Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: business

Product Epidemic Example Real Time?

I’m halfway through The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and I’m loving it as much as I thought I would. But things got weird today and think it’s one of these (smaller) epidemics like he’s describing.

“Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do.”

“The point of all of this is to answer two simple questions that lie at the heart of what we would all like to accomplish as educators, parents, marketers, business people, and policymakers. Why is it that some ideas or behaviors or products start epidemics and others don’t? And why can we do to deliberately start and control positive epidemics of our own?”

“…when the epidemic tips, when it is jolted out of equilibrium, it tips because something has happened, some change has occurred in one (or two or three) of those areas. These three agents of change I call the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor, and the Power of Context.”

Here’s the weird thing. Are you ready?

As you know, over the weekend I finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick. Why did I start reading that book? Because I was at Barnes & Noble and saw the book on the shelf, remembered that it was on my TBR list, and picked up. An impulse buy, really. Not a planned read.

I jump in and start reading, remember that I watched the movie, look online for it, don’t remember the specifics. Oh yes! There was a sequel recently and we had to watch the old one again before we watched the new one when it came out. I remember looking for the original to watch, but I don’t remember the specifics of the new one, Blade Runner 2049 other than it was good.

Late last night, my son texts me to ask if I had seen 2049 yet. What? Why would he ask me that? He doesn’t read my blog, so he doesn’t know I was reading the book. We talked about it this morning and I told him I had plans to watch it again.

This afternoon, I bring up Facebook on my laptop and an acquaintance of mine had posted that he watched the movie over the weekend because it had just been put up on Netflix.

How weird is that? Some change occurred somewhere to lead us all to be watching that movie or talking about it over the same weekend. Malcolm Gladwell wrote this book twenty years ago, I’m pretty sure the people he mentioned in the above quote know about these laws and were using them to lead our attention.

You can also bet that “policymakers,” aka politicians, also know these rules and are using them to direct your attention where they want it to be.

And I’ve been using some of these ideas on my blog and my social media accounts as well. I call it putting some positive vibes into the world, sharing the love of books and great movies and tv, but really I’m only directing your attention where I would want it as best I can.

It’s crazy when things like this all come together for me. The Tipping Point is a used book I’ve had on my TBR shelf for over a year. Why did I pick it up now and not one of the other thirty books staring up at me with those big pleading eyes? I don’t know!

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

I started re-reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown on Wednesday morning and finished it today. I did a quick search of my blog and found that I first posted about it back in March of 2019. It wasn’t as long ago as I had first thought. Odd because I didn’t write the date that I finished it inside the cover and I thought I started doing that routinely more than three years ago.

These are the little things that get under my skin. I believe that I am habitual, that I’ve created systems and rituals that I never fail at, but then I find things missing, like this date or not finding a receipt in the file it should be in. It feels like catching a glitch in the matrix. Unsettling.

Anyway…letting it go.

My search also found that I mentioned adding the book to my 2020 TBR pile back in January of 2020. And here I am…just now getting to it. Time flies faster and faster. I’m starting to stress out again.

Breathe.

I chose this as my final book of the year for two reasons. The first is that I’d like the reminder to keep things simple. Now that I’m on my own most of the time (the kids are officially out on their own), I need to rethink and refocus, again. The second reason is, admittedly, it’s a short and light read that I knew I would finish before the end of the year. This way I can start a new book on New Year’s Day. Perfection! Yeah, I’m like that.

Because I like to post about what I’m reading “in real time,” I’ll play a bit of catch up today so that I can get to the fun 2021 Reading Review that I plan on posting ASAP! This will be a “new read” post and it will include two quotes. Three posts in one!

This book was originally written for professionals, businesspeople, entrepreneurs, etc. I am not one of those people. I’m a housewife, but I think the principles apply to anyone. I’ll apply these ideas to the things that I do when I’m writing these posts: books, housework, family and friends, and craft projects.

“There are far more activities and opportunities in the world than we have time and resources to invest in.” From Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism quote

I think we all know this instinctually but our response to it is less than ideal. What we usually do is notice it and then spend the rest of our lives scrambling to get as much in as possible. And then, like dragging everyone through Disneyland by their ears to get the biggest bang for your buck, we destroy ourselves, our peace, and our family’s happiness.

This book advises a different tactic, one that I adopted the day that I realized that I can’t read ALL the books that exist. I also can’t support every relationship in the world, eat all the food, make all the projects, or do all the upgrades and remodels that are possible for my house.

Instead, we can find a way to whittle it down to the essentials, do those first and do them well, and forget the rest. Otherwise, we’ll kill ourselves chasing in every direction and never get anywhere.

“No matter how busy you think you are, you can carve time and space to think of your workday.” From Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism quote

Now, I don’t work outside my home, but I do have responsibilities and there are things that I want to do, so one day I sat down and wrote out all the things I would want to do daily, weekly, and monthly, along with the time I believed it would take to do each. I also have a running list of long-term projects. Then I calculated how much time was in a day after sleep.

Guess what? It’s not a cliché. There really aren’t enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the year, to do all those things. I had some work to do to pare that down into a reasonable amount of stuff. Greg McKeown relates it to organizing your clothes closet and he’s spot on.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I typically get a little reflective around this day, don’t you? So here I am thinking, looking back on my journal (thinking I should do like I said I would and make dates with myself to reflect and refocus more often) and wondering. What did I accomplish this year? I have lots of things that happened, but only a few things that I personally accomplished thru my own actions. That needs to change. Or does it? I’m not sure yet.

Like the author says, I need to clean out my closet and rethink the purpose of my wardrobe. Today it begins. I’ll get the housework done, pick up my mail, and then sit down with my journals, my calendar, and my reading log to see where I’ve been, and then plan out where to go next. Life is moving way too fast to just sit here being sad that I can’t do it all and finding myself doing nothing.

Want to read more? Hop over to “Mistakes and Buffer Zones” for a New Year’s message and more quotes. And to “Routines and Habits” for my final thoughts on this great book.

The Rational Optimist: New Read

The Rational Optimist book cover on the rocks.
That’s the sun coming up on my book!

“The Rational Optimist – How Prosperity Evolves” by Matt Ridley is a re-read for me. Do you re-read books? Many of my re-reads are simply because I forgot that I read them. Yep…sometimes I still wonder if there is any point to me reading anything. It’s rather frustrating.

The best kind of re-read is because the book was so good, so packed full of awesome, that I want to read it all again and savor it. If it’s been a while since I’ve read the book, I wonder if it will feel different this time around. Will it still be relevant? Will I still feel the same way about the text? Have I changed, has the world changed, so much that I’ll get something completely different from this read? THAT happens to me most with fiction. Books that I read when I was a kid, or even ten years ago, have a different effect on me. I’ve grown, but the book remains the same.

What brought me back to The Rational Optimist? A couple things. First was that I was cleaning and reorganizing my bookshelves and rediscovered it.

“Oh, yes! This book was great!”

And I was listening to an interview with Matt Ridley on the Jordan Peterson podcast recently. When I heard Matt Ridley mention “when ideas have sex,” the book came to mind, and I made a mental note to put it back on my TBR shelf. And we all know where mental notes end up.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

The final straw was the last book I started reading, “Mao – The Unknown Story.” It was so depressing, that I dropped it and went to look for an antidote. There was The Rational Optimist staring at me from the shelf calling quietly, “Pick me!” So, I did.

And here we are. I’m one hundred pages in so far and enjoying it immensely.

From the introduction chapter, “When Ideas Have Sex”

“What is it about human beings that enables them to keep changing their lives in this tumultuous way? It is not as if human nature changes. Just as the hand that held the hand axe was the same shape as the hand that holds the mouse, so people always have and always will seek food, desire sex, care for offspring, compete for status and avoid pain just like any other animal.”

“It was not something that happened within the brain. It was something that happened between brains. It was a collective phenomenon.”

“At some point, human intelligence became collective and cumulative in a way that happened to no other animal.”

And my favorite, “This book dares the human race to embrace change, to be rationally optimistic and thereby to strive for the betterment of humankind and the world it inhabits.”

I’m excited. Are you? I believe the world in general is getting better but lately, like the past ten years, we’ve been letting fear resonate instead of hope, and letting the internet scare us into thinking it’s worse and someone should do something about it.

The Rational Optimist was written in 2010, just as social media was getting busier. I last read the book in 2015. It’s 2021 now. Have things changed for the worse? I don’t think so.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Leave a message in the comments!

Want to read more posts about this book? Check these out!
Social status, trade, and trust, oh my!
Optimism is What Will Save Us: A Book Review

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: