Learning Maps

Chinese South Sea

Image via Wikipedia

The amount of knowledge about our world is immense. I sometimes feel that even if nothing new would be published it would still take me years to just catch up with the great ideas developed by equally great minds over the past 50 to 100 years plus the wisdom of the ancient civilizations.

I experimented with various approaches over the years:

  1. Selective Reading: I have tried selective reading to deal with this biblical flood of knowledge. My quintessence: It doesn’t work for me. Everytime I try this I feel that I am missing the forgotten idea by an author.
  2. Overview literature: I also tried reading overview literature. This worked much better as I could get an overview of the important ideas, concepts and authors in a field of study. However, I encountered two problems: First, good overview literature is rare and when I find it it is focussed so narrowly that I am missing the connection to other disciplines. Also don’t forget: Reading overview is not the same as reading the original; how many of us have learned about the ideas of Freud, Confucius, Krishnamurti and so on but never read any of their original work!?

A third way: I therefore came to the appreciation of Learning Maps. I love maps. Since I was a kid I liked geography class, looking at the world from above in airplanes and navigate through forests and cities with a map. After some time I was able to navigate the territory just with the mental map in my mind. My idea of Learning Maps is to replicate the effect of geographical maps. We pick a territory (in this case a field of study or a problem territory) and use it to map our route through it. I am planning to create maps for a variety of fields of Business and Life challenges. Watch these pages in the future but also don’t forget:

The map is not the territory!

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