January and one’s birthday are two great times for setting goals, resolving to do things (or not do things), and making plans for the future. Since we all have different birthdays, it’s January that gets all the shared attention, the time of year when all that hopeful energy is channeled into communities around interests like reading 100 books in a year or training for a marathon or taking a photo every day.
My favorite way to start those sorts of projects is with a book. Well, okay, a stack of books. So for the January gathering of the BAND, the Bloggers’ Alliance of Nonfiction Devotees (advocates for nonfiction as a non-chore), my question is:
What book or books have you used or are you using to support a goal, resolution, or project?
Everyone is welcome to join us by writing an answer on your blog or in the comments of this post. If you write on your own blog, be sure to leave a link in the comments. I’ll compile a summary post at the end of month, giving us all lots of suggestions for books to support future projects. (ETA: Here’s the wrap-up post, Books for Resolutions, Goals, and Projects — January BAND wrap-up)
My Weekend Cooking post was about healthy lifestyle books (Books to Support a Healthy Lifestyle), so I’m choosing a different topic for today.
When I was applying for graduate school for library science early in 2003, it had been many years since I had been in school. I had heard rumblings about interesting things like multiple intelligences and learning styles, but they were all new since I’d been a student.
My January 2003 resolution was “learn to learn” and here are the books that helped the most.
Peak Learning by Ronald Gross. Published in 1999, this book is ripe for a rewrite to embrace the age of the web, but it’s principles won’t date. I still use techniques from this book to make sure that I get the most from relatively small experiences, like visiting the St. Louis Art Museum. The exercises helped me understand myself and gave me confidence that I could succeed in graduate school. For newer books on similar topics, I would look at Foundations for learning : claiming your education by Laurie L Hazard and Jean-Paul Nadeau and The Adult Student’s Guide to Survival & Success by Al Siebert and Mary Karr.
7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Multiple Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong. What I liked most about this book was the further exploration book lists in the back for indulging in one’s strengths. This is the book that made me realize that music, the right music, can help me learn and be productive. Knowing this about me, a friend recently recommended the new book Your Playlist Can Change Your Life: Ten Proven Ways Your Favorite Music Can Revolutionize Your Health, Memory, Organization, Alertness and More by Galina Mindlin, Don DuRousseau, Joseph Cardillo.
Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping by Nancy Margulies. One of the things I learned from the above books is that I’m a very visual learner, never mind that I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler (I always hold it funny so that the pencil goes around my finger and I get a straight line except for that one bump where my finger was). It helps me a lot to see things color-coded and in interesting shapes. Mind mapping is the way I pull things I’ve read and heard and thought together on one page in a way that I will remember it. If I were going back to college today, I would take a look at this Kindle book: How to Study with Mind Maps: The Concise Learning Method by Toni Krasnic.
I remember those early months of 2003 as a magical time. After all, what could be more endlessly fascinating than examining how one’s own mind works?