10 Jul

An Experiment: Learning Skills from Books

With the advances in technology, learning a new skill from books is a waste of time right? Well, my colleagues have selected three random skills and chosen me to be the guinea pig.

Source: https://gph.is/XJdjWz

I mean, unfortunate lucky writer! Without further ado, here’s how it went:

Learning how to code using Jon Duckett’s HTML & CSS

Source: http://po.st/3nJX1l

I think it’s apt that we start this article with learning to code. Every time I took out this book to embark on my journey, someone around me says “Oh you’re learning to code? You should try learning from <insert one of the many coding sites/videos/channels/games>”.

Can you really blame them? When you think of a book that teaches coding, you would expect lines of foreign symbols, letters, and numbers stringed together on a plain white page. Coding was a skill I felt was impossible to learn from a book. I mean… look at everything I know about the topic:

Source: https://gph.is/2WJdUJy

Exactly, nothing. But after a couple of weeks into the book and look!


My first-ever site, written with nothing other than my laptop, notepad, and Jon Duckett’s book. Sure, it’s not perfect, but considering how I’m only two weeks in, I’ll say the book played a huge role in helping me get to where I’m at.

Duckett presents the basics of HTML and CSS in bite-size chunks along with large colourful diagrams to show what each code actually does. The best part is, each chapter ends with a summary to help you recap what you’ve learned. However, with the emergence of new programming languages, some chapters in the book have become redundant. But before you toss this book aside, this is still a great place to start programming as it provides a strong foundation that newer languages are based on!

Learning how to not give a f*ck from Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Source: http://po.st/KMfezW

Before reading this book, I’ve always felt that life was a never-ending rat race to attain happiness, and every single thing was hungry for my attention. Happiness meant that I needed to do more and succeed in everything. Needless to say, my mental health took a hit. I was constantly flitting from one thing to another, and anxiety became my best friend. This book is, as the synopsis accurately points out, a “refreshing slap in the face”.

While most articles instruct: to be happy, you have to accomplish a few tasks, recite “I’m happy” in front of the mirror 10 times, or go to your happy place, Mark Manson does the opposite. In the first few chapters of this book, he mentions that the desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience, whereas the acceptance of a negative experience is a positive one.

Counter-intuitive? Yes. Effective? Very. To me, this is THE definitive “how to be happy” book as it presents me with a realistic look at why I was unhappy, how to accept that and free myself from desire and expectations—which ultimately made me happy.

Learning how to draw using Mark Kistler’s You Can Draw in 30 Days

Source: http://po.st/achbeX

Drawing for me has always been an enigma… I visualise this perfectly cute character in my head, but when I actually break out my 2B pencil and notebook… this happens:


The vision in my head rarely gets translated onto paper. You can easily imagine the joy I felt when I chanced upon this book by Mark Kistler. Not only does the book promise results, but also when you’ll see the results! Clutching my 2B pencil, I enthusiastically embarked on my 30-day pilgrimage with Mark Kistler.

The book is simple. It’s broken into 30 easy-to-follow lessons, each taking not more than 20 minutes of your time and are designed to be completed once a day. But don’t let that stop you from finishing the lesson in less than a month. Lo and behold the results of that 30-day training (once again, it’s no Picasso but damn am I proud):


In conclusion, yes, books are still a great way to learn skills. But don’t take my word for it, give it a shot and let us know how it goes!