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Creative Reading Matter #2

Inspiration

We read a LOT. Here’s the best stuff we’ve found recently:

From The School of Life, Philosophical Consulting:

The end goal of all rational humans was first and most expertly defined in the fourth century BC by the philosopher Aristotle as eudaimonia, translated as ‘flourishing’ or ‘fulfilment’ (as opposed to more transitory sensations like ‘happiness’).

A wealth management firm under our guidance would be focused on its implicit eudaimonic promise; that is, it would set out to improve clients relationships to money. The firm wouldn’t stop doing any of the things it does around security and risk. But it would add major new strands to the services it provides.

A hotel chain which sought to deliver on the implicit eudaimonic promise of a night in a hotel would gradually be led to develop a raft of new services and products. It could, for example, decide it needed to offer a mini bar for the mind, (like the one we created for Morgans Hotel Group). It might offer counselling as well as massage. It might choose art to adorn its wall with a more purposeful intent.

From Keith Sawyer, Adhocism:

I saw for sale the 1972 book Adhocism: The Case for Improvisation, by Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver. For me, this was like the heavens opening up and angels singing. What makes the book genius is that Jencks and Silver truly understand what’s at the core of improvisation and emergent, group creativity. The two authors work as architects–and many of their photos are indeed of buildings–but reading the book again, it really is a book about design, design processes, and design languages.

From Stef Lewandowski, Makefulness:

There are days where several things align to provide the perfect environment for making—a challenge, a deadline, a passion for doing something that so obviously needs to be done, a space that is perfect for the job at hand, a set of people around you who just happen to be the perfect people to assist (or perhaps none at all), and the raw materials and tools at hand so there are no limitations as to what you can do.

This is flow, in that you’re able to do things in a few seconds that would take you hours at other times. Tasks that once seemed challenging are easy. The movements of your body, and complex thought processes all feel natural, and each action you take seems to be like cutting through butter, where once it felt like slicing through bread. The work itself is enjoyable, the product of the work is high quality, and the feeling of doing the work is just pure joy.

From Chris Dixon, The Idea Maze:

The pop culture view of startups is that they’re all about coming up with a great product idea. After the eureka moment, the outcome is preordained. This neglects the years of toil that entrepreneurs endure, and also the fact that the vast majority of startups change over time, often dramatically.

In response to this pop culture misconception, it has become popular in the startup community to say things like “execution is everything” and “ideas don’t matter”.

But the reality is that ideas do matter, just not in the narrow sense in which startup ideas are popularly defined. Good startup ideas are well developed, multi-year plans that contemplate many possible paths according to how the world changes.

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