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Books and knowledge

by Roland Buresund posted at 2007-05-21 12:31 last modified 2007-05-21 12:31

An aquintance asked me if I knew everything that is inside the books that I have reviewed?

The short answer is: Of course not!

The long answer is: I have read them all (and a number of books that I haven't reviewed), I know the subjects and the contents of them as an aggregate, and yes, I am an expert in a number of subjects that I read books about. If not, I usually intend to become one, which is the reason why I am reading a number of books about the subject. Case in point, I contentemplated to add the Java programming language to my repertoire (why you ask? seemed like a good idea...). So, I promptly ought a bunch of books about it (including some specialiased aspects of it, like Beans, etc.). After having read 5-7 books, I decided against it, because it was too close to C++, but without pointers (and I'm an old C programmer who likes pointers and indirect references, etc.). So now I can program in Java but I have no intention of ever doings so, but it allows me to say what I want regarding it, because I know it (without being an expert in the subject).

In my opinion, books allow people to learn from other people's mistakes and successes, without them being present. Text is in my opinion a lot better than interactive movies or audio-cassettes, as it allows me to go back with lightning speed to check references and contrast opinions against each other (try to do that with 4 CDs or 4 flash movies :-) ). Of course, it helps that I am a speed reader and have an analytical mind, that allows me to visualise and ontrast ideas in my head (but I believe everyone can get this, with some training).

I recently met a CEO for a small company, that went through my CV, and then asked me where my expertise lay. I said in the areas of project management, IT-programming, Management, OS-design, ERP-programming, Finance, Strategy, Marketing, Sales, Change Management, Entrepreneurship, Due Diligence, Turnarounds, Presentations, Human Resources, Standards, International Relations, ... He told me that I wasn't serious, so he decided that I was a project manager for large projects. Sure I am, I've had my share of these as well. But it shows in my opinion more the limited minds many people have today, as they can't contemplate that anyone can learn and understand more than themselves. Am I everything that I have written? Yes, and there is a high probability that I know these subjects better than most professionals in these areas (because to be an "expert", you seldom know very much).

And just to irritate people even more, I also know a lot about history, geography, film-making, advertising photography, psychology, religion, biochemstry, et al., as I have an interest n keeping abreast of developments in these fields due to old interests....

A former manager to me recently said to me. "don't let them know what you can, let them figure it out themselves later, otherwise you will scare them" as advice before an interview.  Truth to tell, that scared me, as it showed in a stark light that many managers are suffering from bad self-esteem, and therefore tries to stop anyone that may threaten their position (or so they delude themselves). Scary.

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