It has been said, "Not everything that is learned is contained in books." Compare and contrast knowledge gained from experience with knowledge gained from books. In your opinion, which source is more important? Why?

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Apr 22, 2012 20:39 essay TOEFL Japanese English
There are two main channels for people to learn from which people can gain knowledge-from books and from experience. Generally, knowledge gained from books is theoretical, that gained from experience is practical. It is difficult to answer which is more important for the people who read books. It depends on the phases of our learning. Knowledge learned from books is instructive, opposed to knowledge we learn directly from experience. We often hear thunder and see lightning in the sky, and we can easily understand that lightning will be seen sooner than the sound can be heard. According to our experience alone, we cannot tell why this happens. But when we learn about physics in textbooks, we find that the answer is that light travels faster than sound does, therefore it takes less time for light to travel the same distance than for sound. Therefore, knowledge learned from books can inform us about some useful theories that can give us general ideas and help us understand the real phenomenon better.

In turn, practical knowledge helps us to confirm theories gained from books. There is an old Chinese saying that says practice is the only criterion of inspecting the truth. So not all knowledge from books is credible, it might be even false. When Aristotle wrote in his transcripts that the earth is the center of our planets, no one doubted this for centuries. However, when Galileo read about it, he did not suspect it at first, but when he carried out some observation and research, and he found it was not the true. Then came the new theory-Sun center theory.
In our daily life, we can gain much information from practice. To learn how to swim, it is useless to be absorbed in reading about swimming skills written in books. Only when one learns it in a swimming pool, can one make it. There are still a lot of things one must learn from one’s experience, such as driving a car, riding a bicycle, and operating a machine. And the most important is that it is often easier to gain knowledge from practice than from books. As far as the average people are concerned, it is natural to learn from experience. Primitive people learned their skills by experience which is were handed down from one generation to another.
Modern people also learn things by practice. In workshops, leading workers teach apprentices carefully; in activity clubs, teachers teach youngsters to be familiar with their hobbies. It is obvious that when all these things are taken in consideration, knowledge gained from practice is more close and direct than that gained by books.

Therefore, these two kinds of knowledge both have an importance. For people engaged in research, knowledge from books is more important, whereas for others, knowledge from practice is more important. As students, we must first learn knowledge from books well, and at the same time we must have the good sense to tell from what is right and what is wrong.