The Best Way to Learn From Other People's Experiences

Why bother learning history, when history isn't likely to repeat itself? We take a look at what Cognitive Flexibility Theory tells us about the best way to learn from other people's experiences.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Excellent post, I’m looking forward to rereading it and the rest of the series as well.

Have you read “How Emotions are Made” by Lisa Feldman Barrett? It’s been pretty revolutionary in terms of how I think about how I/we all think. Highly recommend you pick it up if you haven’t. As a shortcut you can check out her episode on the Knowledge Project, but @cedric I know you will have to get into the details.


Funny you should mention LFB :wink: I encountered her work about three years ago when I read Tiago Forte’s summary, but I only recently started digging into her theory in earnest after I discovered Denise Shull on Infinite Loops (episode link here).

Shull was the first time I heard LFB’s prediction theories used in an applied manner. And Shull is remarkably believable — she’s a performance coach to some of the top hedge fund managers on Wall Street, and apparently the basis for the Wendy Rhoades character on Billions.

My current plan is to read LFB’s paper, then Shull’s book, then LFB’s two books.

1 Like

What a GREAT podcast episode. I immediately started it again when I finished it. Super rich with applied insights, and another one of those experiences where a bunch of different things in my mind start locking together. Since starting How Emotions are Made, I’ve been thinking about how to effectively teach my kids emotional differentiation and granularity, so I was glad it came up in this episode.

I also had the idea to have my new team physically write out their expectations of me coming in as their leader, and either share them with me, or share a re-written/summarized version of it. It goes along with something I had my mentor circle (a formal program at my company) do last year - creating a personal user manual. Most people never take the time to write out what they like/dislike/expect, so I’m hoping to get some really good traction with these concepts.


@cedric Have you looked into grounded theory of research? It’s also bottom-up . I always had a problem in uni by the idea that I have to formulate a thesis and then try to prove it as the evidence always seemed ambiguous to me and doesn’t fit perfectly with any hypothesis. When I first heard of it, I was like “YEAAAH” research without having to set a hypothesis in advance!


Yup, I’m familiar with it! I always thought it was really useful, and it’s come in handy when doing customer interviews over the years.


Coincidentally, I’ve been applying that to my customer interviews as well. I’ve also used Obsidian and adapted Ryan Murphy’s toolkit to my own research. It’s been quite useful in my opinion.