Thursday, September 30, 2010


I have spotted the following interesting review of the book, 'Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education & the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success', by James Marcus Bach.

Here's a quick summary of most of the key "secrets" from the book by Top 500 Amazon book reviewer, Irfan A. Alvi:

a. View yourself as an evolving work in progress which you're responsible for creating (Nietzsche had the same idea).

b. Education must be lifelong and customized for your needs and desires, so learn to educate yourself by scouting and using the vast array of resources at your disposal (books, the Web, peers, etc.).

c. Work on "authentic problems" which engage you, rather than artificial problems which have no significance for you.

d. To sustain passion for learning, go with the flow of what engages your curiosity, is fun, and fits the natural rhythms of your mind. In other words, engage in "low-pressure learning."

e. When possible and helpful, let yourself procrastinate so that your creative subconscious mind can help you solve problems.

f. Allocate some "disposable time" to meander and try things (or do nothing) rather than always following a rigorous schedule.

g. To increase overall productivity, work on multiple projects in parallel.

h. Try alternating between complementary learning activities, rather than getting stuck with just one approach.

i. Learn by experimenting, contrasting ideas with each other, constructing stories, and engaging in various forms of "play."

j. Tame complex problems by employing systems thinking, using models and heuristics, and building understanding and expertise step by step.

k. Use your area(s) of expertise as a gateway to learn things relevant to many other areas.

l. Don't worry about forgetting things. Forgetting clears up mental clutter, and you can always re-learn what you forget.

m. Recognize that much learning is a side effect of what you do, so try to learn something from every situation and experience in your life, including your failures.

n. Don't let institutions hold you back, and be prepared to challenge authority and the status quo when necessary. Believe in yourself, don't judge yourself too harshly, and don't be intimidated.

o. Aim to succeed based on the quality of your work and the resulting reputation you build, not diplomas, degrees, and other paper credentials.

p. Rather than aiming to do what's popular as a career, be willing to carve out your own unique niche, since you only need enough work to support one person (assuming that you don't necessarily want to build a large business).

q. Recognize that charting your own course requires willingness to face major challenges and risks.

r. Learn to separate aspirations and expectations, keeping expectations well below aspirations.

s. Recognize that you're part of a community and that service to others (love) has a lot to do with giving your life meaning. Learn from others while also helping them by teaching.

[To read the original review in its entirety, please go to this link.]

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