Daniel Mai

Learning From the Masters

Now that the semester’s over, I have more time to myself to do whatever I want. Even outside of school, I want to continue to learn about things that the curriculum hasn’t taught me (yet, if at all). So until the spring semester starts, I’m going to indulge myself in some good ol’ books.

I went to the eighth floor of the King Library and browsed around the computer section to see if any books piqued my interest. Of course, there are a whole bunch of things that I just wished I knew about, but I don’t have the time nor the mental capacity to understand everything. So I just picked out a few books this time around.

And I also remembered that I wanted to learn about writing, because the way I write isn’t great. I don’t have a good grasp over the words I write—they just come out. And most of the time I choose the wrong words.

So, here are the books I plan on reading:

  • ACM Turing Award Lectures The First Twenty Years: 1966 – 1985 (1987)
  • Mastering Regular Expressions (2002) by Jeffrey E. F. Friedl
  • On Writing (2000) by Stephen King
  • How to Win at College (2005) by Cal Newport
  • The Talent Code (2009) by Daniel Coyle

It’s time to hermit myself away and sink into these books. There are plenty of things I don’t know that the authors have spent countless hours transcribing their thoughts into words for the printed page. They are the masters, and I am just someone who wishes to obtain even a sliver of their knowledge. For sure my eyes will just race across most of the words without stopping to even think about what I just read. The time the authors spend on constructing the correct phrases to communicate their ideas is just thrown away by a reader like me.

That’s just how it goes with most things anyway. The creator is conscious of the effort that is put into the product and the whole process of making it. The consumer only knows of the final product as it is.