Escaping the Ivory Tower

22nd December 2017

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

We very much enjoyed Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, an eye-opening book on the world of olive oil.  We had a sense that olive oils were often mislabeled, but this book really opened our eyes about how “extra virgin first cold-pressed olive oil” is often anything but—and regulatory bodies worldwide generally avoid doing much about it.  Author Tom Mueller covers far more in his enlightening book—the health benefits of real, fresh olive oil; the growing international marketplace, the history of the oil in athletics, religion, and perfumes; not to mention the sheer beauty of olive trees.

You’ve probably been aware of the importance of both exercise and a healthy diet.  But you may not know that exercise coupled with a healthy diet has a bigger impact on our health, and our ability to learn, than either exercise or a healthy diet alone. But which diet is best? As Extra Virginity describes, the Mediterranean diet, with olive oil as a key component, is an excellent choice for healthy eating. Interestingly, there has long been a “food desert” hypothesis that poor individuals do not have access to reasonably priced healthy food, which is why their diets are so unhealthy.  This hypothesis has been essentially disproven in a recent massive analysis (described here) of 35,000 supermarkets covering 40% of the US.  Unhealthy eating, sad to say, is often a choice. So read this book to help you do your part in making healthier (and tastier!) choices!

Barb Speaking on “Escaping the Ivory Tower: How to Grow Your Public Impact” January 24th, 2018

Barb will be giving a rare speech on a vitally important topic—how a professor, and a university, can have a greater impact in today’s world. Her talk “Escaping the Ivory Tower: How to Grow Your Public Impact” will cover how to break into popular book publishing (writing a proposal, getting a literary agent, what to focus on); outreach to and the impact of media such as newspapers, radio, television, and blogs; the pluses and minuses of using social media; getting into MOOC-making; and the career and institutional impact of MOOCs and online videos.  There will be plenty of time after the presentation for discussion. If you are a professor or doctoral student looking to have a greater public impact, or if you work with an academic institution that is looking to further its outreach, it’s worth flying to Michigan for this one-of-a-kind, career-changing event. (If you already live in Michigan, you’re in luck!)  The talk will be at Oakland University, 242 Elliott Hall in Rochester, Michigan on Wed Jan 24, 2018, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 p.m. RSVP to Leanne DeVreugd at  

Finding Your First Coding Job—If You Come from a Zero Coding Background

LaunchCode is a nonprofit that educates people who come from diverse, non-computer science backgrounds and helps them find their first coding job. If you’re peeking in the career window, wondering what coders do and whether it’s something you could also do, check out LaunchCode’s “Hello Coding!” course.

The Age of Outrage: What the current political climate is doing to our country and our universities

This deeply insightful essay is an edited version of Jonathan Haidt’s Wriston Lecture for the Manhattan Institute.  Universities play an unbelievably important role in introducing students to new, often uncomfortable, ideas.  Haidt’s essay describes how universities (MOOCs play a role in this as well), are failing in their civic dutiesand how universities can get back on track. We’ve pre-ordered The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, which will explore these vital ideas in greater depth.

Study of 10th Grade Biology in India

Inspired by our book A Mind for Numbers, Tanvi Jagtap has come up with a great website set of flashcard tools to make studying easy for 10th-grade biology students in India. Tanvi is now working on raising crowdfunding for the website to increase its scope. You can contribute to the funding for this innovative new website here.

The 15 best books these popular authors read in 2017

Here’s a listing from LinkedIn of top books read by some of LinkedIn’s top essayists and authors (including Barb). If you’re looking for a variety of reading ideas, check it out!

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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