Putting a face to the pages.

January 27, 2010

Clutching my copy of A Whole New Mind, and a notepad for taking notes.

Clutching my soon-to-be-signed "A Whole New Mind," and paper for taking notes. Uber-geekage.

For centuries, reading something in printed text meant it was coming from a greater, more influential world than you inhabited. Anytime you were required to type something, it carried a certain weight. Well, in spite of the word processor, the digital revolution, and the advent of Twitter, I still have a certain degree of respect for the printed page, which is what brought me to Powell’s Books in Portland, to attend author Daniel Pink’s Portland stop on his book tour.

Entering a room of 100 or more Dan Pink fans clutching his latest book Drive and reciting Johnny Bunko’s career guide rules like mantra has a way of shattering any illusion of the personal, one-on-one connection you might think you have with the author. If I was a tick less tactful and two ticks more insane, I might have stood up and shouted “No one understands you like I do Dan! No one!” I restrained myself, since if I were to be forcibly removed from the event, how would I get my book signed?

Anyways, in spite of being visibly fatigued from being on the road, Pink brought fresh, thought-provoking insights into the deceptively tricky subject of human motivation. Like any good writer (or speaker), Pink speaks and writes with the same accessible wit, keeping his audience guessing, at times, at what angle his next point was coming from, even when devoted readers already knew the punch line. He kept the attendees involved, sometimes through participatory demonstration and other times by Socratic method, which humorously failed more often than not.

Me and Dan Pink

"Proof of human interaction," as Dan put it.

Having never attended a book tour session before, I discovered it has a way of adding an additional living, breathing dimension to the already fulfilling experience of reading a book cover-to-cover. There’s also a unique energy present when you put get together a group of people who share the same passion—or just interest—in the same subject. It’s a rewarding experience, particularly when you have the opportunity to ask the author of a book on human motivation “what motivates you?”

So yes, top 10 Dan Pink out-of-context quotes from the event:

10. “Ok, I’m deciding to abandon the Socratic method…”
9. “Let me say one word about open source: it’s weird.”
8. “Cut. Fade out.”
7. “Businesses treat people like horses that are slower, better smelling, and a little smaller.”
6. “Vermont: the Oregon of the East.”
5. “Buying Cheetos should not be a moral position.”
4. “Grits!”
3. “I’m pretty sure that’s how we are out-of-the-box. When the product ships, that’s the default setting.”
2. “With 100% turnover, people are like light bulbs. Ooh, one burned out. Lets take a new one and screw it!”
1. “Julio, are you a professional musician?…Yes?…Okay, someone else.”


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