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Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Paperback – October 11, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
--Dale J. Stephens, Founder of UnCollege.com
“Bach’s book is a wake-up call. I recommend it to just about anyone who wants to hear a different take on learning from what they’ve heard from parents and teachers.”
“James Bach has demonstrated that there are opportunities for each one of us to expand the innate capacity of our mind to learn and be creative without surrendering to the dictates of an academic establishment.”
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More About the Author
In addition to the books he has authored and co-authored. James has also contributed chapters to several technical books including The Gift of Time, Edited by Fiona Charles, The Testing Practitioner by Erik van Veenendal, Visual Basic for Testers by Mary Romero Sweeney, and Essential Software Test Design, by Torbjörn Ryber.
Top Customer Reviews
In reading the book, it quickly becomes evident that Bach is indeed his father's son. He dropped out of high school and never went back for formal education, but he was intelligent and motivated, so he managed to chart his own passionately self-directed course of intellectual development and built a career as a recognized expert in software testing.
Here's a summary of most of the key "secrets" he offers for a "lifetime of success":
a. View yourself as an evolving work in progress which you're responsible for creating (Nietzsche had the same idea).
b. Education must be lifelong and customized for your needs and desires, so learn to educate yourself by scouting and using the vast array of resources at your disposal (books, the Web, peers, etc.).
c. Work on "authentic problems" which engage you, rather than artificial problems which have no significance for you.
d. To sustain passion for learning, go with the flow of what engages your curiosity, is fun, and fits the natural rhythms of your mind. In other words, engage in "low-pressure learning."
e. When possible and helpful, let yourself procrastinate so that your creative subconscious mind can help you solve problems.
f.Read more ›
Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar alternates between chapters outlining Bach's theory of learning (a very Montesorrian free-flowing approach) and autobiographical chapters detailing his fall from high-school as a drop out to his rise in the computer world - all due to the kind of self-motivation and passionate learning he was disallowed from in high school. At times, Bach can come off as a bit cocky and conceited, like when he tells us of memorizing hte first 41 digits of pi just for kicks (reciting them for us again), or when he explains why he doesn't "know how to talk about things that don't matter." (kindle edition, loc. 1798)
I have mixed feelings about this book, especially as a teacher. One the one hand, I was and am very much one of the buccaneers Bach talks about. I coasted in high school, went to a non-academic music college, discovered learning on my own, read constantly, and now have two masters degrees and am in pursuit of a PhD. Bach is certainly correct that the best learning - that which is often discouraged in school - is that which one does passionately on their own.
On the other hand is the question that Bach does not much address as to whether this approach would set as many kids up for failure as success. It is evident from Bach's book that he was strongly motivated and had an uncanny sense of self-discipline.Read more ›
I wanted to give the book a positive rating, because I agree completely with the author's core advocacy of constant lifelong learning. However, in reading it I was put off by the book's random organization, banal mottoes, relentless self-promotion, and ranting against formal education. I think it is likely to appeal almost exclusively to readers who share the author's unorthodox cognitive style and point of view. In short, it was written by a maverick drop-out to be read by other maverick drop-outs. If that fits your situation, you might enjoy reading it.
James is a high school dropout. I have a Bachelor's Degree.
Who's smarter? Who's had more opportunities? Who's more successful?
Those who would ask those questions might find value in this book, because intelligence, opportunities and success are not measured by who's had more schooling, but how we approach and apply the education we build for ourselves.
For example, James and I both have successful careers in software testing, but it is James who is more famous and sought-after as a speaker, writer, and consultant. He also has a much more impressive resume, having lectured to PhDs and nuclear scientists.
This book is his story about the learning techniques he has discovered (and invented) in creating an education for himself without any schooling.
Two years ago, he showed me an early draft of this book and asked for suggestions to help him show what he has learned about learning -- for example, how school actually *prevented* him from learning -- and how he has crafted his own education since dropping out in 1982.
I hoped I could help him with his book as much as he helped me develop and thrive in my software testing career. He knew I was a journalism major and an author, but he also knew that my main skill was to ask a lot of questions (the major skill of software testing, by the way).
One of my suggestions was to talk about the advice he gave to a class of borderline dropouts in 1990, encouraging them to quit if school wasn't teaching them anything to their satisfaction. He recounts the questions they immediately asked him ("How did you get Apple Computers to hire you without a degree?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
if you are one of the folks that continually lives in a state of learned helplessness and complain about problems instead of fixing them, or are a baby-bird that needs hand-holding... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Slime
Very interesting read that could help a lot of people struggling with traditional education.Published 11 months ago by Josiah bridges
James Bach, software testing Guru and son of beloved author Richard Bach shares the secrets of an independent "Buccaneer" scholar. Read morePublished 14 months ago by John Baxter
Perfect inspiration for teaching your family to be autodidactic.Published 17 months ago by Alicia K Capps
The book is full of very bright and simple statements, that I understand intuitively, but was never able to put them in words. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Irina Ivanova
This book was a joy to read as it seemed to be talking about myself. Bach is a self-educated man who quit school to learn what he wanted to learn and in his own way. Read morePublished 20 months ago by J. E. Bonarski
Great book, lots of great and novel ideas i haven't thought of or considered before. I would highly recommended it.Published 22 months ago by Bill Clark