I undertook some nice personal development on my contract hour-and-ten-minute lunchbreak, reading Agile Software Development. It looks a real spoddy, dry, technical book, like an anthology of video recorder manuals. But <music sting> you can’t tell a book by its cover</music sting>. It’s starting off full of fascinating high-level food for thought stuff, such as how the meaning of communication impacts development. Anyway, one of these things are the three stages of learning (as explained by Aikido):

Level 1: learn by rote. Do not try and understand why you are doing it or the motive of your trainer. Examples are the Big Processes like those of large consultancies.
Level 2: detach from the mechanical and explore alternative paths. Classic books like Code Complete fall into this category.
Level 3 (equivalent to PhD research or higher): become fluent in your domain, able to weave from multiple threads simultaneously. Become Zen-like in how goal-oriented & integrated your flow is.

Very pedagogic (science of learning). Made me realise that often I try and apply Level 2 stuff when I should be restricting myself to Level 1 (e.g. in learning to drive). This is an insight into why I may take a while to start learning something completely new ‘from scratch’ but then overtake others after a while. Very good book so far.

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