Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pragmatic Thinking and Learning

The problem with common sense is that it’s not that common. I was reminded of this old adage while reading Pragmatic Thinking and Learning because the book is full of common sense things that I've forgotten.

For example, I need to use mind mapping as a note taking tool because it makes follow-up and retention so much easier. Also I need to resume my meditating - my sleep is so much better when I do.

The book explores the non-technical side of software development. A few areas I especially liked:
  • The use of symbols to aid learning. I can now remember left brain (analytical/empirical) vs. right brain (creative) based on the "R" and "L" symbols.

  • The explanation of the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition. It made me think about where I am in my career development.

  • The discussion about context switching and the design/use of multiple monitors.

  • Learning about infinite regression.

Some takeaways for me:
  • Don't try to herd racehorses and don't try to race sheep.

  • In systems thinking as in object-orient programming, it's often the relationships between things that are interesting , not the things themselves.

  • There's always going to be a new technology to be learned. The technology itself isn't as important: it's the constant learning that counts.

  • When transitioning from one skill to another, you need to unlearn just as much as you need to learn.

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