The Learning Project: Rites of Passage
by Lincoln Stoller
Mind Strength Balance

"This book is about following your heart. Consider how these insights might be of use to you. It’s your journey. It doesn’t end."

Author/interviewer Stoller presents question-and-answer sessions that he carefully arranged and personally conducted with people in different phases of life and varying professions. By this method, he explores how we learn, what we learn, and what we hope to accomplish from our learning experience. Through that, he strives to “encourage young people to develop judgment.” The interviews are divided into eleven such wide-ranging career categories as physics, art, and wrestling. Within each category, there are three interviews with persons in the early, middle, or late phases of their field of endeavor. Interviewees include diverse personalities: brilliant young Sonya Peters in the biology category is still actively engaged in her self-education process; Matt Forbeck is in the middle of his career in the writer category; and Phyllis Schlafly, in the category labeled society, is in her late-stage career as an opponent of the feminist movement.

Stoller is a lifelong adventurer with a Ph.D. in quantum physics whose own enthusiasm for learning is evident in this large volume. His questions to each person can be simple and pointed or, at times, provide an encouraging commentary meant to stimulate further ideas on both sides. He wisely keeps himself out of the narrative, cognizant that readers wish to be entranced and informed by his participants’ experiences and philosophies. The included photographs of some of his subjects add a lot to the work. In a lengthy introduction, he highlights archetypal guides from classical lore, such as Persephone, representing curious youth, and Chiron, a respected teacher/mentor. The participants in Stoller’s collection offer a highly unusual sampling. Though some of the names among his subjects are lesser known, especially those at the beginning phase of a profession, others, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, stand out. Stoller’s collection merits serious study by learners at all stages of life, aspiration, and education.

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