Books and Reading #MondayBlogs

Today for #MondayBlogs, I want to talk about books and reading and their ability to bring about dramatic change.

Learning is undergoing a radical transformation, although you wouldn’t know it looking at our present school structures and systems. You are seeing the internet transforming schooling. You have the Khan Academy changing the early school years and EdX transforming the Universities of today.

The standardization of curricula designed to create efficiency and accountability may fail to tap the intrinsic motivation of students. It may feel especially restrictive to those who have an intense drive to learn, their intellectual wings constrained by too much structure. Innovators and other change agents are not much interested in the standards applied to schooling.

Innovators wanted to dive deep into topics of their own choosing rather than follow the path of a syllabus. They exhibited a true love of learning – even if they had no love for school.”

This is from Melissa A. Schilling, the John Herzog professor of Management at NUU’s Stern School of Business who is the author of “Quirky: The remarkable story of the traits, foibles and genius of breakthrough innovators who changed the world.”

She also notes the power of reading and of books.

“Their stories (the innovators) also highlight something else: the power of books. Books may not seem as glamorous as recent technology-enabled alternatives like videos and webinars, but few learning vehicles can rival what can be delivered with a book. It is far easier to customize how one consumes a book than a video, lecture, or in-class discussion. These latter alternatives are great complements to books, but not substitutes. You can skim sections of a book to see its overall structure; you can study some passages intensely, re-reading them if you want, and pausing to contemplate. You can also easily move back and forth between text and diagrams in whatever pace and pattern works for your learning style. You can take a book home and read it in bed, or out to a park or coffee shop. This is more important than may at first be obvious; some people function better with some level of background stimulation while others require a setting with as little background stimulation as possible. Allowing people to choose is important. And when a book sits on your shelf, it serves as a visual placeholder that reminds you of its content (a large advantage print books still have over digital).”

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that every serial breakthrough innovator I studied had an outsized appetite for books. Books enabled them to choose the areas of expertise they would develop, and to circumvent barriers that might have held them back.

A few blogs ago we exposed to you the reading list from our consulting web site and also the articles we have written over the past twenty-five years. Have a look and do some reading. It will help in your personal growth which is, after all, our goal at Learning Without Scars.

The Time is NOW.