[Link] Crazy New Ideas

Paul Graham on why he asks questions – rather than voice his opinions – when someone who’s a domain expert comes up with crazy new ideas

Few understand how feeble new ideas look when they first appear. So if you want to have new ideas yourself, one of the most valuable things you can do is to learn what they look like when they’re born. Read about how new ideas happened, and try to get yourself into the heads of people at the time. How did things look to them, when the new idea was only half-finished, and even the person who had it was only half-convinced it was right?

But you don’t have to stop at history. You can observe big new ideas being born all around you right now. Just look for a reasonable domain expert proposing something that sounds wrong.


Like most people, I have a thousand ideas a day. I’ve been trying to write down 10 11 a day, and by all accounts, they are lousy.  Crumpling the paper they’re written on & throwing it in the bin is a fine emotion (lol) – and a vote of confidence in my own ability that I can come up with 10 or 11 more tomorrow.  
Quote found in Austin Kleon’s wonderful book “Steal like an artist“.

More jobs that don’t necessarily need a college degree [Article]

Last week, I linked to an article by Mr. Money Moustache (MMM) attempting to list 50 jobs that do not require an expensive college degree, yet helped so many people pull in more than $50k per year.  Here’s the continuation of that list – you may be surprised

How do good ideas spread? [Article]

Atul Gawande finds out , in the New Yorker, using the different trajectories of anaesthesia & anti-septics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century:

In the era of the iPhone, Facebook, and Twitter, we’ve become enamored of ideas that spread as effortlessly as ether. We want frictionless, “turnkey” solutions to the major difficulties of the world—hunger, disease, poverty. We prefer instructional videos to teachers, drones to troops, incentives to institutions. People and institutions can feel messy and anachronistic. They introduce, as the engineers put it, uncontrolled variability.

Take the time to read through this thoughtful essay, with real-world examples that will make you pause & ponder.

What would Ben Franklin do with balloons? [Article]

Everything, discovers Robert Krulwich of NPR, from a reading of the very practical-minded Franklin’s letters.

He was one of those guys that if you gave him a problem, he’d think it over, and out would pour a crazy stream of stories, get-rich-quick schemes, fairy tales, adventures and solutions to problems you’d never known you had. He had what you might call “a mind wide-open” ready, like those balloons, to fly anywhere …