A Huge Source of Knowledge Often Neglected: The History

As the saying says, knowledge is power. Unfortunately, there is a huge source of knowledge we often neglect: the history. I personally believe history is a great resource to learn from.

Human civilization has existed thousands of years. In such long period of time so many things has happened. Kingdom after kingdom, empire after empire, people rose and fell, they made good and bad decisions. There must be something (a lot, in fact) we can learn from all those. Why should we repeat mistakes which had been done by people in the past? Why should we reinvent the success formula people had found thousands of years ago? We should harvest this vast repository of knowledge called the history.

Learning from the history is like what Isaac Newton remarked: If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. We should stand on the shoulders of giants from the past so that we can see further now.

Where to start?

To kick start your journey in learning from history, I recommend reading the book Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. It gives you a good overview of the entire human history, including the important question of why some civilizations are more advanced than the others. Unlike many other history books which focus on certain events, this book focuses on the patterns behind those events.

Reading this book had been a very enjoyable experience for me. It was as if I was transported with a time machine to visit and watch civilization after civilization throughout the history. I watched how they lived, how they succeeded, and how they failed. I also understand more of how human civilization as a whole has evolved. It helps me see current issues in better perspective.

Do you know other good resources to learn from the history? I’d appreciate if you share them in the comments.

4 Comments

  1. You have a good point. Almost all of us have the same viewpoint about history. We just ignore its importance which is probably why we don’t like history.

  2. Yes, many people don’t like history, me included originally. But I think that’s just because people do not have the right mindset. If we approach history with eagerness to extract the lessons, I’m sure history will be much more interesting.

  3. No wonder why most of us make the same mistakes. Not looking back at our past is a common mistake. Most of us think that it’s useless to look back. It shouldn’t be for the purpose of whining about our mistakes, but carefully searching our mistakes and learn about it.
    Thanks for reminding.

  4. “…carefully searching our mistakes and learn about it.”
    I like the way you put it, Pamela. If we have this kind of attitude I’m sure we can prevent ourselves from making the same mistakes again and again.

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