Food For Thought: Book Recommendations From Udemy Instructors

Got summer vacation coming up and looking for a book or two to bring poolside? Maybe you could use a good read for some extra inspiration and motivation. Udemy instructors are always a great source of ideas, knowledge, and encouragement, so we asked them to share a book that’s had a significant impact on their personal or professional lives as well as their thoughts on the importance of lifelong learning.  

Imtiaz Ahmad
Teaches: Master Object Oriented Design in Java – Homework + Solutions
Book pick: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

On the surface, “The Alchemist” is a captivating story about a boy’s dream to travel the world and search for a hidden treasure, however, there are countless hidden lessons intertwined in the story. The lessons that resonated with me the most were: 1) the intensity of your desire to do something can overcome all hurdles you may experience in pursuit of your dream; 2) sometimes you’ll have to do things you don’t like to do because those things may seem completely unrelated to your dream, but it’s during those times you need to give your 100% because you’ll realize later that everything is sort of related to you realizing your dream; and 3) often times, you’re much closer than you think toward achieving your goal so keep going.

Thoughts on lifelong learning: The process of learning something new scratches an innate itch we were all born with. Lifelong learners know how awesome this actually feels.

Jessica Brody
Teaches: Productivity Hacks for Writers
Book pick: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

A clean space is a clean mind. Nothing has helped me live this philosophy better than Marie’s amazing book. As a professional consultant in the Japanese art of decluttering, Marie helps people organize their house and, in turn, organize their mind. After applying some of her techniques, I’ve become more organized, more productive, and more inspired to work each day, which has allowed me to write more books and produce more courses.

Thoughts on lifelong learning: I think Albert Einstein said it better than I ever could: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Peter Dalmaris
Teaches: Arduino Step by Step: Getting Started
Book pick: Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
This book helped me immensely in thinking about my work as a business. Especially when I started creating online courses, I used the Business Model Canvas (first chapter of the book) to figure out things like the value proposition of the course, the channels through which I planned to distribute it, revenue streams, partnerships, and much more. The Business Model Canvas is a great way to visualize a whole business or a single project.

Thoughts on lifelong learning: I can’t imagine doing anything worthwhile without “standing on the shoulders of giants.” From seeking inspiration and great ideas to practical solutions to everyday problems, continuous learning is key to being a better person and a better teacher.

Jeremy Deighan
Teaches: GarageBand Masterclass
Book pick: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

I enjoyed “The Slight Edge” because it really shows you that you don’t have to concentrate on big, momentous actions; consistent action taken over a period of time will cause the changes you wish to see. This book really gave me sound philosophies to live by with great storytelling to change my mental attitude towards achieving my goals.

Thoughts on lifelong learning: Staying engaged and inspired and learning new things neurologically creates and connects new brain cells, which helps other facets of your life, such as memory, motor skills, and overall intelligence.

Lisa Powers
Teaches: Reiki Level I, II and Master
Book pick: Excuse Me, Your Life is Waiting (and companion Playbook) by Lynn Grabhorn

Before I read this book, I felt unsure about the decisions I was making and the path I was choosing. After reading it, I knew exactly what I wanted, and working to achieve those things no longer felt like a struggle. Now when I am faced with a choice, I use it as a guide for ensuring that the decision I make is in alignment with the life I want to lead.

Thoughts on lifelong learning: One of my favorite quotes is, “The bigger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” It is tempting to start believing that you “know that already,” or that, as an expert in your field, you cannot learn from those you lead, but by seeing the world with eyes that are open to learning and experiencing, the world will show you miracles every day.

Shani Raja
Teaches: Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer
Book pick: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki.  

While I was an editor at The Wall Street Journal, I heard a chapter from “Rich Dad Poor Dad” being read aloud by a fellow student at Toastmasters, the public-speaking club, and, fascinated by the discussion of our attitude to work and money, I immediately bought the book. The author beautifully explains the difference between “working for money,” which I’d always striven to do, and “making money work for you” by creating or investing in revenue-generating things of value. The insight kickstarted my life-changing journey to start a business creating high-quality, passive-income-generating online courses.

Thoughts on lifelong learning: For me, the beauty of life is in perpetually expanding the boundaries of my limitations and, thus, learning from others who have exceeded my own boundaries in some way, which is always a delicious experience for the soul.