I drink and I know things.Tyrion Lannister*
Tyrion tests theory with practice as he faces a series of dramatic and complicated challenges each season. His work is cognitive. His work is non-routine. Tyrion is what Peter Drucker and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis would call a knowledge worker.
Try telling your family at Thanksgiving dinner you’re a knowledge worker and you’ll probably get some funny looks. But if you’re in management, law, or a technical profession like software engineering, product design, enterprise sales, or writing, you, like Tyrion, are a knowledge worker.
Below the title of each edition of The Whole Earth Catalog were the words “Access to Tools.” First published in 1968 by Stewart Brand, The Whole Earth Catalog featured high quality or low cost useful tools relevant to independent education that were available by mail. We can order many tools through the mail, but many tools—especially for the knowledge worker—take a different form. For some workers, tools are physical things you order by mail. But for the knowledge worker, knowledge itself becomes a tool. A tool we can acquire by study, practice, or conversation.
Two people having a conversation in the woods are exchanging information, but when they record their exchange in a medium—a book, an article, a podcast, a video—it becomes knowledge. Knowledge is history; knowledge is science; knowledge is that sign telling you to slow down on the curve ahead so you don’t drive off a cliff.
At Holloway, we’re obsessed with the idea of knowledge-based tools. We can learn how to tie a tie, or watch a tutorial of how to use a new piece of technology, but yet so many careers are stunted because not everyone has a wise aunt with all the answers on how to get ahead in one profession or another. On top of that, when so many of those professions are changing at breakneck speeds, someone who was an expert one or five or ten years ago in some field may not be as much help as they might once have been. Even those who are most fortunate to get a degree from a terrific school won’t be able to learn everything they’ll need to navigate the challenges of a modern career.
“You have to be on a RELENTLESS pursuit of data and knowledge…What’s my secret sauce? I didn’t raise or earn a dime until well after I’d studied the chess board for years and could answer many of the questions I was asked…So before you seek out a mentor or capital, study. DEVOUR information. Books/Youtube: know the archives. Podcasts/Mags: stay up on current events.”*
This week I came across two pieces, which are infinitely better when read together.
That’s Good Work for this week. Looking forward to what’s next. See you next week.
Andy and the Holloway Team
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