Reading books isn't always the best way to learn. Some things you need to learn from your elders, and their wisdom has often been passed down through the generations. We celebrate traditional ways of knowing - from the Potawatomi knowledge of the plant world to the Norwegian folk wisdom of how to chop and burn wood. Also, a plea for Africans to reclaim their local knowledge.
You'd never think a book about chopping and burning wood would turn into a runaway bestseller, but Lars Mytting's "Norwegian Wood" is a publishing sensation in Scandinavia. Lars gathers the collected wisdom on everything from how to build a smokeless fire to the art of choosing a husband based on his wood pile.
Traditional knowledge can surface in the most unlikely places. Take La Crosse, Wisconsin, where many Hmong people settled after the Vietnam War. Master blacksmith Tong Khai Vang and his apprentice and translator Kong Mong Yang show us the art of turning hot metal into Hmong knives.
Botanist Robin Kimmerer describes her field experiments as like interviewing a plant. She believes nature is full of living beings - rocks and water as well as plants and animals. As both a Ph.D biologist and a member of the Potawatomi Naiton, she's trying to reconcile modern science with the wisdom of her Native elders.
Wade Davis has been called the Indiana Jones of anthropology. He's traveled deep into the Amazon rain forest to meet shamans; he's investigated Haitian zombies; he's climbed high into the Tibetan mountains to photograph snow leopards. He says indigenous people have a fundamentally different way of seeing the world than we do in modern society.
Africa needs to reclaim its history and its technology, says Clapperton Mavhunga, a native of Zimbabwe who's a professor in MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society. He says the traditional hunt is a great example of how Africans have passed on generations of knowledge.
The scientific genius Kurt Godel is on our minds this week. So Anne Strainchamps talks with the French writer, Yannick Grannec, about her novel, "The Goddess of Small Things," which is based on Godel's relationship with his wife, Adele.