Twenty Questions for Humans – Book Review

I read Craig's book - here are my thoughts.


Hi there everyone. I've just finished reading this book 20 questions for humans by soon to be Dr. Craig Harper. He's embarking on a PhD in neuroscience as it is. He's keen on being a neuroscientist.

So, I thought I'd just quickly go through what I got out of this book, and what I think you as a researcher as a PhD student could get out of it. As I mentioned or as the title suggests 20 questions. That's exactly what the book is it's very readable easy to read from my perspective anyway. Certainly not highly academic but helps me or helped me go through different things that might make me a better person, might make me more effective at work, and in my personal life.

Some of the questions quite easier you know. What is my life telling me? What are my core values? How do I live in alignment? I think as a researcher and as a PhD student, knowing what your core values are, knowing what matters to you can really help your living into alignment. If you haven't worked that out. I encourage you to sit down and have a think about that.

Why do I self-sabotage? What's the best question I can ask? I think researchers are always asking good questions all that's they've been trained to do that. If you can't ask the best question, ask the second best one. How does the other person see this? I think this is really a good question to ask whenever you're having problems or difficulties with your supervisor. Whether that be your boss or whether it be from a PhD perspective, your PhD supervisor. I would say a lot of people aren't specifically trying to make life difficult or make things hard for you. Then seeing things differently is probably why you're in the situation that you're in. What's my why kind of already covered that around values. I think again, knowing your why around your PhD will help you get through some of the tougher times.

What's my plan? Certainly, knowing what you want to do in a year from now is really good. I think from a PhD perspective, the focus should be not what what's my plan in a year from now but what's my plan to get my PhD finished? What's my plan for after my PhD? You may or may not have seen a post that I put about you know, PhDs are a lot like weddings or marriages I should say. Everyone focuses on the wedding, but no one focuses on what happens for the theoretical lifetime that marriage happens after that. We've spent a lot of time, effort, and money in making the wedding perfect. What about spending time, and money making the marriage perfect. Certainly, from a PhD perspective what's my plan to get my PhD done and transition into the workforce. That should be your focus.

Why do I think the way I do? That's question 8. How can I change the way I think is question 9. What is reality is question 10. What's it like being around me? I think this is a really a great question as academics, particularly when we're trying to work with industry. If we're unclear on what it's like to be around me, then that answering that question might help you understand why you might find it hard to work with industry. Am I efficient or just busy? Awesome question there. Definitely for people that spend a long time in the work in the lab knowing whether your vision busy or efficient is useful. There are lots of cartoons out there that talk about how long PhD students spend in the lab, and how much time it's there. Then they compare that Taurus to a postdoc, and they compared that to a research assistant. I would say, if you can adopt a rush the doctor research assistant mindset of 9 to 5 and getting as much done as you can in that time, you'll have a much better as life as a result. Knowing what success is for you? Really good question there. Am I ready to do the work? That's really a good question to ask if you're starting out in a PhD. If you're considering transitioning into an academic career. You need really need to ask yourself that question. If you're transitioning out of a PhD into academia or out of academia and into industry, you really need to know are you ready to do the work around that transition. That's a lot of work around that transition. What is my body telling me? I know I've been guilty of this in the past of ignoring Neagle saws, etc., that my body is telling me to slow down or to change the way I work. Be mindful of that.

Why do I say yes, when I should say no? Learning to say no is a massive skill in life not just in your PhD. So, your supervisor perhaps sometimes when they extend your workout. Maybe you can look at that as practice to say no. Rather than them asking you to do yet something else that doesn't relate to finishing your PhD. What do I need to stop doing? What happens when I lose motivation? Awesome question that one, question 18. I would encourage people to think about this again, when they're starting their PhD. Because, what we want to do is change progress from being based on motivation to being based on habit.

There's a really good book that I've also reviewed by James Clear. It's called Atomic Habit. It's small things that make a big difference in your life. It looks at this idea of how habits compound and are good. I'm you've got and check out that review there, but definitely know what you can do create make things a habit rather than necessarily relying on motivation for success. What will my life look like in one year? Again, relating to that planning question. I just think you need to think about it what will my life look like, you know essentially a year beyond my PhD. How am I going to get from where I am now to there? Craig throws in the last one which is, what's the meaning of life?

I think you better read the book to find out what Craig thinks about that. So yeah that's why I review on 20 questions for humans on get it out have a read.