The Cattle Kingdom

29th April 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

The Cattle Kingdom: The Hidden History of the Cowboy West, by Christopher Knowlton. What an eye-popping read! Many North Americans grow up familiar with cowboys, cattle barons, and the battle of barbed wire fences in the Western US, along with haute cuisine (at least as haute as American cuisine could get) at the legendary Delmonico’s Steakhouses in New York City. And North Americans know at least a little about the meatpacking industry of Chicago and its accompanying scandals.  They may even be familiar with iconic, laconic, literary figures like Shane and the Virginian (an apparent legacy of European aristocracy). 

But until the publication of The Cattle Kingdom, few of us had the opportunity to put together the disparate pieces to understand this important era in US history. We know why the buffalo disappeared (a horrific addendum to the genocidal predations on Native Americans), but Knowlton helps us understand how cattle arose so quickly to take the place of buffalo, why the life of a cattleman became so popular, and how the whole enterprise came crushing finale with the Johnson County war, when local newspapers essentially owned by the elite, wealthy cattlemen spurred an insurrection allowing them to quite literally get away with murder.

This is an in-depth look at virtually every aspect of the history of the cowboy west, from the major players (including fascinating discussions of Teddy Roosevelt, the father of the American conservation movement),  to saddles, barbed wire, the economics of cattle rearing, British attitudes of “I can do what I want with my land,” and of course, the “Big Die Up,” where millions of cattle died in one horrific winter—officially sealing the end to the cattle kingdom. From about 1850 to 1900, the US Kingdom of Cattle was the equivalent to today’s Silicon Empire. A remarkable work of history. Also great for audio listening. [Hat tip, Ryan Holiday.]

Aiden McCullen and Barb Oakley Discussing Barb’s New Book, Learn Like a Pro 

Here is a discussion with one of our favorite podcast hosts, Aiden McCullen, surrounding the key ideas of Barb’s upcoming book Learn Like a Pro, (St. Martin’s Press, June 1st, 2021).  More to come as we get closer to launch, but learners looking for a brief introduction to how to learn more effectively using the latest insights from neuroscience couldn’t do better than to read Barb’s latest book, co-written with her good friend, learning expert Olav Schewe. This excellent article by Aiden expounds on the ideas of Learn Like a Pro and how they are important in business.

Learn with Class Central: Join our Study Group

Class Central is experimenting with an unofficial semi-synchronous study group for the Mountains 101 course from the University of Alberta. This venture looks so fun and interesting that Barb has also joined the group.  But far better is that David Hik—one of the instructors and co-creators of Mountains 101—will also be in our study group. What could possibly be better?  Join us there!  

‘Pedagogy and Practice when Teaching Online’ webinar taking place June 10th via the University of Kent

Phil Anthony, a learning technologist at the University of Kent (UK), has set up a new ‘Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars series’ as an opportunity to share examples amongst colleagues when using digital technologies for teaching. As the primary goal was to create a large sharing community, the university decided to open the series to colleagues outside of the University of Kent. The free webinar series has become really popular. The idea is to listen to and learn from brief, 15-minute talks with the best ideas from a variety of speakers about good online teaching. 

Barb will be speaking on June 10th at 12:30. If you would like to attend the webinar, please register your interest here, and you’ll receive more information. If you yourself would like to present and share, please fill out this form to join the fun!

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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