Why, Why, Why?

by Manshu on January 8, 2009

in Opinion

During my college days, I once asked my English professor – Mr. Pramesh Ratnakar to recommend a book that will help me develop my intellect.

Professor Ratnakar didn’t refer any book, but he did give me the most valuable lesson of my life. He said that there is only one way to develop your intellect, and that is by questioning everything, and getting to the bottom of everything.

Keep asking – Why? – till you understand everything.

At that time – I promptly ignored the advise, went to the library, and picked up – War and Peace. After struggling with the classic for a week – I returned it.

It was easier to ask whys than understand Tolstoy. So I started asking Whys, and the habit developed. It is a great habit, and questioning everything; getting answers, and then questioning those answers is the best advice I ever got.

Unfortunately, for me, I don’t ask enough whys.

As I read about one of the biggest corporate frauds in India, it reminded me, that I hadn’t asked enough whys. There were a lot of symptoms of the trouble that was brewing.

Why did the promoter want to buy a stake in his son’s company – when it was apparent that the whole deal will blow up?

Why did the company have so much cash on low yielding current accounts?

How did the company declare great profits – quarter after quarter – when other companies were struggling?

These are just some questions, among a lot others, and in hindsight – everything falls in place perfectly.

Question everything, find answers, and then question the answers. Better than reading Tolstoy.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim Woodbridge January 8, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Question everything is good advice. When I worked it tech support, however, I didn’t like why questions – computers frequently did strange things and I was unable to tell the customer why the problem happened.

Tolstoy isn’t so bad – though War and Peace probably wasn’t the place to start. I read Anna Karenina a long time ago.

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manshuv January 8, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Anna Kareniena was an absolute delight when I read it about an year ago.

I read War and Peace a couple of years ago and immediately understood why it was a classic.

I am waiting for another ten years to pass and will read both books again. I am sure at that time they will show up in a completely different light.

There is hardly anything better than reading a great book while the sun shines on you on a winter afternoon.

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