Update on my Learning Plan

A few months ago, I committed to a year long plan of learning to hone specific skill sets. I’ve been plugging away, and I’m happy to share that I’m far ahead of schedule. Actually, I am halfway done. Thanks to everyone who reached out to me and offered suggestions, camaraderie and support!
However, I have not done a great job of keeping others in the loop of my progress. So, here is my update:
I’ve refocused my Learning Plan entirely. Going forward, I’m focusing on three very interrelated things: People, Communities + Products.

By allowing myself to jump between topics rather than move through my Learning Plan chronologically, I found myself drawn to the same themes over and over: human nature, motivation, connectivity and problem solving. I kept asking, how and why do people work, what do they do to fulfill themselves and what tools do they use to get there? I realized, I’m obsessed with people.

Below is my updated Learning Plan (full background here), which will always be a work in progress. This is only a list of the things that I’m reading. Any learning plan is irrelevant unless it is complemented by personal experiences and discussions with others, and I will continue to seek out those opportunities. I have my eye on some classes, and there are definitely some thought leaders who I plan to reach out to as well.

My Learning Plan of Independent Study: People, Community + Products
- “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” Sigmund Frued
How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cailindi
- Drive, Daniel Pink
- Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida
- What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, Rachael Botsman
- The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs
- Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh
Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization, David Logan
- Storytelling for User Experience, Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks
- Exposing the Magic of Design, John Kolko
- This is Service Design Thinking
- Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things, Donald A. Norman

Have recommendations for me? I’m specifically looking for more resources on product experience - not product management, not design, but experience. How people experience products, how products solve problems, why products emotionally resonate, what happens offline, etc.

This study will touch on: motivation, persuasion, brand, culture, systems, business models, philosophy, psychology, design, user experience - the whole works. And that is intentional. While my topic is quite focused, it is intended to be interdisciplinary. Notice that I didn’t include technical skills in my Learning Plan. That’s intentional, too. I will work on my technical skills with Codcademy, Skillshare, GA and friends as resources. It’s not included in my Learning Plan because I would be doing this regardless; it’s assumed.

So, how am I going to keep you in the loop going forward? Well, none of this matters if I can’t somehow capture my learnings, demonstrate new knowledge and apply it to my work. To attempt that, I’m writing a series of Learning Logs along the way, so keep an eye out. I already have some working theses!

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