English Lessons

These lessons are for intermediate to advanced students. The materials in each lesson should take about half and hour to go through, analyze, use to learn new structures and relevant vocabulary.

Main English Page

Neurosexism | The book Delusions of Gender argues that the biological differences between the sexes are not innate and hardwired, they’re cultural

The New Economy | A skeptical look at techno-dystopian futures and the political baggage they carry

Trial and Error with a Mess | Tim Harford rejects perfect planning, shows that trial and error is the best way to solve problems and that imperfection drives creativity

China’s Coming Role as a Great Power | A series of articles from the NY Times looks at China’s emerging role in the world

Africa: a Case Study in Consumption rather than Production | African cities such as Kinshasa are becoming massive urban centers that mostly consume economically instead of producing

Morality, Political Correctness and Bridging Idealogical Divides | Jonathan Haidt challenges conventional wisdom on the origins of morality and proposes steps to end ideological divides

Negotiation | A look at books by Chris Voss and Dan Shapiro about how to negotiate win-win solutions

Deep Work and Flow | Maximixing flow states and deep work can give meaning and joy to life and mprove productivity - with some caveats though

The Black Swan | A look at Nassim Taleb’s the Black Swan to practice compactly writing complex ideas

The Limits of Productivity | An in-depth look at how productive an economy can actually be and the future of US productivity

Smash Fear, Learn Anything | A TED Talk with Tim Ferriss about the process of learning nearly any skill

Getting Older in Tech | A blog post by Don Denoncourt describes what it is like to be older in an industry that is obsessed with youth and openly discriminates against older engineers

Developers’ side projects | A developer discusses the legality of having side projects

Retirement | A discussion about retirement; how to plan and save up for it, how can you keep busy when you finally stop working

Marketing Automation is Getting Out-of-hand | A blog post debating the ethics of automated marketing emails made to look like personal emails

Why Thirty is not the new Twenty | Meg Jay attacks the fallacy that your twenties are a throw-away decade to be wasted on trivial pursuits

The Weird Western Workplace | A BBC article about the strange customs of Western offices through the eyes of Chinese immigrants

The Homeschooling Debate | A speaking lesson about the issues surrounding homeschooling, charter schools and education

Being Tired Isn’t a Badge of Honor | A CEO challenges the idea that being tired, exhausted and busy are signs of a good employee

The Art of the Finish | Cal Newport argues that productivity is overrated and we would be better off focusing on accomplishments

Why the Industrial Revolution Happened | Joel Mokyr explores why the Industrial Revolution occurred in Europe rather than more advanced China or India

The Economics of Tidying Up | A book review of Marie Kondo’s book about tidying that is filled with economic terms

Trust in the App Era | A TED Talk about how we’ve come to trust strangers over institutions due to technology

The Three Rules | Deloitte director Michael Raynor gives his three critical rules for businesses

News is Bad for You | Rolf Dobelli argues that there are no upsides and only drawbacks to reading the news

Code that I’m Ashamed of | A discussion about the ethical dilemmas that programmers and other professionals face

Taking Smart Drugs | An author describes her experience taking drugs to enhance her mental performance

Online Shaming Culture | Jon Ronson gives a TED Talk explaining how one tweet can ruin your life and online shaming

Quit Social Media | Cal Newport explains why your career may depend on overcoming bad habits that social media exacerbates

You Don’t Need a Master Plan to Start | A short read about startups being too ambitious and over-planning

Virtue Signaling | A short read describing how many positions you take are simply meaningless ways to look good to others

How to be Miserable | A short and sarcastic guide to happiness by explaining how to not be happy

Good vs. Great Leaders | An interview with James Collins about the difference between good and great leaders

How Morality Changes in a Foreign Language | Scientific American explores how an individual’s ethics shift when they speak their non-native language

Monolingualism Hurts the UK | English isn’t Enough; not knowing foreign languages is hurting the UK economy

Japanese Children and Independence | Japan takes concrete steps to teach even young children independence

America’s Rust Belt | A TED Talk about the forgotten post-industrial swathes of America

The Worst Communicators | Things native English speakers do that are hard for non-native-speakers to understand

Linux in Munich | Munich has reversed its decision to use Linux

Google vs. ProtonMail | ProtonMail disappeared from Google’s Search. How powerful should a monopoly be allowed to get?

Why Language Classes Don’t Work | A scathing critique of the traditional approach of studying a language for ten years without being able to speak it

The Ruthless Boss | Improve a long blog post about management by shortening it.

A Silent Cause of Bad Business Decisions | A short read about how our intuition can sabotage critical decisions.

What Can We Learn from Shortcuts | A TED Talk about learning from shortcuts to improve UX

Writing Sensible Emails | How to avoid clutter and streamline your emails

The Un-Silicon Valley Start-Up | MailChimp defies the traditional startup model and is successful outside of SF and without venture capital

Vocational Training vs. University | A short article about Switzerland’s vocational training program as an alternative to university

Be Kind | A senior developer reflects on how a manager helped him learn from an early mistake.

English Prime | Remove the verb ‘to be’ from your speaking and writing to improve clarity

Four Reasons to Learn a New Language | A TED Talk about the benefits of language learning