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If anyone needs a ride, I will be driving down from Westchester and expect to have three possibly four empty seats in my car. 

Other than suspecting I may have an aptitude, my interest in computer programming is driven by finding two fields cool and fun sounding: data science and applications of blockchain technology to stuff like verifying carbon sequestration and other changes in reality. Quite a bit of social science I deeply admire has been done using data science, and I have a couple of friends working to improve the world using blockchain technologies whom I also admire. I want to see if I am good at programming to see if I can participate in these endeavors I admire—or at least use my skills as a wordsmith and communicator to aid such endeavors.

If it is relevant, my own background is in social sciences and math.

Thank you so much for all your advice. You guys are awesome. Like An1lam and Mr.-hire point out though, I would actually need a project to work on. A practical, immediate application makes skills learnable much faster. Any advice on that?

Anyone successfully approached this with computer programming? It's a subject I think I have reason to believe I would be talented at (I have exhibited strong aptitude for mathematics and languages), but I don't see a good path forward on working at it, so I learn other things. I think the "how" book might be something like codeacademy or khanacademy, but how about the "what" book or the "why" book?

Ok. I have read the first two, guess I gotta read the third. I wonder what sort of project one could apply these to. I remember when I read Thinking Fast and Slow I tried to use it to earn more tips, but the application, while seemingly useful, wasn't an excellent fit.

Goddamn that is a great idea! This style totally suits how I learn in that I A) am personable, B) Immensely enjoy phonecalls, and C) Strongly, strongly prefer projects when I can verbally ask questions of someone who has done before.

How long does it generally take you to find the person's number? Have you had more difficulty getting them to pick up now that VOIP spam is so common?

I have read a lot of books on Buddhism, but the first in your list is the only one I have even heard of. I will have to check them out.