Tuesday, October 9, 2012

(empo-muvei) Seek broad knowledge


In Chapter 1 of his ebook Mooove Ahead! Of the Corporate Herd, Tony Wong provides this piece of advice:

Seek broad knowledge (and experiences), constantly, even topics that do not connect at the time.

As part of this discussion, Wong cites an example that I have cited myself (most recently in April) about how a college dropout continued to hang around college even after he had dropped out, popping in on courses that interested him. One of those courses was a course in calligraphy, and the dropout soaked up information about the placement of letters:

I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great.

At the time, that seemed like a frivolous endeavor, unless you're going to go around making calligraphy posters for the rest of your life. But the dropout - Steve Jobs - ended up making computers for the rest of his life. A few years later, when Jobs and others were trying to improve the interface between humans and computers, that calligraphy knowledge turned out to be very handy indeed. In fact, it not only changed Jobs' life, but it changed the lives of everyone who is reading this blog post. (Or would you prefer if I switched to a monospaced font?)

Wong mentioned Steve Jobs in another context in Chapter 14 of his ebook. Without going into detail, let's just say that Wong worked at Apple Computer in the 1980s...and he heard stories about Jobs. He discusses Jobs in the section on jerks.

Nobody's perfect.

And I'm not perfect, and Wong isn't perfect either. In Chapter 10 of his ebook, he tells a story on himself. He was taking electronics classes at San Jose City College in the 1970s, and to get to his classes he would cross the track field. Four hours later, he would cross the same track field when he left. It seemed that whenever Wong crossed that track field, he'd see this guy on the field, practicing. Wong asked himself:

What is that guy working so hard for? Can he make a living in Track & Field? Maybe he should get a degree in Electronics (like me) so he has a change to make a living?

Later, Wong learned the name of this ne'er-do-well: Bruce Jenner. And whatever you might say about Jenner's family, he has certainly proven that he has the ability to make a living.

How can you "seek broad knowledge"?
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