Cheery Friday e-mails

Every Friday I send a “Cheery Friday” email chock full of insights about learning and changing to a million registered learners from the massive open online course (“MOOC”) Learning How to Learn.  To receive these emails, just register for the course here (it’s free, and registration takes only a few seconds).  “See” you on Friday!

Panama Canal

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Week Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1874-1914, by David McCullough. This is a fantastic book (a National Book Award winner) about the successes and disasters of both great and awful—and great-but-awful—leaders.  After the charismatic Ferdinand de Lesseps—t …

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Dreyer’s English

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Week Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, by Benjamin Dreyer, vice president, executive managing editor and copy chief of Random House.  Dreyer is one of the most delightfully droll writers of non-fiction we know of, full of wonderful little quips like …

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Pakistan

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Pakistan: A Hard Country, by Anatol Lieven. Barb read this book preparation for her upcoming trip to Pakistan—but now that she’s read it, she’s realized what a comprehensive, thought-provoking, beautifully written book it is: truly a masterpiece of on-the-ground research. You may be surprised …

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Checklist Manifesto

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Books of the Week Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande. We’ve often wondered about exactly who gets to be the guinea pig when surgeons first begin to branch out independently in their practice, or when they begin to use new procedures. After reading Gawand …

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In A Sunburned Country

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Month In A Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. In years past, Barb has occasionally looked with concern at her husband as he would suddenly double over with a paroxysm of—well, she wasn’t sure what, but it didn’t seem healthy.  Gradually she came to learn that these paroxysms came …

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The War of Art

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Week The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, by Steven Pressfield. This short book reframes your creative work, whatever that might be, as war. The battle goes to the most cunning! Pressman has the street cred to write a book of this sort—it t …

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Dakotas, gardens, and procrastination

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Books of the Week In the past few months, we dipped back and forth between two completely different books about local history—one book centering on the Caucasus, and the other set in the Dakotas. Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War, by Thomas de Waal. What a revelation …

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Digital Minimalism

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Month Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World, by Cal Newport. We have to start out with an admission of bias—we have always loved everything Cal Newport has ever written. (Cal’s most recent book before Digital Minimalism, Deep Work, is one of the best books o …

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The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Week The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain, by Dr. Steven R Gundry M.D. We stumbled across this book several weeks ago, when we were reading some of the other books on neuronutrition. That this is a “most read” book on Amazon, …

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners! Book of the Month The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.  Skloot spent ten years unearthing the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor—and consequently poorly educated—black woman who had pieces of her cervical cancer tumor taken without her consent.  Those cells lived on, and on, …

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