Thursday, March 24

Grey Balls of Fur

I've just started reading a fantastic book.  It's really, really inventive - most especially in its presentation.

Its central message is uncannily similar to my very first posting back in August:  Be yourself; free your creative spirit from its shackles; don't let them grind you down (attempt to ignore them instead!)

However the book differs from this blog in two rather devastating respects:  It's incredibly visually stimulating, and uses plenty of wonderfully elaborate turns-of-phrase.

The author likens traditional work to a "Gordian knot of corporate normalcy" which begins with a single hair (or rule).  The hairs accumulate as the organisation learns, and ultimately acquires it's own gravitational pull.  More and more hairs arrive, and none escape, as workers seek to preserve and reuse the experiences of their past successes at the expense of anything new.

The escape (and the only route to real creativity) is to break-away from the hairball into an orbit which still allows you to draw on its resources where you choose.  This, he claims, requires the courage to be genuine, work out which of your organisation's goals really resonate with you, then find better ways to get the associated jobs done.  The alternative is the "pallid path of corporate appropriateness".

There are some fantastic analogies in the first few chapters:
1. Don't be like the mesmerised chickens, frozen to the establishment (full story omitted here!)
2. Be like the cow instead - do what you're good at, don't over-work or over-commit, look relaxed on the surface 90% of the time, but still produce, recognising that good ideas need research and thinking time which doesn't always bear tangible output early

The book is called "Orbiting the Giant Hairball".  (No really ... it is.)  The author is Gordon MacKenzie, a former greetings card artist at Hallmark.  I concur with all the 4 and 5 start ratings at Amazon.  I've read nothing else so far which goes so far to justify why we must all live our dreams at work, not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of our employers too!

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