Themes for Study and Learning in May

Themes for April, with my self-assessment:

 I was pretty bogged down with my new course and the associated learning stuff, like Intellectual Property and different kinds of startup strategy.  I learned a lot — as I always do — by teaching the material in the course, but I didn’t accomplish much on study and learning themes 1 and 2 below.

  1. Read about plot and suspense.  I basically didn’t get to this at all.   It would get on the goals list for a week and then get shoved to the back by almost anything else.  Maybe just a classic case of “important but not urgent,” but I did some mulling about writing fiction in general during April and it was not especially fruitful or favorable to working away at the fiction-oriented Deliberate Practice.  So, net result: nothing.
  2. Read about Phenomenology and Existentialism .  I had intended to try Heidegger’s “Being and Time” this month, but didn’t get there.  Ditto the remarks above, with the additional observation that, pleasant and interesting as this stuff is, it’s really not essential to my life going forward.  I spent some energy this month reading about focusing on main things (“Essentialism”, by Greg McKeown, which was terrific, and The 80/20 Principle, by Richard Koch, which was OK but not as good.  And, frankly, Phenomenology and Existentialism are not as essential as one might wish.
  3. Learn more about DIY (“do it yourself”).  I did a fair amount of digging about DIY, mostly YouTube videos and Googling, trying to find out more about mudding and interior patching generally.  More on this this month, I think, although not one of the Big Three.

So, the May themes will be:

  1. Pathways to Entrepreneurs.  This theme re-emerges because I’m trying to dust off and get traction on my EBE Project from last fall.  The idea here is to figure out how to get academic research into the hands of entrepreneurs (and useful to them!).
  2. Retirement Jobs.  I’ve been selling the idea of actual jobs  in retirement short (as opposed to projects or little gigs).  I want to find out if there’s actually a possibility of a) getting a real job in retirement and b) getting satisfaction from it.
  3. Better Investments.  I’ve been asset allocating and rebalancing for years and want to find out if I could get better returns by investing more actively.

Themes for Study and Learning in April

Themes for March, with my self-assessment:

  1. Continue with Fascism and Totalitarianism.  Will be helpful to an essay I’m trying to write this month, as well as inherently useful.  I didn’t write the essay in March, and probably won’t in April, so the theme is a little moot for my immediate needs.  It continues to be an important issue for America, but so far kleptocracy and incompetence seem like worse threats than fascism (although it’s waiting in the wings).
  2. Read about Intellectual Property.  I have to teach the topic at the end of month, and I’ve always — as a self-respecting software guy — kind of hated and dissed the subject.  Time to know more.  I read a few things, somewhat thin gruel, and had a couple of great conversations.  Probably not on the docket for April.
  3. Read about plot and suspense.  I’m trying to get better at this in my own writing through “deliberate practice”, so I’ll be actively researching the topic as well.  I’ll continue this one in April.  I had a hard time doing this deliberate practice (as all the shills for deliberate practice say one will), but it’s very helpful.  I’m going to keep it up and try to notch it up.

So the April themes will be:

  1. Read about plot and suspense, per above.
  2. Read about Phenomenology and Existentialism .  I got halfway through “At the Existensialist Cafe” this month, with great pleasure, and it inspired me to have a go at Heidegger’s “Being and Time” this month.  Wish me luck.
  3. Learn more about DIY (“do it yourself”).  I’m a moderate DIY-er around the home, but want to learn more, especially about woodworking and plumbing.