Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Ground for Freaks

One book that had been on my to-read list for some time was 'Freakanomics' by Levitt & Dubner. It's an interesting take on how certain economic principles can be applied to understanding what's really happening under the surface of everyday life. The writers pose questions such as: "What do estate agents and the Ku Klux Klan have in common?" and "Why do drug dealers live with their mothers?". The book raises some interesting arguments, some perhaps more credible than others. There's always going to be a case for querying this on a "lies, damn lies and statistics" basis.

Anyway, the edition of the book I read included bonus material of published since the book was first released. The one that grabbed me in the context of this blog, and slightly away from the overall tone of the book, was all about self-experimentation. In a nutshell, a guy called Seth Roberts decided one day to turn personal problems into research subjects. Over 25 years, he poked and prodded, measured and recorded his way to being 160 lbs lighter with better skin. This period had seen him apply trial and error to everything from scientifically proven process to crank idea, looking for what worked best for him.

I'll let you delve into the book to find out what he discovered but it made me think about my faddish nature. At least, that's what some of my friends view me as having anyway. I'll try out a new thing, get bored and then move onto the next big thing. I guess if I had some sort of end expectation or goal in mind maybe my version of 'self-experimentation', for want of a better phrase, aimed at creating a 'better me' would create something concrete. Or maybe the experimentation is the end game from the start. Dunno. Just a few thoughts.

And as I continue to meander through this stream of consciousness, it also reminded me of the film 'Groundhog Day', where Bill Murray is trapped in a hell-on-earth of having to relive the exact same day, every day for eternity. There's a point in the film when he comes to terms with this reality and tries to work it in his favour. He meets a lady, tries a line, she bats him away. The next day, he meets the same lady, tries another line, she bats him away. And so this continues until one of the lines works and each day he builds upon it until... kaboom!...

There's a lot of random thinking in this blog today but 'Freak' and 'Ground' do give me some food for thought - who knows what can be achieved if you consciously focus on the little and often approach to life.

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