December 3, 2009

Book: Made to Stick

I recently finished reading the book Made To Stick (amazon associate link) by Chip and Dan Heath. I had heard a lot about it and has been a very popular (take a look that the amazon reviews), but it actually took a friend lending me his copy before I actually read it...and I am glad that I did.

There are plenty of places the get reviews, so I'm not going to add to the noise. If you're looking for a good book, specifically about communication, you will not be disappointed.

Instead, I want to talk a bit about the persistent "nemesis" throughout the book: "the curse of knowledge." Here is a brief explanation from the book:
"Lots of research in economics and psychology shows that when we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine not knowing it. As a result, we become lousy communicators. Think of a lawyer who can’t give you a straight, comprehensible answer to a legal question. His vast knowledge and experience renders him unable to fathom how little you know."
This concept had by far the largest impact on me when I read this book. It's not that I had never thought about the concept, but not until it was pushed a significant villain in this book did I realize how significant of a negative impact knowledge can have. Obviously, continual learning and increasing knowledge is desired, but I know that I personally have always overlooked any possible negative impacts.
"Here’s the great cruelty of the Curse of Knowledge: The better we get at generating great ideas—new insights and novel solutions—in our field of expertise, the more unnatural it becomes for us to communicate those ideas clearly. That’s why knowledge is a curse."
The more that I think about it, this "curse" should not be taken lightly. As you continue to learn and become even greater than you are today, be sure to remember this and spend the time to make sure you can communicate your brilliance, otherwise, how much value does your new found intelligence have?

No comments: