ageist EDITORS | january 18, 2018
Read. Read. Read. Now more than ever. The currency of our time is knowledge, not experience, not past achievement, not money. The people most at risk in our world are those who do not learn. The smartest people I meet read obsessively. This has been true for millennia, but now even to stay average and not get left in the dust we need to be bringing into our brains valuable, actionable information constantly. Binging on Netflix, unless you are an entertainment executive, is not going to do it.
Learning needs a program, just like physical fitness. You only have so much time for productive learning. 5 hours is a good marker; set it aside in your week. The learning that happens during this time is not picking up conversational Italian for that summer vacation, nor is it fiction. Those are both wonderful, but they are recreation. This is about you learning about where we are today, where we are going, what you can glean that can help you move forward.
25 years ago, organizations were hierarchical, mostly because the longer you were there, the more knowledge you had and thus the more valuable you were. The knowledge curve has flattened, and thus experience is less valuable than it was. This is one of the major differences in the digital economy, which is the entire economy now. Digital brings knowledge to anyone who wants it. This is not to be confused with wisdom, which is related to experience. But leaning on experience, as a way to procrastinate learning is not going to cut it.
How great is it that we get the chance to be alive, to be highly functional, highly engaged at an age when the previous generation was doing the opposite? I’ll take today over that any day, as if we have any choice. Get a book; read it.