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6 Books That Changed My Life

6 Books That Changed My Life

“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

― Franz Kafka

Books inspire me and have always been my refuge to conflicts in life. Here are the 6 books that challenged my perspectives and wiped of my stringent notions.

1. The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck

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    Simply, buy this book for the path towards enlightenment in a spiritual way that encapsulates your personal growth. This book never gives you easy solutions to the conflicts, it simply says; “Legitimate suffering is part of life” and leaves you with better insights to lead a fulfilled life.

    Profound wisdom in a nutshell

    –       If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem

    –       Route to reality is not easy

    –       Desire to love is not love – Love is both an intention and action

    –       We cannot be source of strength unless we nurture our strength

    –       My feeling of love may be unbounded, but my capacity to be loving is limited

    –       An attempt to avoid legitimate suffering is the root cause of emotional illness

    –       When I genuinely love I am extending myself, and when I am extending myself I am growing. Genuine love is self-replenishing. The more I nurture the spiritual growth of others, the more my own spiritual growth is nurtured. I am a totally selfish human being. I never do something for somebody else but that I do it for myself.

    –       Individual growth and societal growth are interdependent

    2. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann

    TheGo-Giver

      I didn’t even expect that such a small book could make a huge difference in my approach towards life. It simply says, “Give” and go on explaining 5 profound laws that directs the mankind and concludes that there is always a truth in the opposite.

      Profound wisdom in a nutshell

      –       What you focus is what you get

      –       Giving leads to receiving

      –       World is just a reflection of you

      –       Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment

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      –       If you want more success, find a way to serve more people; it is just that simple

      –       Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them

      –       Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interest first

      –       The point is not what you do. Not what you accomplish. It’s who you are.

      3. Tao Te ching by Lao tzu

      lao tzu

        Tao Te Ching is one of the finest books on philosophy written by Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher and a Poet. It’s profound, intriguing and soul stirring. Read it and get in touch with the enlightening insights that give you enough thrills to pursue your life vigorously.

        Profound wisdom in a nutshell

        –       Rid yourself of desires to know the secrets

        –       Adapt the nothing; because change is permanent

        –       By virtue of nothing, you gain something

        –       Way is vague and unclear; but still you have to follow; substance will be found – not to worry.

        –       He who brags will have no merit; he who boasts will not endure

        –       Good man is the teacher the bad learns form; and the bad man is the material the good works on.

        –       Whoever lays hold of empire will lose it.

        –       Anything that goes against the way will come to an end.

        –       A man of highest virtue does not keep to virtue and that is why he has virtue

        –       A man of the lowest virtue never strays from virtue and that is why he is without virtue.

        –       Excessive meanness leads to great expense

        –       Too much store is sure to end in immense loss

        –       There is no crime greater than having too many desires

        –       There is no misfortune greater than being covetous

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        –       Never attempt to be great, that is the only way in becoming great

        –       Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in

        –       One who excels in fighting is never roused by anger

        –       One who excels in employing others humbles himself before them.

        4. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

        the power of habit

          I never knew habits play such an important role in shaping our future until I read this book. It simply says, you are what your habits are, and also suggests the proven techniques to generate new habits that alter our lifestyle and eventually our life. A must read for everyone to understand the intricacies of the habits.

          Profound wisdom in a nutshell

          –       Brain converts sequence of action into an automatic routine

          –       Cue-routine-reward; Habit loop

          –       Brain makes almost any routine into a habit

          –       The problem is that brain can’t tell the difference between good and bad habits

          –       Since we often don’t recognize these habit loops as they grow, we are blind to our ability to control them.

          –       The brain can be reprogrammed; you just have to be deliberate about it.

          –       If you want to change the habit, you must find an alternative routine

          –       If you genuinely believe in people that they have what it takes to succeed, they will prove you right

          –       If you dress a new something in old habits, it’s easier for the public to accept it

          –       To market a new habit – make it familiar

          –       Every habit, no matter how complex is malleable

          –       Habits can be changed; if you understand how can they function

          5. The power of myth by Joseph Campbell

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            Myths – clues to the spiritual potentialities of human life; this was a revelation

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            The Power of Myth is a book based on the conversations between mythologist Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. Believe me, it is such an astounding book that gives you a thorough understanding of the intriguing elements of life such as life, death, love, marriage etc. and leaves you spellbound.

            Profound wisdom in a nutshell

            –       Man should not submit to the powers from outside but command them

            –       Myth is a manifestation of symbolic energy

            –       The dream is an inexhaustible source of spiritual information about yourself

            –       Myth is the public dream, dream is the private myth

            –       The mystery of life is beyond all human conception

            –       World is based on duality

            –       Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is here – if you don’t get it here, you can’t get it anywhere

            –       Myths must be kept alive and the people who can keep them are artists

            –       Nature echoes in you, because you are nature

            –       Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life

            –       A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself

            –       When we quit thinking primarily about our own self-preservation and ourselves. We undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

            –       Desire is the bait, death is the hook

            –       Follow your bliss – Find where it is, don’t be afraid to follow it

            –       The passage to fulfillment lies between the perils of desire and fear.

            –       Your life is the fruit of your own doing

            –       The greater life’s pain, the greater life’s reply

            –       The demon that you can swallow gives you its power.

            –       The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our own lives.

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            –       If my guiding divinity is brutal; my decisions will be brutal as well

            –       By expansion, your ego diminishes, your conscious expands

            6. The science of getting rich by Wallace. D. Wattles

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              I have my own misconceptions of getting rich till I read this book. All were cleared off and made a huge difference in my life after knowing some of the secrets mentioned in this book. Read it, for it teaches you to become rich, not instantaneously but strategically.

              Profound wisdom in a nutshell

              –       Moral and spiritual greatness is possible only to those who are above the competitive battle for existence.

              –       The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself

              –       People must be taught to become rich by creation, not competition

              –       Never ever compel your will on others

              –       You must know what you want, and be specific and definite

              –       Grateful mind is constantly fixed upon the best, therefore it tends to become the best

              –       Getting rich is not the result of doing certain things; it is the result of doing things in a certain way.

              –       An ounce of doing things is worth a pound of theorizing.

              –       Give everyone more in use value than you take from him in cash value. Then you are adding to the life of the world by every business transaction.

              –       If you are in a business which does beat people, get out of it at once

              –       You can only get what is yours by giving the other person what is rightfully his.

              –       Do not wait for a change of environment, before you act. Create a change of environment by your action

              –       Be the best in things you do, then you will accomplish the best. In turn you will be the best.

              Note: The Points mentioned here are just the bits of insights I gained from the above books and I’m sure you would find much more insights. Go ahead and grab them, you will never regret.

              Featured photo credit: book via pixabay.com

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              Last Updated on November 5, 2019

              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

              Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

              This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

              Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

              Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

              Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

              To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

              What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

              Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

              LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

              On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

              Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

              5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

              There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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              With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

              Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

              Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

              1. Canvas Network

              Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

              Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

              Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

              To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

              Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

              Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

              Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

              The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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              In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

              2. Google Classroom

              This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

              Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

              Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

              With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

              Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

              Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

              3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

              If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

              Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

              It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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              Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

              Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

              4. Absorb

              This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

              Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

              Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

              The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

              Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

              The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

              Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

              Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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              5. Watershed Collaborative

              Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

              Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

              While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

              If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

              Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

              Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

              Honorable Mentions

              There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

              Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

              1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
              2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
              3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
              4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
              5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

              Conclusion

              There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

              Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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