Learning’s not enough

Learning is a necessary but insufficient condition for working smarter.

Dictionaries define learning as acquiring knowledge and skills. But we all know skilled, knowledgeable people who don’t get things done, don’t we? Learning that doesn’t lead to doing is no better than not learning at all.


The academic literature abounds with models that usually march through four sequential steps. They leave out application of what’s been learned. You could spin around a circle like this without ever accomplishing anything.

Of course, learning doesn’t work like this either. You brain is not a computer stepping through linear processes. Quite the contrary, it’s a network without a center, a complex chemistry set where sparks between neurons form patterns that are always morphing, recombining, and influencing one another. Before I get into re-defining learning, here’s my framework for boosting brainpower.



The four-step model is David Kolb’s. It’s one of the better ones out there.

This post is an excerpt from my re-write of

Working Smarter
Boosting Brainpower for Fun & Profit