Misreading the mind: Ezra Klein and Nicholas Carr on transactional reading and contemplation

Ezra Klein: If you can get the argument of a book – through book reviews or book essays or a Wikipedia page or something – that actually isn’t what the book can do for you primarily. Getting the main argument of a book is very easy. It’s the time you spend in in it, where you begin to make connections…

Systems thinking: Peter Senge on the limits of learning from experience

The most powerful learning comes from direct experience. Indeed, we learn eating, crawling, walking and communicating through direct trial and error – through taking an action and seeing the consequences of that action; then taking a new and different action. But what happens if we can no longer observe the consequences of our actions? What happens if the primary consequences…

The water we swim in: Robert Pondiscio on culture and school performance

This extract is from is a great Econtalk discussion of How the Other Half Learns. Recommend. Robert Pondiscio: They [Success Academy Charter Schools] require an extraordinary level of parent commitment both in time and responsiveness. And it just seems pointless to deny that for some number of parents, this is simply too much. I want to be clear here that…

Competent

Maybe you think of yourself as competent, or maybe you don’t. Self-talk I tend to say things to myself like: I can do this. I could do that. I could do that, too, if I spent some time learning how. I understand how this works, even if I’m sketchy on the details. I’m not doing this very well in this…

No finish line (2)

“No finish line” applies to most of our work too. There will be tasks to tick off and projects that we complete, but most of the important stuff – helping people who need help, making something important available, working so that things get better rather than worse – doesn’t stop. Won’t stop. This means: That projects and milestones become more…

Recommendation: In Our Time on Alcuin of York

Alcuin (AD735-804) turns out to be the most important Anglo-Saxon (specifically, Northumbrian) you’ve never heard of. A swerve in Western culture He was a crucial educator, preserver and sharer of knowledge at a time when a rich tradition of learning was in danger of being entirely wiped out in Britain (thanks to the Vikings) and in wider western Europe: According…

Resource: Introduction to Economics at Marginal Revolution University

Economics is a critical lens for understanding how change happens, key issues in the politics of justice and equality, and for building effective organisations. If you’re looking for an introduction, these videos from Tyler Cowan’s Marginal Revolution University are a good place to start. And here’s a fun start on globalisation…

Better tools

I’ve been trying to learn to solder – on and off – for something close to 24 years. It never worked for me: the solder didn’t melt, or just rolled off the tip of the soldering iron, which smoked wickedly and occasionally burnt things, but never heated a component and circuit board in such a way as to successfully make…

David Epstein on kind and wicked learning environments

These are terms used by psychologist Robin Hogarth, and what a “kind” learning environment is, is one where patterns recur, ideally a situation is constrained – so a chessboard with very rigid rules and a literal board is very constrained – and importantly, every time you do something you get feedback that is totally obvious, all the information is available,…

Sam Altman on “compounding yourself”

This is from a blog post called “How to Be Successful“, which begins with the observation that (in the startup world) most people start off wanting to make a huge amount of money but end up wanting to create something important. Point one of thirteen is “Compound Yourself” – applying the idea of compound or exponential growth to career development:…