbage out


What a few days. Research stuff, bootcamps and conferences.

It’s why I came to Ottawa.

But I didn’t expect to be quite SO busy.

This morning when I woke up my brain was melting. Someone spoke to me in the corridor, and I was so (mentally) tired all I could says was…

“… eh?”

Found a good solution though.

A 7km walk down the canal to the “Craft Beer Market”.

I’m now going to have a couple of beers…

Walk back…

And get an early night ready to fly back to Tokyo super early tomorrow.

Which I’m looking forward to.

I’m going to be honest —

I’m not really that keen on traveling. I mean, I like to go see new places. But I get bored of sight seeing VERY quickly.

Part of the problem is the cost of the flight.

Or rather…

The psychology of expensive flights.

It’s expensive to travel. So I always end up feeling like I need to make the best of the trip.

Like it cost me $1000 to get here…

And I need to stay here long enough to justify the cost.

Which is stupid.

Because it’s ALWAYS about quality.

Not quantity.

Two quality days are much better than 10 shitty days.

Well, this time I didn’t have much choice. I had to be here 6 days for research stuff. Probably didn’t need three days before I got here though.

One would have done.

This is of course the same when it comes to learning English.

Always think quality, not quantity.

There are TONS of really, really crap English lessons out there that you can get for cheap or even free.

But like the computer-science adage —

Garbage in, garbage out.

Need something that isn’t garbage?

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P.S. My research PROVES “garbage in, garbage out” is true for English learners.

I can’t tell you the details yet…

But you should be really, really careful about the materials you study.

More on that soon.

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Why I’m in Ottawa

By the way…

I didn’t actually mention why I’m in Ottawa right now, did I?

It all started about a year ago when I said I wanted to learn ERP (what most people would call “Neuroscience”).

My university has the facilities.

But I’d need to go to China to do it.

For about 4 months.

Obviously that’s a lot of time to be away from home, the office and three demanding kids… so I never managed to find a good time to go.

But then one of my supervisor’s contacts emailed saying they have a place left on an intensive ERP “Bootcamp”.

I don’t actually get to do my own research…

But at least I can learn everything I need to know. And in just one week.

Only thing is…

I’d have to travel to Ottawa.

So here I am.

Learning how to brain scan.

Well, technically it’s actually scanning electrical activity that travels from the brain to the scalp. But you know what I mean.

The point is though…

Why bother to do I do this?

Simply put, a lot (most) of the English teaching materials available right now really aren’t very good.

Research moves faster than design…

And there’s a HUGE difference between what researchers know about learning a second language…

… and what you get told.

Part of the problem is that designers simply don’t read research. Another part of the problem is that

A big part of this is the realisation that grammar and words don’t even exist.

Well, not at least in the way you think of them.

So I’ve seen it my mission to take what we know in the world of academia …

… and translate it to YOU, the learner.

Which is exactly what I do in Doing English+.

The “Core Training” is based on best practices that I learned on my masters…

And the materials I make are based on my own PhD research.

Are they perfect?

Not yet, no.

But I bet you can’t find better.

Incidentally this week’s Doing English+ lesson is called “Making up” and it’s the final part in Anna and James’ story…

If you’re interested in Doing English+ …

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