Brad Keywell


An Even Better Education: Learn How to Learn, Not Just What to Learn

Teaching is the art of awakening the natural curiosity of the mind. But what lessons are most valuable? Most of our years in classrooms consist of listening, memorizing, regurgitating -- and then repeating that cycle. So I ask -- were you taught how to learn?

My definition of ‘Teacher’ is someone who, in the midst of telling you what they know, explains how they know it. I’ve been privileged throughout my journey to have learned invaluable lessons, tools and tricks from both traditional teachers and people I’ve met along the way.

So in the spirit of spreading curiosity, I offer a few insights on my own process:

Embrace the ivory tower: Add “pdf” to your google search term, as it often reveals published papers, academic journals and polished tools that are more relevant than general search results -- plus, they are ready to be printed.

Seek information from curiosity-based search platforms: Search not only Google, but also Google Scholar, Google Books, SlideShare, Microsoft Academic, BASE, Wolfram Alpha and more. These are just a few of the interesting platforms built for curiosity rather than built for advertisers.

Read voraciously and with variety: Read as many newspapers and magazines as blogs possible. On most days, I read the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and also the local paper wherever I am.

In terms of magazines, my favorites for learning are The Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, Forbes, The New Yorker, Wired, FastCompany, Popular Science, Harvard Business Review, MIT Technology Review, The Atlantic, Discover and Mental Floss. If you want to consume magazines online, Texture has conveniently rolled-up the articles of most magazines with an easy-to-consume iPad interface. For blogs, Medium and Flipboard are great ways to discover interesting stories and writers.

Stick it out: Go past page one and two. The statistics are revealing of the laziness of most learners – only 6% of people even look at page two of a search result and less than 1% of people click on any search result past page two. And even on the first page of search results, less than 2% of people click on any result past the first five. My suggestion is that you distinguish yourself by demonstrating your tenacious curiosity and searching deep into the results – those hinterlands are where I’ve gained so much knowledge and perspective.

And if you have any new suggestions/ideas, please feel free to share back with me!


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© Brad Keywell 2021