It’s not what you know, but how it’s organized!

As I continue my pursuit to find a way to put my years of experience, and the expertise I have accumulated, to it’s best possible use, I have been asked the following question more times than I care to admit…

“Tell me about yourself.”

I am a skilled and successful sales person. I am a technologist, an inventor, a philosopher, an entrepreneur, a musician, a son, a father and a husband. I have published articles, have performed on stages to the applause of thousands. I have created businesses from nothing, and have watched them return to the nothing from which they were created. I am, clearly, a person blessed with many gifts. However, does this really tell you “about” me?

When I think about “me,” I believe I am primarily defined by what I know (or think I know), and, conversely, by my internal voice that is always pushing me to know more. My “superpower,” it turns out, is not all that I know, but a deep internal appreciation for that fact that I know almost nothing.

The following words from Napoleon Hill, published in his book “Think and Grow Rich” (which I am in the process of re-reading) are remarkable for many reason and, in a sort of scary way, are perhaps more relevant today than they were in 1938 when they were first published.

THERE are two kinds of knowledge. One is general, the other is specialized. General knowledge, no matter how great in quantity or variety it may be, is of but little use in the accumulation of money. The faculties of the great universities possess, in the aggregate, practically every form of general knowledge known to civilization. Most of the professors have but little or no money. They specialize on teaching knowledge, but they do not specialize on the organization, or the use of knowledge.

KNOWLEDGE will not attract money, unless it is organized, and intelligently directed, through practical PLANS OF ACTION, to the DEFINITE END of accumulation of money. Lack of understanding of this fact has been the source of confusion to millions of people who falsely believe that “knowledge is power.” It is nothing of the sort! Knowledge is only potential power. It becomes power only when, and if, it is organized into definite plans of action, and directed to a definite end.

This “missing link” in all systems of education known to civilization today, may be found in the failure of educational institutions to teach their students HOW TO ORGANIZE AND USE KNOWLEDGE AFTER THEY ACQUIRE IT.

–Napoleon Hill [1938] – “Think and Grow Rich”

Can you say Google? Microsoft? Bing? WolframAlpha? iPhone? Android?

Who would have thought that Napoleon Hill, back in 1938, was writing the business plan for the current information age.

It’s not what you know. It’s not who you know. It’s how you organize what’s known.

I can’t tell you I completely understand the subtleties of Hill’s words, but I’m sure going to try to figure it out.