Tag: Knowledge (home)

We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.

permalink source: Michel de Montaigne
tags: Wisdom, Knowledge

"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification."

permalink source: Martin Fischer, American philosopher, poet, and essayist
tags: Wisdom, Knowledge

RANDOM KNOWLEDGE There's plenty of knowledge in your company. The problem is telling who has it. For example, you're at the big meeting to decide what to do about the coming Flannel Crisis that threatens the very marrow of your business. Maria says to lay in a supply. Germaine says to move to synthetic flannel. Oscar says to set fire to your competitors' warehouses. Frances excuses herself and goes to call her stock broker. Someone in the room undoubtedly is saying the truth. Someone has knowledge. But who? This is, in fact, the conundrum that gave rise to the idea of knowledge. The ancient Greek philosophers heard lots of people mouthing off -- Athens was a participatory democracy, after all ... so long as you were a man, with money. But how do you separate mere beliefs from knowledge? If you could do that reliably, you'd be on the road to Truth, Goodness and the Athenian Way. In corporations, we generally do it in two related ways. First, we look at the person's track record. The fact that Maria was right about the the great Steel Wool crisis of '93 and the great Marmite crisis of '97 gives her some credibility when it comes to the current flannel crisis. Second, we listen to those above us in the hierarchy. Not only do they have the authority to tell us what is knowledge and what just sounds like a good idea, but presumably they got there by having a track record like Maria's. My friend Stowe Boyd compares this to a particular telephone scam. The way he tells it, you get a call one day from someone who says, "Next week, ABC stock is going to move up. I'm not asking you to buy any stock from me, but just take a look." Sure enough, ABC goes up. Next week the scam artist calls you back with another pick: "DEF is going to go down." Sure enough! For five weeks, this guy predicts the behavior of stocks. The sixth time he calls he says, "I've been right the past five times. This time I have a stock for you and I *do* want you to buy some shares through me. Waddya say?" Here's the trick. This guy started in the first week by calling 100 people. He told half that ABC would go up and half would go down. When ABC went up, the next week he called the ones for whom he'd predicted accurately and he told half of them that DEF would go up and half that it would go down. At the end of five weeks, he has three people who think he is a stock market god. Stowe's point, as I understand it, is that the ranks of management are filled with lucky people who believe they got where they are because they were smart enough to have made the right decisions. (By the way, be sure to check out Stowe's new 'zine, Message from Edge City, at http://edgecity.convey.com.) We can lower the odds of picking the wrong "knowledge" by considering who's saying it, including the person's track record but also all the other things we listen for: attitude, cynicism or optimism, self-interest, tendency to exaggerate, bravery, grasp of contexts, grasp of facts, sense of humor. But the fact is that the world is terribly complex, so thinking that we can make well-founded decisions is itself a type of denial. The truth is that knowledge is a lot closer to luck -- or worse, a scam -- than we generally want to believe.

permalink source: JOHO Sep 26, 2000
tags: Knowledge

Mr. Smith: I'm Mr. Smith. I'm here to pick up my wife's test results. Receptionist: I'm sorry, sir, but there's been a bit of a mix-up and we have a problem. When we sent the samples from your wife to the lab, the samples from another Mrs. Smith were sent as well, and we are now uncertain which one is your wife's. Frankly, that's either bad or terrible. Mr. Smith: What do you mean? Receptionist: Well, one Mrs. Smith has tested positive for Alzheimer's disease and the other for AIDS. We can't tell which is your wife. Mr. Smith: That's terrible! Can't we do the test over? Receptionist: Normally, yes. But you have an HMO, and they won't pay for these expensive tests more than once. Mr. Smith: Well, what am I supposed to do now? Receptionist: The doctor recommends that you drop your wife off in the middle of town. If she finds her way home, don't sleep with her.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Knowledge, Health

One day our professor was discussing a particularly complicated concept. A pre-med student rudely interrupted to ask "Why do we have to study this stuff?" "To save lives," the professor responded and continued with the lecture. A few minutes later the same student spoke up again. "So, how does physics save lives?" he persisted. "It keeps the ignoramuses out of medical school," replied the professor.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Education, Knowledge, College

As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information. -- Benjamin Disraeli

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Success, Information, Knowledge, Opportunity, Preparation, Personal Growth

Facts are friendly. -- J. Irwin Miller, retired chairman, Cummins Engine Co.

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Criticism, Information, Knowledge, Perspective

1. Wealth without work 2. Pleasure without conscience 3. Knowledge without character 4. Commerce without morality 5. Science without humanity 6. Worship without sacrifice 7. Politics without principle

permalink source: Mahatma Gandhi, "Seven Blunders of the World," http://oll.temple.edu/ih/IH52/Liberation/Gandhi;
tags: Money, Politics, Science, Knowledge, Worship, Pleasure

According to the BBC, these are things we did not know last year. Brussels sprouts have three times as much vitamin C as oranges. The heat generated by a laptop, and the knees-together pose needed to balance it, can damage a man's fertility. Brazilians are the nationality most likely to read spam. Plastic surgery dates back to 600BC and the first nose job was in 1000AD. Yoda was based on Albert Einstein. Desert locusts can travel 120 miles in 24 hours. And reports of UFOs have dwindled since the late 1990s. In the UK, sightings have gone from about 30 a week to almost zero; it's a trend echoed in the US and Norway. Freak conditions above Everest can cause the sky to "fall in". An analysis of weather patterns in May 1996, by University of Toronto researchers, said eight people died when the stratosphere sank to the level of the summit. More than one billion birds crash into buildings in the US every year. Mirrored office blocks are a particular hazard. Continuing in this cheery vein, more than 1.2 million people die in traffic accidents worldwide each year. The first was Bridget Driscoll, knocked down by a car travelling at 12mph in London on 17 August 1896. The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death, and warned: "This must never happen again."

permalink source: Things We Did Not Know Last Year At This Time (2005)
tags: Knowledge

Beware you are not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.

permalink source: John Wesley
tags: Books, Learning, Love, Knowledge