Abstraction is a very powerful weapon. I believe that we get less from the things we know than we do from the things we don’t have to know.

While constant learning and discovery are paramount to success, standing on the shoulders of giants offers a much longer lever for innovation than learning about how the world works.

It’s extraordinary that you can use the internet to create great things without having to understand how electrons flow through the inter-tubes. Or that you can build your kid a tree-house without having to know how two-by-fours are manufactured to be so straight; and a backyard ice-rink without having to understand how plumbing keeps the water from freezing even in the New England winter. The complexities of those (and all modern) systems have been abstracted away through thousands of hours of invention and engineering.

The best balance is when you can couple substantial raw knowledge with the cojones to pull on that big lever, putting your fingerprint on all the beautiful abstractions the modern world presents to you.