7 Books in 7 Days: A Self-Directed Learner’s Challenge

Three days ago I embarked on a learning challenge: I am reading seven books in seven days. A couple days ago marking the end of my sixth week here in San Fransisco, the glaring fact that I have only four weeks left is hitting me hard.

Within the last six weeks I have managed to maintain regularly interviewing and writing pieces for 36 Questions- a blog where I analyze human connection and relationships through the lens of psychology. Added to the blog is an unpaid marketing internship with Science Of People which is a psychology research lab based in Portland, as well as the weekly calendar full of Uncollege workshops and commitments.

An unmistakable itch began to manifest itself a week ago- the itch to immerse myself in the depths of knowledge found within books. Reading Mark Manson’s Article on the 7 Books That Will Change How You See The World sparked the manifestation of this itch. Since I read the article I couldn’t shake my desire to put the world aside and Just. Read.

So I did. Thursday I began and finished Stumbling On Happiness, a witty and eloquent narrative written by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert. He uses cognitive neuroscience, psychology, behavioral economics, and philosophy to weave an explanation of the limitations of our imagination and perception of what brings us happiness.

Friday, I finished The Talent Code. The author brings to light the three key parts of a code which have been present in the majority of people we call “talented” today. He expressed that talent is not innate, but cultivated. Some of the ingredients, however, can be innate.

Saturday I spent reading a short introduction to Growth Hacking- a book written by Ryan Holiday about the dawn of a new era in Marketing. While a quick read it was able to explain how a data-driven view of marketing was the new way to create success, because it was best applied in our age of startups with non-existent marketing budgets.

Yesterday encompassed The Unbearable Lightness of Being By Milan Kundera. In a long and winding story the author showed me a different side to love. How such a simple emotion can be expressed by the surrounding perceptions, desires, and beliefs.

Today I undertake the longest book yet: Blink by Malcom Gladwell. A famous psychologist talks about the unconscious in our brains and how often it can detect conclusions we should pay attention to. The book is a worthy opponent- 250 pages or so against my schedule of meetings, exercise, and an urgent to do list that often accompanies The Dreaded Monday.

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