Having grown up in a barely middle class neighborhood where very few people ventured far from home, my world view was limited to our 1959 version of the World Book Encyclopedia. It was well worn when we bought in the early 1970’s and it was our main source of information pertaining to anything more than a couple of hundred miles from our house. And while we did know that it was slightly out of date (understatement) we did not have much choice and so we relied on it quite heavily for our school research, family debates and our interests in exploring outside the U.S. Fast forward to 2013 and I was under the impression that Google and Wikipedia and other web resources had replaced the World Book Encyclopedia. But I am wrong (yes I am wrong from time to time), the World Book Encyclopedia lives on and for a mere $1,200 you can have a 2013 version of the hard copy books. $1,200 to have all 25 volumes that require their own bookcase because you better show them off for that price.
Now I am as nostalgic as they come, I love the songs from the seventies, am fond of looking at pictures from my college years and I think it is wonderful that we still carry on many of my Italian Grandmother’s traditions for family dinners and the like. But I am truly at a loss for the purpose of 25 hard cover books that are outdated the day they are printed, cannot be searched, are limited in what they can cover and mostly relay anachronistic practices. Now, I know some of you might want to argue the merits of the feel of the book, the gravitas of volume seven sitting on your lap, the ability to dog ear and underline passages and the overall experience of hard cover books. And if that is how you feel I will not argue. I for one, do like a hard copy book to read – but they are mostly stories about some kind of adventure and they are one time editions, that do not change and if they are inspiring they can be read again and again for pleasure. But in the spirit of high performance and the way the world works today I object to the idea of hard cover reference books wherein most of the information changes and needs updating to be relevant. I would no rather have the 2013 version than the 1959 to serve as a source for reference or research. It is not about the beauty of the book that we could argue but rather the usefulness.
The nature of what is written about in this Blog is that the human mind, body and soul are vessels poised and ready to grow and develop. They want to take on more and more and to be better and better every day, day after day. It is the quest for knowledge, advancement and learning that brings us new ideas, new opportunities, new results and a new way to live. To do this, though, you have to be surrounded by that which is dynamic, not static. You need triggers and incentive, you need vibrancy and the unexpected and mostly you need the power of search and browse to find what you need temporally or serendipitously. In 1974 I had no choice, I made do with what we had. In 2013 we have a lot of choice and it is incumbent on us to seek out and use – not one time editions, not fixed media, not limited thought but rather that which is expansive, unpredictable and far reaching and also simple enough to settle, in real time, a family debate about who won the 1961 World Series.
Yes, we can have the World Book for a show piece (sort of like that piano in the living room that never gets played). But please do not treat it as the source of what is possible as it died the minute it hit the paper. We have entered a new era one in which the World is not just Flat – it is Frictionless – and the possibilities are endless as a result. And if you do have $1,200 to spend on the World Book you might want to throw in an extra $2 grand for a nice bookcase for it as well!
Living and Loving Life
The thing I like about the Sally challenge is it is very portable – this week I was able, so far, to give it a go in five cities. Nothing in the way – no gym needed, no good excuse – so onward I go – got to 3:26 +15 seconds again. The 4:19 song did not deliver as well – 175 pushups. I will take it. It was a big week with only great things ahead. Have fun this weekend!