If you put me in a university setting, I will get bored to tears no matter how interesting the subject might appear to be when I signed up for the courses. But on my own I’ve learned so much since leaving that setting it’s like I’m a sponge. I think the standard university format was just poison to me and learning stuff on my own is just so much better and a lot more fun.
For instance, right now I am reading four books.
1. Bearing the Cross by David Garrow which is a biography about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Were I reading this in an American History course I would hate it and be miserable. Right now I can’t wait to read more and more about this great American’s life.
2. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow which is a biography about George Washington. Were I reading this for a course about the American Revolution I’d be like, “Holy Crap am I bored.” But because I can read at my own pace and dissect each chapter as I wish I enjoy it immensly.
3. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar which is a biography about the Mathematician John Nash. This book might be standard reading in an Abnormal Psychology class. The thought of having to read certain section by certain times and not having the flexibility to take things at my own pace is just abhorrent to me. Instead, I get to let each chapter sink in and write out my thoughts(like I do for every book I read) as I move along.
4. The Unveiling by Keith Harris which is a book about understanding the biblical book of Revelation. Put me in a theology course with rigid guidelines and quizzes and tests and all sorts of notes on a blackboard and I’ll tune out and think about something else. Now that it’s just me and the book I can take the time to really understand what the author wants to get across.
So I guess the answer to your question, Dan, is yes. I feel like if I have the freedom to pursue the subject on my own time, I can learn anything.