Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Three takeaways

This books sits between learning and programming. It’s like a learning guide for developers. Well, it’s more than that.

“Pragmatic Thinking and Learning” starts with an expertise model, moves to an analogy of how the brain works until how to capture new ideas and organize your learning.

Since learning is the best skill to have, this book is valuable and worth reading. You will find helpful tips for your learning and your everyday work. For example, always keep a piece of paper with you to note ideas and prefer ink over memory. At the end of each chapter, there are exercises to add into your routine and practice daily.

Expertise model

You aren’t a novice or an expert at everything. You are in different stages per skill.

“Once you truly become an expert, you become painfully aware of just how little you really know”

Let the R-mode be free

Roughly speaking, the brain is a single-bus dual-core processor. Only one CPU can access memory banks at a time.

A computer processor
Another single-bus multiple core processor. Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Our brain works in two modes: linear mode (or L-mode) and rich mode (or R-mode). Coursera Learning How to Learn course calls these two modes: focus and diffuse mode. You need these two modes to work together.

The L-mode is rational and the R-mode is asynchronous.

The L-mode or focus mode works when you are actively studying a subject. You’re sitting in front of your computer or a textbook figuring out the details of that subject.

But, the R-mode or diffuse mode works when you are away from the subject you’re studying. Have you woken up with the solution to a problem you left at work the day before? Have you come up with a solution in the shower? That’s the R-mode or diffuse mode.

Since most of the thinking happens away from the keyboard, let the R-mode be free:


Happy thinking and learning!