Reinventing the Book
Books are incredible repositories for information, but terrible tools for learning.
The lie is that if you read a book, you will learn the knowledge contained in the book. This is not the case. In order to truly learn from a book, you have to apply additional learning techniques on top of the book.
What if there were a new medium for interacting with knowledge that was better than a book for relaying knowledge?
We would probably want to represent knowledge differently (see Knowledge Representation).
What follows is a partial history of ideas about how to invent a better medium for learning than the book.
- [[Vannevar Bush]]'s Memex from 1945 was the backdrop for Engelbart and Alan Kay.
- Douglas Engelbart's Augmenting Human Intelligence is an important backdrop to everything, but it's a bit inaccessible. Engelbart is probably a Level 6 or 7 (see [[The 7 Levels of Work]]) and had a hard time connecting and explaining his ideas.
Alan Kay is the bridge from Engelbart and Bush's ideas to the present ideas explored by Victor, Matuschak, and Nielsen. He pioneered the Dynabook.
Bret Victor is the next important figure.
- Andy Matuschak has written a great summary article Why books don’t work | Andy Matuschak
See Andy's notes on his approach to solving the problem, what he calls the Mnemonic Medium:
Michael Nielsen has done some thinking on this:
Andy and Michael collaborated on Quantum Country, which is a mnemonic medium "textbook" for learning the basics of Quantum Computing.
- They wrote about their learnings from this project in the paper How can we develop transformative tools for thought?