As I got back to the car and flicked through it I was delighted - it was a collection of short essays and one caught my eye - it was entitled Useless Knowledge Here is a quote from the essay:
"Curious learning not only makes unpleasant things less pleasant, but also makes pleasant things more pleasant. I have enjoyed peaches and apricots more since I have known that they were first cultivated in China in the early days of the Han dynasty; that Chinese hostages held by the great King Kanisaka introduced them into India, whence they spread to Persia, reaching the Roman Empire in the first century of our era; that the word "apricot" is derived from the same Latin source as the word "precocious" because the apricot ripens early; and that the A as the beginning was added by mistake , owing to a false etymology. All this makes the fruit taste much sweeter."In knowledge management we often talk about focusing on productive knowledge and that KM should not be an intellectual exercise and to a degree this is right but Bertrand Russell pulled me up - as he says elsewhere in the essay "Perhaps the most important advantage of "useless" knowledge as that it promotes a contemplative habit of mind." Now to me taking time to reflect is at the heart of KM. So paradoxically "useless" knowledge can promote KM. I like it!
And oh yes Apricots have also tasted sweeter to me since!