Friday Links 08-11-28

From the Web

Holistic Learning for Math – Cal Newport has an excellent article about how to do well in technical courses like math or physics.  He focuses on developing what he calls “insightful studying”, however I think his approach fits nicely with holistic learning.  Cal’s emphasis isn’t on memorization, but on breaking down all the details to their core, so you understand them intuitively.  A must read.

The Argument Against Batching – I’ve frequently mentioned batching as one of my top productivity tips.  Here’s a contrasting view.  I think batching is one of those tricks that can be taken too far.  You can also view my response in the comments.

Review Me at People Jam – People Jam is a great site where people can review personal development information.  If you’ve been reading the website for awhile, I’d really appreciate if you made a review and rating.  Sign-up takes only a few seconds, and you can also weigh your opinion on many other blogs.

From the Archives

The Value of Independence

There are few virtues more important than independence. Independence is a requirement for leading your own life. How can you make decisions if every action you take has to be filtered through other people first? Without independence, you can’t be the captain of your life. You must be satisfied scrubbing the decks while someone else sets the direction you’re to follow.

From the Shelf

Animal Farm – Last year, I read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and loved it.  Animal farm is also a great read.  It doesn’t have the same haunting quality of Eighty-Four, but the message was a good one.

  • J.D.

    I’ve found the key to technical learning is using a question-driven approach. For example, know the “what?”, “why?”, “when?” and “how?”

    One way to really sink in the “how” is to see how quickly you can teach other people. It forces you to quickly deal with the friction points as well as gain new perspective.

    I also remind myself about “fluency” when trying to master a topic. One model is 3 stages: intellectual, emotional, and physical. You might be able to regurgitate something intellectually, but you might not yet have an emotional connection or burned it in physically (basal ganglia, muscle memory … etc.)

  • Jamal

    I think some people may condemn batching because it can easily be confused with cramming.

    I think the prime difference is in the focus of the mind while doing each. During a cram session the mind is rather tense and you are doing the equivalent of banging your head against a wall. Where as in batching, if the mind is well relaxed, the person is more sound and so deep within the material or job, that they go on for hours.

    Really, everything has to do with the mind set of the person in question. In order to avoid cramming and allow for batching, a person has to find a way where they’re enthused and interested in whatever task lies ahead.

  • Kakalina

    The idea of independance in today’s world is a fallacy.

  • Scott Young

    Kakalina, I couldn’t disagree more. Not only is independence important, it’s vital in a world where small community is merging into global economy and individuals have less reliance on the traditional dependencies of family and social group.