Wednesday, October 20, 2010

where do good ideas come from?

a new book by steven johnson is out now called Where Good Ideas Come From. he argues that most ideas do not come from EUREKA! moments, but rather slowly simmer over time and usually come to fruition under the influence of external stimulation. as he says, "chance favours the connected mind."

here's a short visual summary of him describing where good ideas come from:

i think this is an interesting concept to consider because its easy to get frustrated when inspiration doesnt show itself quickly, yet we see other people coming up with good ideas and achieving success**. especially in the US, people seem to be on the lookout for a "million dollar idea" that will allow them to live the profitable "american dream." certainly that is possible and happens, but that is not the way most of our lives operate. i think that the "quick fix" mindset inevitably leads to disappointment, which can easily destroy our motivation to maintain the effort necessary to achieve any sort of goal.

the concept that some ideas need to marinate in my system for a while until they are agitated by the right force is somehow comforting. more good ideas are yet to come! i just need to be patient and continue building momentum by reading, talking to other people, exposing myself to new experiences, and maintaining an observant, empathetic mind.

i had never heard of steven johnson before reading an interview with him on the guardian, but now i think i will read his book.

** of course everyone has their own idea of "success." is it attaining lots of money, or having a family, or helping others, or maintaining a career, or simply feeling happy?


amydove said...

Speaking of which, I have an idea that I wanted to share with you. I don't know if I have time to pull it together though

Deanna said...

I heard an interview with him on the radio yesterday. I'm intrigued with his notion that people who have a more diverse group of friends tend to have better ideas. After hearing him talk about it, I'm going to read the book, too.

I read his book Everything Bad is Good For You a few years ago and enjoyed it.