…ing influenced by other people’s work. But nearly all writing is influenced by other people’s work. Finding your unmistakable voice is often the results of borrowing ingredients from other people and coming up with your recipes.
First principles thinking helps you to cobble together information from different disciplines to create new ideas and innovations. You start by getting to the facts. Once you have a foundation of facts, you can make a plan to improve each little piece. This process naturally leads to exploring widely for better substitutes.
For instance, Johannes Gutenberg combined the technology of a screw press — a device used for making wine — with movable type, paper, and ink to create the printing press. Movable type had been used for centuries, but Gutenberg was the first person to consider the constituent parts of the process and adapt technology from an entirely different field to make printing far more efficient. The result was a world-changing innovation and the widespread distribution of information for the first time in history.