How To Learn Anything, Anywhere - Elon Musk - Deepstash

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Taking Education Into Your Own Hands

Taking Education Into Your Own Hands

  • Although Elon musk obtained not one but two degrees he is not someone who credits his college education to his success. In fact, he feels just the opposite. He has been very vocal about his criticisms of the modern education system.
  • Musk attended the University of Pennsylvania and received his bachelor's degree in both economics and physics; he intended to obtain his Ph.D. from Stanford but left soon after to co-found the web software company Zip2 along with his brother.
  • He decided to take his education into his own hands turning instead to textbooks and individuals with specialized knowledge.

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Reaching Out To The Right People

  • One of the earliest people Elon Musk reached out to is Jim Cantrell, who worked for the French Space Agency or CNES from 1990 to 1992 and then came back to the US  where he began consulting for aerospace agencies.
  • Musk called him out of the blue in 2001 and asked about the possibility of sending a spacecraft to mars + building the rockets himself.
  • Cantrell lent him some of his textbooks about rocket propulsion fundamentals of astrodynamics and the international reference guide to space launch systems.
  • After reading them, Musk developed the plans for the rocket that would eventually be used by SpaceX.

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Surrounding Yourself With The Brightest People

Surrounding Yourself With The Brightest People

Another principle that Elon Musk follows in his quest for self-education is surrounding himself with the best and the brightest people.

He would strike up conversations with people who were the best in their field, acquire their knowledge and expertise through discussions, and then try to replicate that knowledge when he applied it to his endeavors.

It is for this reason that he keeps a close network of industry experts some of whom he even employs. In fact, Jim Cantrell actually worked with Musk at SpaceX for a time before moving on to his own ventures.

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Reading Habits of Successful People

Elon Musk admitted in an interview that he was raised by books and then his parents. His reading history is impressive: when he was just nine years old he reportedly read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica, then moved on to almost exclusively reading science fiction novels for about 10 hours per day. 

Although the average person probably doesn't have 10 hours a day to dedicate to reading, some of the richest and most talented people will tell you that one of the secrets to their success is that they read constantly: take the example of  Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Mark Cuban.

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Applying What You Read

Applying What You Read

What separates Musk from people who just read books is that he applies the knowledge he acquires.

Musk has stated that he has two basic principles for knowledge acquisition and application:

  1. the first is that he reviews knowledge in his words as sort of a semantic tree; he encourages people to make sure they understand the fundamental principles.
  2. the second principle is that it is nearly impossible to remember what you can't connect. The correct function of our brains and acquiring knowledge is not just to store random facts in order to learn. We have to practice putting that information to use.

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Dreamer who loves reading, travelling and meeting new people.

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