Gurteen Knowledge-Letter: Issue 1 - 30th May 2000


First Published

June 2000

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter is a monthly newsletter that is distributed to members of the Gurteen Knowledge Community. You may receive the Knowledge Letter by joining the community. Membership is totally free. You may read back-copies here.

Welcome to the very first Gurteen Knowledge-Letter! It is a free
e-mail based newsletter for "knowledge workers". It is intended
to help you better manage your knowledge and to stimulate
thought and interest in such subjects as Knowledge Management,
Learning, Creativity and the effective use of Internet
technology. Each issue will contain about ten items - short and
succinct - that point you to richer resources on the web. It
will be published occasionally about 12 times a year.

You will also find this newsletter on the web at:


The first issue of this newsletter is being distributed to just
over 300 "knowledge workers". Many of you have a technical
orientation; others a people one; some of you are business
managers and others individual contributors. So my challenge is
to strike a balance between the "business domain"; the
"technical domain" and the "human domain".

I also need to balance what content to put in the newsletter
itself and what to point to on the web though in general I will
keep the newsletter short and provide links to high quality
resources on the web. Given this, I'd greatly appreciate any
feedback you may have as I would like this newsletter to be of
value to as many of you as possible. Over time, I hope it will
continually improve.

One way of looking at this newsletter is as a "smorgasbord" -
lots of tasty little bites to eat - some you may enjoy, some you
may not and some may be an acquired taste. So nibble at the
morsels you like and push the others aside. What you find food
for thought may not be liked by others; and what others like -
you may find tasteless.

Despite this, if the newsletter contains nothing for you then
ask to be removed from the distribution list but before you do
please persevere for a few issues and tell me what you think -
so I have the opportunity to improve things.


Late last year, business management guru, Tom Peters, launched
his "The Work Matters! Movement" that coincided with the launch
of three new books in his "reinventing work series": "The Brand
You 50"; "The Project 50" and "The Professional Service Firm
50". The bottom line is that "work ... yours and mine ... as we
know it today ... will be re-invented in the next ten years."
And that if we don't start to perceive our business lives in new
ways we may well be out of a job!

Those of you familiar with Tom Peters writing know that he can
go a little over the top at times but don't let his style put
you off - take a look at his site - take a look at the book
reviews on Amazon and if you are inspired (or maybe scared!) by
what you read - buy the books, join the dialogue on his site and
start to "re-invent yourself!"

See the Tom Peters web site:

See the books:


Would you like to be able to hold more constructive
conversations with your boss, your spouse or your children?
Would you like to learn to avoid triggering your own emotions
and those of others when you are having "difficult
conversations". If so, then this book is a MUST read. It is one
of the best practical books I have read in the last 10 years or
more. It comes out of the work of the "Harvard Negotiation
Project" started in 1981 at the Harvard Law School and so is not
just another "self help" book. Take a look. I highly recommend

What's this got to do with learning or knowledge management? I
believe its fundamental - if we cannot hold open creative
conversations with each other then learning from others and
sharing knowledge will always be an up-hill battle.

The book:

Home page for the book:


One of the learning challenges we face is to extract the essence
of a book or a subject and to find a way of focusing and
internalising its key lessons. To help do this, I am
experimenting with a simple web tool that I call

For a given learning topic, typically a book, you can create a
set of "stickers", each of which briefly serves as a reminder of
one key learning point associated with that topic. Click on the
learning topic and each LearningSticker for that subject pops up
in turn in a small window under the control of a simple

Although this is certainly not ground-breaking web technology -
it is a powerful way of affirming key learning points. While you
are reading or doing something else on your PC - these stickers
can continually pop up or you can browse through them at your
leisure reinforcing the key points from a particular book or
subject area.

The current implementation is extremely basic (the automatic
presentation mode is currently switched off, while I improve
it.) You could, however, visualise each sticker, containing
simple graphics, the addition of music, better navigator control
etc. but this will come later.

Some books are easier than others to "stickerize" as they
contain lots of nice lists :). So I've played with a few of
these first.

Take a look at the work in progress at:


Quotations are extremely effective at capturing and concisely
communicating thoughts and ideas. They can be inspirational and
help us reveal and assess the assumptions underlying our
existing modes of perception and thought.

They are commonly used as a direct and successful source of
evidence to illustrate or support a point being made. A
quotation can summarise the content of the context of an entire
text in a few words. It can influence how you interpret the
text, particularly if it hints to allusions present or conveyed

Quotations offer simplicity. People buy little books of
quotations for quick, inspirational and effective advice. A
quotation can provoke a thought or it can create a debate: often
you agree or disagree with it. It can appear in the form of a
question, a statement, an imperative or an exclamation. It is
usually just a sentence or two and when it stands on its own,
alone, its meaning has impact.

Here is one of my favourite quotations from Sigmund Freud that
might provoke some reflection on how you make decisions:

"When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found
it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital
matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession,
the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere
within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life,
we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our

My web site has a compilation of over 100 quotations and short
excerpts. A shorter list of about 50 of them can be found at:


There is vast amount of information stored on the web and
hundreds of new sites spring up every day. Unfortunately, there
is not one single search engine that covers the whole web or one
method for expressing your search criteria. Here are a few sites
you might like to visit to improve your search skills.

First, take a look at the Internet Search Guide. It is a
comprehensive tutorial about how to get the best out of any
search engine. Even if you think you have mastered search
engines - this tutorial will teach you a lot!

Second, when searching the web, instead of bouncing from search
engine to engine, try a multi-search engine like Dogpile (don't
be put off by the name!) or Metacrawler. These engines work by
querying maybe twenty or more other search engines and collating
the results.

Third, visit Google - to my mind its one of the best search
engines on the web and provides the ability to easily add a
couple of additional search icons to your browser to speed up
the searching process.

Fourth, take a look at Search Engine Colossus. It is a huge

international directory of search engines. So if you are having
trouble finding a site in say Brazil or Singapore, go to this
site and try some of the country specific engines.

Finally, if you are a web technologist or even if you are not
and you wish to know more about how search engines work or how
to get your web site listed on the many search engines available
- take a look at Search Engine Watch - it is probably the most
comprehensive site on the web for telling you anything you might
ever want to know about search engines and search technology.

Links to all the sites mentioned above and a number of others
can be found at:


If you are a Training or Human Resources professional, you
should visit the TrainingZONE web site. TrainingZONE is a
tremendous HR, Training, Organizational Learning and
Organizational Development information service. It integrates a
wide collection of resources, news, directories, events,
reference material and databases.

It is also an active on-line community. You can submit news and
information, enter details in the directories, participate in
discussions and workshops, post questions and generally interact
with others using the service.

Well worth a look:

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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