My dad was always known as the smartest man in camp. As a lifelong scouter and scoutmaster he would spend a couple weeks out of every year camping with the boys. One of the things he was known for was playing ask me anything. He seemed to be an endless fount of knowledge. He could tell you the thread count on a baseball, and how much a gallon of jet fuel weighed… there seemed to be very little you could stump him on. From my perspective, he got this way from being a people person and by being driven to know things. On family vacations and outings he would constantly tell us to go out and get “some culture” and to “return with knowledge.” These moments have always inspired me to learn as much as I can… and to encourage my kids to do the same.
I have a few favorite sources I use to “get some knowledge” on a regular basis that I would like to share with you.
Khan academy is known for its Math curriculum, but also has some amazing partner content for history, philosophy, art and science. Best part… it is all free. A couple of my favorites have been; The Big History Project and Wireless Philosophy.
Some incredible topics get covered at Ted Talk events which are then posted online for the world to enjoy. It can be easy to loose a morning or afternoon browsing through Ted content but there are definitely some gems on the site. If you want something to get you thinking check out Dr. Amber Chase’s discussion on Cyborg Anthropology and Simon Senik’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action. If you are looking for the link between Scholar Skills and Monk Skills, I would recommend watching Andy Puddicombe’s talk All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes.
The Great Courses Plus
While not a free resource, it is a service I definitely enjoy and find worth the cost (about $15 per month). Courses are incredibly varied and are taught by experts in the field through 20-30 minute video segments. I have used it to study Norse Mythology, Critical Thinking, Psychology, Photography, and Business Management. The content is constantly growing… I think you would be hard pressed not to find something that interests you.
As a visual learner Pinterest is one of my favorite sites for researching the nuts and bolts of how to do something. Need to work on your deadlift, how about building an 72 hour emergency kit? For me doing research on Pinterest helps cut down on the amount of mental processing required to wade through search engine results and targeted marketing. If you are a visual learner… this is definitely a place to hang out.
Yes good old fashioned books. Not just references, self help, or guru guides. Any reading counts. Fiction or nonfiction. Holding a book in your hands and taking in the content for a couple minutes everyday has a way of energizing the brain and preparing it to learn. Give it a try, pick whatever you want or try one of my favorites.
Enders Game, Lincoln on Leadership, or anything by Tolkien are good places to start. You can also pick up a copy of The Daily Stoic and follow along with me as I read and digest the wisdom of the agent Greek and Roman stoics.
So what are your go to learning resources? Can you stump the smartest man in camp?
Come on over to our closed facebook discussion group to share your insights and connect with others like you who are seeking to build their skills. Or you can email me directly at Jon@masteryofskill.com. You can also sign up to receive The Friday Huddle, a short weekly email from me that gives you the tips, insights, and musings that have gotten me through the week.