Second Layer Knowledge

In Todd Tressider’s interview with Cal Newport about his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Tresidder introduces the concept of second layer knowledge. Tresidder says that first layer knowledge seems obvious and we want to belive that the way indicated by first layer knowledge is correct. However, when scrutinized, first layer knowledge breaks down and gives way to second layer knowledge which is more complicated. It’s truths are not readily apparent but acquiring second layer knowledge gives one a competitive advantage. Deliberate study is needed to understand some of the principles underlying second layer knowledge but once acquired they are well worth the effort.

Often times, cracking the shell of the first layer to get to the second layer of knowledge you can gain wisdom in the process.

One may find interesting the distinction that George Kinder makes between knowledge and wisdom:

“Knowledge is not wisdom, which remains deeply truthful despite the passage of time. Knowledge is impermanent; it changes; drifts away, fades, like fog or smoke.” (The Seven Stages of Money Maturity, pg. 180).

Consider that wisdom is a way of being and knowledge is a way of doing or acting.

This is merely the difference between techne and episteme. However, the important thing is knowing that or having the wisdom that techne is the important thing over time in a tinkering environment. This is with a nod to Taleb as he says some of his friends who were traders were not sophisticated guys but they understood optionality and were thus rich. So in failing to be erudite, they at least understand optionality better than the learned professors of academia who remained less well heeled than “da guys from Brooklyn.”