The last week or so I've done a lot of very interesting reading on subjects that would be very dull to talk about. But I highly recommend this trilogy of books, in this order (because one will build upon the other).
Thinking in Systems: a Primer - by Donella H. Meadows
The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education - by W. Edwards Deming (I called this "a real page-turner" in conversation the other day, flabbergasting the poor person talking to me)
Pragmatic Thinking & Learning: Refactor Your Wetware - by Andy Hunt
I've gotten a good background in systems thinking, and ways to see patterns related to why the economy, the government, and the world are so messed up. Not that I'm in a position to do anything about anything, but as we have learned, "Later you will realize that nothing has been superfluous." (as quoted in Ivan Illich's In the Vineyard of the Text: a Commentary on Hugh's Didascalicon, p. 54).
One helpful hint I picked up from the Hunt book was the idea of studying while in a relaxed, right-brainy frame of mind, so I've been reading a chapter of Teach Yourself Hindi first thing every morning, before I'm properly awake. I've already made more progress than I did when I was trying to make myself (gak!) "study."
This morning I learned one of the most useful pairs of phrases I might ever come across:
"तुमको क्या चाहिए?"
"मुझको काफी चाहिए."
(That is: "What do you want?" "I want coffee.")
(P.S. When I wrote this, I was in a hurry -- but I came back from lunch and thought, wait, did hitting the "Hindi" button make it "kahie" instead of "cahie"? "Cahie" is how the book transliterates, but it's pronounced with a "ch." And I was correct! So I've at least begun to be able to tell when I made a mistake. That's progress right there.)