Pragmatic Thinking and Learning Synopsis [ARCHIVE]

by Isaac Sanders

For the past month I have been reading the book Pragmatic Thinking and Learning, by Andy Hunt. The book is full of information about how the human brain functions and where we can improve brain function. It covers the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition and R-mode and L-mode thinking to lay a DSL for the books. The Dreyfus model, as explained in an earlier post, is a hierarchy of five levels of proficiency. Starting at Novice, each of the subsequent levels of proficiency call for more context, less rules, and higher involvement with the big picture. R-mode and L-mode are both ways that the brain functions. R-mode is an abbreviation of Rich-mode, while L-mode is an abbreviation of Linear-mode. R-mode works with more context and intuition, while L-mode is very rational and logical. Hunt goes on to expose that we have “bugs” in the “coding” of our brain. He talks about how our biases affect our decisions and how we can work to overcome them.

In the second part of the book, he teaches the reader how to learn more deliberately. He explains how to make SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) and that their use will make one more accountable. Another tool for making us more accountable is something he calls the Pragmatic Investment Plan. In the PIP, one makes conscious investments into their knowledge “portfolio”. One such way to make these investments is by reading, but by reading using focused techniques. Hunt gives us the SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) technique and mind-mapping, a way of visually linking our thoughts together.

As the book progresses, we are taught about how to avoid pressure and learning to play the Inner Game. We learn to focus ourselves and solve problems by going out of focus. It is with these tools and more that we can effectively learn and critically think in regards to problems we may encounter.

I thoroughly enjoyed to book, and while there were some dry parts, the overall content was extremely rewarding. I would suggest this book to anybody, and I hope that after this synopsis you all will consider it. I have a small list of things in my PIP to add to my knowledge portfolio, and I am using SQ3R and mind-mapping to help with my learning.

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