Book Cover - Book Review: Understanding Understanding

“It seems the more we have access to information, the less we seem to know,” says Oliver Jeffers, one of my favorite children’s book authors.

Understanding Understanding is a more personal book than the author’s previous titles on the subject. It’s his last book, the last conversation with us on his favorite subject, the special moment between ignorance and comprehension, on which everything stands since understanding always precedes action.

The first 50 pages capture the essence of understanding (duplicating sections that you may find in Information Anxiety volumes). The remaining 500 pages are the manifestation of understanding through the life and opinions of famous artists, musicians, architects, and so on, whose which the author conversed in the past.

It’s a unique book. You can never know what you will discover when turning the page. You will not really learn how to understand but you will see it. The book is an invitation to climb the train of understanding and meet people that go up a long time ago and never go down because even if we ignore the destination, as long as we are on the path to understanding, we will always be on the right track.

If you have never read the biography of RSW, do it. There are too many notable works to fit this book review. Richard Saul Wurman spent his whole life driven by curiosity. This book will teleport you to incredible places. Trust me, you will enjoy the journey even if the start can be perilous as finding a copy of this book is challenging. Richard Saul Wurman writes, “If I don’t ask, I won’t get.” I applied the lesson and I’m so glad to be able to write these few words.

About the author

Julien Sobczak works as a software developer for Scaleway, a French cloud provider. He is a passionate reader who likes to see the world differently to measure the extent of his ignorance. His main areas of interest are productivity (doing less and better), human potential, and everything that contributes in being a better person (including a better dad and a better developer).

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