Think Like a Rocket Scientist

10th January 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life, by Ozan Varol. Varol really was a rocket scientist—he served as a member of the operations team for NASA’s 2003 Mars Exploration Rover project; which sent two rovers to examine the Martian surface. But, in a tribute to his wide-ranging intellect, Varol is now tenured law professor at Lewis & Clark Law School. Think Like a Rocket Scientist is a wonderful book—a sort of vade mecum of critical thinking, whether in business, learning, or life. Varol has an unparalleled ability to weave together the brilliant thoughts of others into a coherent narrative that is greater than the sum of its parts.  A counterintuitive thinker, Varol often surprises: you’ll learn about how to act under conditions of uncertainty; how to think big, but carefully; how moving fast and breaking things doesn’t work well for rocket science or many other situations; how success can cause failure, and many other mental frameworks and strategies.

Think Like a Rocket Scientist is a book to savor. Those who pre-order the book can get digital access to it within 7 days through a service called Netgalley. That means they can start reading it now, months before the book is released to the public. Pre-orders also come with the bonuses listed on this page. All you have to do is forward your receipt to Also a great book for audio listening. (Two free audiobooks may be possible through this link.)

Which are the Best Coursera courses?

Here’s a wonderful compendium of the top ten Coursera courses, compiled by the ever-reliable Class Central.  We’re thrilled to see that all three of our courses, Learning How to Learn, Learning How to Learn for Youth, and Mindshift, made the list!

Presentation and Question-answering Session with Barb and Corporate Learning Guru Nick Van Dam

Want to ask questions about learning in corporate settings?  Here’s your chance! Once you’ve registered for the webinar, please send your questions in advance to The webinar will be held January 30th, 9:00 AM Eastern time, 3:00 PM Madrid time. Barb will give a roughly thirty minute presentation about learning, following a brief introduction by Nick Van Dam, IE Board of Directors, Chief Learning Officer, Chief Center Learning Innovation and Professor L&D at IE University, and founder of e-Learning for Kids (NGO). (And one of the nicest people around!) And then—it’s on to answering questions!

Remember that you’ve got to register to be able to get into the platform and enjoy the session!

The Best MOOC on Physical Exercise Around—Perfect for Getting Into Shape for the New Year!

New Year, new you? Having trouble meeting your resolution for a healthier you? What if you only needed 1 minute to get fit? Join world-renowned exercise physiologists Martin Gibala and Stuart Phillips of McMaster University in their wonderful MOOC Hacking Exercise for Health as they share insight and evidence into the surprising new science of cardio fitness and strength-building—and then provide you with hacks to get fit and strong (and healthy!) virtually anywhere and in less time than you ever thought possible. This is a reminder email, because this is one of our favorite MOOCs—enjoy!

Smartick Is Great for Helping Kids Learn MathDo You Have a Recommendation for a Similar Program for Reading?

A LHTLer writes: “Thank you for the impact you’ve made on me (and my family)! You recommended Smartick several months ago in your Cheery Greetings Friday email. We enrolled both of our daughters in the program (4- and 7-years-old, respectively) with a year-long subscription. Both of them have blossomed with it. My wife and I were wondering if you are aware of any similar machine-learning/AI driven programs? Specifically, anything related to reading and comprehension?”

If you might have any thoughts or advice, please post in the discussion forum here.

EdX is Creating a New Pathway to Undergraduate Online Degreesthe MicroBachelors

MicroBachelors are new, stackable courses offered by universities through the edX platform that can be taken as a stand-alone credential or counted toward a full degree. “Two institutions began MicroBachelors programs this week: an Information Technology Career Framework offered by Western Governors University and a Computer Science Fundamentals program offered by New York University…. At around $166 per credit, this salad bar-style degree, with programs taught by multiple institutions, could potentially be a cost-effective option for students…. The institution plans to award students transcripts so they can transfer their credit to other institutions if they choose to….”

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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