1 min read

Bookish mindset

A bookish mindset is that everything I need to know, I can find in a book. Or in some recorded medium, anyway. Maybe on the Internet, maybe in a library, maybe somewhere else. Sadly it ain't so, but it is close enough that it is hard to appreciate the distinction.

When I'm in this mindset, it discounts talking to people specifically. Implicit in this mindset is an orientation toward gathering information efficiently. Talking to someone is rarely the most efficient way of gathering information, but in this mindset I miss that sometimes it is the way to find out what I want.

Examples of things this mindset struggles with:

  1. The hard parts of doing statistics.
  2. Practices in a specific organization. Usually written down, but rarely at the level they would need to be to cover all cases. The answer to a question is out there, but it lives in someone else's head, not in any write-up.
  3. How to fix a copier/printer?
  4. Cooking?

There ought to be way more, but this is more than enough for now.

In this mindset I orient toward pulling information in, and forget about putting it out. I forget about the other functions of conversation, in other words. I forget that talking is way more efficient when you consider that there is extra information in a conversation going both ways—not only the information I want from them to me, but from me to them, and from our interaction to each of us. It creates common knowledge of whatever we discuss. It also by going through the interaction creates incidental understanding about the way our interaction went. This is weird to think about.