Gilad Naor


Seattle and Trust
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Active Learning

“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Albert Einstein

It’s been several years since I realized I don’t know anything. Occasionally, I make the mistake of thinking I know something pretty well. Reality always reminds me that I don’t, usually using a sledgehammer. So I keep trying to learn. I read blogs and even (gasp) books. In fact, I even spent four years in what some people say is a pretty decent university. I even managed to surround myself with people who are way smarter than myself at work.

The thing is, you can only learn so much from other people. Consider Tom for example. He wants to learn a bit about thermodynamics and the heat conductivity of various substances, say, a human hand. It doesn’t matter how much he reads Fermi’s book, or even how much he hears lectures by distinguished professor Mom. In fact, said professor told Tom just last week that touching fire is dangerous, because fire is very hot. Now, Tom is a very intelligent boy for his age. His mother told him so, as a matter of fact. Yet, all of the theoretical knowledge he’s learned won’t stop him from trying to touch the flame with his hands. Only after such an experiment will Tom really understand that the heat conductivity of the human hand is, well, ehm. It hurts. That’s what he’ll finally learn.

My point being is that the only real way of learning something is by doing. That’s why work is so much more tiring than a university lecture. In a lecture, you sit passively and listen. You can cover more material faster this way, but you don’t really learn anything this way. Work has that annoying aspect wherein you actually have to work.

I’m not against reading books. I really love books. I am, after all, a nerd. Reading books is important. But it’s not enough. You have to learn things the hard way.

So I’m going to write a game. I don’t know too much about it yet, but that’s what I’m going to write in the spare time that I don’t have. A game is a good subject, because it covers nearly every imaginable aspect of Computer-Science and software development. I’ve already finished the dreaded Requirement gathering process. Here are the games requirements:

  1. It should be a game.
  2. I should finish it.

That’s it. Now to start codi, em, I mean, designing. Yes, that’s what I mean. Designing.