About Reading and Blogs

A discussion that I was having with colleagues the other day was about why I usually don’t read management books. And I was surprised to think that I haven’t read a management book for a while now. In other words, a few years, I suppose. And I got to wondering about whether I have stopped learning? This is not to say I have given up reading, but the reading I do now has taken an altogether different form from what it was maybe a decade ago.

I have read a number of management books about topics at the edge of management thought … From The Fifth Discipline to The Balanced Scorecard, to Business Process Reengineering, and many more. So, what am I doing not reading now? And this is where I looked at how learning patterns have changed over a period of time. Today, a lot of information, and so learning, reaches us, not through books, but through the social media around us. This isn’t just about millenials, but senior citizens too. A lot more information is available out there in the form of, especially, blogs. And this information reaches us through the social network. A large number of blogs reach me through tweets, and this, to a large extent, has become my learning channel. Whether it is something new, or whether it is something where I need to upgrade my skills, I look more and more online to learn. Let me give you an example. I have been trying to understand Clifford algebra. And I have found the information available out there, without having to read a book.

Does this mean that books are history? I don’t think so. Books are still an important way of learning. Books are still an important form of story-telling. Where I see books today, and maybe in the future, is to give a structure to the learning. This means that I get from books what I need to learn, and the learning from books is supplemented by blogs. For example, why am I studying Clifford algebra? Because I am reading about quaternions. Why am I reading about them? Long story. So, in this way, books are giving the structure, outline, and quite a bit of detail, while blogs are giving a lot more detail to add to them. This is why I feel today, blogs and books go together in the learning process. Another step towards the social learning paradigm, you would say?

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