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Top 3 Blog Quotes of the [insert time period] – Volume 3

February 23, 2011

For those that are new, this is the series where I feature quotes from other bloggers, journalists or fellow online wordsmiths that have made me think or react in a notable way. I collect them up, and when I reach 3 (and/or find the time to put my thoughts against them), it’s time to post.

If you’d like to start at the beginning, then here are Volumes 1 & 2:

  • Volume 1 (on titles, trust and changing the world); and
  • Volume 2 (on relentless questioning, imagery and putting yourself out there).

On with the quotes! 

1. “Let me explain further – when I am coaching a client and they say ‘I don’t know’, I sometimes ask them what would the answer be, if they did know?” - Arvind Devalia

I love this quote for the very simple reason that it is – well – perfectly simple.  I believe the hardest part about coaching is to watch your client dance around a solution that will very certainly provide him with the growth or opportunities he craves.  She knows it will increase her happiness, profitability or credibility, and yet fear of change stops her from admitting it.  The interesting thing is, though, that often once the solution is out in the open, then the fear loses potency.  Arvind’s method of getting the solution out on the table, in a non-threatening way, allows the surrounding barriers to dissolve long enough for the solution to surface.

And speaking of barriers (see what I did there?), here is #2…

2. “Do we really believe that the math that most people are doing in school practically today, is more than applying procedures to problems they don’t really understand for reasons they don’t get?” - Conrad Wolfram

These words are actually from a TED talk.  Conrad is talking about how we spend tons of time, money and effort educating our kids on how to calculate, like slow, human versions of computers, while we teach them nothing of the reasoning behind math.  I loved this talk, because I believe he is dead right.  I had the incredible fortune of mathematical modelling instruction from a wonderful professor who felt similarly to Conrad.  He ignited in me an ability to love math for the questions rather than despising math for the calculations.  Math isn’t about mindless execution of derivative calculations or memorization of pi to the 67 thousandth digit.  Math is about building a road properly so the cars don’t fly off or admiring the beauty found in a perfect arrangement of sunflower seeds.

Sure a basic understanding of the calculations is necessary, but there will always be people who thrive on that.  Why not show the non-calculator-types the artsy, beautiful side of science that can change our world instead of alienating them with jargon and extreme frustration?  Which leads me to #3…

3. “I think we do this because to show others that we are so damn smart that mere “civilians” can’t possibly understand our brilliant ideas — or, worse yet, because if we spoke clear English, they would realize how absurdly simple and obvious our ideas actually were.”Bob Sutton

One of the things that drives me crazy about smart people is that they seem to have a requirement that once they know something, anything, it needs to be unattainable to anyone lacking the same credentials.  This is usually achieved through a combination of confusing numbers, speed of concept delivery and the use of technical jargon that distances them from ‘those who just don’t get it.’  So when I find a smart person who is willing to cut through the education-entitlement crap for the benefit of improving things in general I find it refreshing.  Bob Sutton is one of those people.  I love that he is willing to put academics – his own peers – in their self-righteous place for being entitled about their knowledge.  If you have the time, (or have ever had an inkling to do an organizational development-based MBA) then I certainly suggest you check our his blog.  He makes me want to learn the stuff he knows, but he also makes me want to learn how to deliver those concepts in a way that they can be well received by whoever is receiving them.

Which is, essentially, what this blog is all about, right?

Until next time…


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2014 7:40 pm

    It’s very straightforward to find out any topic on net as compared to books, as I found this post at this web
    page.

  2. April 16, 2014 7:07 am

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the
    blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

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