The Journal of Messy Thinking

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  1. Hello hello,
  2. Hey! Before we dive in: the first Tone Knob – my new newsletter going full nerd on great brand tones of voice – will be going out later today! Somehow missed this was happening? Sign yerself up now!
  3. If you’ve been here a while, you’ll likely know that I’m a big fan of the ‘Good, cheap, fast’ triangle. (Like the infamous 2x2 matrix, it’s a storytelling format disguised as an analytical decision-making tool.)
  4. Well this week, I’ve been spending time with this ‘four essential ingredients’ grid. It’s also a keeper. This one is specifically about all the things you need in place to make a big change happen in an organisation. But the underlying format – what’s essential, and what are the consequences if each variable is missing – is the real joy. I wonder what else you can use it to illuminate?
  5. It’s an uphill struggle.’ But also ‘things really went downhill’. Movementwise, hills just seem metaphorically problematic in every direction. [Thread here].
  6. Yet also: ‘we’ve really plateaued’. Oh no.
  7. One of my favourite books is Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. So much of what I do involves explaining things as clearly and simply as possible that I always relish a meander through Burton’s endlessly rambling pages. Ed Simon’s essay Drizzly November in my soul will likely do a much better job of me at persuading you that you need a copy on your shelves.
  8. Now, I believe things because they are true. Whereas they believe things because they were fed misinformation on Facebook. You’re probably the same yourself. So this piece on the pervasive ‘false sense of security leads to worse safety outcomes’ idea was sobering for me. I realise I have been holding contradictory ideas about 'risk compensation' without examining them properly. (Me: of course masks! But also: nah, I'm not wearing a cycle helmet because apparently statistically it makes me more reckless. Which if I’d thought about it critically for a second I’d realise was not at all congruent with how I actually ride my bike.)
  9. Is there a cognitive bias called ‘cognitive bias bias’: the bias that because you know all about cognitive biases, you falsely believe you're less prone to have biases.
  1. Sometimes in workshops, we play around with making new texts out of random pages of other works. I was originally inspired by Tom Phillips’s Humument. I later discovered Austin Kleon’s Blackout poetry. No surprise that we’re both newslettering about Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s beautiful cut-up-mash-up-word-art.
  2. Writers: DO NOT CLICK. Guaranteed to drive you potty.
  3. Whoa!
  1. You call it trauma, he calls it [click for answer].
  1. That’s all! Tip a quid for Arts Emergency?
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