7 Phenomenal Books For Homeschooling Self-Directed Learners & Autodidacts

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
– John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, [1]

AMind

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 15, 2020

Education is the most vital component of an individual’s repertoire.  Without it, the individual is like a ship without a rudder, drifting aimlessly amidst the seas of life.

For that reason it is imperative for individuals to make sure that they continue to educate themselves, no matter what stage of life they are in.  This is why the following list has been composed.

Each of the books that have been reviewed below offers abundant wisdom from which to learn from.  Plus, considering we are in an age where public schooling is about conformity, division, dumbing people down, and more, it would be shrewd for individuals to take their own education into their hands.

If you wish to read more about the books, click the link on the book titles to heads towards the reviews.

Book #1Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D

Out of all of these 7 books, this is easily the most demanding one, but this book also has the capacity to net the most impact in your life given that logic may, and should, be employed at any given moment in life.  That is because there is no area of life that Logic cannot help in.

The lessons of this book will be useful every single day.  Although requiring considerable effort, the book is a much easier read than Aristotle’s Organnon, while still covering the core dynamics in a pragmatic format.

Book #2The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar, Logic & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.

In the past, the Trivium was taught in classical education, and was the foundation upon the rest of an individual’s education stemmed from.  That is no longer the case however.  Because of that it is imperative that books discussing classical education such as The Trivium be given serious consideration since the Trivium is one of the leading reasons why education decades and centuries ago was vastly superior than it is now.

In fact, think of these names: Leonardo Da Vinci, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Ayn Rand, Nikola Tesla, Sir Isaac Newton, and countless others.  What do they all have in common?  They are some of the most brilliant minds in human history, and none of them came out of a modern public schooling system.

As Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence note in their sobering, and yet noteworthy book Rotten To The (Common) Core:

“None of them attended a twentieth or twenty-first century American public schooling system.

None of them was taught by a teacher that had to obtain a teaching “credential” at an accredited – that is to say, officially “approved” – state or private school.  Indeed, some of them positively bucked the modern system by having been “homeschooled” by persons running small “schools” out of their homes.”[2]

Translation: all of those individuals became some of the greatest minds by employing traditional methods of education, methods that have been outright siphoned from public schooling, which is why I often make the distinction in separating public schooling from education, as the late Gatto so incisively stated, as they are not the same thing.

Just as a house cannot be complete without a foundation, an individual’s education, no matter the age, cannot be complete without knowledge of the Trivium.  The Trivium encompasses all aspects of grammar, logic and rhetoric.  This book is a thorough presentation on traditional grammar, which is vastly different than what modern schooling teaches, fallacies, syllogisms, a solid logic introduction, enthymemes, poetics, figurative language , all with a hefty dose of examples from which to learn from.

Book #3How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren.

The title of this book is a misnomer, and many people overlook it because they ‘know’ how to ‘read’ a book.  However, reading isn’t the main focus of this book; it is information extraction and retention – getting the most out of the book, which is much more different than simple reading.

If there is one book you read, make it this one because you read everyday in life, and the more information we are subjected to, the more we will read.  Knowing how to get the most out of everything we read, every article, every study, every book, and every story and so on, will only help you get ahead of the curve.

Simply stated: this is a must-read book.  In fact, it would be a mistake not to have it because not following many of these tenets would mean an individual is only attaining fractional understanding of all subjects.  The book really is downright crucial and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It’s been popular for decades, and for good reason.

Book #4Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

If you want an easy-to-follow introduction to philosophy that is accessible to everyone but also stimulating enough to get your brain cells churning, get this book.  It’s a refreshingly unique way of looking at philosophy and should not be overlooked.  It is also much shorter than the previous three books above, and is incredibly accessible.

Book #5
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston.

This book hones your critical thinking skills in a very incredible manner.  Seeing the failure of modern schooling, one would figure for a public school system that continues to fail, critical thinking would be at the top of the agenda to implement within public schooling. Such is not the case though, wherein this book comes in.

This book is affordable, has ample exercises, uses a very logical and reasonable approach that builds on itself and is easy to follow.  It’s complex enough, but not overly so.  It’s a book that’s referenced often and highly valuable.

Book #6
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi.

Now, this book by Cioffi brings a fascinating and refreshing outside-of-the-box perspective to argumentation to boot.  The author takes a rather unique approach I’ve never seen before, and one I wished was available in public schooling, but of course isn’t.  The book covers everything from essays, thesis, creative writing, paragraph design, audience considerations, writing prompts, fallacies and more.  If you’re a regular writer of any type, even if it’s not argumentation per se, I would still say this is a must read.  Or at least consider it.  As part of a homeschooling and self-directed course, this is definitely a must have though.

Book #7: Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.

And here comes the curveball: learning Logic through fiction!

This one’s an outside-of-the-box suggestion, but for an incredibly reason.  Sherlock Holmes is easily best book from which to learn critical thinking in fiction form.  Nothing else comes even close.  If you have any suggestions to add, or better, I would really like to hear them because I am always open-minded and would like to read similar books in fictional form since it allows a reader to enjoy leisure time, while also honing the mind simultaneously.

If you haven’t read any of the Arthur Conan Doyle books, Holmes uses his usual analytical approach that’s incisive in logic and precise in detail to solve every single case he ends up getting involved in.  Some cases offer more for learning than others, but the book as a whole is something every person should read give that not only does it teach you Logic in a roundabout way, but it does so in an interesting way, too.

What we as individuals accomplish in life, especially if you want to live life to the fullest, is directly proportional to what we know and are capable of.  Without robust capabilities, an individual is like a leaf in the wind, merely flowing aimlessly in the wind without a chosen direction.

This is why it’s crucial to make sure your education stands on firm ground, and you are proactive about seeking it as well.  Without a proactive approach, we’ll only achieve a portion of what we could attain in life, merely growing into a fraction of our true boundless potential, thus not living life to the fullest.

It’s never too late to be proactive about your education.

Seek to better yourself, every single day; every single step, every single breath.

Seek to learn every day, from every person, in every instance, through every breath, in every way.

Not only will that help solidify your intellectual faculties in an ironclad manner, but it will also imbue your life with more meaning than you could ever imagine.

Life never stops moving forward, and neither should you.
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[1] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.
[2] Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Rotten To The(Common) Core, p 4.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com
___________________________________________________________

Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Are You Living Your Dreams?
What Is The Difference Between Education & Public Schooling?
How TV Robs You Of Your Life
How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture
Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introduction To Phylosophy Via Plato’s Apology By Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers By Frank L. Cioffi
A Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking by David Morrow
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Mainstream Media Control
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Mary Joseph Ph.D.
Why Read The Classics?
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan

Book Review: Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Novels & Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle | #SmartReads

“A mind needs a book as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”
– George R.R. Martin

BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
February 8, 2020

Ironically, it was through the most serendipitous of circumstances that this collection was suggested to me.  Following a lengthy discourse with my economics professor a long time ago in which I asked what he thought was the best way to learn logic, he, in his classic fashion, suggests not a textbook, but Sherlock Holmes!  At the time, thought it was a joke myself.  Interestingly enough, he wasn’t joking.

Here, now, many years later, the adventures of Sherlock Holmes was how I was introduced to logic through great fiction to boot.

Arthur Conan Doyle’s magnum opus, Sherlock Holmes, features characters that are rather unique but very believable; the setting is always authentic, the mysteries abound, and there’s puzzles wrapped in enigmas all woven into phenomenal fiction as well.  This is one of the great reasons rereading this series is so easy and serves as a fictional fall back for reading, especially when a lot of modern fiction is quite lacking in logical substance.

In more modern times, there have been great mystery writers, and many imitators in countless ways, but none has truly come close to creating a fun, readable, witty, critically  thinking, logical, and intriguing series in the way that Arthur Conan Doyle did when the Sherlock Holmes series.  Those who attempt to follow in the author’s footsteps fall quite short, even when the authors have a template of what worked in the past.  This is why, after my fourth reading of this series, it’s still a great as ever, and nothing really compares.  And what’s more, there’s always something to learn from it, too.

Let’s boil it down.  Great fiction is great because it allows wonder and imagination to take flight, and sparks creativity like nothing else.  Sherlock Holmes definitely creates auspicious and believable adventures upon which any curious mind would Love to venture.

This fictional series does way more than that though.  If it had only sparked imagination, it would have been a really good, or even a great series.  But even so, it offers so much more.  Sherlock Holmes is a veritable crashcourse into how to critically think and employ logic, wrapped up in a fantastic fictional package that is as timeless as it is robust.

For me, this book falls within what Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren referred to as the top tier of books.  As the authors note in their landmark How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading:

“Of the few thousand such books there is a much smaller number – here the number is probably less than a hundred – that cannot be exhausted by even the very best reading you can manage.  How do you recognize this?  Again it is rather mysterious, but when you have closed the book after reading analytically to the best of your ability, and place it back on the shelf, you have a sneaking suspicion that there is more there than you got….In fact, you cannot put your finger on it, but you know it is there.  You find that you cannot forget the book, that you keep thinking about it and your reaction to it.  Finally, you return to it.  And remarkable things happen.”[1][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

Just as so:

“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with youYou see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before.  Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before.  But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[2] [Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

For me, this book – all of its fictional stories – accomplishes all of the above and more.

Granted, there are many other books in classical and even modern literature that offer many life lessons. However, none teach the individual the foundation for critical thinking and logic like Sherlock Holmes does.  This is why this stands above and beyond countless other books when it comes to those two crucial points.

If you homeschool, if you’re an autodidact, a self-directed learner, or simply someone that wants to read a great book, then read this.  You will not regret it.

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Footnotes:

[1] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.
[2] Ibid., p. 333.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com
________________________________________________________________________
Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
The Minds Of Men [Documentary] | Social Engineering & Mind Control
Manipulation Of Media Messages & Astroturf by Sharyl Attkisson
Socratic Logic V 3.1 by Peter Kreeft PhD
Getting Things done by David Allen
Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto
The Catastrophic Decline of Public Schooling: 21 Facts Why School Performs Poorly
Mindset Musings#1: Venturing Outside Of Comfort Zones
Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell & Gary Lawrence
Lesson’s From Orwell’s 1984
Against Public Schooling – How Public Education Cripples Our Kids By John Taylor Gatto
Social Engineering 101
The Tavistock Institute – Social Engineering The Masses By Daniel Estulin
The Emergence Of Orwellian Newspeak & The Death Of Free Speech
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression by Dr. Kelly Brogan
Social Engineering 101
Drilling Through The Core by Sandra Stotski & Contributors
What Is An Elite Curriculum?
Invisible Influence by Kevin Hogan