Introduction: Connect the Dots by Paul Jun, Book Review
When you read a book, you enter the author’s world. You walk a mile or two or three in her shoes. And if you listen carefully, you see another perspective, and find new ideas. I have mentioned several times on this blog, that every day, I receive emails telling me what books are on offer for free or at a discount in price. I downloaded a copy of Connect the Dots by Paul Jun because I liked the title.
I often talk about taking notes while reading a book, then picking out the big ideas when you review your notes, and combining big ideas from the different books you read. I have been picking out big ideas from books since 2004. But as I evolve, I refine the process. You can learn from every book you read, if you have an open mindset. And I learned a few things from this book. Although I enjoyed reading Connect the Dots by Paul Jun, and he had a chapter on connecting the dots, I wish he had presented more detailed information on the process.
What is Connect the Dots by Paul Jun About?
Nothing exists in a vacuum. And so it is with the content you find in books and elsewhere. When reading a book, it is important to tie the information to what you already know. Why are you reading the book in the first place. How can you use the information in a meaningful way? Can you tie the new information to an existing need?
Have you read?
I got Connect the Dots by Paul Jun because I wanted to learn more about connecting the dots. I read a lot, and I want to tie more of the information together. I tend to pay more attention to connecting the ideas from books, and not so much with other types of information. A big focus for me over the past year, is learning the 10 key skills needed for future jobs as reported by the World Economic Forum. I designed the Strategic Reading Challenge to help my readers to do so.
Today, you have the opportunity to explore any subject and learn anything. You can read books, take online courses, watch YouTube tutorials, and listen to podcasts. You can create your own syllabus and textbook. All you need is the willingness to educate your yourself. You have to be a self-directed learner when it comes to managing your career. Paul Jun talks about this in his book, and it reminded me to review the curated posts that I did on each of the 10 skills, because it gives me the perfect opportunity to connect the dots. When will you start on the path of self-education?
Have you read?
I really liked the following quote from Connect the Dots:
“The digital revolution offers a new gem. I view the Internet as an ever-growing mountain: you can choose an area, grab a pickaxe, mine the minerals, and craft the tools that are favorable to your endeavors.”
That is what independent learning is about. I picked out some ideas from the book that resonated with me. In fact, they align with what I say and write about. I have taken Paul Jun’s ideas from his book, interpreted what he said and expanded on his ideas. That is a part of the concept of standing on the shoulders of giants. You build on other people’s ideas.
- Have a purpose for reading. There are three reasons for reading a book – for information, to further your knowledge on a topic, and for entertainment. In a book lies the information you need to solve your problems.
- Find the time to read. You can find the time for the things that matter to you. Schedule reading and learning into your day.
- Read actively. Engage with the words on the page, make the author’s words your words. This forces you to think and meditate on what you are reading. The author has invited you into her world. You are exposed to new ideas and ways of thinking. The information in a book can change you if you are open. One of the best ways to learn a subject is to read a book written by someone knowledgeable about the topic.
- Take notes while reading, and categorize the big ideas using a keyword. In the book Non-Obvious, this is called naming the idea.
- One book leads to others. When you read a well-researched and well-written book, the author will inevitably mention some good books that you will want to explore. Perhaps the author has written other books, and they may have other resources on the topic. Read a mix of fiction and non-fiction, as well as books from different genres, and books written by authors from different generations. It is worth mentioning that the most successful people seldom read business books.
- Read outside your comfort zone. This helps you to build your body of general knowledge. Connect the information in the book to your life or what you already know. Learn to connect what may appear as unrelated dots.
- Learn to listen actively. Train yourself to listen to podcasts and interviews. Although when someone is speaking to me, I listen carefully to what she is saying, I do not like to listen to podcasts. I prefer to read the transcript. This is something that I have to work on. The author recommends that if you take notes, do not turn it into a transcription of the podcast or interview. To find podcasts, go to iTunes, type in your keywords or topic you are interested in.
There are many blogs that can help you to transform your life and business. How do you organize valuable content when you find it?
Have you read?
To make sure that you are always expanding your mind, introduce yourself to new topics to explore. Keep on curating content so you do not stagnate. In James Webb Young’s Technique for Producing Ideas, he mentions two types of information to gather – specific and general. General information is the type of information that you gather throughout your life. When you introduce yourself to new topics to explore, you are expanding your general body of knowledge.
Paul Jun mentioned Marshall McLuhan’s thoughts on communication, so I thought it was important to share the following with you.
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The author also devotes a chapter to the commonplace book, which I learned from Ryan Holiday a few years ago. This book is a repository of information that is meaningful to you. With technologies that you have access to today, you can create an online commonplace book.
Have you read?
How And Why To Keep A “Commonplace Book”
Good Note Taking Techniques When Reading
Effective Note Taking Tips: The Art of Writing While Listening
Does Taking Effective Notes Help You to Remember More of What You Learn?
How to Improve Learning – Remember What You Learn
SummaReview of Work Smarter with Evernote by Alexandra Samuel
I love the idea of organizing notes by keywords and tagging them. This is something that I need to start doing. This is a great way to use Evernote. It is important to apply what you learn. That is how you become truly knowledgeable and gain wisdom.
“To reinforce the connections in our mind, we must think, apply, experiment, and discuss the information.”
This allows you to connect the dots.
“Self-education requires deliberate practice and the right mindset. The proper mindset is vital because it’s not directly taught in traditional education.”
When I read the quote above, I thought about Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers because it talks about deliberate practice.
Have you read?
3 Basic Elements That Build the Mindset for Self-Education
- Take initiative
- Desire to learn
- Be Teachable
“Intense desire to learn and explore will ultimately be responsible for the development of yourself and your craft — it will aid in breaking past plateaus and reaching a kind of understanding unmatched to most. The challenge of our times is discovering or rediscovering that powerful inclination and realizing that the intense desire to learn plus the pursuit of mastery paves the road to a meaningful life.”
What the quote means to me, is that if you want to remain employable and marketable, you have to take control of your career development. You must have the desire to learn, but you also have to learn how to learn because of the dynamic work environment and changing needs. You also have to have the willingness to change your mind when you are confronted with new ideas and ways of thinking.
I read an article that sums up connecting the dots. I pulled the following quote from it:
“Great innovators are able to see things others can’t because they function as knowledge brokers. They are able to build networks that connect them to knowledge they don’t have and, in the end, that’s what seems to make all the difference….The more diverse information you come across, the more likely you are to find that seemingly random piece of insight that can help you.” Innovation Is About Networks, Not Nodes by Greg Satell
Final Thoughts: Connect the Dots by Paul Jun
Connect the Dots by Paul Jun is worth the read. It is a short book and you will find an idea or two that will help you combine ideas from your reading, listening and viewing.