Archive for the 'books' Category

Trends wisdom from Discworld

changesPeople don’t like change. But make the change happen fast enough and you go from one type of normal to another.

– Terry Pratchett, Making Money

The answers are in the stars

I enjoyed Northern Planner’s plea to himself to start reading more fiction. There is a need amongst those of us who are cognonauts in serious headspace to let go and bounce around in hi-calorie, low nutrition brain jelly. Hooray to that.
Earlier this month, there was an amusing case made for the need to read science fiction by Michael Steckler, MD of AOL UK (a speaker at the Social Media Influence conference).
Imagining what the future is going to be like is a risky but important exercise if you’re a trend watcher, but good sci-fi that attempts to put new technology in a social context really does give you food for thought.
I read British sci-fi authors Iain M Banks and Alastair Reynolds when I can, but my favourite by far is Peter F Hamilton. He writes huge brick-sized volumes that are both pulpy and intriguing. The volume thumbnailed here is part of a trilogy that includes, amongst its other smart ideas, the thought that you can network with the world, have access to the sum of human knowledge and manipulate technology – all via neural implants.
This story was written 12 years ago – long before we witnessed the rise of social networks, Wikipedia, and the mega-miniaturisation of digital memory. I mean… 1 gig of storage in a tiny flash stick? Who’d have thunk it back then?
My one gripe about this rising dependency on mass digital storage is that it does seem to be making our brains turn to mush, or at least, our capacity to memorise facts. Maybe that’s why we’re so impatient nowadays. But if the digital miracle can be fused into our heads, maybe that won’t matter any more.

Your favourite gadget

ideadJack Finney’s 1950s zombie novel Invasion of the Body Snatchers is undergoing its fourth movie adaptation. Saturday’s Daily Telegraph while discussing the story in its Arts section, includes these choice words:

“The invasion… has crystallised in an image, and a word, that have, well, invaded our culture: “pod”. The alien seed-pods, concealed in our homes, drain the thoughts and memories and physical features from us when we fall asleep, then replace us – our original bodies are disposed of.”

Pic nicked from Flickr.

Selling the biggest pup in history

creationOddly, considering it is a book about atheism, I found Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion to be the most life-affirming and spiritually uplifting thing I have ever read. Starting out as a confused child baptised in Anglican and Greek Orthodox churches, I’ve lurched from belief to agnosticism, to uneasy scepticism and now to atheism.

And I now have a justification for keeping a copy in our marketing-themed library. If you’ve bought religion, then there’s people out there who will try and sell you anything. Especially old men who dress like Gandalf (with occasional headwear variations).

Image courtesy of b3ta


Self-important bit

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I’m Victor Houghton, a, er... something or other in one of the UK’s largest advertising agencies. My job title has a comma in it, which is embarrassing. I’m the chief finder-things-outer with a splash of trends who is lucky to work with all the major functions of the agency, even though I am most closely associated with strategic planning. Everything in this blog has most probably been stolen from other, infinitely more talented people, although the opinions are most definitely my own and not those of the agency.

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