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You Learn From People Who Mostly Agree With You

We like to believe that to learn and grow, we should get out of our comfort zone and spend time talking with people who challenge our opinions and ideas, right? I’m not so sure.

Ben Casnocha offers an interesting summary of a econotalk with David Weinberger (author of Too Big to Know).

Rarely is your worldview turned upside down in a single conversation over lunch. Rarely is your mind truly blown in an hour. Instead, most learning happens on the margins. A nugget here, a nugget there. Brick by brick you assemble a house of knowledge; you iteratively form and evolve a worldview.

The question: With what kinds of people do you have conversations that lead to an iterative, valuable insight?

The answer: People with whom you agree on 99.9% of issues already.

As Weinberger says, “It’s how culture advances. It’s how knowledge advances.” And it’s how individual intellectual growth advances, too. Some of my best, most mind-expanding conversations have occurred with good friends who agree with me on almost everything–but not quite everything.