Saturday, October 18, 2008

A broad focus

Currently I have started reading a variety of books and surfing websites that are related to problem solving and creativity. This presents a paradox. When one focuses in a narrow field your originality can be inhibited. Therefore it is imperative to read outside your field but that creates the data smog problem. What is important and how can you avoid getting overwhelmed by all the data coming your way.

Internet RSS feeds are a great way to subscribe to a variety of blogs and news sources of particular or peripheral interest to you. This is a great way to stimulate serendipity but one must make effective use of these tools to avoid becoming inundated by the information. This is what David Shenk warns about in his book Data Smog. I've started re-reading his book and am curious to see what his solutions are. The book is a bit dated (written in late 90s) but it is interesting to see how much farther things have come since then. However I think the tools to manage the information glut are getting better. It just takes discipline to use them and experience to use them effectively

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