“Begin at the beginning,”, the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop”. – Lewis Carroll (Alice In Wonderland)
They say the hardest thing, is to begin. And I agree. I’ve stared at this screen for a good 30 minutes with no idea where to start. So rather than trying to catch you (the reader) with a clever hook and line I’m just going to jump right in….
I used to read purely business/finance books (I majored in Finance in University) until it came to a point where I was reading the same things over and over again. I felt like I was putting myself into a very narrow and very specialized space. Everyone strives for daily improvement or continuious improvement (or atleast talks about it) and I was doing it in my field but I felt like I wasn’t learning anything else outside of the world of finance. I knew if I kept it up, I would eventually become very good at what I was doing/learning but how would that translate to the rest of my life or at the very least-improve it? Or was I doomed to become the great ass that everyone dreads to engage in conversation with-you know the type, the guy that believes because he is good at one thing he feels entitled to voice his ‘expert’ opinion on everything else?
Thankfully, I wasn’t dense enough to think that life is one dimensional, so I started pursuing knowledge in other fields.
One day I came across a speech by Charlie Munger, a man whom I greatly admire, and he basically confirmed what I was trying to do . I wouldn’t dare to try to improve on what he himself has said, so here are his words directly and they basically explain where I’ll be going with this blog.
“What is elementary, worldly wisdom? Well, the first rule is that you can’t really know anything if you just remember isolated facts and try and bang ’em back. If the facts don’t hang together on a latticework of theory, you don’t have them in a usable form.
You’ve got to have models in your head. And you’ve got to array your experience—both vicarious and direct—on this latticework of models. You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and in life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.
What are the models? Well, the first rule is that you’ve got to have multiple models—because if you just have one or two that you’re using, the nature of human psychology is such that you’ll torture reality so that it fits your models, or at least you’ll think it does. You become the equivalent of a chiropractor who, of course, is the great boob in medicine.
It’s like the old saying, “To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” And of course, that’s the way the chiropractor goes about practicing medicine. But that’s a perfectly disastrous way to think and a perfectly disastrous way to operate in the world. So you’ve got to have multiple models.
And the models have to come from multiple disciplines—because all the wisdom of the world is not to be found in one little academic department. That’s why poetry professors, by and large, are so unwise in a worldly sense. They don’t have enough models in their heads. So you’ve got to have models across a fair array of disciplines.”