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Newsletter: How to Learn

(Volume 1, Issue 16)


Topic of the week: How to Learn

The greatest gift we have is the ability to teach ourselves. Anyone is capable of it. Previous newsletters (Issue 14) highlighted "perfect practice" as one aspect to learning. The process of learning encompasses much more than practice itself. The series of conditions and iterative steps illustrate the breadth of variables involved with learning:

  1. External conditions: Encouraging atmosphere of trust, respect, openness to skepticism

  2. Internal conditions: Emotional (feelings of relaxation, calmness, enjoyment) and motivational (positive and negative reinforcements)

  3. Concrete experience: Engaging in an experience

  4. Reflective observation: Reflecting on the experience, resolving inconsistencies or confusion

  5. Abstract conceptualization: Learning from the experience, creating mental models

  6. Active experimentation: Trying what you have learned in real life


Learning is a skill that can be developed. It is a process that improves through repeated habit. It is a habit that each individual can make their own. More information in the third article by Farnam Street below.

Quote of the week

"I believe in … mastering the best that other people have figured out, [rather than] sitting down and trying to dream it up yourself … You won’t find it that hard if you go at it Darwinlike, step by step with curious persistence."

— Charlie Munger

Three recent articles


1. Frank Martin points out that there is no free lunch in global governments' backstopping up to 25%+ of GDP (tacitly financed through central banks). In this pandemic economic cycle, traditional commercial banks with stronger balance sheets have not filled in the borrowing gap. Non-bank lending institutions (i.e., money market and fixed income funds) have stepped up dramatically arbitraging the regulatory structure. While the economy limps forward, the bill for this "free lunch" will eventually come due to borrowers and equity investors alike.


2. This one-word email from Tim Cook is a master class in emotional intelligence. This article is a practical example of Tim Cook's empathy rule of management.


3. Shane Parrish at Farnam Street summarizes research on how to accelerate learning. Our ability to teach ourselves through experience, reflection and practice is the greatest gift.


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