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?