Rest to improve productivity

12th May 2017

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

This week’s email is packed with tips, insights, and leads.  Here goes!

Book of the Week

Learning How to Learner Joe Muskatel points us towards this week’s book of the week: Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.  If you are a highly productive individual, you may think–I want to learn how to work harder, not why I should work less. But as you’ll see, this book gives terrific, contrarian insight on improving productivity.  

Why Idle Moments Are Crucial for Creativity

We couldn’t agree more with this BBC article by Elle Metz on the importance of quiet reflection to help us truly relax and be more creative. [Hat tip our good friend Raj Raghunathan, instructor of the wonderful A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment MOOC, and author of If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? Raj also narrated the Audible version of his book.]

Learning How to Learner Michal Klopot gives an intriguing suggestion for switching to diffuse mode–juggling.  It takes about a month of a few minutes a day to learn to juggle, Michal notes, but he finds it to be a reliable method for making the shift. We know of no research studies that support this suggestion, (feel free to let us know if there are), but theoretically, it might make sense–one must change from focusing intently on one subject or object to a more diffuse, simultaneous awareness of many moving objects.

Complex Systems Science at the Santa Fe Institute

If you want to boost your resume in business, computer science, data science, biology, engineering,  and many other fields, we strongly recommend the complex systems courses taught by the Santa Fe Institute. The Institute’s courses make learning straightforward for you, as Barb and her friend Gabby Beans, Program Manager of Online Education, discuss in this fun interview.  

A great place to begin is with the Institute’s new session “Introduction to Agent-based Modeling,” with instructor Bill Rand. This course starts June 5th.  It offers a great opportunity to learn one of the essential tools to study complex systems using a hands-on learning approach with opportunities to interact with the course team.  Register here, and enjoy!

Should You Listen to Music While Studying, The Pi Model and Learning How to Learn–Scott Young

Our intrepid friend and explorer of learning Scott Young interviews Barb about many topics she hasn’t had a chance to talk about previously.  We’re big fans of Scott’s work–he is a deeply intelligent “in the wild” analyst of how we learn effectively.  We strongly recommend Scott’s books, courses, and newsletter.

Great Tips on Memorizing Foreign Language Vocabulary

Our friend Nelson Dellis, the 4 time US Memory Champ, is back with a BRILLIANT video on how to more easily memorize foreign language vocabulary.  This is well worth watching. (If you would like to join Nelson in helping to support research on memory, please take the Extreme Memory Challenge.)  

Fascinating New Research on the Formation of Memory

Here is a good article from the BBC about the latest research on how new memories are formed: “Rules of memory ‘beautifully’ rewritten,” by James Gallagher.  Research is revealing that two simultaneous sets of memories are created–short term and long term. This is very different from researcher’s original conceptions that short term memories are formed first, and then converted into long term memories. [Hat tip mentor extraordinaire Rebecca Judd.]

Is It Really Possible to Change Someone’s Beliefs?Here’s a bit of discussion from Barb on Big Think about reaching and teaching others by trying to change their beliefs.  It’s trickier than you ever might think.
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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