Daily Reading Notes

Day 18

February 20, 2021

The Art of Doing Science and Engineering

Novelty and originality do not equate to creativity. Creativity requires those things, but goes on to add usefulness.

Creativity involves putting together things that were previously thought unrelated.

Coming up with a solution requires a long period of thinking about the problem. Followed by a likely break from the problem. Until finally the subconscious comes up with a solution.

The failure of one solution narrows the number of possible solutions and makes a successful one more likely to come next.

Coming up with the solution rarely means that your work ends. You will have to refine and clean up the solution until it's ready for presentation or implementation.

In order to foster creativity you must have a breadth of knowledge to draw from. In order to build up this knowledge, think deeply on new ideas. Come up with analogies, think of new uses for the concept, and apply the idea to things you already know.

Any change of habit is hard. Start slow and make gradual but consistent progress.

If you can't learn to drop the wrong problems, you will never have time for the right ones.

Experts usually say that a new approach is impossible because it would require them to change their underlying assumptions. It's extremely hard for anyone, especially experts, to admit that they have been wrong all along.

Always test your fundamental assumptions and make a conscious decision to reject or try a new idea. Do not allow your assumptions to just drag you along.

When you think you know something absolutely, ask yourself: "What would it take to change my mind?"

The same approach will not work forever. Eventually it will become counter productive.

If you cannot update your mental models with the progress of the field, you will lose the joy in your work, and get left behind.

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Copyright © Artem Chernyak 2020