Best things come in 100s

In Bikes, Future, Small Man, Big Ideas on January 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I have two lessons for you today.

Above is the book of that wonderful series broadcast recently on BBC Radio 4. I listened to some of the podcasts while exercising on my Ciclotte, but now that I have the book, I can look at the pictures too. It was a brave of both the BBC and Sir Neil MacGregor to attempt a series that focussed on objects using a medium that is aural only. But it was a huge success. Therein lies lesson one. Be brave. Do what’s different and you’ll be richly rewarded. That’s always been my motto. Perhaps a role as museum curator awaits when I start exhibiting fossil-like tendencies in my job here. That shouldn’t happen for a while, but advertising is a young man’s job. Being old as well as small probably will be too much even for me and I’ll bow out gracefully and dedicate my life to public service.

Back to the book. Start at the beginning and read each chapter in turn and marvel as an enthralling history lesson unfolds. If you just dip in and out, you’ll lose the sense of the human journey. It’ll be a story interrupted.

Now to my other 100. This is much shorter, but no less fascinating, and has been compiled by the granddaddy of ad agencies, JWT.


This too was consumed by yours truly, and yours truly by it, on my iPad on my Ciclotte. Never before has an hour passed so quickly or painlessly on that machine. I would have been happy to pedal for another hour had JWT decided to extend their list to 200. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of newness in fashion, technology, style, music, social media, beer even. Never before have I so looked forward to entering a new decade.  The only problem is that their study has been retweeted so many times that it itself has lost its newness. So why recycle it here? Well, no one has had the nous to link it to Sir Neil (or they better not have!) and that is lesson number two. Make the connection. That’s a golden rule of creativity. Join two disparate concepts and create a thought-storm in the reader. Does the 2011 list actually contain concepts that can be traced back to the dawn of time? How many of those trends are already in Sir Neil’s book? Does it only serve to confirm that old creative conundrum, first posited in Ecclesiastes, that there’s nothing new under the sun? Immerse yourself in both and resurface a wiser creature.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: