Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware – Andy Hunt
Learning How To Learn Better: Quick Tips
The Recipe For Learning
- Always consider the context. Everything is part of a system, and you can get into trouble by only considering things in isolation.
- Use rules for novices and intuition for experts. This is one of the core principles of the Dreyfus skill model.
- Know what you don’t know, be humble about your understanding, and assume you don’t have a complete understanding or the full picture.
- Learn by watching and imitating, not by being lectured at.
- Keep practicing in order to remain an expert.
- Avoid formal methods if you need creativity, intuition, or inventiveness.
Learning How To Learn
- Capture all of your ideas, such as in a notebook, to get more of them.
- Strive for good design; it really works better.
- The more senses you engage in a task with, the more involved and focused your brain will be. Fiddling, music, walking, etc.
- Step away from the keyboard from time to time to solve hard problems.
- Change your viewpoint to solve the problem: look at it in reverse or exaggerate it.
- Watch for outliers: rarely doesn’t mean never.
- Be comfortable with uncertainty.
- Trust ink over memory; every mental read is a write.
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Tips And Tricks: Better Thinking And Learning
- Hedge your bets with diversity.
- Allow for different bugs in different people.
- Act like you’ve evolved, breathe, don’t hiss.
- Trust intuition, but verify.
- Create SMART objectives to reach your goals.
- Plan your investment in learning deliberately and developing your mind.
- Discover how you learn best, it might not be like other people.
- Form study groups to learn and teach.
- Read deliberately.
- To learn better: see it, do it, and teach it.
- Play more in order to learn more.
- Learn from similarities, unlearn from differences.
- Explore, invent, and apply in your environment—safely.
- See without judging and then act.
Better Retention And Organization
- Give yourself permission to fail; it’s the path to success.
- Groove your mind for success through envisioning it.
- Learn to pay attention.
- Make thinking time.
- Use a personal wiki to organize your knowledge and learning.
- Establish rules of engagement to manage interruptions.
- Send less email and you’ll receive less.
- Choose your own tempo for an email conversation, you can slow it down.
- Hide interruptions to maintain focus.
- Use multiple monitors to avoid context switching.
- Optimize your personal workflow to maximize context.
- Grab the wheel, you can’t steer on autopilot.
Challenge Your Intuition
Questions to ask yourself to challenge your intuition:
- How do you know?
- Says who?
- How specifically?
- How does what I’m doing cause you to…?
- Compared to what or whom?
- Does it always happen?
- Can you think of an exception?
- What would happen if you did (or didn’t)?
- What stops you from…?
Planning Is Important Even If There Is Deviation
The planning is more important than the plan.
Just because your plan is likely to change doesn’t mean planning isn’t valuable.
Make Reading More Effective
- Survey: Scan the table of contents and chapter summaries for an overview.
- Question: Note any questions you have.
- Read: Read in its entirety.
- Recite: Summarize, take notes, and put in your own words.
- Review: Reread, expand notes, and discuss with colleagues.
The Rule of Three
If you can’t think of three ways a plan can go wrong or three different solutions to a problem, then you haven’t thought about it hard enough.
You can’t just rely on a good teacher. A teacher doesn’t just teach; a student must also do the learning, and you must know how to learn effectively.
Uncorrected problems that you’re aware of only get worse. Fix them as soon as possible.