So you read that book. What did you learn from reading that book?

“Well when events change, I change my mind. What do you do?”
Dr. Paul Samuelson, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1970
(frequently attributed, in slightly differing versions, to John Maynard Keynes, including one time by the same Dr. Samuelson)


Isaac Jaffe (Robert Guillaume)

Exaudio, Comperio, Conloquor.
That’s a Latin phrase that translates: To Listen, To Learn, To Speak.
Isaac Jaffe, (Robert Guillaume), from the episode The Six Souithern Gentlemen from Tennessee, Sports Night

Learning:  knowledge acquired through experience, study, or being taught.



So, you read a book – or heard a speech, or a lecture, or a webinar – and you “learned” something.  Here are some versions of such learning:

I did not know that.  Now I do.
I thought differently.  Hmmm; either I’m wrong, or the book/author/speaker is wrong.  Time to explore more deeply.
I did know that.  I’m glad to have my knowledge/view reinforced.
I did know that.  Now, I clearly need to step up my game, and implement my learning more fully, more completely.

I suspect there are other “levels” of response and learning. Here’s a link to a list of differing taxonomies of learning:  Learning Levels.  This includes the well-known Bloom’s taxonomy:  1) Knowledge; 2) Comprehension; 3) Application; 4) Analysis; 5) Synthesis; 6) Evaluation.

The Well-Educated Mind{And here is a more complete look at Benjamin Bloom’s taxonomies. Notice especially the three domains: 1) the cognitive domain (knowledge-based); 2) the affective domain (emotion-based); and 3) the psychomotor domain (action-based).}

And, I love this description of the well-educated mind, which I read from Susan Wise Bauer, and her book The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education you Never Had (read my blog post here):

Stage #1 – the grammar stage – You simply absorb information; you do not evaluate it.
Stage #2 – the logic stage – You analyze information, deciding “whether information is correct or incorrect, and make connections between cause and effect, historical events, scientific phenomena, words, and their meanings.”
Stage #3 – the rhetoric stage – You learn to express your “own opinions about the facts you have accumulated and evaluated. So the final years of education focus on elegant, articulate expression of opinion in speech and writing – the study of rhetoric.”
So, she writes:
“Learn facts; analyze them; express your opinion about them.”

But, here’s the thing:  it is not all that challenging an ambition to say “yes, I read that book.”  The real challenge is to act on what you read.  To learn something from the book you read (or the speech you listened to).

Read to learn. Listen to learn.

What have you learned lately?


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