Jay Cross
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Friday, July 30, 2004
I can honestly say I never cheated on a test in eighteen years of formal schooling. It didn't occur to me.

Not that I didn't take short-cuts. My bookshelves were filled with summaries of the world's 100 greatest novels, 40 greatest plays, and the predecessors of Cliffs' Notes. I had a 150 page condensation of the Bible, a similar précis of Crime and Punishment, and a digest of world history.

Whether or not I read the source material, I learned many concepts this way. Without these monographs I would never have fathomed what either Faulkner or Wittgenstein were writing about.

Today the Net is my primary source of understanding. Nonetheless, I'm not ready to give up my favorite reference works:

    The American Heritage Dictionary
    Roget's Thesaurus
    The People's Chonology
    Chronoicle of the World
    Barlett's Quotations
    The Synonym Finder
    The Visual Dictionary
    Business, the Ultimate Resource
    Petit Larousse
    Larousse Gastronomique

I've just added another text-tool to the shelf, InfoTool, the All-in-One Business Reference by Vijay Luthra. InfoTool is a multi-disciplinary reference that stuffs more than 20,000 definitions into 776 pages.

I envision a future of convergence wherein specialists will no longer prosper by "knowing more and more about less and less." The boundaries that once isolated one discipline from another are disolving. To be effective, one must borrow concepts from many different fields.

That's where InfoTool comes in. Rather than list categories, I'm going to flip open InfoTool to a page at random and simply list the entries I see:
    Mind Mapping
    Mineral Oil Mineral Rights
    Mini Computer
    Mini Landbridge
    Mini Mill
    Minimum Bill of Lading
    Minimum Cash Balance

Got it? I'll do another column:
    Expected Monetrary Value
    Expects Value
    Expected Value Maximization Principle
    Expediting Expenses
    Expendable Item
    Expenditure Based Budget
    Expense Account
    Expense Behavior

You can look at sample pages on the web.

My one complaint is that this work needs to be in electronic form. Dead-tree books have become a secondary form of reference in my life. The author, having poured ten years into creating InfoTool, is naturally reluctant to chance having his IP pilfered.

Buy directly from the publisher's site. InfoTool costs $89 in paper/$99 hardcover.


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