The Collector's Fallacy

There’s a tendency in all of us to gather useful stuff and feel good about it. To collect is a reward in itself. As knowledge workers, we’re inclined to look for the next groundbreaking thought, for intellectual stimulation: we pile up promising books and articles, and we store half the internet as bookmarks, just so we get the feeling of being on the cutting edge.

Let’s call this “The Collector’s Fallacy”. Why fallacy? Because ‘to know about something’ isn’t the same as ‘knowing something’. Just knowing about a thing is less than superficial since knowing about is merely to be certain of its existence, nothing more. Ultimately, this fake-knowledge is hindering us on our road to true excellence. Until we merge the contents, the information, ideas, and thoughts of other people into our own knowledge, we haven’t really learned a thing. We don’t change ourselves if we don’t learn, so merely filing things away doesn’t lead us anywhere.


Collecting, just as Eco warned us, does not magically increase our knowledge. We have to read a text effectively to assimilate its ideas and learn from it. Reading effectively means the text changes our knowledge permanently. Only when we learn from it and begin to work with the ideas it presents. We need to extract what’s inside and write things down.


Folksonomies: knowledge reasearch

/hobbies and interests/collecting (0.573690)
/business and industrial/company/merger and acquisition (0.447282)
/hobbies and interests/reading (0.441630)

fallacy (0.966224 (negative:-0.006910)), Collector’s Fallacy (0.957520 (negative:-0.261185)), useful stuff (0.935222 (positive:0.473535)), intellectual stimulation (0.907945 (neutral:0.000000)), cutting edge (0.872389 (negative:-0.557510)), true excellence (0.855626 (positive:0.267242)), knowledge (0.819269 (positive:0.581679)), knowledge workers (0.803141 (neutral:0.000000)), n’t lead (0.748575 (negative:-0.671187)), ideas (0.627611 (positive:0.923836)), thing (0.548052 (negative:-0.827806)), things (0.465773 (negative:-0.706923)), text (0.458307 (positive:0.874715)), reward (0.398697 (neutral:0.000000)), tendency (0.388863 (positive:0.473535)), groundbreaking (0.383202 (positive:0.484359)), feeling (0.368066 (negative:-0.557510)), bookmarks (0.359826 (neutral:0.000000)), existence (0.357095 (negative:-0.827806)), Eco (0.354643 (positive:0.398703)), books (0.348183 (positive:0.274343)), articles (0.348061 (positive:0.274343)), internet (0.347634 (neutral:0.000000)), road (0.342752 (positive:0.267241)), contents (0.336858 (neutral:0.000000)), information (0.336682 (neutral:0.000000))

Eco:Company (0.718674 (positive:0.398703))

Learning (0.931992): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Psychology (0.887485): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
English-language films (0.835701): dbpedia
Knowledge (0.803055): dbpedia | freebase
Cognition (0.711935): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Cognitive science (0.689147): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Thing (0.675980): dbpedia
Feeling (0.673234): dbpedia | freebase
Thought (0.671940): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 The Collector’s Fallacy
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  zettelkasten, (01/20/2014), The Collector’s Fallacy, Retrieved on 2017-05-17
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: research knowledge