In this article, I would like to recommend some non-technical resources that have helped me become a more effective learner, set better goals and improve my focus, creativity and communication skills.
|Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash|
Learning How To Learn
Online course at Coursera
- Background: This is one of the best courses out there and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to become a more effective learner.
- Length: Less than 10 hours of content
- Taking breaks (and activating the “diffuse” mode) helps you to solve problems
- Changing your learning environment stimulates the brain
- Procrastination can be overcome by taking the first step
- Writing things down can free up your working memory
The Tim Ferriss Show
- Background: I love listening to this podcast. My favourites so far include Susan Garrett (dog trainer), Cal Fussman (author and journalist), Debbie Millman (designer) and Drew Houston (founder of Dropbox).
- Length: approx. 2 hours each.
- Seek uncomfortable challenges
- Keep a daily appreciation journal
- You are the average of the people you spend the most time with
- So many more
The Compound Effect — Darren Hardy
- Background: The idea behind this book is that results compound exponentially over time. An example would be to do one minute extra of exercise a day to improve health exponentially in the long-term.
- Length: 162 pages
- Take 100% responsibility for what happens in your life
- Tracking progress leads to success.
Never Split the Difference — Chris Voss
- Background: I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to improve their negotiation skills. In this book, Chriss Voss shares the lessons he learned as a hostage negotiator for the FBI.
- Length: 288 pages
- Label the other person’s pain
- Be wary of “Yes”
- A smile on your face (and in your voice) can improve your mental agility
Originals — Adam Grant
- Background: I would recommend this book to anyone interested in knowing what it takes to be original.
- Length: 326 pages
- There is a correlation between quantity and quality when generating new ideas
- You don’t have to take unnecessary risk to be original
Deep Work — Cal Newport
- Background: I would recommend this book to everyone because I think we all need to improve our focus in a world full of distraction.
- Length: 326 pages
- Avoid multitasking
- Practice being bored
- Take breaks to improve focus
The Asshole Survival Guide — Robert I. Sutton
- Background: This book is a valuable read for anyone who has to deal with different levels of jerks in their life.
- Length: 224 pages
- Assholes attract Assholes
- Negative behaviours are more difficult to stop than positive ones
- It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end
Crucial Conversations - Kerry Patterson et al.
- Background: I would recommend this book to everyone. Each tip in this book has helped improve my conversation skills immensely.
- Length: 240 pages
- In a heated moment ask yourself ‘What do I really want?’ This turns down the primitive fight or flight reactions and reminds us of our goal instead of trying to win or cause pain.
- To respect someone you don’t respect you need to look for similarities
- Whether we realise it or not, we are telling ourselves stories
- Facts lay the groundwork for all delicate conversations
- Don’t allow people to assume that the dialogue is the decision
Factfulness - Hans Rosling et al.
- Background: This book changed my perspective about the world
- Length: 342 pages
- Don’t assume people are idiots. Ask yourself: ‘How could this be a smart solution?’
- Don’t confuse no change with small change
- Cultures change over time but it’s often forgotten how they were
- If you blame the bad guy you are done with thinking
- If you can’t track progress, you don’t know whether your actions are working
The Science of Well-Being - Yale
Online Course at Coursera
- Background: This course taught me about the research behind happiness
- Length: A few hours of content plus exercises
- If you have a bad feeling about something in the future ask yourself ‘What else might be happening at the time?’
- Investing in experiences makes us happier than investing in stuff
- We can learn to savour happy moments by writing or telling someone about it
- People who prioritise time over money are happier on average
Creative Confidence - Tom Kelley and David Kelley
- Background: This book helped me how to become more creative
- Length: 288 pages
- Creative people simply do more experiments
- Label an idea as an experiment
- You have to make an effort to turn creativity into a habit
- To reach a creative breakthrough you just need to start
- Do a bad job first
- Don’t let circumstances determine your fate
Super Thinking - Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann
- Background: This book gave me a new set of tools to help me perceive common situations more clearly
- Length: 354 pages
- When people seem to be doing harm it is often because they took the path of least resistance
- Be wary of intuition in unfamiliar situations
- As organisations get larger they tend to use the irreversible decision-making process for reversible decisions
- Ben Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”
- Be wary of the discount rate (ie. how outcomes are worth less far in the future)
- Be wary of hindsight bias (especially to others). Not all events are predictable
- Ideation is a maze
- November, 2020: Added Super Thnking
- October, 2020: Added Factfulness
- August, 2020: Added Crucial Conversations
- September, 2018: Added Asshole Survival Guide
- September, 2017: Originally published