The title of this article sounds ridiculous without explanation, so here's the explanation. There's an old saying that states the best swordsman in all of France would rather fight the second best rather than fight the worst because he knows what to expect from the second best. The point being? Unpredictability and improvisation are assets.
You cannot become a great swordsman by simply reading about sword fighting techniques. (You will die). You cannot be a great musician if your fingers cannot move fast enough to play the notes. You cannot be a great writer if you cannot spell and structure a sentence. You cannot be a great SysAdmin if you cannot see and understand your network. You cannot be a great painter if you cannot draw.
Take that last sentence about being able to paint and draw. I had a friend who claimed she was an artist because she slopped paint on canvas. You know the person I'm talking about. The one who paints like a six year old and calls it "art" because other modern artists, like Picasso, painted in a similar fashion. There is a slight difference between my friend and Picasso. Picasso learned all of the fundamentals of painting before he decided to get "experimental" with his work. My friend did not. She just skipped over all of the basics and went straight for the kooky and calling it art. Below are two of Picasso's works. You can see why he was allowed his creative license. I'm no art critic, but clearly Picasso learned to walk before he was able to run (regardless of his questionable destinations).
Chess is a wonderful game for utilizing unpredictability and improvisation within a structured setting, after you learn the fundamentals (the moves of the pieces). As with most things in life, we are taught how to do things in an organized and predictable framework. Chess itself has multiple structured gambits and defenses, which is why I never learned them. I taught myself how to ultimately win by being unpredictable and thinking on the fly. Adapting to any situation became my strength.
You cannot solve your networking problems if you do not understand the basics of how your network functions. My first suggestion is to read the following, free of charge:
- New to Networking Volume 2 - Basics of IP SLA
- New to Networking Volume 3 - NetFlow Basics and Deployment Strategies
Any book on improvisation would be, at the very least, ironic. To do well at the networking improv game, you should:
- Know as much as you can about your network, including both the hardware and software.
- Have as many tools at your disposal as possible. A swordsman will be safer with more than one weapon. A musician will play better mastering more than one instrument. A painter will paint better with more than one color and brush. A SysAdmin will solve more problems with more tools.
- SolarWinds has a plethora of tools to help you see every possible aspect of your network, and some are free!
Learn the basics and master them. Collect all the tools you can and then master them. Information, for the most part, is free on the Internet. You can adapt to and overcome any problem that presents itself if you have both the knowledge and the tools. (That's my motto).