When I read a book now I tend to do a lot of highlighting writing in the margins and bending pages to point to really interesting stuff. Plenty of highlighting and bent pages in this book and that is a good thing. There is one particular anecdote regarding ideas that I wanted to share.
Chapter 5 is called “The Lone Inventor” and there is a sub-heading titled “The challenge of simultaneous invention”. The author presents what I would like to call the wardrobe analogy. Imagine that you go into a large department store and see racks of similar clothes as far as the eye can see. You shop about and then pick “your” wardrobe from the merchandise available. Basically you pick “your” clothes from an array of identical clothing although the same clothing is there in different sizes and such also available to everyone else. Then you take home your purchases and it becomes your wardrobe. People are always surprised later on when they see someone else in “their” clothes even though there were plenty available at the store for everyone to choose from.
The clothes in the department store are like the environment or breeding ground for ideas and innovation. Your wardrobe is like that unique idea that you come up with that is entirely your own. In fact with the proper environment and circumstance many people will come to the same sorts of idea and innovation.
Anyway, I thought the concept of “Simultaneous Invention” was a very cool idea. I hope someone else hasn't beaten me to it.
- Ian Graham