The many eulogies that describe Steve Jobs as a visionary are perfectly apt. But just as important as the fact that he saw things differently, is the message sent that it is aspirational to see differently. A message reinforced by countless articles and magazine covers, the message that seeing and doing things differently is the way into the future.
So if we’re going to emulate him over the next weeks and years, let’s not emulate what he did, but how he did it. As he said at Stanford, “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” Let’s take this chance to be new.
There’s such a gap in the housing market between properties and homes, practical and emotional. All the estate agents focus relentlessly on the former. Could there not be an agent that focuses on the latter?
In the age to come, the remains of your civilisation will be turned into a tourist attraction.
Strong feeling today that different streams of my life are flowing at different speeds (love, work, friends, career) and that navigating them all is a bit like Frogger.
Not sure I ever got past the first level, back in the day.
I’m increasingly in the habit of reading business books, but it does strike me that they resemble self-help books in more ways than they’d care to admit.
While at first glance they sell themselves on their hard-headedness, their possession of the Answers, the Way, in fact they’re astonishingly touchy-feely. Chapter after chapter that begins by promising to tell you HOW TO ends up by commiserating with you over the fact that actually you’re just an ink-stained clerk and there’s no way you’ll actually affect your work life in any way.
Still, though, we can dream – and this is where both types of book enter the same playground. Both paint big pictures of what you could be: the razor-sharp CEO in the penthouse office or the confident, well-adjusted individual whom everyone loves. Each poses ideal behaviours and thought processes for you to adopt to get there. Each aims to inspire rather than to guide.
At base, I suppose, both are there to provide support and morale for problems which you can’t solve by yourself and which you’re probably too embarrassed to talk to anyone about. Both, though, are ultimately useless if you don’t actually put any of their ideas into action. And both, by the very fact that they exist, reassure you that you are not alone, that others share your inabilities – but reassurance is the enemy of action.
I can see some justification for the efficiencies of learned knowledge, of doing things based on what we have read in a book written by some absent person. But is there not far greater value in working things out for ourselves from principles we have acquired through our own hands and mouths?
We have been spending a lot of time shopping for saris this last week: dozens of folded silks and cottons flung open into as many colours, patterns and textures. Interesting emotional effect. Sometimes I leave feeling invigorated and inspired by a particular sequence of colours. Other times I leave feeling sickened and worn down. What part of my brain is responding like this?
- The best place to sleep at Heathrow is Terminal 1, according to insiders. Most spacious, most seats.
- The Starbucks in T3 departures stays open around the clock, to serve staff – “because employees need their coffee fix.”
- “You make your own luck” (overheard).
- The jet ban from Heathrow after 11.30pm can be waived in certain circumstances.
- The world is very, very small.
- It’s not the waiting, it’s the not knowing.
- There is only one duty manager for all five Heathrow terminals, even in the middle of travel chaos.
- Extreme circumstances make people communicative and good-natured (for the most part).
- There are power sockets in the floors if you look hard enough.
- Twitter is the best way of keeping up to date with what’s happening at all the airports. Not staff.
- A new term, to describe a distinctly British titillation providing a fruity blend of weather-obsession, solidarity against authority and schadenfreude: “snow porn.”
Be busy, be too busy. Have too many things to do. That way at least some of them will get done, and those will be the ones you look back on and are glad about. If you don’t have enough to do you’ll end up not doing anything of note.
If classical music resonates with us because it rehearses, on a more or less explicit level, the underlying sounds of nature
then electronic music echoes the sounds of our systems-driven world today
and is therefore closer to where we are, more intimate to us.