What happened to October?

It’s been a busy month and I can honestly say I’ve not put a lot of time into writing recently, or at least writing about things on my own volition about topics of my choosing. This is largely because I had the great pleasure (please note sarcasm) of spending a fair chunk of time last month preparing for my GMAT and while it was very exciting re-learning about Isosceles triangles and analyzing the case for building a new ski lodge in Anytown, USA I am very glad that experience is now behind me.

Of course, just as one task completes another one takes its place. Now that the GMAT has been written and I am pleased with my score there is nothing impeding me from moving forward with applying to schools other than the rather important issue of whether or not I am actually ready to commit the time and $ to go forward with doing an MBA. So for the next little while this question will be filling my mind in the hopes that at some point the mist that clouds this decision will soon be burnt away and I will suddenly have clarity about what to do.

While I continue to ponder the expensive MBA, I’ve been using the reading list defined in the somewhat cheaper Personal MBA to guide my spare time reading. Most recently I’ve been reading The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. Mind you I am only a quarter of the way through the book but I was intrigued by his commentary on the so-called “man of knowledge” (or perhaps in today’s terms “person of knowledge”).

“The man of knowledge has always been expected to take responsibility for being understood. It is barbarian arrogance to assume that the layman can or should make the effort to understand him, and that it is enough if the man of knowledge talks to a handful of fellow experts who are his peers. Even in the university or in the research laboratory, this attitude – alas, only too common today- condemns the expert to uselessness and converts his knowledge from learning into pedantry. If a man wants to be an executive – that is, if he wants to be considered responsible for his contribution – he has to concern himself with the usability of his “product” – that is, his knowledge.”

– Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive

Being that my wife is quite involved in the field of usability I’ve grown a great appreciation for why usability is fundamentally important to products and services. However, I have never given any consideration to the fact that knowledge itself can be usable (or even not usable). The funny thing is that when I think about it this is probably something we all encounter everyday. We’ve probably all requested some piece of information from a co-worker or friend and what we received back was either not exactly what you were looking for or just simply resulted in more questions. In other words the information provided back to you was not usable and for all intents and purposes you end up no better off having asked for the information than if you had never even bothered.

In any case, definitely an interesting idea. With any luck the rest of the book will be just as interesting.

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