Sunday, February 14, 2010

From Linchpin

I've been reading and facebooking from this book. Here are some of the quotes:

"Linchpins make change happen. That's the job description. Change that isn't written down, step by step, change that isn't guaranteed to work. There is a scarcity of people willing to do this, which is precisely why it's valuable."

"Of course you're a linchpin (at least occasionally). Of course you're a genius (when the time is right). You're insubordinate when you want to be and creative when you need to be. Now your job is figuring out how to do that more often."

"The New American Dream: 'Be remarkable, Be generous, Create art, Make judgment calls, Connect people and ideas ... And we have no choice but to reward you'."

"I am Good at School'. This is a fundamentally different statement from, 'I did well in school and therefore I will do a great job working for you.' The essential thing measured by school is whether or not your are good at school."

"Being good at school is a fine skill if you intend to do school forever. For the rest of us, being good at school is a little like being good at Frisbee. It's nice but it's not relevant unless your career involves homework assignments, looking through textbooks for answers known to your supervisors, complying with instructions and then, in high pressure settings, regurgitating those facts."

"We've been trained since first grade to avoid making mistakes. The goal of any test, after all, is to get 100 percent. No mistakes. Get nothing wrong and you get an A, right? Read someone's resume, and discover twenty years of extraordinary exploits and one typo."

"Which are you going to mention first? We hire for perfect, we manage for perfect, we measure for perfect, and we reward for perfect. So why are we surprised that people spend their precious minutes of self-directed, focused work time trying to achieve perfect? "

"The problem is simple: Art is never defect-free. Things that are remarkable never meet spec, because that would make them standardized, not worth talking about."

"Bob Dylan knows a little about becoming indispensable, being an artist, and living on the edge: 'Daltrey, Townshend, McCartney, the Beach Boys, Elton, Billy Joel. They made perfect records, so they have to play them perfectly... exactly the way people remember them. My records were never perfect. So there is no point in trying to duplicate them. Anyway, I'm no mainstream artist.... I guess most of my influences could be thought of as eccentric. Mass media had no overwhelming reach so I was drawn to the traveling performers passing through. The side show performers - bluegrass singers, the black cowboys with chaps and lariat doing rope tricks. Miss Europe, Qausimodo, the Bearded Lady, the half-man half-woman, the deformed and the bent, Atlas the Dwarf, the fire-eaters, the teachers and preachers, the blues singers. I remember it like it was yesterday. I got close to some of these people. I learned about dignity from them. Freedom too. Civil rights, human rights. How to stay within yourself. Most others were into the rides like the tilt-a-whirl and the roller-coaster. To me that was the nightmare. All the giddiness. The artificiality of it...

The interviewer then reminded Dylan, 'But you've sold over a hundred million records.' Dylan's answer gets to the heart of what it means to be an artist: 'Yeah I know. It's a mystery to me too.'"

"Avoiding the treadmill of defect-free is not easy to sell to someone who's been trained in the perfection worldview since first grade (which is most of us). But artists embrace the mystery of our genius instead. They understand that there is no map, no step-by-step plan, and no way to avoid blame now and then."

"If it wasn't a mystery, it would be easy. If it were easy, it wouldn't be worth much."

1 comment:

H said...

Thanks for posting that quote Scott.