A great reading list

In case you missed it – check out this excellent website dedicated to all of Seth Godin’s book recommendations over the last decade (hint – he makes great recommendations!)

As a Godin junkie, this is incredible. I am just getting used to my re-found Kindle too, so this is perfect timing!

I enjoy particularly the filtering options. So useful and makes the whole site more manageable.

Sci-Fi @home

My watch woke my whole family up at 5.45am this morning with an alarm. Is this the start of the rise of the machines? Maybe it starts with unreasonably early, unexplainable alarms to soften us up into sleepy victims. Then the computers can have their way with us and Skynet will bring us down with nukes.

I will be on the lookout for balls of lightening and naked Austrian bodybuilders for the rest of the day.

Netflix as a resource

In a personal crusade against time wasting, I am trying to add purpose to any online activity. We have a Netflix subscription, but just like TV and cable, there is a lot of junk on there. So, I am trying to focus my watching on classic and new Sci-Fi to self-educate on the topic, and hopefully help to make me a better Sci-Fi writer.

So far I have watched Stranger Things and Black Mirror – both fantastic but very different.

Sometimes of course my wife demands non Sci-Fi for casual watching. Happy Wife, Happy Life!

But I plan on using lists like this: http://www.stuff.tv/features/15-best-sci-fi-movies-netflix to continue the education 🙂

 

Dune update

Following on from my previous posts, Dune is becoming more than a pleasant read for me, it is so good that I am treating it as a sort of Sci-Fi guru and teacher. A reference book to refer to when creating futuristic worlds.

Its scale and scope started out very large and wide – moving between two planets, explaining complex political relationships, alien life forms, technologies, religions and histories. However, passing the half way mark the author has chosen to zoom in on a few characters, killing off a big presence Ned Stark style, and focusing on subtlety and detail in the characters and their particular situations. It’s very absorbing!

This ‘zooming in’ technique (for want of a better word) has been a revelation to me and I plan to try and use it in the future.

 

Sci-Fi @home – Bitcoin

I have a little bit of money invested in Bitcoin, using BitX as my exchange. It’s a bit of an investment in a possible future.

Today i got a note from BitX telling me about all the stores in South Africa accepting Bitcoin.

The fact that I can trade in a virtual currency and not use a bank is amazing to me. All these options online for me to use the Bitcoin – It’s sci-fi come to life.

Africa is adopting new technologies quickly and will likely leapfrog some older infrastructures as new developments take hold. That is what happened in Kenya with MPesa. It is happening in Rwanda with drones. Maybe it will happen with Bitcoin too.

 

 

Any problem you have…

…is probably fixable.

Think about it. Humans have cured polio. We discovered bacteria. We put people on the moon. We have cell phones which are as sci-fi as you can imagine. They let me talk to someone in China…if I so choose. So progress happens if we want it to, but it is not automatic.

In my personal experience, I am learning that there are two key components of creativity and progress.

First, I have to accept that progress will bring with it unintended consequences. These can be positive: For example back in the day we learned about atmospheric pressure which allowed us to create vacuums which allowed us to create combustion engines to push trains down a track. But they can also be negative: those combustion engines spit out pollution of all sorts. Personally, to become more creative has led me to quit unsatisfactory jobs, to learn about publishing, marketing and blogging. However it has also led me to become super self-critical. This is good sometimes in a work context, but it can impact other areas of my life. I never expected this as a side-effect.

The key for me is that progress is always better than the alternative, which is stagnation. It is a truth which I have had to get my head around. Stagnation is easier but far more destructive to my life. I think this applies universally to our race.

Next, for progress to occur, there needs to be focus. This may be internal – are you sure of what you are trying to achieve? Are you putting in the time and work? Or it may be a matter of collaboration. Do you have another person who will help you progress? I am learning that focus essentially means aligning of habits and habitual behaviour. Mine were all out of whack before I chose to be more creative.

I find it comforting that there are broad rules and conditions for progress. It helps my creativity and keeps pushing me on to fix problems each day. What helps you make progress?