Self-Education Reading List

In many ways, online students are rebel learners. They’ve taken their education into their own hands and are embracing self-education, whether they’re learning from free online courseware or are enrolling in formal online degree programs.

If you want to know more about self-education, your best bet is to start reading. Over the last decade, I’ve kept a list the best self-education books. Now I’m sharing them in the hopes that you’ll find something new and maybe add a suggestion or two of your own. Use these resources to evaluate your education, find the tools and resources you need, and learn effectively on your own.

Theoretical Books On Self-Education

Theory-oriented books examine education as a whole and provide the foundation of understanding that self-education advocates share when they examine issues related to learning. If you’re still developing opinions about the nature of learning and the role of educational institutions, this is the place to start.

Deschooling Society (Ivan Illich) – A case for radical changes in the education system, including the disestablishment of traditionally structured schools and the development of more informal “learning webs.”

Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Paulo Freire) – An education critic argues against the theory of “banking,” claiming that a student is more than an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge from a teacher.

Practical Books On Self-Education

When you’re ready to embark on your own self-education journey, practical books can help. Whether you want to study the classics, pursue a passion, or publish a scholarly paper, experienced guides can walk you through the basics of learning independently.

Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will (Dale Stephens) – This experienced self-educator tells readers how to make college a conscious choice, find their own mentors, build a learning network, and become a student of the world. Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success (James Marcus Bach) – Bach shares his own experience on leaving traditional education, finding resources that lead to real learning, and becoming a successful software engineer.

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