friday fuel

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience so they believe they are clever as he.”Karl Kraus

“They are playing a game.
They are playing at not playing a game.
If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me.
I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.
R.D. Laing via @flowchainsensei


sensemaking in a liquid world

The printing press changed the world. It introduced new forms of expression and enabled better and faster information sharing. Print enabled individual interpretation of the bible and resulted in the questioning of the established Christian church and later the Protestant Reformation. Written manuscripts became obsolete luxury items. A new public discourse was enabled by print and the ensuing literacy of more people. Of course the dark sides of printed works include propaganda, jingoism, and xenophobia. (more…)

PKM in action. Part 3

In his book, Never Stop Learning, Bradley Staats describes eight elements that make up ‘dynamic learning’. Here are the highlights from a Knowledge at Wharton interview.

1. “a willingness to try things, have them not work out, but learn from that and move on”
2. “if we don’t focus on the process, we’re never going to get to a good spot”
3. “we should be pulling ourselves back to ask questions”
4. “taking time to reflect and to think”
5. “Recognize this need to not be a poor imitation of others, but to be ourselves to learn”
6. “we need to play to our strengths”
7. specialization & variety — “we have a depth of knowledge in certain topics” but “we’re also willing to appreciate breadth”
8. “Others educate us and provide valuable knowledge”

As Staats describes WHAT we need to do, personal knowledge mastery is a framework that describes HOW to never stop learning. For example, here is how François Lavallée describes his personal process. (more…)

hoary myths and mindfulness

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“It is sobering to realize that words written long ago in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, based on opinion, intuition, and prejudice, can so overwhelmingly outweigh scientific observational evidence and the logic and language of mathematics.”Geoffrey West

‘My father always told me, “Son, make sure you always align on what buzzwords the high level thought leaders are utilizing to operationalize excellence throughout the organization.”‘@MeetingBoy

My old man (84) is coming down from Scotland by train — he can get a deal in 1st class, cheaper than 2nd Class — but says “You never meet anyone interesting in First Class …” He has a point.@DonaldClark

Critical Thinking: “Misology is the fear or hatred of knowledge, rational thought and argumentation. Agnotology is the cultural production of ignorance. Both problems seem to be getting worse.” —via @telliowkuwp

leadership beyond capitalism

“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.” —Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)

Our families and local communities keep us connected, but they can make us myopic. Our outward view from here can be as binary as ‘Us and Them’. Millennia ago, with the new technology of the written word, we were able to form ways of organizing society on a larger scale with institutions like kingdoms, religions, and later nation states — reducing tribal rivalries but too often creating cross-national conflicts. Later, markets and trading were extended with the printed word, and trade helped to reduce conflict in order to increase profits. Currently the market form dominates, to the detriment of society as a whole, as the profit motive in the long run will impoverish the earth. For example, Canada tried to use the market to handle its waste, which has recently backfired. We need new ways to deal with global issues, and neither an institutional nor a market approach can deal with them. (more…)

more than re-skilling

Here is the advice of the co-founder of Degreed on a ‘workplace self-training paradigm‘.

First, encourage them to think of reskilling as a game — one they now have more control over winning …

Next, help workers manage their skills with regular checkups to evaluate their current expertise against market conditions …

Finally, work with employees to pinpoint opportunities to put their new skills into action.

It reminded me of advice that Lilia Efimova gave fifteen years ago — on which I based I my own PKM framework — which is a broader approach to workplace learning than merely looking at work from a training or re-skilling perspective. (more…)

PKM in action. Part 2

In PKM in Action Part 1 I gave a few examples of how people practice personal knowledge mastery. A good way of looking at PKM is as a method to improve serendipity, or fortuitous chance encounters. Anne Adrian shared her journey of going online to seek, make sense, and to share knowledge.

“Yet, the most important development of being online and placing myself in unlikely circles is where I have gained the most value … Hearing diversity in thought can give clarity. Listening and conversing with people who are not like me and who think differently than I and who have many different experiences helps me grow in understanding … Putting myself into places (online and physical places) where serendipitous discoveries can happen is not efficient, and of course, cannot be planned. Serendipity helped me discover people, concepts, and ideas that I would have never known before. Relationships–online, physical, mixed, new and old–and time and space are not easily planned. Serendipity does not map to set goals or plans. Instead serendipity has surprised me with energy, thoughts, knowledge, ideas, concepts, realizations, experiences, and relationships.”

Two of my regular practices are simple but add value over time — my book reviews and my Friday’s Finds. The former are my impressions of books that I have found interesting, useful, or inspiring. I only write positive reviews, so many of the books I have read do not get a review. Friday’s Finds are my bi-weekly summaries of interesting things I have found online and now comprise more than a decade of searchable resources on a wide variety of subjects. Both book reviews and resource summaries are something anyone can do. PKM practices do not have to be difficult. (more…)

PKM in action. Part 1

Getting started with a sensemaking practice can be daunting. While the Seek > Sense > Share framework is simple to understand, putting it into an everyday context can be difficult. Let’s get some advice from people who have been using the personal knowledge mastery conceptual model. For example, Nadia von Holzen likens seeking to fishing, sensemaking to cooking, and sharing to inviting people to dinner. It’s a great metaphor. (more…)

trusted filters

A recent study of over 5,000 US college students — Across the Great Divide — examined how they engage with news media. Not surprisingly, Facebook is a major social media source of news and conservative-leaning students prefer Fox News while liberal-leaning students prefer the New York Times. Faculty play a significant role in getting students to pay attention to news and to look at it more critically.

“It is notable that finding out about news from professors served both purposes — making the classroom an interesting crossroad between academia and daily life. Though professors may not be intentionally teaching news literacy, they may well be demonstrating that familiarity with news is a social practice and a form of civic engagement … Our findings suggest faculty have great potential to use discussions about news to model critical inquiry as a lifelong practice as well as practical ways to ascertain the trustworthiness of news sources. And while faculty may feel ill-equipped to engage students in discussion about highly charged and controversial topics, learning how to have these conversations is itself a valuable learning opportunity.” —FirstMonday


confronting the post-truth machine

post-truth (adjective) Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.Oxford Dictionaries

On Twitter, Tim Dickinson described four different types of distributed ‘fake news’.

‘Fake news’ is lazy language. Be specific. Do you mean:
A) Propaganda
B) Disinformation
C) Conspiracy theory
D) Clickbait


The Oxford Dictionaries define Propaganda as — “Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.” The RAND Corporation, a US think-tank with strong ties to the military industrial complex, recently looked at the influence of the Russian Propaganda Model and found that retractions and refutations of propaganda have limited impact and that the best way to deal with it is through forewarning.

“Forewarning is perhaps more effective than retractions or refutation of propaganda that has already been received. The research suggests two possible avenues:

Propagandists gain advantage by offering the first impression, which is hard to overcome. If, however, potential audiences have already been primed with correct information, the disinformation finds itself in the same role as a retraction or refutation: disadvantaged relative to what is already known.

When people resist persuasion or influence, that act reinforces their preexisting beliefs. It may be more productive to highlight the ways in which Russian propagandists attempt to manipulate audiences, rather than fighting the specific manipulations.”

Framing, or getting out the message first, has significant advantages. It is more powerful than attacking a previous frame (message). “1) Repetition strengthens the synapses in neural circuits that people use in thinking 2) Whoever frames first has an advantage 3) Negating a frame activates and strengthens it.” @GeorgeLakoff (more…)