“As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.” — Thomas Friedman

The raw material of knowledge is now more available and more easily accessed than ever before. Anybody can look up a fact, a date, or any other random piece of information. As Friedman says in an article on the New York Times, “What you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know.”

  • challenge the source

    can’t teach someone how to think or can’t be bothered? ‘Can’t’ simply defies logic. You can teach someone how to approach a problem, to analyse a brief, to apply modus ponens/tollens, the Socratic method etc. etc. ‘How’ you think is far more important that what you know, or what you do with what you know.

    • http://twitter.com/samspurlin Sam Spurlin

      The quote from that executive is probably a little overdramatic. The core of what he’s saying, though — that coming to a job with the habits & discipline of critical thinking, synthesis of info. from various sources, etc. — is more valuable than being drenched in content knowledge.

  • James Gralian

    OK, fine, I get that. Now, tell me how I prove to a person with a job I can do, one I can excel at, that I can think. Becuase I am here to tell you, I have a lopsided resume that doesn’t communicate my talents well enough, and thinking is one of them (working live, troubleshooting and staying calm when things go wrong are a few others). But what these people are looking for isn’t going to be shown on a sheet of paper.

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