Someone named Nick sent me an e-mail the other day that I think poses a good enough question to answer it publicly:
I am a 21 year old university student and have realized in the past 2 years that self-education is the foundation personal growth. As such, I've started devouring books; 2 or 3 a week on a probably too broad range of subjects. But I know that I'm missing a lot.
What should I do to improve my education outside of just "read a lot?" Where should I start?
Here are some of my thoughts:
I hope that helps, Nick. Half the reason I don't update as frequently as I used to is because I can't always think of something worth writing about. If you have questions or suggestions for me, I will take them very seriously. Get in touch.
These are some great examples, check out http://ztcollege.com and http://blakeboles.com for more ideas. Thanks Tynan for the insightful posts!
I think we let the thought fall to the wayside that without this experience at college, no one would have the luxury of the choice of dismissing it. Devil's advocate here, I think there is plenty to learn through school, just wish it wasn't so damn expensive, apparently it used to be free.
Self education is the only way to live your life to the fullest. Society has the mouse in the trap way of thinking. Your not a dam mouse people there's no trap good enough to live your dreams.
Love this post, reading a cooking or tennis book won't teach you neither. Jumping in head on will make you a faster learner, always.
I think you are being a little unfair toward education with that first comment. University in particular is more about giving your own analysis than remembering things. If you learn a lot of stuff and just regurgitate it verbatim, you've basically ruled yourself out of obtaining the highest grades.
I do agree with you completely, and I think the gov. should fund self education more, instead of further subsidizing university. Perhaps a system where the gov. pays for you to live and eat at an information library of sorts with books, computers, and instructors. Such a system would be much cheaper than hiring PhD's at 100k a year to teach non-relevant drivel. I know I learn so much more when I do independent study. (I want my four years back, if you can't tell :) )
As far as post ideas go, IMO, I think whenever you can identify something wrong with society and can find a logical, implementable solution to fix it, it makes for very insightful posts. I'm sure writing about things like complex phone systems gets new blog traffic, but I feel like you could have a greater impact by attacking socio-economic or scientific issues. I know you're very smart, which is why I really enjoy reading about your take on various aspects of reality.
Brian/Tynan: a good example of a business you can start is something that offers a service.
For example, I'm in the midst of starting my own doula business (if you don't know what a doula is, check out http://www.dona.org/mothers/index.php). Not only am I delving into being a business owner, I'm implementing Tynan's suggestion about having a purpose in mind when picking up a non-fiction book (there's copious amounts of reading, and the stuff required for certification only scratches the surface).
The experience has edified me!
For many years I have read in the way that most people "surf" the internet. One book prompts me to investigate a subject more, and leads me to another book. That book onto another, and so on. Quite soon you will find that you have a really great knowledge of certain topics (sometimes quite obscure ones). I have found that this knowledge has been extremely useful in my professional life, as so often somebody will mention a book that they have read, and I have also read it or have read something on the same topic and can discuss it with them. Other times, they mention their hobby and I am able to talk to them about that too for the same reason.
The overall philosophy that I use is that I read what I find interesting, without regard for whether I think it will be useful or applicable in my life. When something is interesting and I feel enthusiastic about it, I often then find a way to make it apply to my life. If I can't, then perhaps one day in the future it will.
My biggest criticism with personal development, self improvement, or whatever you want to call it, is that a lot of it is theoretical or has little effect on your life NOW. Of course, most people become interested in personal development because of problems they're facing immediately, which creates a perfect setup for disappointment.
Thinking back on the different areas in which I've directed my efforts, here is a short list of some of the most effective ones which got results quickly (in no particular order):
1. Buy and read the book Fantastic Voyage : Live Long Enough to Live Forever. It's a fascinating read and will give you a deep and valuable understanding of your body, nutrition, and food. When I read it I did so because I was bored, even though I had no particular interest in health or diet. Reading it instantly changed the way I see a lot of things.
In one week last week, Code.org’s Hour of Code reached more than 15 million students in 170 countries. Every major tech company promoted it, celebrities talked about it, and even the US President helped get the word out in their kickoff video. And shooting past Code.org’s crazy target of ten million players, kids are still continuing to play this week, with 600 million lines of code written and one in five US schoolchildren participating (with six times as many girls playing last week than have ever taken a computer science class in the US). It spread to more students in seven days than the first seven months of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram combined.
As one of Code.org’s partners, we at CodeCombat were both excited and hilariously unprepared to help teach such a sizable swarm of students to defeat the 44 ogres in our beginner campaign. Read on for what we learned from the onslaught of child programmers, including how obsessed kids are with games, how American students are the best trolls and the worst programmers, just how badly a user experience test can go, and the unfortunate difference between reddit traffic and school traffic.
Teachers Want Lessons, but Kids Just Want Games
Code.org lists 24 one-hour coding tutorials from partners across seven categories. These are ranked by teachers, and the higher the rank, the higher the clicks, roughly following a Zipf distribution. Probably because CodeCombat joined Hour of Code at the last minute, we’re relatively new, and the site still had some bugs to iron out when we were evaluated, we were placed in the 18th-most-desirable slot. That’s so far into the long tail, we expected to get around 0.1% of the total students going to the third-party tutorials.