The Journal of Messy Thinking

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  1. Hello hello,
  2. Thanks to everyone who signed up for TONE KNOB btw. The first issue about’s superb fire-and-brimstone voice got an unexpected amount of love. Second one next week. Another cracking brand gets the twiddle.
  3. This 1944 ‘CIA list for sabotaging your organisation’s productivity’ is doing the rounds again on the socials. And it’s great. (‘Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.’) But oh! the original declassified document it came from – The Simple Sabotage Field Manual – is well worth reading in full. It’s short (36 pages) and beautifully written: ‘The saboteur may have to reverse his thinking. Where he formerly thought of keeping his tools sharp, he should now let them grow dull
  4. I often think of the internet being vaguely ‘out there’ (waves hands towards the sky). The truth is that it’s all connected by stuff *down there* (waves hands towards the sea). All of this is running through a surprisingly few big fat cables laid along the seabed. Here’s a map of them all.
  5. Next level: go to the Science Museum and check out the exhibit of an actual chunk of the very first ever transatlantic communications cable. Then boggle your mind by realising they laid the whole thing by sailing ship.
  6. Multiply paperwork in plausible ways.
  7. Absolutely loving Merriam Webster’s take-down of the pedants’ favourite ‘actually decimate means to kill one in ten, not annihilate’. ‘People love to complain about ‘decimate’. But they’re wrong’. Big dictionary energy.
  8. While we’re on take-downs: David Mitchell is brutally on point with this on BT’s announcement about its switch to digital-only voice: your phone will now need to be plugged into your broadband router. Which means if your electricity goes, you’ll need a ‘backup phone’ to make emergency calls. But as Mitchell points out… the landline is everyone’s backup phone.
  9. That loud clicking sound is every copywriter saving that to share with a client next time they get a heart-sinking ‘sell the benefits of a change that actually makes things worse’ briefs. Nobody’s. Ever. Fooled.
  10. I love Lawrence Yeo’s More to That blog. He has a very pleasing way of explaining things just a little bit more slowly than is strictly necessary. This one on why it’s actually rational to leap into the unknown sneaks a profound idea into its almost sing-song simplicity.
  11. A great nudge: the media should always introduce MPs with the name of their constituency.
  12. When your shopping list is also an ex-MP who went out with one of the Cheeky Girls.
  13. Try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary.
  14. That’s a wrap. Tip a quid? Click below.
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