Never Memorize What You Can Look Up in Books

atkins bookshelf quotations[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books… The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.

Legendary theoretical physicist Albert Einstein’s response when asked if he knew the speed of sound during an interview with a reporter for the New York Times, May 18, 1921. Variants of this quotation, all attributed to Einstein are: “I never commit to memory anything that can easily be looked up in a book” and “Never memorize what you can look up in books.” If he were alive today, Einstein would surely say, “I do not carry such information in my mind since I can simply Google it.” The second sentence, about the value of a college education, is even more relevant today that it was in the 20th century because of the impact of the internet on learning.

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