EVEN THE GOOGLE ALERTS WE CHOOSE
NOT TO TWEET ABOUT OFTEN HOLD CONSIDERABLE INTEREST, PROMISE OR NOVELTY.
You can call me a Google Alert junkie. Every day of the week, a parade of these pre-screened Google tip-offs to information on the Web that might interest me floods into my email box.
How times have changed. In the 1970s, when wife Sherry and I loosed our entrepreneurial ambitions on the unsuspecting journalism profession, we had a much different routine. You might call it the Weekly News Tip Trawl. Every Tuesday morning, I’d head downtown to the biggest newsstand in Dallas, Texas, and buy the Sunday edition of every daily newspaper from our part of Texas that this establishment stocked. It amounted to two round-trips-to-my-car armfuls. (Texas being a large place with sometimes iffy bus schedules, it was Tuesday each week before the newsstand received all its Sunday papers.)
Back in our office (located in the garage of our house in Garland, Texas), I’d vet the papers for story ideas that might interest certain national media. I know that sounds crude by today’s information-gathering practices, but it was light years’ ahead of anything else that national news outlets like Business Week and Newsweek currently had in North Texas. Soon, these folks started called us, wanting to know what we knew before we could tell them. It was obvious to Sherry and me that we were operating a fairly wide-ranging “news bureau” with our card table, IBM Selectric, two filing cabinets and one phone. We did this for several years. We closed our news bureau only when it occurred to us that there were other things in life we wanted to do.
Nearly five decades later, it turns out that sorting through all those Google Alerts each week is one of those other things. The weekly task has turned into one of my favorite activities. I never know when my Google Alerts are going to turn up a quaint new perspective on human behavior or promising idea about human thinking skills. I cull the discoveries and commentaries that interest me most, and create what Sherry and I call “brain tweets” and put them on Twitter. I’ve built an audience of almost 1,200 followers using my @brainleaper handle. And, as close observers of this page already know, I also reproduce my brain tweets in the column at right.
But this practice only allows me to call attention to a few of my weekly gems. I thought you might like to see some of what I’m leaving out. Below are seven items that might well easily have been used as one of this week’s brain tweets but didn’t make the cut. As you can see, it is sometimes devilishly difficult to decide between the front-runners and the also-rans.
Your brain is a whiz-bang at hatching ideas and a real doofus at storing them. So dream it up, write it down. More tips on ideating here.
“Early to bed, rested on rising, it’s a habit for kids that’s worth prizing.” The benefits of adequate (brain) sleep just go on and on. More here.
She’s a woman. An executive coach, no less. She says PMS consequences for female leadership are as regular as, well, their period. Some tips.
Designer says dysletics excel at lateral, visual and three-dimensional thinking. Read about him and his London exhibit, just concluded.
The guv’mint gumshoes are listening more to creative types, writers, futurists. Why? Stephen King & others predicted 9/11 as early as 1982.
When Dr. Karen Pape heard her former cerebral palsy patient was playing competitive kids’ soccer, her reaction was, “The hell he is!”
MIT’s renowned brain researcher Ed Boyden says it’s important to remember failure. Then reboot things when the time is right. How to do it
Email any comments or questions to me at email@example.com.