It is the holiday season and the year is coming to a close.  It is still not too late for me to write a thoughtful post.  This won’t be it, though.

 

First, consider the brand name OXO. This name for the collection of innovative home products is a made up word that was chosen because it looks the same regardless of the manner someone is holding an OXO item.

 

Now take a look at two photos of the same gift wrapping paper.  The top photo shows the way the manufacturer intended people to look at it.  (Why “Ho Ho” and not “Ho Ho Ho” is another discussion.)  Below it is the other way it is read.  Oh, oh!

 

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I’ve come across a lot of quotes attributed to Albert Einstein.  Many I’m sure are his, but some aren’t.  Einstein isn’t unique in this regard, this happens to other people, too.  Some are accidents, but others I believe are the result of people trying to spread a message and using someone famous to give their idea credibility.

With that in mind, I created the following non-serious Albert Einstein  image quote.  (By the way, he died years before the internet was created.)

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Fake Einstein Quote

Alan Kay said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.  With that in mind, the best way to stay ahead of trends, is to start them.  To explain my idea, a little history is needed.

 

People have been calling their loved ones “baby” for ages.  That’s a word with two syllables.  Of course, it is human nature to look for shortcuts, so many years ago “baby” became “babe”.  Same amount of letters, but now only one syllable.  That seemed to do, but a short time ago, even that was shortened by some to “bae”.  Still a syllable, but without the consonant sound at the end and one less letter to type into your phone.

 

Was it necessary?  It doesn’t matter.  If you don’t want to sound like a fuddy-duddy (you know, like the kind of person who says “fuddy-duddy”) then you have to adapt.  Therefore, to help everyone out, I’m recommending people start using “b” as an affectionate name for their loved ones.  It is pronounced like bee, without the “ee” sound.  (That’s right, it just the consonant b.)

 

You’re welcome.

Recently, I re-read the first of the five books that make up the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy trilogy.  At the back of the book, there are some “extras” (kind of like you would find on a DVD).  My favourite is the fax that Douglas Adams sent to the American editor of the book.

It appears there was an attempt to “Americanize” the story by replacing English locations, companies, currencies et cetera with American ones.  There is no need to repeat Mr. Adams’ argument against it.  My point in mentioning it, is that here is a clear example of how we underestimate ourselves.  The editor, an American, must have felt it was too difficult for an non-British reader to follow along.  I can’t speak for Americans, but as a Canadian, I didn’t have any problem.

It is hard enough to overcome the criticism of others, but not giving yourself a chance is worse.  So, my simplistic advice is try, fail, try again, fail again, try again or try something else and enjoy the journey.  And, of course, “Don’t Panic”.

I started writing about justice, but then I paused to look up some quotes.  So, instead of continuing with my words, I will just put something attributed to Martin Luther King Jr.: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Two things I can say about Redirect is that the book’s blurbs are right and the concept of “personal story editing” is deceptively simple, but effective.

This isn’t a “self-help book” — the author isn’t a fan of those types of books and he explains why.  Still, the book’s topics are useful in the way that self-help books claim to be.  What makes it different is the author’s insistence that everything is tested.  In Redirect, Wilson explains why some well intentioned programs to curb teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and violence not only don’t work, but actually have the opposite effect.  He also goes into some parenting strategies and personal level challenges.

And now, a few of the burbs that I agree with:

“With a deft narrative touch, an engaging metaphor for bringing about psychological change (personal story editing), and a ferocious commitment to scientific evidence, Timothy Wilson has made a remarkable contribution to knowledge.”    Robert B. Cialdini (author of Influence)

“Whether you are a parent, educator, employer, or simply someone who cares about making the world a better place, you should read this book.”   Sonja Lyobomirsky (author of The How of Happiness)

“There are few academics that write with as much grace and wisdom as Timothy Wilson.  Redirect is a masterpiece. ”   Malcolm Gladwell
Title: Redirect
Sub-Title: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change
Author: Timothy D. Wilson
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-05188-0

 

Professor Wilson’s Webpage: http://www.people.virginia.edu/~tdw/

 

 

There is an interesting book by William Goldman called Adventures in the Screen Trade.  Goldman is a novelist and a screenwriter, known for such films as All The President’s Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride and Misery.

Much of the book is about his experiences in Hollywood, but at the end he gives a practical example of how to take a story and turn it into a movie script.  The story is one he wrote about a couple barbers.  He asked his colleague, George Roy Hill (director of such films as All The President’s Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting and Slapshot), to critique it.

George Roy Hill had a problem with one of the barbers.  This barber was a genius, but also a jerk.  Since he didn’t like the perpetuation of this stereotype, he wrote:

“The people I’ve known with the greatest artistic integrity are usually the most professional and most considerate, while I’ve unfortunately run into a few second-rate artists who behave like s**** in the belief that this somehow automatically endows them with talent and integrity.”

I don’t have anything to add to that, except to agree.