iJumpTV 71: How to talk about books you haven’t read

February 2nd, 2010
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How do you handle information overload? One Austrian librarian had an interesting method – and an interesting explanation for it – in the book I review today, How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.

While talking about the book (which I partly read, admittedly) I was reminded of Howard Gardner’s 5 Minds for the Future. Gardner talks about the need for a depth of discipline, even as we need to get more cross-disciplinary.

Such talk of deep discipline then reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, which says you can master anything if you put in 10,000 hours. Although I haven’t read the book, that’s okay, because I followed the advice in How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read … nicely completing this circular, three-for-the-price-of-one book review.

How does this affect us in our daily life and work?

  1. Information overload is a fact of life. Do you remember the last time you wished there was more information in your life? Yet relevance is still a struggle. The first book has some surprising strategies.
  2. Our fast-moving times require innovative, cross-disciplinary thinking, yet we still need a depth of discipline or we truly will be jacks of all trades, masters of none.
  3. This means that to our initial discipline we must add the skill of collaboration. We must realise that we don’t hold all the answers, nor could we ever.

It’s summed up by a great quote I read today:

“If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you recognize that your liberation and mine are bound up together, then let us walk together.” -Lila Watson

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My Twitter fail (and Marie’s win!)

October 8th, 2009

Experimented upon!

Yesterday we were part of an experiment in collaboration, along with a group of senior executives and business owners as part of On-BRAND Partners‘ Executive Stretch er, thingy (programme? session? it was good, anyway!)

The exercise: brainstorm the bank of the future, in three separate groups, in three separate locations. We had On-BRAND’s internal forum to use for collaboration, as well as whatever else we could use.

“Whatever else we could use” for Marie and I meant Twitter. And yet we got very different results.

My results first, because they were appalling.

I tweeted the question: “In a collaboration exercise. Our question: if you run a small organisation, what do you need from a bank?”

I got three responses. And two of them were jokes!


Maybe Marie’s approach will give us a clue. She began by tweeting:

Hi Tweeps, I’m with a group of Executives, they’d like to ask you what would you like to see change in our banks?

She got around 30 replies! And to her credit, she kept both conversations going, online and off. How do you do that? Here’s what she did:

  • Summarised replies coming in (eg: @Twonetweet Banks making less profit and really care for customers is another hot topic being discussed now)
  • Asked clarifying questions
  • Gave context. At the beginning, she said she was with a group of executives. At the end, she said “Thanks everyone for your feedback. These guys are staggered by your real time responses :)
  • She also didn’t mention that it was an experiment. The way you say something is often as important than what you say.

And they were. Marie’s demonstration of the power of collaboration over a distance was better than any two hour presentation. And my poor showing was proof that it’s not about the technology, it’s about who’s using it.

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