How exciting it is to be stupid.

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Richard Saul Wurman spoke to a crowded room at the New School last night about beginnings, learning, listening, remembering and being open to the unknown.
It was a brilliant conversation about his journey to zero, from a man who’s been around the circle a few times. Richard commands the room with a wit that somehow manages to be both self-deprecating and larger than life, leaving me to wonder at times if he’d gone too far. (He sort of makes Sarah Silverman look sweet.) No, in the end I was in awe: someone genuinely curious and generous and willing to share. A crazy old man at 75 who is so enthusiastic about spreading what he’s learned in life that he’ll take over the room and turn the evening upside down with maximum storytelling.
Wurman is famous for his disdain of note-taking so I felt a bit self-conscious about scribbling during the talk. He says that writing something down is permission to forget, and that a better kind of learning occurs when you listen and make connections without the crutch. I don’t always agree, but I love the sentiment. I also have a really bad memory.
So as an experiment I tried to jot down the concepts only, with the idea that I would make the connections later. This works for me. I need an artifact so I can put the narrative back together again, later on. Rather than try to tell Richard’s story for you, I present my notes. Fragments of words and ideas that caught my attention during the talk. The connections are all there, between the words.
Click on the image for a larger, more legible version.

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