Let’s be honest. Beethoven composed on a home entertainment system that had its heyday
over a hundred years ago. Van Gogh worked in a field that was necessary to create likenesses until video
and film made it obsolete. Most people would rather check their social media feed than read a book.
Screens are in front of all of us all the time, broadcasting watered-down information and trying to sell us
stuff. Outside of commerce and grant-funded science, there simply isn’t much of a need for creative
work or new ideas. There is a strong need for methodical execution of existing approaches to produce
products and provide services for customer consumption. That is the world we live in. The hype about
creativity and innovation is just that: hype. People don’t typically want to pay money for creativity. They
just want a good hamburger, and they’ll pay for that. It’s important that you strongly consider this as a
watershed truth about our world. Ignoring it could crush you in the end.
So what are we still doing here?
I’m here because of my belief that in spite of what’s happening in the world, there are still
pursuits with absolute value. It doesn’t matter how people respond to our work, if we know that the
work is good. Certain people don’t just live in the world, they set its direction. You’re probably reading
this book because you want to help set direction in the world, whether you realize or admit that yet or
So does the direction of the world matter? Absolutely. But not so it can dissuade us. We want to
surf the direction of the world like a wave. Using our understanding of the tides and currents we can
chart new directions that we know have merit, even if a large portion of the
The Direction of the World
Once you have a decent education (higher education optional, see Skills chapter for data) , you’ll
need to understand the direction of the world. What is the direction of the world? Part of it is being up
on your field. Part of it is understanding how your field is affecting the world at large, and the other part
is understanding disciplinereading the best sources you can get your hands on, by speaking to the best experts that you can reach,
and by reading about and talking to people out in the world about how your area affects them.hat bearing on your own work. The way you’ll do this is byart.