This is part 1 of a multi-part podcasting mini-series around the insights gained (or not gained) from reading 107 non-fiction books in 2015.
The following notes were taken in Drafts for iOS and were used as the core of this episode.
Vertical vs Horizontal Chains of Inspiration and Inquiry.
“It wasn’t until I sat down to read to the work of Austin Kleon that I realised that for a very long time I’ve been following horizontal lines of both inquiry and inspiration. Kleon, in his incredible little book “STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST” suggests that instead of expanding your range of inspiration or inquiry horizontally (meaning to the piers, contemporaries, and supporters of the artist or creative idea that you currently enjoy), instead look to go vertically back through their sources of inspiration, and then again back to their inspirations-inspirations. I’ve discovered the value in this, and the depths understanding that can come from knowing all the small truths and trade-offs that lead to the idea, theory, work or creative movement that you currently enjoy. As a side note; this process may also open up new ways of enjoying your favourite albums, books, TV shows and more, like it has for me of late.
Take two examples from my own life – one regarding reading books, and the other regarding listen to podcasts.
Several years ago when I first started to get back into reading I suffered from what I’m now jokingly refer to as “horizontal-readititus” – where instead of tracking back through the truth or even more so the untruth of business, marketing, and personal growth books and purveyors, I instead went in search of contemporary collaborators for those very same ideas (basically I was a classic case of the-conformationally-biased!)
Now take Podcasting:
In the Australian summer of 2014 I became somewhat disheartened by what I came to see as both charlatanism and greed in the Podcasting circles I had traditionally been most involved with; but instead of broadening out even wider across the same general Podcasting genres and content creators like I had in the past, I instead went back to one particular Podcaster who’s opinion I respect “Rob Greenlee” from The New Media Show and RobGreenlee.com and looked at the type of shows and people that he seemed to enjoy/respect most. And although the exact vertical chain is a little fuzzy right now, it went something like this:
Dan Carlin from Hardcore History
Rob Walch from Libsyn
The New Media Show
Dan Benjamin from 5by5 network
Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin’s Back to Work podcast
Roderick on the Line with Merlin Mann and John Roderick
So all in all, I feel as author Austin Kleon seems to feel, that you dig deeper into those who inspired those who inspire you, and keep digging. Oh yeah, and this ones from me, buy and read the books the your favourite people read, not the books that appear in Amazon’s “frequently brought together tab.”