Learning to Learn

In my search for a meaningful path toward my own education, I’ve found the following thinkers and ideas useful. I started with Jefferson and Franklin, men I admired. I then looked to their favorite authors and educational methods. From there, my latticework continues to expand.

Benjamin Franklin

Autobiography of one of America’s greatest autodidacts. Full of fascinating perspectives and practices as well as great stories.

Thomas Jefferson

Letter to Peter Carr of 19 August 1785 in which he lays out a plan of study for his nephew.

Eric Hoffer

One of America’s most important thinkers and the author of The True Believer-lived for years as a Depression Era migratory worker. Self-taught, his appetite for knowledge-history, science, mankind-formed the basis of his insight to human nature. Working and Thinking on the Waterfront is a rare glimpse into not only Hoffer’s personal life but his thought process while postulating his great future works.
Giambattista Vico



Interesting, useful ideas from an often overooked 18th-century autodidact from Naples who attempted to create a science of history, complete with the ability to predict what’s coming.

On the Study Methods of Our Times

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-Reliance of course, but also his essay History, which serves as the foundation for my approach to the subject.
The Brain Rules

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work.

Rudolf Steiner

Steiner’s focus on the whole person, not just mind, but body and soul too inspires me to offer a richer, gentler form of teaching.

Jean Piaget/Kegan

Piaget’s stages of human development interestingly expanded and explained by a psychologist.

Warren Buffet


Latticework reveals the thinking that has led Warren Bufftet and his partner Charlie Munger to make such excellent financial decisions.

Neil Postman

Building a Bridge to the 18th Century by Neil Postman argues that the best thinking of Western Civilization was done in the 18th C. and that we’ve been riding their coattails ever since. If we want to find a workable path forward as a society, we need to return to the educational practices and the high quality of thinking of those amazing years.

Frederich Nietzsche

In the essay, On The Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life, Nietzsche clarifies the possible affects (positive and negative) of history on humans who live in the here and now.

The Trivium

The essential book on learning the trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric.

Thomas Aquinas/A.G. Setillanges, O.P.

An practical, inspiring look at applying Scholastic methods to our own intellectual lives.