PERREAULT Magazine September 2014 - Page 56


School of Unlearning - Lesson #6


Jack Uldrich is an acclaimed global futurist, compelling keynote speaker and best-selling author. His past works include, The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business; Jump the Curve: 50 Strategies to Help You Company Stay Ahead of Emerging Technology; Unlearning 101:101 Lessons in Thinking Inside-Out the Box, and, most recently, Higher Unlearning: 39 Post-Requisite Lessons for Achieving a Successful Future. He is the founder and “Chief Unlearning Officer” of The School of Unlearning— an international consultancy designed to help organizations succeed tomorrow by unlearning today.


Study at an Anti-Library

”There is a huge difference between what people actually know and how much they think they know.” – Nassim Taleb

Which of these animals is more likely to kill you: A shark or a deer?

The right answer is the deer. In fact, the contest isn’t even close. You are 300-times more likely to be killed at the hands—or the “hoof” if you will—of a deer than a shark. The reason a vast majority of people incorrectly answer this question is because shark attacks, although quite rare, are easy to imagine and vividly recalled. For example, it is not uncommon for television news stories to report shark attacks even when those attacks occur thousands of miles away; and, if you are over the age of 40, you may viscerally recall the movie “Jaws.”

On the other hand, instances of drivers striking deer on remote country roads and dying in the resulting collision, are much more common. They occur with such startling regularity that they rarely warrant more than a passing mention on the local news.

The discrepancy between the relative danger of sharks and deer is a poignant reminder of that old adage: What we don’t know is more important than what we do know. One of the better ways to remind of ourselves of our ignorance—and to remain open to the concept of unlearning—is to keep our ignorance top-of-mind. One of the more effective strategies for doing this is to create an anti-library. As Nassim Taleb recounts in his provocative and insightful book, The Black Swan, an anti-library is a collection of books that one hasn’t read.

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