5-Minute Universities

Many of us know a lot about a topic we would be willing to share with others. Let's do that!

It needn't be a hifalutin' topic: the most memorable 5minU I've heard was about how to make the best Bolognese sauce. I did one on the varieties of tea and tea making. You might tell us about online gaming, becoming a TikTok influencer, cultural competence, soil fertility, or why Modern Monetary Theory is bunk (or true?). Serious 5minUs are very welcome.

One problem 5minUs address is that our individual reading lists are way too long. Let's share the load! So pick a book you love and record a 5minU about it.

Sometimes we get different lessons from books than others do, as in my most-viewed video on YouTube, this 5minU about Karl Polanyi’s The Great Transformation (oops! 8 minutes long! I was just learning!). See also my 5minU on Doug Allen’s The Institutional Revolution, an unassuming volume packed with useful history lessons, such as how to create trust at a distance.

Whoever loves your 5minU might be motivated to read the whole work, or might feel like they got a good sense of the work (thank you!) and can spend that time elsewhere. Or they might drink more tea, and enjoy it more. Or get better at TikTok.

The Protocol (for standalone 5minUs)

  1. Pick a topic you love and feel you know well.
  2. Synthesize: What aha!s did you get from the book/topic? What did you learn that isn’t common knowledge? Be succinct.
  3. Pick a format (talking head? animation? drawing? Slides with voiceover?). Avoid getting too fancy. Just you talking is fine.
  4. Please rehearse your presentation and trim it back to 5 minutes. You won't have time to tell us everything you know about the topic, so distill it until the most important things remain.
  5. Publish your video to YouTube, with the hashtag #5minU

On brevity: "Sorry my letter is so long, but I didn't have time to make it shorter." -- Voltaire (or Twain, or...)

Thank you! Well done.

Questions? Ask @JerryMichalski