Why talent isn’t enough

This week I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and also watched 20 Feet From Stardom, which in their own way both tell the same story.

That story is that, no matter how talented you are, there are so many other factors that will determine whether the level of your success.

20 Feet From Stardom is a wonderful documentary about backing singers – specifically those who have quite remarkable voices – but who never quite made it.
Continue reading “Why talent isn’t enough”

Lunchtime brain food

From Sentenced to Life by Clive James
From Sentenced to Life by Clive James
If ever I’m feeling either physically or mentally depleted at lunchtime, I can usually guarantee that a walk round Waterstones on Gower Street will give me the necessary stimulation required to lift me.

Today was a case in point. Not only did I browse Clive James’ incredibly moving, recent anthology of poetry, Sentence Of Life (from which the poem on the right is taken), but I found time to read the first few pages of Laura Barnett’s feted novel The Versions Of Us, as well as The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine.


A selection of second-hand kids books
A selection of second-hand kids books
But I wasn’t just after fiction and imagery to move me. I also browsed the rather frightening 2071: The World We’ll Leave Our Grandchildren and also reminded myself of just how good Art Spiegelman’s Maus is – possibly the most amazing work about the Holocaust anyone will ever encounter. Continue reading “Lunchtime brain food”

The Art of Creative Thinking

“Do you feel inadequate, that you’re not as talented as others? Good. Feeling inadequate is a driving force to do better. The self-satisfied are not the ones producing great things. They’re sitting back feeling smug and conceited.”

The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod JudkinsThis is the introduction to one of the chapters of Rod Judkins The Art of Creative Thinking, a wonderful book that seeks to inspire you to think more confidently and creatively.

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, you’ll be aware of the famous ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, which took you on a different path at the end of each chapter.

Well, Rod Judkins seeks to do the same with The Art of Creative Thinking, encouraging you to ignore linear reading and dip in and dip out. For example, at the end of the aforementioned chapter, you are given this:

More? If you liked doubt, you’ll love ignorance on p.129
Less? If you’ve had enough of self-doubt for now, try p.77″

Embrace ignorance

The main aim of the book is to confound your existing thoughts and smash prejudices, thus opening up your brain to new ways of thinking and coming up with new ideas. Continue reading “The Art of Creative Thinking”