Let’s simplify legal jargon!
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Don’t get in the way of your own learning. Here are five ways to step aside and continue to increase your smarts.
By Kevin Daum @ http://www.inc.com
Most people don’t really think much about how they learn. Generally you assume learning comes naturally. You listen to someone speak either in conversation or in a lecture and you simply absorb what they are saying, right? Not really. In fact, I find as I get older that real learning takes more work. The more I fill my brain with facts, figures, and experience, the less room I have for new ideas and new thoughts. Plus, now I have all sorts of opinions that may refute the ideas being pushed at me. Like many people I consider myself a lifelong learner, but more and more I have to work hard to stay open minded.
But the need for learning never ends, so your desire to do so should always outweigh your desire to be right. The world is changing and new ideas pop up everyday; incorporating them into your life will keep you engaged and relevant. The following are the methods I use to stay open and impressionable. They’ll work for you too. No matter how old you get.
1. Quiet Your Inner Voice
You know the one I am talking about. It’s the little voice that offers a running commentary when you are listening to someone. It’s the voice that brings up your own opinion about the information being provided. It is too easy to pay more attention to the inner voice than the actual speaker. That voice often keeps you from listening openly for good information and can often make you shut down before you have heard the entire premise. Focus less on what your brain has to say and more on the speaker. You may be surprised at what you hear.
2. Argue With Yourself
If you can’t quiet the inner voice, then at least use it to your advantage. Every time you hear yourself contradicting the speaker, stop and take the other point of view. Suggest to your brain all the reasons why the speaker may be correct and you may be wrong. In the best case you may open yourself to the information being provided. Failing that, you will at least strengthen your own argument.
3. Act Like You Are Curious
Some people are naturally curious and others are not. No matter which category you are in you can benefit from behaving like a curious person. Next time you are listening to information, make up and write down three to five relevant questions. If you are in a lecture, Google them after for answers. If you are in a conversation you can ask the other person. Either way you’ll likely learn more, and the action of thinking up questions will help encode the concepts in your brain. As long as you’re not a cat you should benefit from these actions of curiosity.
4. Find the Kernel of Truth
No concept or theory comes out of thin air. Somewhere in the elaborate concept that sounds like complete malarkey there is some aspect that is based upon fact. Even if you don’t buy into the idea, you should at least identify the little bit of truth from whence it came. Play like a detective and build your own extrapolation. You’ll enhance your skills of deduction and may even improve the concept beyond the speaker’s original idea.
5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger
Often people shut out learning due to the person delivering the material. Whether it’s a boring lecturer, someone physically unappealing, or a member of the opposite political party, the communicator can impact your learning. Even friends can disrupt the learning process since there may be too much history and familiarity to see them as an authority on a topic. Separate the material from the provider. Pretend you don’t know the person or their beliefs so you can hear the information objectively. As for the boring person, focus on tip two, three, or four as if it were a game, thereby creating your own entertainment.
Photo credit: http://financialpostbusiness.files.wordpress.com
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Last week I came across a compelling online business library consisting of (almost) everything I need for the business writing, economics and related studies, including loads of wonderfully written textbooks.
And when I say “wonderfully written”, I mean that an earth, mortal human without previous phd degree could easily understand the essentials, then roll sleeves and get to work.
Over 800 textbooks written by professors
We currently offer over 800 textbooks. The books are in average around 200 pages long, and are being used as both primary and secondary literature.
All our books are written by highly respected professors from some of the best universities in the world and exclusively for bookboon.com.
There we have it, welcome:
Why is it free?
There is an excerpt of BookBoon.com mission and concept:
Bookboon.com publishes free and openly available eBooks for students and business professionals. The Books can be downloaded in PDF without registration. Our mission is that students should be able to go through university without having to pay for textbooks.
If you had a look, please share your experience in the comments below. Do you find it useful the way I did (I already finished two of the books on communication).
Have a magnificent Wednesday,
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Browse works by Mark Twain, Joseph Conrad and other famous authors here.
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- The Online Books Page: The University of Pennsylvania hosts this book search and database.
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If you don’t absolutely need to pay for your textbooks, save yourself a few hundred dollars by reviewing these sites.
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Math and Science
Turn to this list to find books about math, science, engineering and technology.
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For books about philosophy and religion, check out these websites.
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From Shakespeare to George Bernard Shaw to more contemporary playwrights, visit these sites.
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Modern Fiction, Fantasy and Romance
These websites boast collections of graphic novels, romance novels, fantasy books and more.
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For books in a foreign language like French, Spanish and even Romanian, look here.
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- KEIMENA: This page is entirely in Greek, but if you’re looking for modern Greek literature, this is the place to access books online.
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- Biblioteca Valenciana: Register to use this database of Catalan and Valencian books.
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- Afghanistan Digital Library: Powered by NYU, the Afghanistan Digital Library has works published between 1870 and 1930.
- CELT: CELT stands for “the Corpus of Electronic Texts” features important historical literature and documents.
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History and Culture
Refresh your memory of world history, the classics and U.S. history here.
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- Free History Books: This collection features U.S. history books, including works by Paul Jennings, Sarah Morgan Dawson, Josiah Quincy and others.
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Look for rare books online here.
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Arts and Entertainment
This list features books about celebrities, movies, fashion and more.
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Here you can find mystery books from Sherlock Holmes to more contemporary authors.
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These poetry sites have works by Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe and others.
- The Literature Network: This site features forums, a copy of The King James Bible, and over 3,000 short stories and poems.
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For even more free book sites, check out this list.
- Banned Books: Here you can follow links of banned books to their full text online.
- World eBook Library: This monstrous collection includes classics, encyclopedias, children’s books and a lot more.
- DailyLit: DailyLit has everything from Moby Dick to the more recent phenomenon, Skinny Bitch.
- A Celebration of Women Writers: The University of Pennsylvania’s page for women writers includes Newbery winners.
- Free Online Novels: These novels are fully online and range from romance to religious fiction to historical fiction.
- ManyBooks.net: Download mysteries and other books for your iPhone or eBook reader here.
- Authorama: Books here are pulled from Google Books and more. You’ll find history books, novels and more.
- Prize-winning books online: Use this directory to connect to full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.
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