Category Archives: Modern European Thought

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.

Themes for Study and Learning in March

Well, February flew by “study and learning”-wise.  Hmm.  I’ve heard and repeated many times that the perception of time is logarithmic: proportional to how much time has passed for one.  So a month now — and especially a shortie like February — is nothing like a month when I was 8.  Sigh.

Anyhow, here were the themes for February, with my self-assessment:

  1. Continue with Fascism and Totalitarianism.  Hopefully Arendt will become available soon at the library (or I may just have to spring for it).  Open to other suggestions.  Progress: Not much.  I gave up on the original Arendt and purchased “The Portable Hannah Arendt” at some point in Feb.  I read most of the Preface, but still have to get to Ms. Arendt.  See below, carried forward.
  2. PowerPoint innards.  I have a scheme to code a web app which will check your PowerPoint deck for “5 common Intelligent Pitching flaws” per my work on Intelligent Pitching over the last couple of years.  See back posts for more.  Progress: I read two days about ppt innards, and made some progress with “deliberate practice” on the python open-source ppt parsing lib (grok-ing all the makefile commands, for example).  To be continued, but not in March
  3. Poker.  I’m in a regular poker game but not getting any better at it.  Time to buckle down and do some reading and deliberate practice.  Progress: I started “Education of a Poker Player”, by Herbert Yardley.  Read the first chapter, which was all about “tells”.  Great stuff, and great for serious poker, but doesn’t help me with my group, where we play whatever game the dealer wants and they’re usually glitzy and whacky, so tells don’t help much.

And, looking forward for March:

  1. Continue with Fascism and Totalitarianism.  Will be helpful to an essay I’m trying to write this month, as well as inherently useful.
  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.
  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.

Comments always welcome.

Themes for study and learning in February

The themes I wanted to work on  for January were:

  1. Continue with Presence and Deep Work.   I got a lot of reading done on this and some good work in January.  Going forward I’ll be experimenting with strategy and tactics for increasing my Deep Work time (and my presence with respect to Deep Work and, really, everything).
  2. Fascism and Totalitarianism.   Didn’t get far with this, since I wanted to start with Hanna Arendt and (surprise surprise!) it’s in great demand at my libary, so I haven’t risen to the top of the queue.  I’ll continue this thread in February
  3. The Body.   4HB was a bit disappointing on second reading.  Tim Ferriss is a great showman and he has all kinds of cool hacks, but for my Body scheme I’m moving forward with more classic approaches: Weight Watchers, YAYOG (You Are Your Own Gym), and the “Younger Next Year” approach to working (back) up to fitness. 

Themes for February

  1. Continue with Fascism and Totalitarianism.  Hopefully Arendt will become available soon at the library (or I may just have to spring for it).  Open to other suggestions
  2. PowerPoint innards.  I have a scheme to code a web app which will check your PowerPoint deck for “5 common Intelligent Pitching flaws” per my work on Intelligent Pitching over the last couple of years.  See back posts for more.
  3. Poker.  I’m in a regular poker game but not getting any better at it.  Time to buckle down and do some reading and deliberate practice.

Welcome your thoughts…

Themes for study and learning in January

The three themes I wanted to work on for December were:

  1. World of the Adjunct: I gave this one some thought and a little bit of study; I was able to clarify my feelings about being an Adjunct if nothing else
  2. Reaching Entrepreneurs: Just got started with this one, and most of the work so far has been practical: talking to people who work with entrepreneurs, finding out what “channels” entrepreneurs use and trust (to the extent this can be generalized about).  I’ll continue with this work in January, but doesn’t need explicit study
  3. Presence and Deep Work.  I’m still working on some of the readings I found for December, and will report on these as appropriate.

New themes for January:

  1. Continue with Presence and Deep Work (as above).  The greater my capacity to focus on Deep Work, the better things will go, and I need to augment my toolkit for engaging in Deep Work, well, Deeply.
  2. Fascism and Totalitarianism.  I had intended in any case to learn more about “Modern European Thinking” in 2017: Heidegger, Freud, Judt, etc.  But I’ll want to start with some reading on Fascism, Totalitarianism, and other forms of tyrrany.  Begin with Hannah Arendt “On Totalitarianism” and see where that takes us.
  3. The Body.  I kick off New Years (like most folks) with resolutions to have a better body in 2017, so I’ll want to read some more about this area, establish tentative comm with my body, etc.  I’ll start here by re-reading “The 4-hour body”, by Tim Ferriss.

Welcome your thoughts and comments…  Happy New Year.