Monday, January 01, 2007
One of my favourites - Mark Twain
I have always liked Mark Twain ( I know this was not his real name) particularly for his story telling ability.
In the late 1800s he travelled the world amusing people with his tales with the aid of his magic lantern machine. In such times people paid to be amused and informed by such speakers as Twain.
As a result he has left for us a humorous collection of sayings which I make full use of in my own presentations - and I try to use the power point facilities on my computer in a similar way to his use of the magic lantern. By sitting through some pretty dull presentations, by people using power points who follow the given boring formats, I have worked out they need to be used imaginatively or not at all!
Some of his sayings I make use of are , 'I was born modest but it wore off', which seems to fit me, along with , 'I was born excited and hope to die that way!' (whatever that might mean!). And I like his thought that , ' It took him three weeks to prepare an impromptu speech' - I know exactly what he means.
With reference to leadership he said, 'It is like being the captain of a Mississippi steamboat, you have to know every bend, every mud bank, every snag, every whirlpool, every twenty four hours.' I am not sure if they are his exact words but the message is clear.
Another of his pithy sayings is, 'Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned' and, maybe, he also said that , 'He never let schooling interfere with his education?' I also like, 'Be good and you will be lonesome', and, 'You can't depend on judgement when your imagination is out of focus'.
Prediction is difficult particularly when it involves the future', is Twain's advice for those who feel the need to plan for all eventualities.
Recently I saw a quotes of Twain's used by Al Gore in his film 'An Inconvenient Truth' ( the name of the film coming from a quote by Winston Churchill) .
Gore used Twain's, 'Denial ain't just a river in Egypt' and, possibly the most perceptive thought of all, 'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.'
Twain's approach is just the opposite of most educational experts - he relies on the power of a good story rather than dull information with no real plot.
His approach suits me just fine.