On Writing

18th April 2018

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

This week, we read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft—if you have any interest in writing at all, this is a great book, especially when paired with William Zinsser’s On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, which is geared towards non-fiction.  What we particularly like about King’s book is that he doesn’t just talk about the nuts and bolts of writing (although what he does provide along those lines is great).  The memoir portions of the book are utterly engrossing—you’ll learn what it’s like to grow up and become an international best-seller, and the bizarre things that best-seller-dom can do to your psyche. King has sailed through it all—including his near lethal run-in with an out-of-control car. By our count, this is an “all-time top five” book on writing!  

MOOCs to Help You Become a Better Writer

Here is a terrific article by Pat Bowden in Online Learning Success about the many MOOCs that can help you learn to become a better writer.  Pat has taken many of the MOOCs she mentions, so she knows what she’s talking about!

Farnam Street Blog

We really enjoy the Farnam Street Blog—it’s dedicated to reducing your blind spots in life and business, so you have a better chance of coming out ahead.  The latest podcast on Farnam is with our very own Barb Oakley, covering some material you know related to learning, such as focused and diffuse modes, but also veering into other territory, as with the best techniques to help your child excel in math.

Math Education in the US

Here is an excellent summary by experienced math teacher Barry Garelick of the the deep-seated challenges with standard US mathematics education—he includes a perceptive discussion of issues with Common Core. (Barry’s book Math Education in the US: Still Crazy After All These Years, is available for free on KindleUnlimited.)

Famous Failures

One of our favorite interviews was with Ozan Varol, on his website “Famous Failures.”  Ozan has turned the interview into a podcast, which you can listen to here

We should give you a cryptic preview that Ozan has a big book coming out with one of the world’s leading publishers—his work is catching international attention!

The Santa Fe Institute’s Spring 2018 Complexity Challenge: Solve a Classic Dynamic Optimization Problem for a Prize  

Looking for a new way to learn? Want to apply your quantitative and reasoning skills in a new way? The Complexity Challenge hosted on Complexity Explorer is a unique online learning program where students are given an open-ended question to solve using methods from complex systems science. Whether you’re familiar with complex systems science or simply great at problem solving, apply now and try your hand!

Unlike other online competitions, the Santa Fe Institute’s Challenges aren’t designed to solicit the right answer, but many right answers. It’s then up to the Challenge participants themselves to decide the best solution through the Institute’s unique peer review system. Therefore, participants with a background in any field – from sociology to computer engineering – should be able to look at the upcoming Challenge, see something they recognize, and come up with a brilliant solution.

And did we mention there will be prizes? Yes, there will be prizes! Apply now, the Challenge starts April 23rd! The Institute is only accepting 200 applicants on a first come, first serve basis.

Learning how to learn + mastering things effectivelyan interview with Barb

Here’s a review and discussion on effective learning with Abel Csabai—episode 94 on his SSD podcasts.  If you’d like a quick review of the ideas of Learning How to Learn, and a little more, you’ll enjoy this podcast.

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

Get the course recommended text, A Mind for Numbers!

NEW! Learning How to Learn: How to Succeed in School Without Spending All Your Time Studying; A Guide for Kids and Teens. Great ideas for parents, too!


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