Compressed Knowledge

Our knowledge has many levels of abstraction. We base higher levels on more fundamental ones, similarly to pyramids. Knowing the lower levels isn't always required, just like smartphones don't need you learning Electric Circuit theory.

We love reading concisely written quotes: they're easy to read and have so much value per word, or it would be more accurate to say that their perceived value is high. I call it "compressed knowledge"; it's simple but not easy.

The compression ratio matters. Shallow ideas are trendy in the modern world: easy to consume, easy to understand, pretending to be valuable, but hard to apply and implement into your own life.

Book summaries, lists of dos and don'ts, yeas and nays—these are all highly compressed ideas. They may give a false impression of experience and expertise. They are useful for quick exploration, but they don't help to build a confident knowledge basis.

The expertise is a side product of the learning process—looking for answers on your whys, diving deeper, doing a lot of practice, and writing summaries. Writing is the most effective way to learn to think about complex subjects. It helps to build the right neural connections and associations in your brain.

Instead of consuming shallow ideas, learn to produce deep thoughts by writing. This way, you can build your own abstraction layers, which have a much higher value and long-lasting effect on your life than reading someone's compressed knowledge.