Intentional Reading

On The Go is your innovation story inspired from elsewhere.

Intentional Reading
Intentional Reading

A few days ago, a friend of mine took me through his analysis of an economist we both read. While I thought, from what I know about his background, his ideas, his behaviour and knowledge, that we would have pleasantly shared a common agreement with the author, I was stun to find out we completely disagreed on the core views of the economist. I first thought he must have missed a point, or be misinterpreting some of the key economics models explored by the author. Then I thought may be it was me. It then occurred to me, as I told my friend, “we must have had different conversations with the author”. In fact, we certainly have.


Chances are our life experiences play a major role in the analysis we both draw from our reading. Chances are the questions we seek to answer reading the same book diverge as much as the answer we will interpret from our “author-reader” very private discussion. Following a definite conscious and subconscious scheme which is completely different for each of us, I have been looking for tools and user cases where he may have sought a definition of an ideal society (or anything else). We read the same author, but our conclusions differ massively.


The disagreement was not really on the economic mechanics used or the assumptions. We did agree on the high level results of the analysis, which means we shared the same understanding of the book itself. What caused a discussion was the author standpoint. Was he criticizing, mocking, or shaking us up to trigger action? Having unalike expectations from our reading, analyzing the text with divergent questions and answers matrixes of our own, we certainly ended up having collected quite a different treasure. That said, I still much favor my treasure to his.

And he obviously preferred his to mine.
I do take a stand back when reading this author. An additional question is queued in my memory for our next reading-conversation on economy. My key take away from this is divergence enables healthier discussions and thinking, and moreover, to a certain extent it is necessary. I like Dionne Kasian-Lew’s way of presenting our connected minds in an online/offline mode. As she says, “The influence of technology, good and bad, is part of who we are right now. The self isn’t fixed, it’s constantly made and remade.” Connected thinking would there be like an on-going “author-reader” conversation, taken in different situations, read with even more diverging experiences. A culture in itself? This is what Vatsal Surti would like to share on Ideapod, a universal culture. As he says, “The place under our feet doesn’t define us anymore. Politics, as ideology, is losing its significance. Our ideas are on tumblr. A story can be anything.” Anything, he says. So anyone could get to influence anyone, anyone’s idea could change anyone’s views. On an on-going basis. Is this democracy? Are we all becoming our own think tanks, reading books, tweeting, liking sharing, blogging…? I like Mike Corak’s view on think tanks. In his own words, “Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised that think tanks produce studies confirming their (sometimes hidden) biases. After all this is something we all do. We need to arm ourselves with this self-awareness. If we do, then we can also be more aware of the things in a think tank’s make-up that can help in judging its credibility, and also how public policy discussion should be structured to help promote a sincere exchange of facts and ideas.


Have a nice week-end,

J.R. Camp

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