“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” – Albert Einstein
“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” – Sarah Caldwell
“Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.” – Samuel Johnson
“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” – William Arthur Ward
“Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” – Benjamin Franklin
Being curious and interested in learning all the time is one of the most important things in life. You never get too old to learn. With the internet, there is a wealth of information available for free. Some of it is terrible crap, but the good stuff is full of amazing bits of knowledge and wisdom that is just not available in any other way. Text, videos, instructions, you name it. All you need do is Google your subject or skill and start clicking.
The mode of instruction or how you view the information is influenced by the skill or subject you are curious about. For example, if I want to learn about a specific Krav Maga self defense, a written description will work (and I’ve tried it….) but a simple, short video is much better.
Personally, I prefer audiobooks and podcasts (mostly podcasts now) when traveling or commuting, physical books for reading, and videos for learning hands on skills. Here are a few of my current favorites of each:
The Tim Ferriss Show – Fantastic podcast where Tim Ferriss interviews many top performers in their fields and looks for principles that we can apply to our lives. This podcast can introduce you to a ton of people you may not be familiar with otherwise.
Hardcore History – You might say you don’t like history but Dan Carlin does an amazing job… REALLY amazing job describing different topics in history. My personal favorite is the Wrath of the Khans that talks about Genghis Khan and his dynasty. There are 5 parts and each part is well over an hour long.
The Art of Manliness – Great discussions about different topics focused around making the listener a better man. You will hear about style (#102), situational awareness (#85), and the importance of habits (#61). If you want to be a better man, this is a great place to start.
The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence by Josh Waitzkin – Written by the inspiration for the move Searching for Bobby Fisher, Josh Waitzkin does a great job breaking down the concept of learning and shows how he applied it to chess, Tai Chi Chuan Push Hands, and more.
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – Imagine what your life would be like if you could not only survive adversity and bad things happening, but actually grew and improved. That is the concept of Antifragility. It’s a long, dense book but there are so many great concepts that you can apply to life.
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life by Donald Miller – If you don’t life an exciting life, why not? Don’t wait around for things to happen to you, go out and be the main character in your own great story. This book will change the way you look at the story of your life.
Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Action | Simon Sinek – At the core of what we do, there is always a why. This video is only a brief introduction but the examples he uses are great. If you like it, check out the book by the same name.
Krav Maga Worldwide YouTube Channel – You never know when you need to defend yourself and Krav Maga is a great self defense system. The videos from Krav Maga Worldwide are informative and humorous.
Moving Better – Burpee Efficiency – Because everyone loves burpees….. right??? Well, maybe not but if you are going to have to do them anyway, you might as well learn the most efficient way to do them. This was a great help for my burpees.
One of the best ways to learn is by reading, since you take advantage of the knowledge gained by people you would never have contact with normally. Many people purchase the books they read but for me, that was not the right choice. I still prefer to read physical books (although I will read ebooks) but after donating five boxes of books to Goodwill, the local library became the best solution to my storage and variety problems. Nearly any book is available at the local library or through an Intra-Library loan. It’s cheap (basically free) and convenient.
To get the most out of books, I use sticky flags to mark passages and ideas that I want to share. Those ideas and passages are transcribed into Evernote. After reading some books, I have decided to purchase copies to keep, but that initial “test drive” provides a much larger source of books and knowledge than would have been available if every book was purchased. If you would like to purchase any books listed below, the links below will take you to Amazon.com.
Books I’ve read (newest on top)
Future Crimes: Everything is connected, everyone is vulnerable, and what we can do about it by Marc Goodman
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Hannibal and Me: What History’s Greatest Military Strategist Can Teach Us About Success and Failure by Andreas Kluth
Smartcuts: How hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerated Success by Shane Snow
Little Bets – How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries by Peter Sims
The Gift of Fear – Survival Signals That Protect Us From Violence by Gavin De Becker
The Accidental Creative: How to be brilliant at a moment’s notice by Todd Henry
SAS and Elite Forces Guide – Mental Endurance: How to develop Mental Toughness From The World’s Elite Forces by Chris McNab
The Art of Learning – An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin
Make It Mighty Ugly – Exercises & Advice for getting creative even when it ain’t pretty by Kim Piper Werker
The Happiness of Pursuit – Finding the quest that will bring purpose to your life by Chris Guillebeau
Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone At Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World by Benny Lewis
The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient wisdom for lifelong health by John Durant
How to be Invisible – Protect Your Home, Your Children, Your Assets, and Your Life by J. J. Luna
Man 2.0 – Engineering the Alpha – A Real World Guide to an Unreal Life by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein
Unthinking – The surprising forces behind what we buy by Harry Beckwith
Crush It – Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk