Compound Knowledge: the key to gaining wisdom

One concept that has been buzzing lately is “compound knowledge.” I’ve been seeing it often in the Orange Book’s timeline on Twitter. Anything this person shares on that channel interests me, and if there’s an idea that’s completely new to me, I do a bit more research.

Compound means “made up or consisting of two or more existing parts or elements.” Therefore, compound knowledge refers to integrating all the elements we’ve collected from the various sources we learn from and using them to upgrade our skills or achieve wisdom, for example.

However, compounding is a process that takes time. Immediate results are out of the equation. The core essence is patience and consistency. Outcomes will show as one continues to gain knowledge year over year.

“Compounding” is actually a common term in the language of finance. It reflects characteristics of long-term investments. Once you understand compound interest, saving money for the future has a different meaning. The same thing happens with knowledge and the way you learn things.

If you think about life as a long-term investment, many facets begin to mirror the effects of compounding interest. When investing early and re-investing often into relationships, health, love, money, abilities etc., they will all compound and eventually begin to yield exponential results.


Howie diamond

Given that compounding takes time, performing little actions on a daily basis can have a tremendous impact in the long run. If you want to create new habits, gain skills or acquire more knowledge on a topic of interest, investing time in that goal, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, will pay dividends.

Shane Parrish, founder of Farnam Street Media Inc., suggests the following considerations as you begin your own compounding journey:

  • “Will you care about what you’re reading in a month? In a year? In five years?”
  • “Are you focused enough on the same thing to build cumulative knowledge or are you too spread out?”
  • “What do you spend time on that’s likely to change in the next few years? What’s not likely to change?”

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

One thought on “Compound Knowledge: the key to gaining wisdom

  1. Pingback: Routines of successful people: to try or not to try - Alice Strathern

Leave a Reply