Isabella: The Warrior Queen

18th January 2019

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

One of our tricks for finding good books, especially biographies, is to look through the books at historical tourist sites that we happen to visit.  In this way, we happened to come across (at the Royal Alcázar of Seville), the extraordinary book Isabella: The Warrior Queen, by Kirstin Downey. What a book! This great biography of Isabella of Castile, “the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus’s journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history” goes into the psyche of this extraordinary woman—an increasingly black-and-white thinker whose efforts to do good sometimes rebounded for ill through many centuries. (Shades of pathological altruism.) Great biographies often take side tangents into other fascinating areas: Downey doesn’t disappoint with her descriptions of how Columbus blew one of the greatest discoveries of modern European history, the back and forth of the Ottoman and the European empires, Isabella’s focus on her children’s education, the origins of syphilis, and much more.  Amongst the best biographies we’ve ever read—we had trouble putting this book down. It’s also nice for audio.

Olive Oil Touring

Speaking of Spain, while near Sevilla, Barb happened to visit an absolutely marvelous olive oil producer, Basilippo, with tours in either English or Spanish—or both languages, if your group is split! (Barb was with her daughter’s Spanish-speaking-only Chilean in-laws.)  If you’re looking for something cool to do on holiday, you couldn’t do better than to plan an educational tour about olive oil production at Basilippo—cool tastings, too!  High-quality olive oil is a proven anti-inflammatory—and it’s just darn healthy. A good place to learn more about olive oil is at the Olive Oil Times.  And of course, one of our favorite books about olive oil is Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. Now we’re waiting for someone to make a MOOC on olive oil production and tasting!

Have You Signed Up for the Learning How to Learn MOOC Without Completing It?

LHTLer Jae P wrote to say thank you for the Learning How to Learn course, noting: “I signed up for the course years ago and never got around to finishing it. On a whim I decided to go back and start the course over from scratch … and in doing so I was able to learn so much about myself and what makes us as humans able to retain knowledge. I found the section about procrastination incredibly helpful and gave me the viewpoint that I needed to tackle procrastination in an effective way.”

Can MOOCs Predict the Future of Online Education?

This article in Harvard Magazine provides context for a recent article in Science by Justin Reich and José Ruipérez-Valiente. In the Harvard article, Bharat Anand, who recently assumed oversight of HarvardX, notes: “The paper does a nice job in summarizing some of what we have already learnt from the past few years of ‘the MOOC experiment’: merely supplying more content online, or better-quality content, or free content will not create transformational outcomes.” But the paper’s analysis of historical MOOC data “does a better job of interpreting what these data have meant for the early stages, and evolution, of MOOC platforms in particular,” Anand says, “than it does in extrapolating from them to draw implications about the future of online learning in general.”

9 Simple Strategies for Reading More

Here’s the strategies that Ali Binazir, MD, MPhil uses to plow through 130+ books a year.  Key graf: “Once you make this shift, from reading only when all the other important stuff is done, to reading being the important stuff, from giving it the dregs of your time to making it your prime-time activity, everything changes. And really, short of your relationships and life-sustaining activities, what’s more important than learning?”

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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