Brain Pickings Icon
Brain Pickings

Happy Birthday, Jean-Jacques Rousseau: 21 Essential Reads on Education

Bertrand Russell, Richard Feynman, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky, Isaac Asimov, Kio Stark, and more.

After previously requested reading lists like famous writers’ collected advice on writing, the best books of 2012, and history’s finest letters of fatherly advice, here is another omnibus of popular demand: 21 great reads on education from the Brain Pickings archives, to commemorate the birthday of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712–July 2, 1778), whose reverberating wisdom shaped modern thinking on education.

  1. Don’t Go Back to School: How to Fuel the Internal Engine of Learning
    “When you step away from the prepackaged structure of traditional education, you’ll discover that there are many more ways to learn outside school than within.”
  2. Bertrand Russell on Education and the Good Life
    On the art of acquiring “a high degree of intellectual culture without emotional atrophy.”
  3. How to Save Science: Education, the Gender Gap, and the Next Generation of Creative Thinkers
    “The skills of the 21st century need us to create scholars who can link the unlinkable.”
  4. Richard Feynman On The One Sentence To Be Passed On To The Next Generation
    “In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.”
  5. Henry Miller on Reading, Influence, and What’s Wrong with Education
    “Our whole theory of education is based on the absurd notion that we must learn to swim on land before tackling the water. It applies to the pursuit of the arts as well as to the pursuit of…
  6. Alain de Botton on What Education and the Arts Can Learn from Faith
    How to glean secular models for engagement and inspiration from religious rituals.
  7. 14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge: A Timeless Guide from 1936
    “Write! Writing, to knowledge, is a certified check.”
  8. Sister Corita Kent’s Timeless Rules for Learning and Life, Hand-Lettered by Lisa Congdon
    “It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.”
  9. The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge
    “The real enemy is the man who tries to mold the human spirit so that it will not dare to spread its wings.”
  10. How Children Learn: Portraits of Classrooms Around the World
    A revealing lens on a system-phenomenon both global in reach and strikingly local in degree of diversity.
  11. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Scientific Literacy, Education, and the Poetry of the Cosmos
    “Science is a way of equipping yourself with the tools to interpret what happens in front of you.”
  12. Bertrand Russell on the 10 Commandments of Teaching
    “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
  13. Frank Lloyd Wright on Education and Learning
    “You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having.”
  14. Noam Chomsky on the Purpose of Education
    On the value of cultivating the capacity to seek the significant.
  15. Susan Sontag’s Radical Vision for Remixing Education
    A new order of knowledge for cultivating lifelong learning.
  16. Learners Will Inherit the Earth: Alistair Smith on Fixing Education
    How to get unstuck, or why being a learner is infinitely better than being a knower.
  17. A New Culture of Learning: Rethinking Education
    The evolution of education, particularly as filtered through the prism of emerging technology and new media, is something we’re keenly interested in and something of increasing importance to society…
  18. How Geography Paved the Way for Women in Science and Cultivated the Values of American Democracy
    From the ideals of “republican motherhood” to a cure for “the wayward attention of children.”
  19. Isaac Asimov on Science and Creativity in Education
    What vintage science fiction has to do with the future of self-directed learning.
  20. Sir Ken Robinson on How Finding Your Element Changes Everything
    What knowing the limits of knowledge has to do with finding the frontiers of creativity.
  21. 7 Nonfiction Children’s Books Blending Whimsy and Education
    From typography to tsunamis by way of quantum physics, or what Langston Hughes has to do with LEGO.

Complement with the Book Pickings education archive.

Published June 28, 2013




Filed Under

View Full Site

Brain Pickings participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn commissions by linking to Amazon. In more human terms, this means that whenever you buy a book on Amazon from a link on here, I get a small percentage of its price. That helps support Brain Pickings by offsetting a fraction of what it takes to maintain the site, and is very much appreciated