Modus Operandi

The Odd Athenæum is devoted to sharing interesting information. It is curated knowledge on subjects that are slightly off center from normal.

Curated Curiosities

The job of a curator is to take a wealth of information and present it to an audience in a more digestible size & format. Anything can be interesting if presented in the right way. Curating knowledge is the distillation of raw information into something more potent that move the audience to want to learn more.

The Odd Athenæum looks to present more than just one-off factoids or bar trivia because even the most basic fact has a more interesting story below the surface. That, and, telling your friends & family endless bits of one-line trivial knowledge will slowly alienate you from society and nobody wants that.


From Zhuang Zhou to the Jack of All Trades

So how much can you reasonably hope to learn? Zhuang Zhou was a 4th century BCE Chinese philosopher who, among his teachings, had the realization that our time in life is limited but the knowledge we could acquire is infinite. Therefor it is foolish to use the finite to chase the infinite.

So you can’t learn everything but somewhere between being unable to learn everything, and deciding to learn nothing, is the right amount of knowledge. A subject matter expert has a deep knowledge of a single topic. The Jack of All Trades is one who knows a little about many topics. We think you can do better than that. Be diverse. Be interesting. Learn a little about lots of topics and dive deeper into the ones that you find interesting.

The more you learn the more connections you will make in the world around you. Learning new things exposes you to new ideas and the less sheltered your mind is the more you can appreciate and celebrate the differences in the world. Being sheltered or single minded leads to extremism, and then people really won’t want to talk with you at parties.


Knowledge Diagram

You can know a lot about one topic, or a little about many topics. We think the most interesting people know a little about a lot of things, and a good amount about a few things.


Go Outside

Ultimately life is for living. You can only learn so much by sitting around and reading – you need to experience things first-hand. Go outside, get into adventures, visit new cities and explore museums. Take that class you were interested in trying but didn’t have anyone else to go with. We’ll be here when you get back.