In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time—none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads—and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.
I am a biography nut myself. And I think when you’re trying to teach the great concepts that work, it helps to tie them into the lives and personalities of the people who developed them. I think you learn economics better if you make Adam Smith your friend. That sounds funny, making friends among the eminent dead, but if you go through life making friends with the eminent dead who had the right ideas, I think it will work better in life and work better in education. It’s way better than just being given the basic concepts.
— Charlie Munger, quoted in Poor Charlie’s Almanack, p. 138
Ellen Ochoa’s questions about every launch and important operational decision at NASA:
- What leads you to that assumption? Why do you think it is correct? What might happen if it’s wrong?
- What are the uncertainties in your analysis?
- I understand the advantages of your recommendation. What are the disadvantages?
(Taken from Adam Grant, Think Again, p. 211)
Good educators ensure we remember and apply one core idea they shared for the rest of our lives.
Great educators make us fall in love with the subject.
Outstanding educators – a rare breed – make us fall in love with learning.
— Rohan Rajiv, What Great Educators Do
Yuval Harari is best known for his book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this year (2020), he focused his talk on the dangers of technological disruption.
Disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) will certainly eliminate jobs. For Harari the question is not whether new jobs will be created —they will be— but whether people will be able to learn new skills fast enough to adapt to these jobs. But it doesn’t stop with the immediate generation affected by those changes. Considering that AI is nowhere near its full potential, automation will be a cascade of ever bigger disruptions. People will need to reinvent themselves again and again. Those who can’t keep the pace will fall behind. “(…) in the past human had to struggle against exploitation, in the twenty-first century the really big struggle will be against irrelevance.”
I couldn’t help but connect Harari’s warnings to what Carl Newport’s describes as the abilities to thrive in the new economy: The ability to quickly master hard things, and the ability to produce at an elite level, in terms of both quality and speed.
Both abilities can be learned, but not in a short period of time. So better start today.
This article has also been published in Spanish with the title La disrupción de la Inteligencia Artificial y la necesidad de aprender a aprender.
Paul Graham writing about great work and genius in The Bus Ticket Theory of Genius:
(…) the most exciting implication of the bus ticket theory is that it suggests ways to encourage great work. If the recipe for genius is simply natural ability plus hard work, all we can do is hope we have a lot of ability, and work as hard as we can. But if interest is a critical ingredient in genius, we may be able, by cultivating interest, to cultivate genius.
As most things Paul Graham writes, it’s worth reading the whole article.