I’m at my vacation home at Squam Lake, New Hampshire, this week, doing a lot of spring cleanup and fixup. I have a friend and neighbor – I’ll call him Matt – who helps me out; like me, he’s an old troop from the Air Force. He was an air traffic controller; I was in radar maintenance, keeping the screens working for guys like Matt.
It turns out we share a lot more in common than the Air Force: political views, philosophy, nature, spirituality, and literature. He recently turned me on to an online archive of free audio novels and pointed me to a fine rendition of George Orwell’s 1984. I’m listening to it on my iPod while I work. I’ve told him about the novel I’m reading, Philip Wylie’s The Disappearance, written in 1951. I had only read Wylie’s Generation of Vipers, an important 1942 work of nonfiction, until I recently discovered this idea-laden novel.
Matt and I swap and compare ideas and Web resources all the time. He has head full of ideas seeking expression – except they’re not. Matt’s tried his hand at writing a few times, but it generally lapses into the same substrate as reading and Web-surfing. He’s articulate, but the ideas are not manifesting themselves into blogs or essays, and certainly not books.
That’s too bad. I think about our clientele and how many great ideas there are circulating through the ether. Clay Christensen, whom we refer to in our new special report. “Secrets of Success for Business Book Authors,” turned his ideas about creativity, innovation and disruption upon himself and his personal life to come up with the idea for his new book, How Will You Measure Your Life?
We all have ideas. A lot of ideas. Often great ideas. What are you doing with yours?