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The Nuremberg Funnel and Can You Fly That Helicopter?

| Posted in Books, Design |

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What is the Nuremberg Funnel?
Imagine this. You own a device through which you can easily and effortlessly pour into your mind all the wisdom and knowledge you require regarding any subject. That is the Nuremberg Funnel. It is put across with poignant satire in these illustrations.

Apparently, wherever the good people of Nuremberg go, they are asked if they have brought the Nuremberg funnel with them! This joke is based on the fairytale where a young boy learns from one of the blacksmith masters about the existence of a mythical Funnel of Knowledge and sets out on a quest to acquire it. He finds out that the Funnel of Wisdom is in the possession of the King of Utopia. He undergoes a series of adventures, but is unable to acquire it. The fable ends on a wise note. The boy’s adventures make him so wise that he no longer needs the Funnel!

This fable of the Nuremberg Funnel reminded me of this scene in the Matrix movie.

I was pleasantly surprised by the term appearing in the title of this book on Designing Minimalist Instruction for Practical Computer Skill.

The Great Aldus Manutius

| Posted in Design |

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Aldus Manutius

Aldus Manutius

The late 1400s must have been very similar to current times. This was the tumultuous time when the printed word was changing the fabric of society, much like the digital revolution of the early 21st century. The transition from the bibles of Gutenberg to the widely available paperback type books which created a huge reading class of people sowing the seeds of public participation and democratic ways was a time of confusion and struggle as existing structures came tumbling down.

In the middle of this was Aldus Manutius, venetian printer, publisher and inventor. His legacy lives on today five centuries after him.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

| Posted in Books |

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Animal Farm - George Orwell

Animal Farm - George Orwell

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a very short book. Its story, insights, concepts and message will ring true as long as humans come together to work. The fact that Animal Farm is entirely about humans is a sweet irony. That is also its main appeal to me. It provides a glimpse into how good intentions, ideas, ideals and lofty thinking fall apart gradually. I see it as a satirical fable that helps explain the ups and downs of history. Simple in its telling, complex in its content, meaning and relevance.

A Procrastination Metaphor

| Posted in Work |

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Procrastination

Procrastination is a learned behavior. Here is a very interesting metaphor of procrastination that I ran into recently in the book The Now Habit by Neil Fiore.  I am not much of a self help book reader, however, this section on procrastination was highly recommended to me. This helps us to understand how we procrastinate. What goes on in our minds that leads us to develop habits of procrastination. I found the part very interesting and would like to share it with you here.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

| Posted in Books, Work |

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zamm

Every time I pick up this book for a read, I end up going through it with the same enthusiasm I felt when I read it for the first time. Despite being a recurring book in my bookshelf for more than a dozen years, this book retains a freshness. The kind of freshness one feels when plunging into reading a new, interesting book. I am not a big fan of philosophical books. Dreary arguments are not the reason I pick it up to read.

There is more to it.

The Strange Case of Recurring Books

| Posted in Books |

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These days, I am recovering from a long drought of reading. I seem to walk into bookshops and spend a lot of time leafing through the ones that catch my fancy, the ones recommended by friends, critics and of course, web reviews.

After spending 20 to 30 minutes, I seem to be drawn towards the stationery section. There, I usually pick up a beautiful, luxuriously built blank notebook. The kind that would have lavish binding, gilded pages and superb paper quality.

What’s going on?