Most of the things I know, I taught myself. Which is great, except I’m usually the one that has to do stuff. Like fix a boiler.

Autodidacticism is self-directed learning and possibly the most important skill one could have

For those of you not on the east coast, there is a serious cold snap here and the weather’s been in the teens. Since I’m the only person in my building that understands my building‘s boiler, I was down there this past week trying to fix it when it refused to turn on.

As I was doing that in my blue striped pajamas, I thought, “I’m a lawyer, why am I fixing a boiler?!”

And then I remembered that I’m the only one that read the manual.

As for me being a lawyer, “lawyer” is another way of saying, “the person that read the manual.”

Isn’t that what you hope when you, unfortunately, must speak to one of my kind? That he knows the answer to the question, “What do I do?” If he does know the answer, it’s cause he read the instruction manual/the law.

While I did go to school to learn how to be a lawyer, a great many of the other things I can do, I essentially taught myself. It’s called autodidacticism and is basically a fancy way of saying “reading the manual.”

Cooking – Via cookbooks and the Frugal Gourmet and Good Eats
Photography – Someone told me once that the best way to learn photography is to read the camera manual, I found this to be true
Computers – Manuals. Tons and tons of manuals. Basically got paid to read manuals. People still ask me tech questions.
Diet & exercise – Good books on the subject.
German – a book called Speak and Read German and then Living Language’s Ultimate German (jetzt ist es: Living Language German)

Just told a fencing student of mine that a good teacher teaches two things:

  1. the skill itself, and
  2. how to learn that skill.

Once someone has learned how to learn, the learning part is easy.

Sometimes too easy, as evidenced by the fact that I was back in my boiler-room last night at 10:30. But this time there was someone else in the building that wanted to know what was going on.

Him: So I read the manual, that thing is great.
Me: Yeah, I know! Now, why won’t this damn thing turn on…

Mood: brrrrrrr
Music: You’re ready to fly, I’m ready to crash
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