Learnlife Inspirations: 5 books and articles as recommended by Stephen Harris

Learnlife Co-founder, Stephen Harris, recommends a few books and articles that inspired and advanced our thinking for Learnlife’s learning approach and paradigm.
Learnlife Inspirations: 5 books and articles as recommended by Stephen Harris

We believe in lifelong learning here at Learnlife, and, in that spirit of continued learning, up-skilling and discovery, we wanted to share a few of the books and articles that have inspired and advanced our learning and research teams' thinking for the learning approach and paradigm over the past few weeks.

If you are enjoying the last few days of vacation or have some time this weekend ahead of the "back to school" period, here is a list of articles and books that have inspired our learning team and advanced our thinking for the learning approach and paradigm. This month's pick is from our co-founder and Chief Learning Officer, Dr Stephen Harris.


Stephen Harris Recommends 5 Books and Articles that Inspired the Learning Paradigm of Learnlife


McKinsey Articles

Stephen Harris finds McKinsey always has articles that are relevant to him – be that to do with leadership, organisational health, the pandemic or global economics, finance and business trends. He finds reading such material stimulates his thinking in fresh ways, rather than becoming an additional mental burden that could be conceived as work related. Two examples are provided below – ones that he has read in the last month and have helped shape his thinking. 


Lucy Clark: Beautiful Failures: How the Quest for Success is Harming Our Kids

Lucy Clark is a Sydney based journalist whose experience as a parent led her to understand how school systems fail our kids and that someone who may be deemed a ‘failure’ in terms of conventional examination success is in fact an amazingly creative person with so much to offer. The challenge being that conventional measures of ‘success’ need to be questioned and thrown out if we are to really help shape a better future for our children. Clark looks at just how broken the education system is, how it fails our children and how it places terrible pressure on all kids, including those who ‘succeed’ within it. Books such as this remind Stephen that learning is all about relationships and providing more ‘fuel to the fire’ of helping forge new paradigms of learning for all. 


McCrindle & Fell: Work Wellbeing: Leading thriving teams in rapidly changing times

A brand new book that Stephen is only just dipping in. It is really relevant to 2020, but was started well before any pandemic was on the horizon. It has taken up the developing theme around the world that there needs to be a more intentional focus on mental health and wellbeing, especially in the workplace. The data is very recent, which is really helpful. And he is quoted in the book (something he did not know was happening …)


Youtube – learn piano by ear

While not a book as such… Stephen Harris has been questioning just how misplaced the attempts were to have him enrolled in conventional piano lessons as a child. There was an assumption (he now realises) that you learn in a strict graded formula. He knows that never worked and he rebelled against grade exams. But … he has never lost his interest in music. Now with a pandemic-gift-to-himself of a digital keyboard, he has found watching youtube series on learning to play by ear far more energising – and clearly way better aligned to his modes of learning. An interesting discovery.


Sanditon – video series and book

Disclaimer: As a student at school, Stephen Harris hated Jane Austen books. But he was clearly way too young to appreciate the historical context and often brave social comedy. When he did a university-level course and forced himself to understand Austen, he switched to recognising her genius and forward-thinking questioning of the morals and foibles of the time. He watched the video series of Jane Austen’s last and incomplete book ‘Sanditon’ earlier this year. His annoyance with the director-created ending sent him back into Austen’s work to recall just how much licence had been taken in the series. The video series ending was a legitimate one – the burning question remains – did it pass his ‘Jane Austen’ test of authenticity and likely potential narrative conclusion. It probably does. It’s just that he would have preferred a ‘happy ever after’ conclusion in a pandemic year…  


We hope that these recommendations by Stephen Harris inspired you to pick up a book, a skill, or explore your interests at any point of your life . Read our blog to learn more about our approach to literacy.


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