Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar by James Marcus Bach

The learning process is not restricted to the classroom – at least, not for Bach, buccaneerwhose unconventional “buccaneer” approach to learning set him at odds with his school system at an early age.  He became a school dropout and emancipated minor at 15.  The prime making of a loser?  Think again –  within six years, the author was heading a software testing team at Apple, and since then has worked or freelanced his way through Silicon Valley and the speaking circuit, breaking the rules of decorum along the way and proving his worth without the diplomas on the wall.

What’s his secret?  My take, from reading Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar, is that self-education goes well beyond the test-determined years of public schooling.  It’s not what the schools teach, but what one is motivated to learn throughout a lifetime, and that the path to learning is not always a straight one.  In Bach’s case (and to his credit), his mind is never idle, and he is able to turn what are completely unrelated topics or experiences into fresh perspectives for problem-solving.  And I think that the book’s approach is helpful.  He doesn’t talk down to his audience.  Throughout the narrative, he relates many memories of personal screw-ups and disappointments; including these makes his message way more personable to the average reader. 

If you have a questing mind that is hard to teach, take heart and learn a little (or a lot) from this book.  

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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