Expiring vs. Long-Term Knowledge

Expiring knowledge catches more attention than it should, for two reasons. One, there’s a lot of it, eager to buzz our short attention spans. Two, we chase it down, anxious to squeeze out insight before it loses relevance.

.. Long-term knowledge is harder to notice because it’s buried in books rather than blasted in headlines.

.. Take a company’s performance. Sales. Margins. Cash flow.

These are important pieces of information. But they expire. No one cares anymore about Microsoft’s Q2 2004 revenue growth. They care that Microsoft generates lots of cash over time because it has a moat. Understanding moats – why they exist, how they are defended, etc. – is long-term knowledge. When you view it this way you realize that the revenue and cash flow information is a short-term reflection of the moat.

.. I read newspapers and books every day. I can not recall one damn thing I read in a newspaper from, say, 2011. But I can tell you details about a few great books I read in 2011 and how they changed how I think. I’ll remember them forever. I’ll keep reading newspapers. But if I read more books I’d probably develop better filters and frameworks that would help me make better sense of the news.