Healing the Curse of Knowledge

Last year I read the book Made to Stick, in which the phrase “The Curse of Knowledge” makes an appearance. The authors of the book will be delighted to know that the phrase stuck in my head and I can be heard applying it in all sorts of scenarios. The principle is quite simple: Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listeners’ state of mind. Made to Stick For example, during the course of an average week I will have several conversations with people who have …

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A Message for Obama (pt. 2)

In early November I took a photo of myself holding a short message for the ‘soon to be President’ Barack Obama. It was as part of a Flickr group which I thought was a nice idea and which seemed to capture the mood at the time. I mentioned it here and, to be honest, thought nothing of it until I received an email from Meg who was heading up the project to compile some of the photos into a book (modesty prevents me from suggesting the chose the best photos), who asked if I’d mind if they (The Guardian) included my photo in their book. Of course not! I received my copy of said book yesterday and, whilst I realise …

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Mr. Men

Like many children of my era, I grew up being read, then reading, the wonderfully insightful Mr. Men books. I had a Mr. Tickle hot water bottle, Mr. Men wallpaper and even a matching Mr. Men bedspread. I had the Mr. Men tapes, which I’m sure my parents must’ve grown thoroughly sick off as I demanded that, for the umpteenth weekend in a row, that it accompany our journey to visit my Gran and even a windup plastic Mr. Bump. I have vague memories of lying in bed, listening to my Dad reading me the stories. Hazy recollections of standing at the counter in John Menzies with my Mum as she purchased another of the books. The theme tune evokes, …

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There's nothing like a good book

We are off to Spain next week so there are some vital things to sort out. Namely what music to put on my iPhone (I’ve got Series 1 of The Wire on there already), and most importantly what books to take! I’ve got a Jeffrey Deaver and an Ian Rankin on standby and have just ordered Casino Royale and Live and Let Die so that should get me through the week, in between trips to the pub and general lounging around of course. I don’t really make time to read all that much these days, in fact I struggle to get through the two monthly magazine subscriptions I receive (Esquire and Runners World if you must know). Aside from that …

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Made to Stick

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Take Hold and Others Come Unstuck I can’t recall why I picked up this book, most likely a recommendation from the same sources through which I discovered The Tipping Point (which itself inspired this book), but I’ve been dipping in and out of it for a while and finally finished it this weekend. That’s an indication of my reading habits recently, not any reflection on the quality of this book. Whilst most would regard this as a business focussed book it, like Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, is more about the ideas than their application. That said there are plenty of concrete examples given to reaffirm the basic premise of the book, that there are six …

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A good book

We all know that there are many excellent writers out there who blog just as there are many bloggers who are excellent writers. This latter point is proven by the publication of You’re Not The Only One, a collection of stories written by people who blog, and which was compiled to raise funds for War Child. So, if you want a good read, go buy it. Or if you just want to support a charity that works with the children trapped in war-torn countries, go buy it and then hand it in to a charity shop (two lots of karma in one go!). For full details of the book, how it was compiled and who is in it, go and …

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New books

So I’ve updated my bookshelf with a couple of new books, and an old one. I’ve started The World Is Flat which is utterly fascinating, even if it is slightly outside of the more traditional technical communications area. However anyone with any interest in social media (aka Web 2.0) should give it a look. My personal opinion is that our jobs are going to become increasingly influenced by such things so it’s good to get a bit of perspective on how they are already making an impact.

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How many books is too many?

I have a lot of books. I have a lot of unread books. I keep saying I’ll go through the ones I’ve read and ditch some but I never do. Instead I buy more. I don’t know why I do that. Why do I do that? Why do I buy more? I have enough as it is, many unread. So why, as I have many books, do I buy? It’s a compulsion, etched into my mind, an inherited trait that I can’t fight, an itch that remains out of reach no matter which way I toss and turn. I have books on all sorts of topics, fictional stories that others have recommended, factual books on many topics, from mental wellbeing, …

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Black Swan Green

Black Swan Green Another holiday book, by a favourite author, and it’s as every bit as good as his previous novels, whilst remaining (like the others) completely different to anything he’s written before. In the book, you spend just over a year with a 13 year old boy called Jason as he plots his way through the various minefields he encounters. Set in the early 1980s, pop culture references litter the novel and, as an 80s kid, whisked me back to that time of in my life. Jason is a kid who not only struggles to fit in, being smarter than average and he enjoys writing poetry whilst knowing that it’s a bit “gay” and could get him beaten up, …

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Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Blimey, it’s been ages since I wrote a book review. This was passed to me by my Mum, and was quickly added to the book pile for taking on holiday. The story is simple enough, a rich man from Yemen wants to introduce salmon fishing to his local area. He has millions to spend and uses his contacts in the UK to get some assistance from a government fisheries agency. Told via emails, diary extracts and interview notes, the story flips from view to view, but mainly follows a middle-aged fishery scientist as the project to get salmon to the Yemen takes him on a personal journey. The story unfolds nicely, although it’s pretty straightforward …

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