Learning spiral

There are thousands of books in my personal library, which is scattered throughout the house. Perhaps 100 of them relate to my work: computer science, software engineering, mathematics, business. The rest are as eclectic as my interests, and reflect the way I learn. I start with the fundamentals of a subject and focus on that until I’m ready to move on. Then I focus on another subject, and another. After some months or years I return to the first subject, and go a little deeper, then leave it for a while. My library reflects the course I’ve taken – there are few books on any one specific subject, but many subjects are represented.

At any one time I’ll be in the middle of several books on different subjects, at different depths. In the last few months I’ve been reading seminal texts about the ways children learn: John Holt, Seymour Papert, Jerome Bruner. My approach to learning is similar in spirit to the spiral curriculum described by Bruner. I’m also reading a few work-related books, Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, Oliver Burkeman’s new book on time management, and Will Gompertz’s history of modern art, among other things.