Course Review: Viral Marketing and How to craft contagious content

Viral Marketing is one of the most amazing courses I did on Coursera. Even though most of the concepts were already known to me, I really appreciate the way it has been explained through illustrations and references to psychology experiments.

Even though I prefer to do just a few minutes of course everyday, this was an unstoppable course. I was doing the entire week syllabus in a day. After it was over, I felt sad that the next course might not be this interesting.

Why should you do this course?

This course is not just for marketing professionals. It is for a common man like you and me too. The first week course is about making ideas stick. But after watching all the videos, I realized that those who talk using the principles in this course are the ones who are more likable. Who doesn’t want to be likable?

The second week of the course talks about how social influence affects our behaviour. For a marketing professional it is about how to influence the crowd but for you it is about how to think rationally instead of just following the crowd.

In third week, you will learn how to talk so that people will listen. We talk all the time but we still don’t get it right. This is a chance to evaluate the way we speak.

Last week talks about the pitfalls we don’t see in networking. It talks about which networking is useful for which needs. It made me look at networking with a different perspective.

Why should you not do this course?

I enjoyed this course. But I could not find any immediate actionable points to market any product. But I learned a great deal about social psychology.

Yesterday, when I was in temple, I questioned myself and asked people why they gathered even though it is not a good practise to ask in temples. May be the effect of this course. Or else I would have just stood there just because everyone else gathered.

You never know what change this course can bring in your life.

Happy doing the course!

Creative Problem Solving- Course Review

Creative Problem Solving
Created by: University of Minnesota
One day, while I was struggling to find a technical solution to a problem, I heard the most feasible solution from a high level manager. That was when it striked me that it is not subject matter expertise which is going to take you to the top but creative problem solving does.
 
As always, once I set my eyes on something, I feel restless till I do something about it. That was when I decided to take up this course.
 

Did this course cure my curiosity?

 
I was excited in the beginning when the speaker told me that the course is all about practicals. After finishing the first week, I was all set to execute my plan on how to eat creatively. Unfortunately I could not execute till date. But then, they show you the assignments submitted by other students which gives you even more creative ideas. The most creative idea I liked was, one of the students put the food he prepared in to an empty toothpaste tube and kept eating the entire day. Even though I did not execute them, it turned on my creativity faucet by looking at ideas like this.
 
Creativity exercises mentioned in the course:
 

  • Eat differently
  • Generate 10 different ways to use an object
  • Talk differently
  • Give differently

 
Apart from the practicals, there was a lot of theory which made a few weeks boring. A part of the theory was required to set the basics right. I felt most of it boring because I already knew about it. In order to just increase the lecture time, they even told how to click pictures.
 

The main take away for me from the course is

 

  • Start with divergent thinking and end with convergent thinking
  • If you are stuck with a problem, list its attributes to think creatively
  • When your mind fails to think creatively, look outside for inspiration.
  • Write 10 different ways to use an item daily
  • Maintain an idea journal
  • Diversify your knowledge

 
If I have to sum up the course in one sentence, it is the quote by Linus Pauling,
 
The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas
 
Why should you do this course?
 

  • You have no idea about how creativity works
  • You think that creativity is required only for artists
  • You want to do something different

 
Do you have to be creative to start this course?
 
No, the course material is put in layman terms that anyone can talk it with no difficulty at all.
 
Happy doing creative problem solving!
 

Course Review: Mental Math Tricks to become a human calculator

Website: Udemy

Contents:

Lesson 1. Introduction to Mental Math 
Lesson 2. LR Addition & Subtraction 
Lesson 3. LR Multiplication
Lesson 4. Basic Multiplication 
Lesson 5. Squaring 
Lesson 6 & 7. Advanced Multiplication 
Lesson 8. UT Method 
Lesson 9. FP Division 
Lesson 10. DS Checking 


Why I chose this course?


I have been doing mental math for a few years now. I have learnt things the hard way. I wanted to see what the short cut techniques look like. And the course does not take a lot of time too. Hence I went for it.


My take on the course:


The course starts with the easiest mental math trick for you to gain the momentum. Then slowly, the difficulty level rises. It has been structured perfectly so that you don’t feel like giving up in between. It had a few tricks which I was not even aware of and were highly helpful. Each concept was explained with a lot of examples and the examples covered all the possible challenges. There are also enough practice exercises for you to master them after learning each concept.

How to take this course?


Don’t finish it in one sitting

     You can’t become a math genius overnight. Go for one concept at a time. Take a shot at the quizzes and practice the worksheet. Apply them in real life from that moment. Once you are comfortable with that, hopefully in a day or two, move to the next one.

      Use a timer for practice:

     When you are practicing the concepts you can take your own sweet time. Once you are comfortable with it, time your practice sessions. Beat your own records. That is the way to master it.

 Actively apply what you learn

     If you just learn it and plan to use it in your exam directly, you are at a loss. You will not be able to recollect even a single trick. You need to start using it in simple calculations of daily life. So that it becomes a part of your life and comes to you naturally in the exam.

 Stop using calculator

     Sell your calculator the day you buy this course. No point in taking this course, if you still want to use calculator. Push yourself to do the calculations the way it is taught in the course and then see the magic.
You can share your experiences with mental maths in the comments section.

Note: There is a 20% discount code available now. 
https://www.udemy.com/speed-mental-math-tricks/?couponCode=THESCHOOLOFGENIUS

Happy becoming a calculator!


How to be happy – Course Review

Course Name: How To Be Happy- What the scientists don’t want you to know
Website: Udemy
Link: https://www.udemy.com/how-to-be-happy-what-the-scientists-dont-want-you-to-know/
CONTENTS:

  • How gratitude and self-love are keys to happiness
  • 5 steps to happiness
  • How love and relationships help in happiness
  • Characteristics of a happy person
  • Design your own life – what is your life purpose
WHY I CHOSE THIS COURSE?

I have been a little busy with my office work lately, hence not able to do month long courses. This was a short course, hence chose it. I was also curious to know if this course had anything different to offer from the courses I already did or from the books I have already read.

MY TAKE ON THE COURSE:

 
It was an utter waste of my time. After the first few sections, I did not even feel like listening to it as there was nothing interesting. It is more of a theory course than a course which mentions action steps. The title is misleading by mentioning it as what scientists don’t tell. For all the theory mentioned in the course, there are scientific experiments behind it and have been presented in other courses. The only useful aspect I found was the exercises for gratitude. That is something which I would definitely want to practise from now onwards.

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE THIS COURSE?

 

  • You have no clue about happiness and wants to know if it is something useful or not
  • You don’t believe in gratitude and wants to learn if it is really effective
  • You don’t know what makes a person happy
  • You never came across life-purpose and its relation to happiness
WHY SHOULD YOU NOT TAKE THIS COURSE?

 

  • There are no subtitles. If you can’t follow English accent, you might not find it useful without subtitles.
  • You already know enough theory and just want to learn implementation tips
  • You feel sleepy if the voice of speaker is not motivating enough
  • You need interesting pictures and animations to stick to a course

I am not including the summary here as it is a paid course. If you are a novice in learning about happiness and don’t have much time to do a detailed research, you can go for this course. But if you have enough time and want to take concrete action on happiness, go for a life of happiness course on coursera.org. You can check out my review of that course in this article.
Happy learning to be happy!
 

A life of Happiness and Fulfilment

Image result for a life of happiness and fulfilment

This was my second course on Coursera. The title speaks for itself. But why have I selected this as the second course? 





I have followed the steps which I mentioned in the previous article.

  • Selection of Course: Who does not want to be happy?  But there is more to happiness than just the feeling of being happy. Research shows that there are umpteen number of benefits of being happy. It enhances absorption rate of new content in life. I am in the process making my foundation strong. So improving my happiness is definitely a place to start my exciting journey. If you are already happy, you can still do this course because you can learn a few new things about how happiness works.

  • Contents of the course: The course tells about the seven sins which we usually commit in our everyday life which steals our happiness. Each week ends with a habit which we have to inculcate to nullify the negative effects of our sins. So this course is not just about one way listening, but also helps you inculcate a few good habits.

  • Level of the course: It is a course which requires neither psychology basics nor technical knowledge. It is a course which people from any educational background can do. Even if you don’t have an educational degree, if you just know the language, you can still do this course.

  • Rating and Reviews of the course: It is rated as 4.7 on coursera. There were mixed reviews. Some of them found it useful. Others who were not open to change or who were already happy might not have found it useful.

  • Duration of course: The course was for around 2 hours a week for 6 weeks. That was not too hectic for me.

  • Finding time: I was doing the course for around 20 minutes each day. If I found any lesson interesting, I used to spend a little more time on that.
This was how I selected this course.
Overview of the course:
The author of this course uses balloon as a metaphor for happiness. The way we have to keep pumping air into the balloon to inflate it, we need to add happiness into our lives to have a fulfilled life. Just like the way if there is a small hole in the balloon the air starts leaking outside, the sins we commit in our life also oozes out the happiness. Hence we need to keep inculcating happiness increasing habits the way we plaster the holes of the balloon.
How happy are you? This is the starting point of the course. As I wrote in this article, before you work on improving something, measure your current state. Without knowing where you are, you don’t know if you have moved at all from your origin, leave about reaching the destination. Hence take the happiness survey. But the happiness survey used in this course was a general measure of happiness. The definitions for the terms used in the survey are subjective. And they differ from person to person. So it might not be that useful. But to make the survey useful for you, write down what each statement means to you. For example, one of the statements in the survey says the life I am leading right now is the way I want to live. Make a note of what your ideal life is. Then rate the statement based on your agree-ability to it. After you finish the course, rate the statement based on the same understanding. Suppose if your ideal life now is to have a lot of money and at the end of the course is to have a happy marriage, you will be comparing oranges to apples. So avoid that mistake while measuring it. Once you have measured your happiness, you are ready to start the course.
The following are the seven sins and the respective habits which have to be cultivated.
Sin Habit
Devaluing Happiness Prioritize but don’t pursue happiness
Chasing Superiority Pursuing Flow
Love addict / Avoidant Provide Love
Overly Control seeking Taking Personal responsibility for happiness
Distrusting Others Exercising smart trust and forgiving others
Distrusting Life Dispassionate pursuit of passion
Ignoring ourselves Mindfulness
In the next posts, I will write my experiences with them.
Happy Learning till then! 🙂

Course Review: Improve Self-Confidence

Course Name: Self-confidence:  40 minute self-confidence and self-esteem
Website: Udemy

CONTENTS:

  • Handling the fear of rejection
  • Confident Body Language
  • Negative self-talk
  • Daily social interactions
  • Practice gratitude
  • Openness
  • Why I am great list

WHY I CHOSE THIS COURSE?

This is my fourth course. Lately, I have been feeling a little low on my self-esteem and was doing some research on it. That was how I came across this course. I just wanted to do this course to see if there were some new things to learn and the course was for just 40 minutes. It was easy to finish it and remember the points mentioned.

MY TAKE ON THE COURSE:

I spent 40 minutes on this course hoping to learn something new and exciting which I have not come across any time before. Sadly, there was nothing of that sort mentioned. The points mentioned were similar to what I read in different books and articles. A few of the things he mentioned in the course were the things I was already following naturally or were the things which I wanted to do for a long time but I have not made a plan for them.
But if you are a person who has no idea on how to deal with self-confidence issues, the course is great and offers a few points which can be implemented too.

SUMMARY OF THE COURSE:

Everybody has fears. Everyone faces rejections. But how we deal with rejections is what changes our self-esteem.
Fear of rejection:
Rejection has got nothing to do with us. We need to understand this before we understand others. It can be because of the situation or because of the opposite person. You can read more about rejection in this article.
Confident Body language:
One important point the speaker mentions in this course is how we carry ourselves sends signals to our brain. So we need to stand straight and not slouch so that we send the right signals to our brain. Closing our hands would mean that, we are being defensive. While shaking hands with a new person, give a straight handshake. If your hand is above or below the other person’s hand, you are either being dominant or submissive.
Negative Self-talk:
The speaker says that we have to change our thoughts as soon as we catch ourselves doing the negative self-talk. Almost all the articles and books I have read say the same. But implementation of this is not so easy. I have been struggling with this for quite so
me time now. If I can find a solution for this, I will write an article on this in future.
Daily Social Interactions:
The speaker gives us a challenge that we need to talk to talk to at least 3 strangers every day. Just by starting with a ‘hi’ initially and slowly increasing it to talking about our personal lives. I find this exercise difficult. I find it challenging to find strangers in the first place. But once I find someone, since I am already good at making friends with strangers, it wasn’t much of use to me.
Practice gratitude:
I have been practicing gratitude irregularly, hence could not reap any benefits from it yet. But the speaker talks about the feel of positive energy which one gets through practicing gratitude. But he has not mentioned about how to get to that state. Hence, I did not find it useful.
Openness:
Being vulnerable to others makes us improve our confidence. The same point was mentioned by Dushka Zapata in one of her answers on Quora. I was pretty much impressed with her explanation. I buy this idea totally now as I hear its usefulness once again. But there will be certain limitations to this method which have not been mentioned clearly in this course.
Why I am great list:
I had been planning on creating a similar list for quite some time now. One good thing which came out of this course is I finally penned down a few things in my list. I hope even you make your list. One problem which I have been facing since years is when I am low, I don’t really look at the list. Even if I do, I criticize the entire list negatively. The way to infuse positive energy looking at the list has not been clearly mentioned.
If you are a novice, looking forward to learning the basics, go ahead and do the course. Share your learnings in the comment section.
Happy learning!