Hazy, hot and humid summer afternoons have often been used as the perfect excuse to procrastinate. But summer can be a great time to learn a new skill. Here are some easy and fun ways to do so.
Learn the ins and outs of the stock market
The new online investing platform Kapitall is designed for those who are just starting to get into the world of finance. Founded by veterans of the finance and tech worlds and a video game designer, Kapitall allows users to set up a virtual stock portfolio. Utilizing virtual money, users can practice trading stocks, take lessons, and compete tournament-style against other users.
“There are many that would say that the market is a game, but we’re not trying to say that,” says Kapitall’s CEO Jarett Lilien. “But if you look at games, games should be approachable to those who are new to it.” Many people think that the markets are extremely hard to understand, Lilien continues. “There are a lot of barriers to entry and the problem is that they are intimidating to access as a newbie,” he says. “We really try to target a mindset, and that’s somebody who wants something that’s less intimidating. “ More advanced users can use the software to create a real portfolio.
Are you sad you’ve lost all of your high school Spanish or French? The free program Duolingo.com lets aspiring students study French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese with a variety of games and quizzes.
Read the classics
If you are looking for something a bit intellectually heavier than the stereotypical summer beach read, thousands of classic books are available to download for free. Sites like Project Gutenberg and ClassicReader.com make it easy to access great works of literature.
Develop a professional skill
Lynda.com offers hundreds of courses and online tutorials on everything from video editing, photography and design. Use it to learn programs like Photoshop or Final Cut Pro.
Join a book club
The New York Times recently noted that about 5 million Americans are currently in a book club. It’s a great way to both get exposed to different authors and ideas and to make new friends. Search on meetup.com for clubs that cover everything from books on entrepreneurs to LGBT issues.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.