Learning and knowledge transfer

I am embarking on a study of how humans engage in the process of learning, how they transfer their knowledge, how individuals most effectively receive information for processing, and what hinders and what assists in the attainment of personal potential. In order to do this, I have selected an initial series of books to read in five topic areas: early man, nature and interactions between man and nature, travel and exploration, inventions and technology, and human experience and learning. As I do this, I am working through the ages to see how interactions between cultures further developed our collective knowledge, understanding, and learning. Lastly, I am investigating how inventions and breakthroughs in creativity spur new thinking and paths of exploration in society.

I imagine that in the hypothetical situation of a totally isolated settled society, knowledge must be limited to the accumulated learning and expertise of the group. In this situation, new learning would only come through serendipitous encounters with natural events and surroundings. Early migrating humans following food sources must have had to adapt their skill set to their constantly changing environment. Migrations further afield to totally new climatic regions or food sources also required  adaptation and learning. Later interactions between groups could only have enriched the knowledge base of both interacting cultures.

Interesting questions: How have we transferred learning both through the ages, and between ourselves in a particular time period? Has how we learn changed through the ages to the present, not so much in the medium of its transfer, but in its content and structure?

Casting a wide net, my initial reading list is:


The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells
People of The Lake by Richard E. Leakey
Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade


Out of Eden by Alan Burdick
Salt by Mark Kurlansky
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Nature Wars by Mark L. Winston
Animal Architects by James R. Gould and Carol Grant Gould


1421 by Gavin Menzies
Marco Polo by Laurence Bergreen


Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner
The Medieval Machine by Jean Gimpel
The Nature of Technology by W. Brian Arthur
Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Simplexity by Jeffrey Kluger
How Invention Begins by John H. Lienhard
Inventing Modern by John H. Lienhard


The Practice of Creativity by George M. Prince
How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
I Am a Pencil by Sam Swope
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Mind In The Making by Ellen Galinsky
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl