Winning in the Information Age with the Law of Diminishing Returns

Efficient knowledge assimilation (the act of turning information into something valuable and actionable) is the key to thrive in the information age.

Whether you are a software engineer, a lawyer, a manager, or an entrepreneur, your value lies in how efficiently you can learn new things to stay relevant in your field in an ever-accelerating world.

But there are two problems.

The first one is that today, there is simply too much information available and it's hard to isolate the signal from the noise.

The second problem is that knowledge ("white collar") jobs are evolving faster than the capacity of most people to learn new things. For example, today, you are a software engineer developing backend applications, and you may want to move into Machine Learning with all the recent and exciting advancements, such as the Open Source / Model Stable Diffusion.

But I have good news for you.

Learning follows the law of diminishing returns: you need to spend exponentially more effort to squeeze the last bits of performance when learning a specific topic.

Diminishing returns

And this is where the hackers start to see how to use this tendency to their own advantage.

By spending two weeks studying a topic really hard, you can assimilate the most important principles of this topic and become better than maybe 90% of the people on this planet (I admit that I took this number out of my hat, but from experience, I think it's pretty accurate).

Of course, you won't become a Ph.D. in the field in two weeks, but anyway, being too much an expert has many drawbacks, such as overthinking and analysis paralysis.

So, do you want to change your job or start a new startup in a field where you have no expertise?

Study hard the big principles for 2 weeks. Then do 1 applied project per week for 3 weeks to learn the current practices and trends. That's all.

When I say the big principles, it's the "immutable laws" that didn't change much for a long time (long time being relative to your field) and thus, according to the Lindy effect are going to stay relevant for a long time in the future, such as Linux, common algorithms and design patterns in the programming world, or Human psychology in the management world.

In a little bit more than 1 month, you will be more effective in this field than most of your peers/competitors, even if they studied the topic in university 15 years ago...

By now, you should have understood the importance of growing your learning skills to thrive in the knowledge economy, and I a little something for you: I have written a guide teaching you exactly that: My simple system to turn information into actionable knowledge. Enjoy the read!

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Tags: entrepreneurship, productivity

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