P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever

28th January 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the week

We have it directly from Barb’s pediatrician daughter Rosie that P Is for Pterodactyl: The Worst Alphabet Book Ever, by Raj Haldar, Chris Carpenter, and illustrator Maria Beddia is actually one of the greatest children’s books evuh!  Many children get tired of spelling rulesP Is for Pterodactyl features words that break all the rules. You and your gleeful youngster will have a blast with this bizarrely educational book. 

Let your imagination become innovation with Barb’s home team at Oakland University!

We can’t resist telling you about the Engineering and Computer Science Day at Barb’s home Oakland University, in beautiful Rochester, Michigan.  (Pssst, we’re pretty good at cars around here.) If you’re trying to inspire your offspring or mentees to consider an outstanding engineering and computer science program, you couldn’t find an easier way to do it than to sign up for this virtual tour of Oakland’s Engineering Center. You’ll hear all about the wonderful opportunities available at this top-notch—but low cost—engineering and computer science program. It runs this Saturday (tomorrow!), January 30  from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time.  Register for this free event here.

Study reveals what the brain does during daydreams

One recommendation we’ve commonly been hearing of late is that one should try to avoid the default mode network (diffuse mode), and keep your focus as much as possible to improve your happiness levels. Well, yes—that is, if you’re willing to give up on both creativity and mental relaxation in your quest for happiness. This fine article from Science News describes why the mind wandering and default mode activities can be so valuable. Key graf: “The findings suggest that tuning out the outside world and letting your thoughts flow freely and creatively are necessary to promote mind relaxation and exploration, according to the researchers.

“’If you focus all the time on your goals, you can miss important information. And so, having a free-association thought process that randomly generates memories and imaginative experiences can lead you to new ideas and insights,’ said study co-author Zachary Irving, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Virginia.”

This Study Finds article by Craig T. Lee, “Daydreaming can be creatively beneficial for office workers,” adds even more thoughtful insight. (Barb tends to get a bit defensive about the value of mind wandering and daydreaming, because she does so much of it…Wait, what?!)

MOOC of the Month: Machine Learning for Everyone with Eric Siegel Specialization

If you’re interested in learning more about machine learning and how to use it, this course is accessible and useful for both business-level learners and dyed-in-the-wool techies. It covers both state-of-the-art techniques and the business-side best practices. Eric is a dynamite instructor and the course is very highly rated.  Check it out here!  

Mental models—A blog, with flashcards!

A LHTLer has started a blog, Wise Charlie, (Yes indeed, Charlie Munger is pretty wise!) on mental modes. Our LHTLer observes: “Wise Charlie helps you become a better leader using mental models.  Mental models are big ideas from big disciplines, like business, psychology, science, engineering, and more. These models can provide solutions to recurring problems, forming a sort of playbook with strategic tactics. An understanding of the key concepts from different disciplines will help you ask the right questions and allow you to more easily jump boundaries from one discipline to another. This is a pathway to great leadership and strategic thinking.”

Flashcards are one of the best ways to help you gain procedural fluency with varying ideas.  As it turns out, you can purchase flashcards about these key mental models—practice with these cards can help you more easily pull the ideas to mind when you need them. Each card has a simple definition of a model with a funny example.  Wise Charlie has a special 15%  discount code for fellow LHTLers: LHTL.  If you’re a fan of useful mental models, these cards can be a great way to truly master the ideas. 

Talking out loud to yourself is a technology for thinking

We’re fans of Dr. Nana Ariel, who wrote this thoughtful article on the value of talking to yourself. (Nana is our kind of person!)  Key graf: “The idea that speaking out loud and thinking are closely related isn’t new. It emerged in Ancient Greece and Rome, in the work of such great orators as Marcus Tullius Cicero. But perhaps the most intriguing modern development of the idea appeared in the essay ‘On the Gradual Formation of Thoughts During Speech’ (1805) by the German writer Heinrich von Kleist. Here, Kleist describes his habit of using speech as a thinking method, and speculates that if we can’t discover something just by thinking about it, we might discover it in the process of free speech. He writes that we usually hold an abstract beginning of a thought, but active speech helps to turn the obscure thought into a whole idea. It’s not thought that produces speech but, rather, speech is a creative process that in turn generates thought. Just as ‘appetite comes with eating’, Kleist argues, ‘ideas come with speaking’.”

Dr. Ariel will also be starring in the upcoming Hebrew version of Learning How to Learn from Tel Aviv University—stay tuned!

Don’t forget to rememberfinal signup opportunity for memory champion Nelson Dellis’s class

This wonderful memory mastery course starts Feb 1st.  Enroll here—your memory will thank you! 

Missing Link on the Controversial Controversial Episode of the Podcast Take the Lead Where Barb Lets Loose on Critics of Online Learning 

Sorry—last week’s Cheery Friday email was missing the direct link to Dr. Diane Hamilton’s podcast interview with Barb.  Here it isenjoy! 

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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