I'm a real believer in continuous learning, but I always struggle to find new and interesting sources for information since I don't have one specific thing I'm really super into. I have lots of areas of interest of course, like running, aerospace, film, business theory, machine intelligence, and carpentry, but it's difficult to find a source of learning which covers all of those. At some point it's clear I'll just have to write my own book to fill that niche.
In the mean time, rather than trying to focus a lot of attention on one specific area, I try to find a number of smaller sources of information which can satisfy all of them a little. Podcasts are great for that sort of thing. For a half hour chunk I can listen to reactions to Mission Impossible: Fallout from three former projectionists and then for another half hour I can listen to the musings of a preacher and a rocket scientist on the likelihood that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon ever existed and from either of those I'll be happy to have learned something new and broadened my own opinions of the subjects at hand. Inevitably, however, a podcast won't be enough to scratch the itch.
Some subjects are easier to explore than others. If I want to get more into carpentry I'll just build something. For example, the fence in my back yard which I've been failing to start repairing for the whole summer. Subjects like business theory or machine intelligence are much harder to explore. Frankly the require a level of commitment to a single subject for a long time which I often simply can't justify as demonstrated by the still un-repaired fence in the back yard. It's the same reason I don't like reading non-fiction. While Tom Clancy's Into the Storm: A Study In Command holds incredible insights into management and leadership from the perspective of military tactics, it's a long and dry book. Frankly, I just prefer fiction.
Fiction is a source for learning too. While my literary choices can range from Lee Child's crime and punishment popcorn novels to Patrick O'Brian's nautical history epics (both ends of the spectrum having film adaptations, funny enough), any sort of book can have an educational outcome. Michael Connolly's Bosch series taught me a lot more about the Vietnam War than I really care to admit, and of course those aforementioned O'Brian books mean I can tell you the difference between the main and mizzen masts on an 1800's-ish era Man-of-War.
All that said, for a subject you're really into, and I would count a few in my arsenal, the only way to really learn anything is to both absorb and reiterate information regularly. Writing and teaching are two easy ways to do that, and learning in a structured setting is a great step in making it easier to do both.
That's why a few things will be changing for me in the near future. Pending some long waiting lists I'm going back to school to take some courses in computer science. At the same time I'll be doing more independent business and technology consulting, and working towards an MBA. And with all this I'll also be posting on this blog more often. Once a week, give or take, to be somewhat precise.
It will continue to not be very profound stuff, but it might just be interesting. A good example is the post I just put out a few minutes before this one, discussing my first publication.
If you have any comments or questions about the above or anything else click here and I'd be happy to chat.
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