Friday, June 11, 2010

A Gem from Gordon S. Wood

I'm just a few chapters into Gordon Wood's The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History (New York: Penguin Press, 2008) and came across this little gem that I want to save.

History does not teach lots of little lessons. Insofar as it teaches any lessons, it teaches only one big one: that nothing ever works out quite the way its managers intended or expected. History is like experience and old age: wisdom is what one learns from it. (p. 71, emphasis mine)

I'm not sure what the implications of such a statement might be for those of us in libraryland, in this 2.0 world, but I think Wood gives us something here that we need to grasp and ponder.

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