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Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization by Dan Pontefract

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Chapter Nine

Learning at the Speed of Need

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.
—Samuel Johnson1

I thought about ending the chapter right here. Johnson makes so much sense it's ludicrous to think I can outdo him. But after intense discussions with my publishers, their advice was to delve somewhat deeper into the topic if I was ever going to write another book.

Reread that opening quotation again. When you stop and think about it, isn't he right? Samuel Johnson, the famous poet, essayist and speaker is credited as having said this on April 18, 1775, while visiting his colleague Richard Owen Cambridge's library. Johnson was intent on perusing the contents of the library shelves at his friend's new home and after Cambridge asked Johnson why his interest level was so high, he uttered this famous passage. Some 235-odd years later it still rings true. Where we find information, knowledge and help still comes via the library; although in 2013—according to our Flat Army thesis—the library is a metaphor for access via people and the Internet.

How prophetic, in spite of Nicholas Carr's objections through his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains, in which he attacks the usefulness of easy and quick access to information and knowledge.2 Although I learned a lot from reading his book, I'm not of the same mindset as Carr. In this age of the connected leader and in the context of our Flat Army thesis, ...

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