Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley, Ph.D

A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley, Ph.D. reaches far beyond math and science and even beyond learning. Oakley explores techniques for learning more efficiently and deeply based on her own experience overcoming her difficulty learning math. A Mind for Numbers explores the importance of focused mode and diffused mode in the learning process and how the two support one another in the learning process. Oakley delves into how our brains chunks material for deeper learning. She addresses procrastination, reasons for procrastination, why procrastination is unavoidable, and tips to effectively address procrastination using techniques that allow us to give focused attention to priority tasks and use diffuse mode by switching tasks. I recognized several techniques that I employed during my college years and even some that had worked their way into my writing routine though I'd never thought of them as techniques in quite the way she described them. As I read through the book, I saw ways I could use the techniques in the book to improve my research as well as my writing. A Mind for Numbers is a very interesting exploration of the way the brain works and how to more effectively be productive whether studying or working. A Mind for Numbers is a well written, easy to understand, inspiring book of insights into not only the process of learning but the process of being more effective in any endeavor that requires focused attention, time to think, and expansion of one's knowledge base.

To see more on my thoughts regarding A Mind for Numbers, please read my blog post, How Writers Can Benefit from Learning to Learn, written about the Coursera Class, Learning How to Learn based on the book.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Axis Mundi Poems by Karen Holmberg

Axis Mundi by Karen Holmberg weave nature, emotion, memory, and life into a book of experiences that leave the reader immersed in each moment and floating toward the next. Holmberg's delightful and enthralling prose draws connections that invigorate the senses. Holmberg's poems explore life from myriad angles breaking open the reader's natural resistance to see the ugly in the beautiful and the beautiful in the ugly. With metaphors that seem delightfully specific and yet somehow vague enough to drive the reader's imagination to new places as it conjures images of memories and slices of nostalgia, the poems in Axis Mundi bring the reader face-to-face with the inter-connectivity of the world.