This November’s issue of Money has a great feature on taking advantage of free educational materials, such as lectures, that are being offered by top universities, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford. There are a variety of subjects, ranging from technology to business to history, of which you can learn. There are a lot of lecture materials available free from iTunes’ store as well. While you won’t end up with a degree, and many would argue that there is no substitute, the knowledge you are gaining just might help you excel in your career field, and impress your friends at parties.
While on this topic, it’s important to think about the down time that you might have during your normal commute to work in which you can partake in these lectures. I am fortunate that I can slap on some headphones and listen away on the train to work. For those who have to drive, consider free iTunes podcasts as a way to 1) pass the commuting time more easily; 2) learn something; 3) prevent brain rot that can happen with some morning radio shows. If you think about it, in a working lifetime, if you spend 2 hours a day commuting, and you work at least 30 years, that’s the equivalent of about 15,000 hours that you could be learning something. (I used 50 weeks * 2 hours * 5 days to arrive at that figure.) A two hour commute might be conservative for some, and given how our economy has become fragile, working 30 years is not realistic for many anymore. But, you get the point.
Using my lesson from the other day about buying used electronics, it’s worth the investment in your brain to purchase a portable Mp3 player and tote around some lessons from your favorite lecturers. Your brain will thank you for it.