Half-life of the Half-life of Knowledge

Last updated: Sep 15, 2013

Sir Francis Bacon said “Knowledge is power”.

Francis Bacon


Knowledge of half-knowledge is power. It’s because most knowledge is better treated as half truth.

What’s interesting about knowledge is that the half-life of knowledge isn’t constant. What’s better thought of as constant is half-life of the half-life of knowledge. There was a time when what your grandma used to know to be true would ring true to you. How about now? Knowledge cycle is getting compressed every year. These days you can hardly trust what knowledge your mother used to believe in. The reason what you learned at college doesn’t seem to be so useful at work is because knowledge can be malleable and depreciates in value against new contexts that come and go.

But… how do you use this nature to your advantage?

The first thing you need to do is take everything with a grain of salt. Treat it sort of like a time bomb. You should hear the ticking sound.

And what’s next? Ask yourself “what’s the underlying context that supports this as truth for now?”

Once you figure it out, you can start moving faster than most of people; while the inertia (a.k.a habits) tricks folks into saluting to what they have known to be true the past 5 years, you can think a way to capitalize on the opportunity.

Check this book out for the better understanding. The Half-life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date.

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