Reading is not enough


I used to read a lot in the past without practicing what I learnt; that exposed me to a variety of ideas and empowered me to discuss a lot of things. Over time, I found out that I mostly didn’t ‘know’ what I thought I knew.  Yeah I know it sounds somehow but it’s really true.

True understanding comes from putting ideas grasped from books, tutorials or video series into practice. Go write some code, implement some new ideas, and run into roadblocks. This is the path to true mastery.

I conclude with two quotes from Feynman.

They didn’t even know what they “knew.”

I don’t know what’s the matter with people: they don’t learn by understanding; they learn by some other way–by rote, or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!

Surely you’re joking, Mr.Feynman!

“See that bird?” my father had said. “It’s a Spencer’s warbler.” (I knew he didn’t know the real name.) “Well, in Italian, it’s a Chutto Lapottida. In Portuguese, it’s a Bom da Pieda. In Chinese, it’s a Chung-long-tah, and in Japanese, it’s a Katano Tekeda. You can know the name of that bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird. You’ll only know about humans in different places and what they call the bird. So let’s look at the bird and see what it is doing-that’s what counts.” (I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.)

The Making of a Scientist

And there it is, this is a short one. Think and practise what you learn!

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