Before I left home for the holidays I was rooting around in my piles of books looking for “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell. I read the book about a decade ago – it explained something I had been feeling. And encouraged me to act on that feeling. I hadn’t picked “Blink” up since and now felt compelled to re-read it. I had no idea why, but eventually found it in a box in the roof and chucked it into my suitcase. I have re-read it now and realised why the tug at my subconscious.
one: “Blink” is about ‘thin slicing’. A phenomenon which Gladwell defines as being “the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behaviour based on very narrow slices of experience.” In that instant of blink – all of our life’s experiences have been thin sliced, the relevant bits of information extracted and the connections made. Resulting in a snap- but accurate- evaluation. It’s the gut feel. The prickling of hairs on your neck, the ‘I just know’ moment. “Blink” reminds us that if something doesn’t look, sound or feel right: it probably isn’t. The tug of the book was a reminder to trust my gut now as I had then.
Worth a read.
two: 10 no-nonsense bits of advice. Applicable to all of life.
three: Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs was an awkward read – for some of what was said, as much for what was not. He was a difficult man, no doubt – both brilliant and flawed. Would Apple have been what it is without him (given the great minds that were and are still involved) is a hard question to answer. But there is no denying that his relentless drive for perfection and insistence on intuitive design are what drove the team on to create a range of products that have changed millions of lives.
Jobs tried to stare cancer down and lost – which makes this quote that much more poignant: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall a way in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something got lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
four: As a follow on to Steve Job’s thought.
five: And finally – after all that sensible stuff: this bouncing pachyderm.