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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 4.15.2023

“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder

This week, Learning to Leave: How Real-world Learning Can Transform Education arrived in San Diego. I was at meetings in the NYC area but Anthonette was at home in San Diego and she graciously picked them up at the airport. Here’s Anthonette ------------>


Next week, we showcase Learning to Leave at the ASU-GSV conference and I’m eager to listen to people from outside of our BPL group comment on the book.

A few weeks ago, when I was on a panel with Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director of New Generation Learning at the World of Work – WOW conference, she told the audience that Big Picture is out on the edge so the rest of us can move our work closer to where they are. Everytime I put out something written beyond our network, the hope is always that there is enough energy out in the world where what is written aligns with what is just coming around the corner and moves people further down the road. Will this book be a book that does just what Cheryl stated in a bigger way? Will people pick up on the language generated from practice that can make them want to change? Is it written well enough to engage readers and move them to action? We’ll see.

One fun part of having a book come out is listening to stories that people tell you about what they relate to in the book. A few days ago, I had dinner with some friends from Brooklyn. One of them was featured in this excerpt from the book.

The Nose Knows - Jimmy Durante - “Your data sheet is not going to smell it.”


This weekend, I got together with friends I have known since before we could talk. As it turned out, most everyone was interested in what I was up to but frankly, I thought what they were doing was just as interesting. Two of these friends were brothers, months apart. One was a trauma surgeon at Daytona Hospital and now has a practice working specifically on wounds that are hard to heal. The other went into commercial refrigeration and knows this work inside and out from fixing and repairing to the business. It appears that what they do for a living couldn’t be further apart but what does this work have in common? What does healing wounds and fixing refrigerators and freezers have in common? It turns out quite a bit. When I started talking to Steve about his medical practice and how he learned about trauma surgery and healing wounds, he revealed that he is a practitioner first and foremost. He’s not a researcher or a policy maker and is proud that he has a practice. He’s hands on. He told me that being a practitioner, “it is better to be thorough than brilliant” - a line I’m going to spend time thinking about. Interesting thing, when his brother Robbie overheard him talk about being thorough, he chimed in and agreed; the same is true in his line of work. But, that wasn’t the big revelation. The big eye-opener came when Steve told me he smells the wounds as part of the diagnosis and treatments. Different infections smell differently. Once again Robbie chimed in, “I smell the oil from the compressor.” They both agreed this important diagnosis is learned in the field, not in a book or classroom. You can’t smell this stuff in a book. It takes time to get good at it and kn

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