Friday, 11 March 2011

Building A Large Toolkit

"If all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail." This phrasing of the law of the instrument sums up the problem we all face in developing mind tools. If we've got one tool we always favour, then it's going to be misapplied and used in situations where it doesn't belong.

Building a large toolkit has drawbacks. It requires time and effort to learn them, as well as where they apply. And you'll never get the mastery in multiple tools the same way as if you focused on one or a few. But these drawbacks are worth the versatility that comes with having a wide variety of tools one can use well. Where there's specialisation required, let those with the mastery of those specialised tools do the job. Not everyone needs to be able to be a medical statistician or climate modeller, after all. But to have no knowledge of the tools that professions use is inviting the capacity of being sold nonsense under the guise of insight.

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