From the book ‘You Can Do Anything’
In 1936, at the zenith of the Great Depression, the prolific self-help guru and famous eccentric James T. Mangan published You Can Do Anything! – an enthusiastic and exclamation-heavy pep-manual for the art of living.
Among its highlights is a section titled 14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge – a blueprint to intellectual growth:
Consider the knowledge you already have — the things you really know you can do. They are the things you have done over and over; practiced them so often that they became second nature.
Ask! When you ask, you have to be humble. You have to admit you don’t know!
Desire is the foundation of all learning and you can only climb up the ladder of knowledge by desiring to learn. If you don’t desire to learn you’re either a num-skull [sic] or a “know-it-all.” And the world wants nothing to do with either type of individual.
4.) GET IT FROM YOURSELF
You may be surprised to hear that you already know a great deal! It’s all inside you — it’s all there — you couldn’t live as long as you have and not be full of knowledge.
5.) WALK AROUND IT
Any time you see something new or very special, if the thing is resting on the ground, as your examination and inspection proceeds, you find that you eventually walk around it. You desire to know the thing better by looking at it from all angles.To acquire knowledge walk around the thing studied.
The world honors the man who is eager to plant new seeds of study today so he may harvest a fresh crop of knowledge tomorrow. … Respect the past, take what it offers, but don’t live in it. To learn, experiment! Try something new.
If you would have knowledge, knowledge sure and sound, teach. Teach your children, teach your associates, teach your friends. In the very act of teaching, you will learn far more than your best pupil.
Reading is only one way to knowledge, and in the writer’s opinion, not the best way. But you can surely learn from reading if you read in the proper manner. What you read is important, but not all important. How you read is the main consideration. The secret of good reading is this: read critically!
To know it — write it! If you’re writing to explain, you’re explaining it to yourself! If you’re writing to inspire, you’re inspiring yourself! If you’re writing to record, you’re recording it on your own memory.
You have a pair of ears — use them! When the other man talks, give him a chance. Pay attention. If you listen you may hear something useful to you. If you listen you may receive a warning that is worth following. If you listen, you may earn the respect of those whose respect you prize.
Keep your eyes open. There are things happening, all around you, all the time. The scene of events is interesting, illuminating, full of news and meaning. It’s a great show — an impressive parade of things worth knowing.
12.) PUT IN ORDER
Order is Heaven’s first law. And the only good knowledge is orderly knowledge! You must put your information and your thoughts in order before you can effectively handle your own knowledge.
A definition is a statement about a thing which includes everything the thing is and excludes everything it is not.
Animals have knowledge. But only men can reason. The better you can reason the farther you separate yourself from animals. Logic is the supreme avenue to intellectual truth.