Why Textbooks matter

Talking to Anita yesterday, I was reminded of how Textbooks matter even outside classrooms. She uses her prescribed IMC textbook at times as a guide to the kind of work she does. Ditto for Rahul. A few weeks ago he told me how the Strategy textbook works for him at his place of work. Especially since his present responsibilities involve designing a growth strategy for the Banking firm he works at.

Seth's got a point. Surely, no textbook out there's complete and comprehensive. There are bound to be errors of omission. But textbooks help too. They act as a guide to structure your thoughts, till you practice the structured approach so many times, it almost becomes a way of life and then you don't have to refer to them anymore. Again, no textbooks say the approach they teach is gospel. Its just one smart way. At any time you are free to abandon the route advocated by a textbook and go with your gut feel. In fact as an academic I recommend you do that. At times.

Note why HBS professor, Greg Mankiw writes texbooks. My gut feel tells me, students tend to look at textbooks as irrelevant either because they can't work hard enough to read and master what's in there or they are intellectually challenged and so take the easy way. State the textbook is irrelevant in the real world.

How convenient.


Asha said…
I agree. Look at it this way, students cannot receive 100% of whatever concept is given to them as a course, so a textbook serves as a 'familiar, authentic' territory which they can relate to, refer to later, agree or more importantly, disagree with.
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