Hi, my name’s Sam Rinko, and I’m addicted to learning, sometimes to a fault.
I wasn’t always this way, obsessed with books.
My grandmother, an English teacher and avid reader of history, used to chide me regularly for my attitude towards learning.
“But learning is just about the most fun you can have!” she said once, as she watched me mourn over the news I had just received that we’d be taking a trip to the Civil War History museum.
For most of my life, learning was near the bottom of the list of fun things to do, right there next to brushing my teeth and going to sleep.
I know now, upon reflection, that this disenchantment with education was not due to my lack of curiosity — I’ve always been inquisitive. At just two years old I was happily driving my parents mad on all car rides and tuck ins with questions ranging from “why’s the sky blue?” to “do turtles have friends too?”
No, I know now that it was my distaste for authority that caused my disaffection with learning. When teachers started to mandate readings and to assign certain books, my reading ceased almost entirely. I considered it a chore.
From around sixth grade to Freshman year of college I read almost no books at all, aside from those assigned for class. And, believe me, I skipped plenty of those too.
In college, something happened. I began, again, to read. Perhaps it was the the free time, a maturation of my brand, or the marijuana. Whatever it was, I started to flirt with books — not my course readings though — those I neglected with pride.
Instead, I read books on subjects that interested me. Like many college students over the last few generations, I was naturally drawn to books on the more mysterious topics — Buddhism, meditation, lucid dreaming, quantum mechanics.
These books seemed like treasure chests the adults had hidden from me, and I spent many a night digging through them, marveling at those glorious, if at times unscientific, secrets I found inside.
My reading habits existed in much the same way through my college years. I neglected most of my school readings, except for the economics texts I needed to know for exams, and focused a bit too much time on random topics that stoked my curiosity.
When I should’ve been reading a novel based in the slums of Brazil for my Literature class, I was reading a book on Film Production. When I was supposed to be working my way through Descartes’ meditations, I was, at a snail’s pace, grappling with Walden.
I missed out on many great books because of this habit, but I did something much more important. I followed my curiosity, read what I wanted to read, and in doing so, revived my love for learning. Anyway, now I can learn those books on my own. In fact, I have.
Since graduation, I’ve read classics spanning history, literature, psychology, philosophy, and religion. I’ve read more practical books on writing, sales, marketing, even reading. I’ve read current novels and pieces of long-form journalism.
For a while there, it was a bit of a free for all. I was making up for lost time, I guess. I focused too much on range, and now I want — no, need — some depth.
Now, I’m starting to self=study one subject, or subdiscipline, at a time. I’m becoming more deliberate, and taking time to plan my self-education projects.
A lack of structure was one of many of the mistakes I’ve made over the past four years I’ve been engaging in self-education. I’ve learned a lot, and I want to share it with you, helping you avoid tactics and mindsets that wasted my time and become self-educated in the subjects that pull you, be it philosophy, politics, biology, or some wonderful combination.
On Knowledge Lust, I’ll post step-by-step self-education roadmaps that will help autodidacts get the fundamentals of a discipline systematically and without going back to school. These are designed to be followed sequentially, but you can also just use them as a starting point.
I’ll also share some tips and progress updates on my own self-education journey. Right now I’m tackling English Literature!
I hope my content helps you gain some structure to your self-directed studies, some confidence that it’s possible. As always, if some step or tip doesn’t vibe with your curiosities, don’t listen to me. In the end, you should rely on your own interests to guide you.