Book Review: Poke The Box

A few weeks ago I was sick. I had to take time off, pause and not really do much of anything. This is really hard when you’re in a house with a toddler. It’s one thing if you’re in the office and they’re in another room playing with your wife; quite another if you’re trying not to move too much in case you feel sick again, and they’re bouncing up to you asking to watch Frozen for the third time that day.

Being ill also coincided with feeling a little down. I don’t know why, but whenever I have to make decisions about the “what next?” for my business I feel a little down. I correlate it with thoughts of “but what if this isn’t a good idea?” and the doubts of “what if this really backfires or doesn’t go anywhere?” I was thinking about the coming academic year (which is out of sync with the business year by about six months, so it always feels a little odd when planning) and what new things I might do, when might I find time to write the next books and what shall I do about the projects on the back burner…

Doing all of this when feeling sick is not a good idea.

My wife, thankfully, suggested that I read an inspiring book to help find my mojo again, and after only a second’s pause I reached for my Kindle, curled up on the couch a bit more and started re-reading Poke The Box by Seth Godin.


Another book down

I’ve been away for a week! I don’t want to boast and brag or anything, and I’m straight back to work this week. But it’s important for me to keep tracking my goal of reading ten books from my bookshelf in 2015.

The latest book that I’ve finished is Cosmos by Carl Sagan. This book has been on my to-read list and on my bookcase ever since I started watching some YouTube videos aimed at sharing his work and inspiring others. Sagan had a wonderful way of describing the universe, of laying out the way the cosmos is and how amazing it all is. I started reading this book about eighteen months ago when my daughter was born. I would hold her in one arm and read to her, but because there was so much going on around then it returned to the bookcase in favour of sleep.

I can whole-heartedly recommend this book. It will make you appreciate just how marvellous the world and the universe is, and how life is a wonderful, amazing thing.

Four books down, six to go on my list…

Thanks for reading!

Nathan (@DrRyder and @VivaSurvivors)

creative thinking

Creative Thinking Tuesday, 11th November 2014

Got a problem, situation or challenge that you need ideas for? Here’s a simple process for getting 20+ ideas that requires nothing more than two sheets of A4 paper (you can choose for yourself whether they’re lined or not).

Step 1

If you don’t already have a question for your situation, write down on one of the sheets a clear question about what you need ideas for. Read it aloud to make sure you’re happy with it. Put this to one side.

Step 2

Find the nearest book. Open it to a random page and point to a word on the left hand page. So long as this word is a verb, noun or adjective write it down on your second sheet of paper. (flip to a different page if you land on “the” “a” “her” or any other kind of preposition). Underline this word.

Step 3

Consider this randomly selected word and list beneath it as many associations as you can to this word. Take at least three minutes. If you start to slow down keep going. Push yourself!

Step 4

Bring back your first sheet with your question on. Use your list of associations, one-by-one, as inspiration for answers – ideas – to that question. As with Step 3, push yourself if you need to: thoughts may come quite quickly for some words and not for others. Your mind is a pattern-making system, and will try to fill in gaps. Don’t dismiss any idea.

From start to finish, this might take up to twenty minutes, and a reasonable expectation is to have twenty or more ideas by that point. Then the hard part begins: reviewing and selecting ideas that you want to take forwards!

Want to see an example?