This month I primarily focussed on learning about learning and thinking more effectively, I also read a brilliant fiction book which I found insightful, and management lessons from Warren Buffett.

The books I have read on the subject of learning, and thinking more effectively:

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

Transformative reading. If you are seeking to improve anything – a business, a team, yourself – then I’d highly recommend it.

Lots to take away and apply in a business world and a personal one. The book broadly compares the approach of the airline industry (share and learn from mistakes, openness and lack of blame, continual improvement through marginal gains) to those of the medical profession (Syed claims the medical profession is closed in its thinking, quick to blame and buries mistakes rather than sharing them for the greater good).

The differences between the two industries are stark and there’s a lot to learn about soliciting feedback in a spirit of non-blame, openness, and constant improvement. The book delves into the success of David Beckham, the experimentation of James Dyson, elite cycling, Formula 1, architecture, the judicial system, and a load more on the way, so there are a great number of fascinating anecdotes and case histories.

Think Again by Adam Grant

In Think Again, we are encouraged to consider how curiosity, questioning, and openness are vital in order to progress and even live in an ever-changing world of complexity. Adam’s key focus is how incredibly important it is to remove our own mental restraints and narrow-mindedness – to rethink and unlearn.

The book continues to them explore how we can support and help others to be open to ideas and thoughts – how to better debate and negotiate.

The big “take away” will be how to embrace being wrong and the delight of seeking the truth – to become scientist-like. This book was long-awaited and once again was a joy to read.

Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich

Deschooling Society (1971) is a critical discourse on education as practised in modern economies. It is a book that brought Ivan Illich to public attention. Full of detail on programs and concerns, the book gives examples of the ineffectual nature of institutionalized education. Illich posited self-directed education, supported by intentional social relations in fluid informal arrangements.

Moving on from learning and thinking more effectively.

(Fiction) The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown

Having returned from Europe and his adventures in Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to Washington, D.C., by his mentor, Peter Solomon, to speak at a prestigious Smithsonian fundraiser. However, when Langdon arrives, Solomon is nowhere to be found. After calling Solomon’s assistant, Langdon learns that his scheduled speech was only a trick to bring him to the Capitol.

Moments later, screams are heard and a severed hand—Solomon’s—is found in an adjacent room in the Capitol Building. One of the fingers wears a ring that bears the mark of the Freemasons’ highest honor. Each of the fingers is tattooed, as is the palm of the hand, with symbols that only Langdon comprehends. Langdon realizes that the tattoos are an invitation to unlock mysteries of the ancients. Soon, a number of high-ranking national security officials demand that Langdon help them as he is the only one able to decipher the mysterious invitation. Langdon, the chief of Capitol security Trent Anderson, and CIA official Sato find themselves in a sub-basement room of the United States Capitol Building; the room is set up in a scene familiar only to Langdon and Masons the world over.

Meanwhile, Solomon’s sister, Katherine, goes to work in a secret lab constructed by her brother in an empty pod deep within the Smithsonian’s storage facility. Katherine, trying to advance the science of noetics, finds it strange that Peter is not answering his phone. Summoned by a mysterious Dr. Abbadon, who claims to have been working with Peter to deal with psychological distress, Katherine learns that her brother has shared some of her secret research with the doctor, which shocks her.

Katherine and Robert are eventually brought together in a desperate attempt to save Peter Solomon—and the nation—from a single madman determined to reveal information that could change life as we know it.

The Lost Symbol is a fast-moving, action-packed thriller told in Dan Brown’s riveting style that will keep readers turning page after page.

As an aside, I found the book incredibly educational and thought-provoking and will be further exploring Noetic Science as a result. As more is learned I will update via the monthly newsletter.

The Real Warren Buffet: Managing Capital, Leading People.

The Real Warren Buffett unveils the secret of how Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway to staggering success.

Zeroing in on his original management style and leadership approach, author James O’Loughlin exposes the powerful and practical lessons of Buffett, demonstrating how he became one of the richest men in America.