Learn from Novices

Lyman Abbott was asked to write a magazine article on a topic he knew nothing about. He declined and was asked if he would see if his father could do it. His father asked him why he wasn’t writing the article himself, and Dr. Abbott said it was because he didn’t know anything about it. His father told him that’s why he was best suited write the article.

A person who is ignorant of a subject is often just the one to write an article about it, his father told him, “for the chief object of a popular magazine article is to give knowledge of a subject to people who are wholly ignorant of it. To that end, he must know both the subject and the condition of ignorance. If he is familiar with the condition of ignorance, he can make himself acquainted with the subject, but if he is thoroughly familiar with the subject it is almost impossible for hiim to acquaint himself with the condition of ignorance.”  Lyman Abbott on advice received from his father on editing a magazine

I know when I want to learn about something, I generall start with the children’s section of the library.

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