am 21. März 2010
James Bach provides a compelling book on self-education. Based on his own experiences as a self-educated software tester and test professional, who left school after the tenth grade, James gives an overview on his approach to learning, education and thinking. Using mnemonics he introduces into his concepts and supports them by stories from his life and from writing this book.
His eleven elements of self-education include Scouting Obsessively, Authentic Problems, Cognitive Savvy, Knowledge Attract Knowledge, Experimentation, Disposable Time, Stories, Contrasting Ideas, Other Minds, Words and Pictures and Systems Thinking. He dives into each one of these and gives an overview on each. Furthermore James writes about the heuristics he uses to learn something new and that his learning acquisition never sleeps. He relates clamshells and stones to other aspects of his life. By continuously learning new things about your environment, you can set yourself up passionately for deliberate learning.
His teachings my be seen as dangerous from the perspective of a high school teacher (James introduces this early on), but in a fast-pacing world with knowledge at the tip of an internet-page, continuous learning is essential to become a professional. His book gives a thorough overview, not only for students fed up with school, but also for university taught professionals. James shows that his passion to learn new things has turned him into a leading professional despite his school knowledge, and how he got to be one of the top test consulting in the Silicon Valley area. "When I stop to learn, I'm dead." is a phrase, which James might have coined, but which he is obviously living. And he explains in this book how he does that.
I found great value in his heuristics. He perfectly describes my take a learning and continuously keeping on learning, even after having finished some university degree. Unfortunately, there is just little theory behind his heuristics, that's the only thing I missed in this book.