Secrets to being smarter

Gift of learning


Consider this your mid-week motivation—here we'll be sharing a new smarter secret from our authors, the people who you learn from and who inspire you to push the limits of your potential. So, we asked: What is the best gift you've received that has sparked learning and encouraged you to learn more?


When I was 12 years old my parents gave me a Texas Instruments 99/4A. The TI-99/4A was one of the earliest home computers ever made and the first home computer with a 16-bit processor. I hadn't asked for a computer and really didn't have much of an idea what a computer could do. But, within two years I had become so enthralled with the machine that I studied assembly language programming on my own and wrote a little video game. I still remember struggling to generate random numbers using assembly language instructions. Believe it or not, computers try to avoid randomness. But, with some help from an older friend of my sister, and a college textbook, I was able to overcome. The unexpected gift from my parents started a lifetime fascination with computer programming. –Scott Allen, developer & Microsoft MVP


Several years ago, I was reading a biography by my hero Richard Feynman, and something in it always stuck with me. He was recalling a time when his sister (Joan Feynman) shared her belief that any complicated book could be mastered if you just re-read it enough times. It seems like a simple idea, but I have found it to be most true. Every subject I have wanted to learn – no matter how complicated it seemed at first – at some point would all make sense if I just went back to it several times. That realization has been important since I now know in my heart that nothing is impossible to learn. It just takes time and patience. –Sara Morgan, Salesforce developer & Dreamforce speaker


I think the best gift I’ve received came from a friend of my grandmother, way back in the early 1980s. It was a brand new Apple ][e, a piece of – at the time – high technology not likely to be seen on a farm in the middle of nowhere, like where I lived in southern Illinois. –Greg Shields, IT pro & VMware expert


My wife gave me a gift certificate for Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) training. This gift was wonderful because studying Krav has given me (a) better health; (b) increased confidence; and (c) plenty of intellectual stimulation because I've been diving deeply into Krav history and philosophy. –Tim Warner, IT pro & tech trainer 


I was always intrigued by computers, and my hardworking mother surprised me with one. And this gift pretty much changed my life. I was never much of a learner, but the almost infinite possibilities of usage that the computer represented really sparked interest in me. From messing with the hardware to creating content (and of course playing video games!), the gift of a computer instilled a desire to learn and explore a world previously unknown. –Nejc Kilar, 3D artist 

So, what’s your secret to being smarter?

Share it with us: #SmarterThanYesterday.



Pluralsight is the technology skills platform. We enable individuals and teams to grow their skills, accelerate their careers and create the future.