These are my current areas of active research and exploration. These interests usually complement my work in business training and education in some way. If you’ve discovered interesting or useful information related to one of these areas, please contact me.
Learning new skills fascinates me. Learning how to learn new skills even faster is even better. I’m currently studying a wide body of research on skill acquisition, looking for ways to help myself and others learn new skills and retain information as quickly as possible.
My new book, The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything… Fast!, will explore this topic in detail, as well as propose a new method of learning anything as quickly as possible. Publication is currently scheduled for June, 2013.
Publishing is clearly changing. A few short years ago, the most effective way to reach new readers / learners was to trade publish a book. No longer. My book came out at what might very well prove to be the last gasp of traditional publishing.
Digital publishing tools are making it easier and easier to find an audience for your work. Websites, blogs, ebooks, online courses, and other tools are capable of making information available just as effectively, but more quickly and with little cost.
Aside from trade publishing my first book, I’m constantly experimenting with blogging, online newsletters, online courses, and social media. I don’t expect to stop anytime soon.
By nature, I’m a very verbal person. Writing isn’t easy, but it comes more easily to me than drawing. Improving my drawing and sketching skills, as well as becoming more comfortable with these forms, would be hugely beneficial in my line of work. I’m currently making my way through Sunni Brown’s Visual Notetaking 101 course.
I believe resilience is a very underrated quality. A bit of foresight and preparation can go a very long way. While I’m not a survivalist by any means, I do believe most individuals are woefully underprepared for unexpected events, and I’m interested in learning techniques that will help make difficult and challenging events easier to handle.
I also do not believe in accurate forecasting. Accordingly, I try to make as few predictions about the future as possible, and favor maximizing flexibility, freedom of action, and experimentation instead. This leads to a few counter-intuitive approaches to common life situations:
By making small systematic changes, our resilience, preparedness, and flexibility increase.
Kelsey and I plan to unschool/homeschool Lela. We’re planning on some variation of the Robinson Curriculum, which in essence is a simple daily structure of (1) a daily math lesson, from the Saxon math series or similar, (2) daily reading, based on their interest but with a few recommendations, and (3) daily writing about any topic that interests them, which is then proofread by the parent and corrected by the child.
The key to unschooling seems to be striking a balance between a clear and simple structure and letting your child follow their interests. It also requires some self-control by the parents – it’s better to let your kids struggle at times when they find hard problems than immediately jump in and help them. The parent isn’t doing the teaching – they’re helping the child learn to self-educate, which is a major difference.
I want my children to be able to think clearly, learn essential skills, and be able to teach themselves anything they’re interested in learning. I don’t believe the structure of the US public school system is currently capable of doing that, which is why we’re looking to do it ourselves.
My first major adult interest was programming and computer systems. Discovering business put that interest on hold for a while, but now I’m returning to my roots. Previously, I’ve taught myself enough system administration to be able to set up my own VPS servers for my websites. I’m currently experimenting with Ruby, particularly the Sinatra DSL. My goal is to run my entire business on software I wrote myself, using a few well-selected APIs (like Stripe and Mailgun) for critical services.
Photography is currently my most developed artistic skill. While I’m not fantastic by any measure, my eye is decent, and shooting a lot usually produces a few good captures.
I usually shoot with a Nikon D200 with a Sigma 50mm 1.4 lens. If you’re getting started, it’s hard to find a better value in equipment. Shooting with a prime lens has made me a much better photographer. My next planned upgrade is a Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens for close-ups.
A few years ago, I studied with Mark Cafiero, the photographer who shot Kelsey and I’s wedding a few years ago. I learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to taking more photography classes in the near future.