Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I’ve ever known.
– Chuck Palahniuk (the author of Fight Club & more)
Where do I find the time?
My work is a 45 minute drive from home. That’s 1.5 hours per day (7.5 hours per week) that I spend in the car traveling to and from work. After working at this place for a year, I was sick of the radio playing the same songs and the radio show hosts boring me. So I found that I could use this time to listen to audiobooks, lectures and seminars. These audiobooks are usually between 3 and 15 hours – so on average, I can listen to a book per week. That’s about 50 books per year. All this, in time which I would have achieved nothing (other than driving to work, which I still do anyway).
So I’d get through about 50 books per year in the time I drive to and from work, plus I’d be listening whenever I do laborious work which doesn’t require me to think much, especially during some of the house renovation work (painting, filling gaps, sanding floorboards, jackhammering, digging etc.). Some weekends, I’d listen to more than 20 hours of content.
The Slight Edge audiobook by Jeff Olson was one of the first books I listened to, which catalyzed my efforts; although audiobooks allow me to get through a lot more than the 10 pages per night that they recommend!
Where do I find the content?
TED talks are a great starting point to find out which topics interest you and what you’d like to learn more about. If you find a talk interesting, look into the speaker and see if they have released a book relating to their talk. I downloaded a bunch of TED talks using the programs Miro and TED Downloader – I then put these video files on my phone so I could listen to them while I was in the car.
- Overdrive app: Sign up to your local library for free & then you get free access to content on Overdrive
- Audible: I signed up to this deal – 4 months (1 book per month) for $4. It then reverts to $14.99 per month, so I cancelled it and was offered $7.99 per month (but I refused). The Audible app & range is good, but I find that I can get sufficient content through the other (free) options.
- Some local libraries have a good range of audiobooks on CD
- The Teaching Company’s The Great Courses
- Udemy – check out OzBargain/Education for any recent deals (free courses)
- Open Yale Courses
- MIT OpenCourseWare
- Lynda.com – Some libraries offer free access. For South Australia, see Libraries of SA lyndaLibrary
- MOOC List – List of (Free) Massive Open Online Courses offered by the Best Universities and Entities
- University of Tasmania – Free Courses
- Engineers Australia’s myCPD
Contact me if you’re having trouble finding something – I usually manage to get access to most things for free and I might be able to lend you some of the ones I have. I believe that education should be free to those who are willing to put the effort in to learning!
- IICA – The Institute of Instrumentation Control and Automation
- Engineers Australia
- I get a lot of people emailing me about upcoming events in Adelaide – contact me if you want me to forward these to you!