Getting it wrong and still be loved

Paul Graham dwells on a hierarchy of disagreements.  Sarah Perez gives it a web twist.

I recall Tim O’Reilly in this old post recounting a story from a speech by Charlie Munger, a long time associate of Warren Buffet.  That story elucidates knowledge gained by rote and the one got by conscious labor. 

I quote –

“After winning the Nobel Prize, Max Planck went around Germany giving talks. His chauffeur heard the talk so many times that he had it by heart, and so one time, he asked Max Planck if he could give the address. Planck agreed, they changed places, and the lecture came off famously. But then came the Q&A, with the very first question being one that the chauffeur had no hope of answering. The chauffeur replied: “I’m surprised to hear such an elementary question on high energy physics here in Munich. It’s so simple; I’ll let my chauffeur answer it.”  

Munger went on to point out that what went wrong in oversight of Enron was a lot of chauffeur knowledge, great ability to give a presentation, but no deep knowledge.

As Graham says –

“the greatest benefit of disagreeing well is not just that it will make conversations better, but that it will make the people who have them happier…..Most people don’t really enjoy being mean; they do it because they can’t help it.”

To those haters of discord, I would just say this.  Most bloggers that we know are amateurs. They must entertain dissent while canceling those that go over the edge. Readers don’t expect professional quality in their output. So just they need be tolerant of dissent and be grateful to acknowledge a mistake when pointed out.  They can of course outwit a scathing comment by adding a dose of humor.  But never try to get around that by pleading you were way too busy and wrote in a hurry.  That makes you look like a stinking orifice.  You may well be one but why that secret be made public knowledge?  

Admit ignorance where you were. You need not be  Dr.Samuel Johnson for that! .


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