Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Going Bananas

Once in awhile a tremendous opportunity will come your way.  Sometimes it's a job, or a house, possibly an exotic trip.  Still others it could simply be obtaining a ticket to an event.  Tuesday night such an opportunity came my way to see New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman speak at the beautiful Powell Symphony Hall.  It was a very gracious gesture from my friend Erin to pass her ticket on to me when she was no longer able to go.  Seeing as how Thomas Friedman is the one columnist I must read bi-(or tri, depending) weekly, and how his book, The World is Flat forever changed my expectations in non-fiction literature, research publications, and journalistic articles...well, I gladly took the ticket.

After a lovely early evening walk around the St. Louis Hills neighborhood, myself and I jaunted to Grand Center with pen and paper in hand.  I was more than happy to see the theater packed.  It was strangely comforting to be amongst other, albeit middle-aged or older, nerds.  While the Speaker Series brings in some of the most respected and honorable figures in the world, Mr. Friedman was a real treat.  For one, most writers are not speakers.  So if one happens to be, you know they must be darn good.  His charisma is exactly what such issues as sustainability, American innovation, and foreign diplomacy need to be efficiently enforced in the minds of citizens everywhere.

As the old saying goes, "you learn something new everyday."  My year and then some were covered with last night's lecture.  To expand on some of the more important points made would, in my mind, demean his finesse on the topics.  However, a couple of ideas that really came across were:

  • Sustainable Values vs. Situational Values
  • Uncertainty is why we act
  • For a revolution to become what it is something(s) must die.  So how are we in a "Green Revolution?"
  • Treating future as a choice, not fate.
  • We have enough time starting now.
  • B(uild)A(bsolutely)N(othing)A(nywhere)N(ear)A(nything).  Let's absolutely not head in this direction.
Fortunately you can read an abridged version of this lecture, which just so happened to be his column today, Who's Up for Building Bridges?  Of course you could also pick up one of his books.  I for one cannot wait to dig in to Hot, Flat, and Crowded (which my dear Mother picked up for me today) during my upcoming trip.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea on a Tuesday night, but do yourself a favor.  Allow yourself the opportunity to read a sampling of his work and learn a thing or two.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."--Thomas Friedman from The World is Flat

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