Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ideas Without Borders

In the last few days I've gotten postings from two places I never particularly expected to hear from. The first came from a teacher in Canada (followed by a second teacher in Pennsylvania) describing to me how he thought Rules could be used as a template for reform of the public education system. In a follow-up email he told me that, unlike many in his field, he loves to read books that aren't, strictly speaking, about education. Reading across boundaries, he said, opens up his mind to new ideas and new possibilities that wouldn't occur to him if he stayed inside the boundaries of traditional books written by fellow educators. Then today I got a link to a post written by a doctor. He was using Rules to make a point that he found inside his profession--the growing disparity between those in medicine who know it, and those who do it. When I wrote that rule, having learned it from my friend and mentor Larry Smith, I was thinking of its application to business and politics, where experts often make pronouncements that are at great odds from the actual experience of practitioners on the ground. But once I read the good doctor's post, I knew that, just as there are physicians without borders, there are ideas without borders--and that Rules is apparently traveling quite well, finding readers in education, medicine, and other parts and places in the world where change is the everyday diagnosis and new rules the only reasonable prescription. You can read the doctor's post (here).

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