On doing the reading

It’s essential.

Domain knowledge is a gift. It’s how we advance in our field and in society. The insights and false steps of those that came before us, laid out clearly, there to be learned.

And it’s sort of a trap.

Because you used to be able to do ALL the reading. You could read all the essential science fiction books before you wrote yours. You could watch all the key movies before you directed yours. You could understand all the current thinking in a field of medicine before you prescribed a drug…

No longer.

Some people have responded to the long tail of available “reading” by deciding to do none of it, as if naive beginner’s mind is an appropriate strategy for a professional.

And some have responded by simply freezing in place, demanding perfect knowledge before making an assertion.

Clearly, the successful path lies somewhere on the curve.

There comes a moment in doing your reading where new work begins to rhyme. When you start to see the connections. When you understand who influenced the person you’re engaging with right now.

That’s the moment to begin shipping your work and making your own assertions.