Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Clayton Christensen and Charlie Munger on theory

In his recent Talk at Google, Clayton Christensen said the following near the beginning of his presentation: 
"The word theories gets a bum rap with managers because the word theory is associated with the word theoretical which connotes impractical. But a theory is a statement of causality. It's a statement of what causes what and why. And when you think about it in those terms, you as technologists or managers are voracious consumers of theory. Because every time you take an action it's predicated upon a belief that if you do this, you'll get the result that you want. And every time you put a plan into place it's predicated upon a set of theories which tells you that if you do these things, you'll be successful. But most of the people aren't even aware of the theories they use. And many times the theories that you use are destructive rather than productive."
That mention of theory reminded me of the below quote from Charlie Munger, which I mentioned a couple of years ago as essentially being the underlying reason for my practice of Memortation
"I could see that I was not going to cope as well as I wished with life unless I could acquire a better theory-structure on which to hang my observations and experiences. By then, my craving for more theory had a long history. Partly, I had always loved theory as an aid in puzzle solving and as a means of satisfying my monkey-like-curiosity. And, partly, I had found that theory-structure was a superpower in helping one get what one wanted. As I had early discovered in school wherein I had excelled without labor, guided by theory, while many others, without mastery of theory failed despite monstrous effort. Better theory I thought had always worked for me and, if now available could make me acquire capital and independence faster and better assist everything I loved."