An Excellent Book: Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic


In my view an EXCELLENT book to listen to{audio book] or read.

Am in the process of listening to the audio book.

Most on this forum would like.

“Knowing What We Know: The Transmission of Knowledge: From Ancient Wisdom to Modern Magic”

by Simon Winchester

The audio book is also read by the author Simon Winchester


I love his books generally, but have not read that book. Thanks for recommending it! Particularly appropriate given the pace of AI.

I have this book on my bedside stand. Found it a week ago at our little local library. Only familiar previously with the author from his book on the making of the OED, “The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.”

An interesting quote in the prologue to “Knowing What We Know” …

“The arc of every human life is measured out by the ceaseless accumulation of knowledge. Requiring only awareness and yet always welcoming curiosity, the transmission of knowledge into the sentient mind is an uninterruptible process of ebbings and flowings. There are times–in infancy, or when at school in youth–during which the rate at which knowledge is gathered becomes intense and urgent, a welling tsunami of information ever ready for the mind to process. At other times, maybe later in life, the inbound knowledge drifts in more slowly, set to thicken, like moss, or a patina.”

I had to look up what patina was, and expect it will be the case to do so many times in this beautifully written work. He does cover a broad range of human history and manages to include chatboxes too.

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