Beyond Brilliant: The Blueprint for Learning Anything

In my first review of the summer, I had an opportunity to dive into Lucas Miller’s book, Beyond Brilliance: The Blueprint for Learning Anything. This text, highlighted by a well designed and visually attractive cover (internal art was also fun and engaging), sets a stage for first identifying myths and then drilling down strategies and realities of a variety of learning connected topics. An asset for learners of any age, it provides valuable, applicable insights for individuals with a desire to prepare themselves for a lifetime of learning. As I continued through the text, I vetted its content through multiple lenses to include the eyes of middle school, high school, post-secondary and finally lifelong learners. With each page turn, I found myself experiencing epiphanies grounded in the idea of, “I wish I had known that when I was in school” and the occasional, “I knew there was science behind that not being the best way to learn.”

With an extremely readable format and chapters designed to take you straight to the meat of the topic, it is an action-oriented, purpose-driven presentation of applicable topics that infuse the science of learning (and inserts from prominent experts in the field) in a palatable format for learners of all ages and current realities. I immediately found myself in educator mode starting to adapt it to applications with students and then shifted gears to how it could support professional development approaches with teacher leaders.

My favorite chapter, “Connect the Dots, Don’t Collect Them,” provides a profound reality that has plagued institutions for centuries and solidifies the importance of relevance in learning with the quote “The industrial model of school is organized around exposing students to ever increasing amounts of stuff and then testing them on it. Collecting dots. Almost none of it is spent on teaching them the skills necessary to connect dots.” It goes on to articulate the closest thing to my learning “silver bullet” of teaching students how to acquire knowledge and create solutions by sharing, “And the magic of connecting dots us that once you learn the techniques, the dots can change but you’ll still be good at connecting them.”

As my deeper dive continued, it took another pleasant shift from testing and content consumption strategies to visioning activities–“Where you are now vs where you want to be”–with segways to life planning strategies that would seamlessly support adult learners engaged in any learning experience.

Beyond Brilliance delivers a holistic approach to learning to include insights in health, energy and even comfort in your ability to struggle with various strategies. A fun text for all audiences, I would endorse it as a guide to be added to bookshelves and desks across the learning continuum. After that, it is time for a nap, which is also deconstructed by presenting highlights and benefits within the text:

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Adam Kulaas

Adam is a learning design consultant. He focuses on capacity building and is known for his work in coaching, learning design and leadership development.

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