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The Art of Self-Directed Learning: 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education

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The Art of Self-Directed Learning is a collection of 23 stories and insights that will help you become a more motivated and self-guided learner. Drawing on a decade of research, adventures, and interviews conducted by Blake Boles (author of College Without High School and Better Than College), this book will inspire you to craft your own unconventional education, no matter The Art of Self-Directed Learning is a collection of 23 stories and insights that will help you become a more motivated and self-guided learner. Drawing on a decade of research, adventures, and interviews conducted by Blake Boles (author of College Without High School and Better Than College), this book will inspire you to craft your own unconventional education, no matter whether you're a young adult, recent graduate, parent, or simply someone who never wants to stop learning. Each chapter is brief, story-oriented, and accompanied by an original line drawing, making The Art of Self-Directed Learning a great choice for readers and "non-readers" alike.


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The Art of Self-Directed Learning is a collection of 23 stories and insights that will help you become a more motivated and self-guided learner. Drawing on a decade of research, adventures, and interviews conducted by Blake Boles (author of College Without High School and Better Than College), this book will inspire you to craft your own unconventional education, no matter The Art of Self-Directed Learning is a collection of 23 stories and insights that will help you become a more motivated and self-guided learner. Drawing on a decade of research, adventures, and interviews conducted by Blake Boles (author of College Without High School and Better Than College), this book will inspire you to craft your own unconventional education, no matter whether you're a young adult, recent graduate, parent, or simply someone who never wants to stop learning. Each chapter is brief, story-oriented, and accompanied by an original line drawing, making The Art of Self-Directed Learning a great choice for readers and "non-readers" alike.

30 review for The Art of Self-Directed Learning: 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lauri

    This is a great book. I think it might be my new go-to gift for teenagers and any adults looking to change careers or try something new. It's also a great read for parents, since I think it's worth thinking about what educational path is the right one for your child. Blake Boles has a terrific voice - he shares big ideas, truths, and wisdom while telling fun and interesting stories that don't feel heavy-handed at all. What I love best about this book is the idea that compulsory learning is a pra This is a great book. I think it might be my new go-to gift for teenagers and any adults looking to change careers or try something new. It's also a great read for parents, since I think it's worth thinking about what educational path is the right one for your child. Blake Boles has a terrific voice - he shares big ideas, truths, and wisdom while telling fun and interesting stories that don't feel heavy-handed at all. What I love best about this book is the idea that compulsory learning is a practice that needs re-examining, that education should be consensual. When someone has a vested interest in learning (whether that learning is through attending school or apprenticing to the master of a trade), he will obviously apply himself more and get more out of the experience. This book is a roadmap for becoming a self-directed learner, someone who can take the reins of her own life and make her dreams come true. The book is divided into six sections: Learners & Learning, Motivation, Learning Online, Learning Offline, Meta-Learning, and Self-Directed Earning. Each chapter is short and clear, with a one-sentence summary (the "tip") at the end of each one. Is what you are currently doing helping you to achieve your goals? If not, I would highly recommend reading this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I originally bought this book for my daughter, as she's expressed an interest in unschooling, but I decided to read it too. I found it very inspiring and motivating. I just gave it to my daughter to read, and I hope it has the same effect on her. I even found myself reading aloud passages to everyone a the dinner table - it spawned a great discussion. I originally bought this book for my daughter, as she's expressed an interest in unschooling, but I decided to read it too. I found it very inspiring and motivating. I just gave it to my daughter to read, and I hope it has the same effect on her. I even found myself reading aloud passages to everyone a the dinner table - it spawned a great discussion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Will

    Practical advice... gets your mind thinking outside the box a little bit. Hits home for this millennial with trying to find your place in the world, getting you to think about what drives you and makes you happy. One might think this is all intuitive but you would be wrong. Points of interest: •Re-framing "I can't" statements into "I could if I..." or "I choose not to" - more empowering. •Emailing a stranger for help or advice but be concise, short, and thoughtful •Deliberate Practice - monitore Practical advice... gets your mind thinking outside the box a little bit. Hits home for this millennial with trying to find your place in the world, getting you to think about what drives you and makes you happy. One might think this is all intuitive but you would be wrong. Points of interest: •Re-framing "I can't" statements into "I could if I..." or "I choose not to" - more empowering. •Emailing a stranger for help or advice but be concise, short, and thoughtful •Deliberate Practice - monitored by someone else, challenging, pushes you •Continuous improvement on oneself Ultimately it's all about your thoughts and frame of mind/attitude. I'm ready to get to work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Abugosh

    A short read that gives interesting tips into the world of self directed learning. I'm a fan of Blake Boles, but this book felt a little too short for my liking. Although, I found that this is often the case that if I follow an author on other mediums like their podcasts, when I come to their book I'm almost always underwhelmed. A memorable takeaway for me was to keep in mind "AMP" (Autonomous, Mastery and Purpose) to tell if self directed learning is effective. I also liked the sections where h A short read that gives interesting tips into the world of self directed learning. I'm a fan of Blake Boles, but this book felt a little too short for my liking. Although, I found that this is often the case that if I follow an author on other mediums like their podcasts, when I come to their book I'm almost always underwhelmed. A memorable takeaway for me was to keep in mind "AMP" (Autonomous, Mastery and Purpose) to tell if self directed learning is effective. I also liked the sections where he talked about "deliberate practice", which echoes a lot of the research done by Cal Newport and Barbara Oakley.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teo 2050

    2015.10.02–2015.10.02 Contents Boles B (2014) (02:00) Art of Self-Directed Learning, The - 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education Introduction: What I Learned at Summer Camp, Down the Rabbit Hole, Back Out Again, and What I Found • The story of my own education, how I joined the unschooling movement, and why I became a cheerleader for self-directed learning. Part I: Learners and Learning 01. The Girl Who Sailed Around the World • Self-directed learning starts with a dream to go farther 2015.10.02–2015.10.02 Contents Boles B (2014) (02:00) Art of Self-Directed Learning, The - 23 Tips for Giving Yourself an Unconventional Education Introduction: What I Learned at Summer Camp, Down the Rabbit Hole, Back Out Again, and What I Found • The story of my own education, how I joined the unschooling movement, and why I became a cheerleader for self-directed learning. Part I: Learners and Learning 01. The Girl Who Sailed Around the World • Self-directed learning starts with a dream to go farther, see more, and become more than others tell you is possible. But dreaming alone is not enough; you must fight to turn your dreams into reality. 02. What Self-Directed Learners Do • Self-directed learners take full responsibility for their educations, careers, and lives. Think hard about where you’re going, research all your options, and then move boldly forward. 03. What Self-Directed Learners Don’t Do • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Open yourself to the world and soak up as much learning as possible. 04. Consensual Learning • Reject the tyranny of forded learning, not matter how desirable the end result. Part II: Motivation 05. Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose • The secret sauce of self-directed learning isn’t much of a secret at all: find your autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and you’ll find your way. 06. Discipline, Dissected • Self-discipline isn’t some universal attribute that you either have or don’t. It’s a product of matching your actions to the work that’s most important in your life. 07. Cages and Keys • Attitude is a self-directed learner’s most precious resource. For every cage, you can find a key. 08. Second Right Answers • Generate an excess of solutions for the big challenges in life, and the right answer will present itself. Part III: Learning Online 09. Googling Everything • The Internet is the most powerful learning tool ever created. Use it early and often. 10. E-mailing Strangers • Asking for help via e-mail is a low-cost and low-risk move with a potentially huge payoff. Who could you be writing today? 11. The Digital Paper Trail • Future employers will google you; future romantic partners will google you; and your future kids might even google you, so start filling the Internet with your creations to leave a trail worth following. Part IV: Learning Offline 12. Information Versus Knowledge • Humans still do much that computers cannot. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can learn everything online. 13. Alone, Together • When the challenge of individual work feels overwhelming, join a community of people facing the same challenge. 14. Nerd Clans • To build a social life as a self-directed learner, seek out pockets of fellow enthusiasts with infectious self-motivation. Part V: Meta-Learning 15. Learning How to Learn • Seek out the teachers, coaches, and mentors in life who prefer to teach you how to fish instead of simply giving you a fish. 16. The Dance Lesson • Learn to dance, and dance to learn. It’s all about communication. 17. Indescribable Sexiness • To have a great conversation with anyone in the world, all you have to do is PASHE ‘em and ROPE ‘em. 18. Deliberate Practice • To go from surface-level skills to deep mastery, find the people and places that can push you farther than you could ever push yourself. Part VI: Self-Directed Earning 19. Pumping Poop for the Win • To make your biggest dreams happen: embrace setbacks, take the dirty jobs when you must, and always work for yourself. 20. Passion, Skill, Market • Do what you love, but also keep an eye on the needs of others—that’s how self-directed learning can turn into self-directed earning. 21. Time Wealth • Time is money, but that doesn’t mean you need to make more money to have more free time. 22. Career Advice from a Robot Dinosaur • To create a self-directed career, build more than a product: build a personality. 23. How to Light Your Mind on Fire • Stop focusing on the uncontrollable parts of your life—the nature, nurture, and luck factors—and start working hard on developing your growth mindset. That’s the true art of self-directed learning. Notes, Asides, and Acknowledgments • Futher information about the sources, stories, and ideas featured in this book, organized by chapter. About the Author

  6. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    This well written and easy to follow book offers great advice to students (young and old) on how to give yourself a great education. He lists many resources and demonstrates his ideas with real life stories. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants more control of what and how they learn. It's also a great read for people curious about unschooling. This well written and easy to follow book offers great advice to students (young and old) on how to give yourself a great education. He lists many resources and demonstrates his ideas with real life stories. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants more control of what and how they learn. It's also a great read for people curious about unschooling.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Brilliant. Everyone of high school age should own this book, and read it before committing to college. It explains that life is not about following other people's expectations and getting into the rut of school-college-job, but it is about exploring the possibilities of a life where the Internet exists to give us unparralelled information about, and access to, our world. Brilliant. Everyone of high school age should own this book, and read it before committing to college. It explains that life is not about following other people's expectations and getting into the rut of school-college-job, but it is about exploring the possibilities of a life where the Internet exists to give us unparralelled information about, and access to, our world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Gragg

    This has some great ideas and started lots of great conversations with my 16 yo. But at the same time there is a level of privilege that needs to be acknowledged as a thread throughout the stories. a great pairing for us was the intro in salt, fat, acid, heat. It gave another example of how someone combined a traditional school path with self directed learning. I think this helped because it and a few of the stories in this book showed the hard work of self directed learning.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Wolfley

    The principles are really good for getting started on a serious pursuit of self directed learning. I think our educational system would be better off with a little more of this approach. Formal education often seems to get in the way of learning but this book has some good ideas for breaking out of the rut.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Wozniak

    This book is mostly inspiration, not as much practical tips. So for younger readers who need to be convinced it's possible this is a good read. But if you're looking for ways to make it happen, then this won't do very much for you. This book is mostly inspiration, not as much practical tips. So for younger readers who need to be convinced it's possible this is a good read. But if you're looking for ways to make it happen, then this won't do very much for you.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    What a terrific little book about maintaining the passion of life long learning outside of a formal classroom. For those that may not like school this is a great introduction to there is more than one way to gain knowledge. Highly recommend it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Arnold

    This was a good read. Very inspiring and gave a good overview of what successful self directed learning can look like. I still have young kids but I do homeschool and feel like this would be a great book to give my kids as they begin their teen years.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Maren

    This was like a quick version of his other book, Why Are You Sending Your Kid to School. I really liked the positive focus--not what he's rebelling against but what he's rooting for. I read this thinking of helping my kids, but it inspired me to want to be more of a self-directed learner myself. This was like a quick version of his other book, Why Are You Sending Your Kid to School. I really liked the positive focus--not what he's rebelling against but what he's rooting for. I read this thinking of helping my kids, but it inspired me to want to be more of a self-directed learner myself.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Azat Sultanov

    might be good for a teenager. Not deep enough for me

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Wonderful! A gem of a book, full of good ideas and inspiration for pursuing a lifelong adventure of self-directed learning. Highly recommend.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    The best book I've ever read about andragogy and heutagogy. Simple examples on how to be a self-directed learner in various situations. It was a watershed on My studies about adult education. The best book I've ever read about andragogy and heutagogy. Simple examples on how to be a self-directed learner in various situations. It was a watershed on My studies about adult education.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Great quick read on the love of learning. Would be great for a teen who needs some motivation to think outside the box on their education.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Barkley

    It would have gotten 5 * for being a very engaging memoir/advice book, but he ended with Carol Dweck and I have a fixed mindset about her and her work.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Miss Valerie

    A quick and easy read. Succinct chapters offer good advice in bite sized chunks.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Fackler

    This quick read points out a number of ways to think differently when in a funk, at an impasse, or just generally within the 1 sigma range. Much of what Boles puts forward as necessary for development of a self-directed mindset makes sense though it all seems to come down to hard work with a goal in mind. It almost begs a sequel about goal-setting which may in turn beg other sequels about following through, giving back, and living life to the fullest. I definitely buy into the mindset and feel li This quick read points out a number of ways to think differently when in a funk, at an impasse, or just generally within the 1 sigma range. Much of what Boles puts forward as necessary for development of a self-directed mindset makes sense though it all seems to come down to hard work with a goal in mind. It almost begs a sequel about goal-setting which may in turn beg other sequels about following through, giving back, and living life to the fullest. I definitely buy into the mindset and feel like Boles would be fun to spend some time with, but I find this book falling into the self-helpy spiral of unintentional condescension. I am not sure if one can write a self-help book from a position of empathy, though until I write one or find someone who does or did I think this might be one of the best in the genre, both for it's succinct nature and for it's upbeat approach to the great Oyster.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary Margaret

    I received a pre- publishing date preview of this book. As a mother and teacher supporting my own child in her desire to be unschooled for the first time I found this work inspiring, reassuring and encouraging. It is entertaining and instructional and validates alternative educational choices as well as traditional education for those children who get what they want from school. Thank you to Blake Boles for this easy to understand journey into, "The Art of Self Directed Learning"! Your experienc I received a pre- publishing date preview of this book. As a mother and teacher supporting my own child in her desire to be unschooled for the first time I found this work inspiring, reassuring and encouraging. It is entertaining and instructional and validates alternative educational choices as well as traditional education for those children who get what they want from school. Thank you to Blake Boles for this easy to understand journey into, "The Art of Self Directed Learning"! Your experience , strength and hope gives me confidence to start this journey with my child.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rebecka

    Well, it actually was the audio book (tho it said it was the full book). It was good with some good points. Like motivation will always beat talent, because people can build talents. But what I liked most was how he went into "someone with passion about something but no skill is just a fan. And someone with passion with some skill has a hobby." It was kinda quick being an audio book, so I did miss a bunch. But it is always good to "so-called" pick someone's brain when they know something about w Well, it actually was the audio book (tho it said it was the full book). It was good with some good points. Like motivation will always beat talent, because people can build talents. But what I liked most was how he went into "someone with passion about something but no skill is just a fan. And someone with passion with some skill has a hobby." It was kinda quick being an audio book, so I did miss a bunch. But it is always good to "so-called" pick someone's brain when they know something about what you want to know. I wouldn't mind skimming over the book in paper form.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tomis Parker

    The Art of Self-Directed Learning is an authentic, accessible, and articulate invitation to a powerful paradigm of learning and living. Blake draws from simple stories to demonstrate the magic of Self-Directed Learning; the way it can be accessed by anyone, applied to all aspects of living, and continually evolved. TAOSDL is both commonsensical and revolutionary - a wonderful entry point for anyone looking to create the life they want, and support young people in the same pursuit.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    A fast read with good stories to illustrate the main points. I don’t think I learned anything new, but could be good for young people who want to get ideas of how to learn outside of the standard education system. Totally agree on author’s point that you should go learn some dancing, but I am of course biased. :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth R

    This is a great, quick read and I found it particularly timely as I struggle to make some sense of what I am meant to do next in my work life. Inspiring, and yet daunting in some way. Makes me wonder if I really have it in me to go forth and conquer but in the next instant, I think, "heck, yeah!". This is a great, quick read and I found it particularly timely as I struggle to make some sense of what I am meant to do next in my work life. Inspiring, and yet daunting in some way. Makes me wonder if I really have it in me to go forth and conquer but in the next instant, I think, "heck, yeah!".

  26. 5 out of 5

    Debbi

    An encouraging book that is part memoir and part self-help for those looking to do school outside the box. It will probably work for some people but not everyone (just like traditional school/college won't). An encouraging book that is part memoir and part self-help for those looking to do school outside the box. It will probably work for some people but not everyone (just like traditional school/college won't).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nathik

    Its a short read about tips to Self-Directed learning. Having read his "Better than College" (which I really liked), I had high expectation. There are some helpful tips. But overall, a bit disappointed. Still would recommend it to young people. Its a short read about tips to Self-Directed learning. Having read his "Better than College" (which I really liked), I had high expectation. There are some helpful tips. But overall, a bit disappointed. Still would recommend it to young people.

  28. 5 out of 5

    brandon s knotts

    awesome book It describes meaningful and important traits to be a self-directed leaner. It talks about mindset, determination, growth, and most of all, the will to learn.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bao

    Just OK. Really short book with a few interesting ideas but not altogether very convincing or substantive. Some good stories, though.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Inspiring. Hopefully. Not always practical. Hard to imagine all teens finding self-direction.

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