Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.* —Eleanor Roosevelt
What ideas are you thinking of right now? What are you reading?
Imagine if someone asked you these questions and genuinely wanted to know and engage you on your answers. How delightful and interesting conversations would be. Perhaps this is why I’m obsessed with Atlantic Wire’s Media Diet series. Take me out for a coffee and I’m sure we can talk for hours.
Anyway, I was listening to this piece on NPR earlier this afternoon about whether we should go on an ‘information diet.’ While I agreed with most of the speaker’s points, especially that we tend to read things that reinforce our own ideas, I would hesitate to suggest people to, for example, read the text of the ‘Stop Online Privacy Act’ to understand SOPA. I think an information diet should not only consist of straight up reading less crap, but that it should also consist of conscious consumption from credible (unintentional alliteration; I blame a lot of Maureen Dowd in my formative years) sources/editors/curators/whatever. Anyway, in the spirit of pithy bits, here is Clay Johnson’s Michael Pollan-style advice: “Seek. Not too much. Mostly facts. Eat low on the sort of ‘information food chain,’ and stick close to sources.”
In other, but related, news, I had a fantastic lunch with Derek as we made fun of ourselves for starting 80% of our conversations with “Have you read that article…?” and “I just read this article…”
*While on the food/consumption metaphor, I’d like to think of this quote as the outline for a conversation pyramid, as opposed to a hard and fast rule for being a great mind. We all need that piece of chocolate every now and then okay? Maybe some bread too. Plus, we’d all be boring philosophers (sorry, philosopher friends! Do I even have any of you?) if all we did were talk about ideas all day.