My Self Education Quests

Below are my self-education quests, short and long-term.

I like to refer to them as quests because it’s much more fun of a word than goals.

Quest summons the image of Frodo Baggins and Gandalf setting off on an adventure, whereas the word goal makes me think of an assignment I had to do in high school.

2024 Self-Education Plan

Here are my self-learning quests for this year:

  • Complete 5 DIY university-style courses.
    • Don Quixote (Online Yale Course)
    • Intro to Nietzsche (Self-Made Course – lecture series + 3 books)
    • Modern Poetry (Online Yale Course)
    • The American Civil War (Self-Made Course – 5 books on the topic)
    • Solitude, Nature, and Spirituality (6-8 books on the topic)
  • Deep read 9 classic novels (part of long-term literature quest; see long-term quests below).
    • Don Quixote – Cervantes
    • Pere Goriot – Balzac
    • Great Expectations – Dickens
    • Anna Karenina – Tolstoy
    • The Age of Innocence – Wharton
    • The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald
    • East of Eden – Steinbeck
    • Midnight’s Children – Rushdie
    • Beloved – Morrison
  • Read 6 Comic Novels (drawn from a long list of novels in this genre).
  • Read 8 Works of Contemporary Fiction (drawn form another long list of books on my radar).
  • Complete the Transcendentalist Reader (the most famous writings).
  • Read 5 Books on Learning/Self Education/Skill Acquisition (for the blog).

What I’d really like to do this year is to deeply read the majority of the books I read, and to review every single one on this blog to hold myself accountable to do so.

Here’s the book review page to track my progress (or procrastination).

I’ll let you know if I fail in achieving all these learning goals. I might fail. This is probably the most ambitious plan I’ve done yet.

Also, I’m really hoping I left enough flexibility in this plan for me to follow my curiosity when it’s piqued; in other words, to read interesting books I randomly happen across in a bookstore or in a conversation with a friend. I think it should, but we’ll see.

Long-Term Self-Education Quests

Here are my longer-term quests. They’re mostly reading lists I want to get through in subjects that interest me.

Unless I’m hyper-focused on learning one subject or skill, I’m usually working on at least one of the long-term quests in the background of my life (often at night).

I’ll often use these goals to create my annual reading plans and my DIY courses.

It’s likely quests will be added to this list as time goes on and my curiosities go crazy over what’s possible.


  • Read and Review the 50 Best Fictional Works Ever Written (started Jan 1, 2024, complete by Jan 1, 2028).
  • Read and Review all of Charles Dickens’ Novels (started Mar 2023, complete by Mar 2028).

Western History / Politics

American History

Political Philosophy

  • Complete Columbia’s Core Reading List for its Comprehensive Exam in Political Theory (+ On Politics) and create a YouTube series around it (no deadline yet).

Skills I Want to Learn

Learning skills makes life more fun and interesting by opening up doors that were closed to you beforehand. Learning a new skill is also empowering.

Below are some I want to learn in the next ten years:

  • Become fluent in Spanish and live there for 6 months.
  • Learn to surf.
  • Learn nature writing (get something published).
  • Learn humorous personal essay writing (get something published).
  • Learn novel review writing.
  • Complete The 4-Hour Chef to improve my cooking.