Teaching The Master

It’s Foodie Friday! I was reading one of the many food blogs I follow when I came across a post from a baker who had updated his book on breadmaking. It was a very successful book and had won numerous awards but it was now 15 years old and the publisher had asked for an update. That isn’t particularly interesting since cookbooks are updated all the time – The Joy Of Cooking has been updated 6 times in the 75+ years since its publication. What is of interest to me – and which provides an interesting business point – is the mindset of the author.

There are two quotes in his post which resonated and which I think are instructive to us all:

  • Working on it (the anniversary edition) gave me a chance to examine all that has transpired during the interval, and to see where we might freshen things up to keep pace with all the developments.

  • Even after six thousand years of bread baking, we are still learning new ways to make it even better.

In other words, here is someone who is always learning and taking the opportunity to use what he’s learned to foster positive change in his endeavors. All of us should be reading, listening, and learning every day. No matter if we use RSS to digest dozens of sources of professional and industry information or if we just wander the halls speaking to people, one of the most fundamental things we need to do it to keep learning. In this case, we have someone who literally wrote the book on breadmaking and is considered a master. The only way to retain that sort of elevated status in any field is to keep learning.

The legal profession requires hours of Continuing Legal Education for members of the bar to stay admitted. Teachers are expected to keep earning degree credits and to publish once they get into academia’s highest realms. It needn’t be that formal. All that’s required is a willingness to learn, an open mind, and a fundamental curiosity about the world in which we live, both professionally and as humans. You with me?

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