Shane Parrish runs an organization in Ottawa, Canada called Farnam Street. It’s a place where “people master the best of what other people have already figured out.” According to Parrish, if you read 30 pages a day for 340 days (allowing for some off days) you would read over 10,000 pages in a year, or 50, 200-page books. According to author Darius Foroux, “Most people read 50 pages an hour. If you read 10 hours a week, you’ll read 26,000 pages a year. Let’s say the average book you read is 250 pages: In this scenario, you’ll read 104 books in a year.”

Although I haven’t been able to match the pace calculated by either Parrish of Foroux, I have read 56 books during the past 15 months.

Why?

One of the reasons is to prepare for my work with students at Colorado Academy whose learning needs are growing more diverse and intense as the world faces exponential transformations. This is particularly true for students in CA’s new REDI Lab where the range of learning is dynamic and lends itself to binges.

In their own words, here is some of what students are experiencing in the REDI Lab as they engage in #bingelearning:

“I’ve done more research and writing in our 2 weeks of REDI lab than I would in other classes but since I like the topics I don’t mind doing the extra work. Our classroom in the art building has a productive feeling and I feel that there are high expectations for us but at the same time it feels relaxed.”

“Because of the extra time REDI Lab offers, I’ve been more focused and determined in my schoolwork, and I haven’t felt like that in a long time. It’s refreshing to come home and be able to give my all into just a few subjects as opposed to having to divide and prioritize my time into several sectors that I can’t focus on or zoom in on.”

“…I plan to use the REDI Lab to maximize my efficiency within my current coursework and as a result have extra time to dive deeply into a project of my own. I anticipate that I will initially struggle with redesigning my workflow and designing a basic framework for how to best manage my time. If done successfully, I will be able to transfer the new insights… I am optimistic for the coming months in the REDI Lab program and look forward to struggling towards (hopefully) greatness.”

“Prior to REDI Lab, I could only dream of the day when I would be able to pursue my extracurricular passions full-time. I knew that if I were able to direct my time to my passions, I would achieve a rapid development in my personal growth and direction in life. REDI Lab has afforded me the time to do so, and in addition to this time I am able to receive full-time guidance and insight from two full-time REDI Lab instructors.”

“I am able to restructure my time in a way that makes me look forward to that time each day, allows me to complete more work than before with more of a constant interest in that work. …I also am able to work together with classmates on external and REDI lab based assignments, which provokes a diversity of thought around those assignments for me.”

REDI is an acronym for the cornerstones of the lab program. Here are some of the “cornerstone books” I’ve recently read:

Research:  Originals by Adam Grant – studies how to champion new ideas and fight groupthink.
Entrepreneurship:  Zero to One by Peter Thiel – analyzes the ideology of competition.
Design:  Whiplash by Joi Ito – sets a context for the design of the world.
Inquiry:  Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett – explores big questions.