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Every expert has their faith. Technologists see everything as technological problems. Teachers see pedagogy as the problem. And for that reason often it's the high profile experts who have the hardest time making progress: they're the least willing to experiment and try ideas that cut across those artificial boundaries. I studied the history of Innovation in many fields to write The Myths of Innovation, and the belief that a grand singular (and typically very neat and clean) idea is the future is a common trap. Idealists, the most vocal champions of a particular solution, fail to recognize how messy, experimental and uncertain change always is, including the changes that led to the idea they've polished so brightly.
In fiction there is this notion of suspension of disbelief - that the writer, like a magician, has to keep people so interested in one stream of ideas that they naturally disregard all the other ideas that would take them out of the narrative of the book. For non-fiction perhaps there's an alternative: continuation of belief. The writing has the burden of continuing the interest that led to the reader picking up the book, and never letting that interest drop such that they decide there are more interesting truths elsewhere outside the book. It could be through building increasingly potent arguments,the magnetism of pace, weaving different but synergistic narratives... but in every sentence and chapter the writer has to cultivate what we commonly call 'a good read'. It's curious how infrequently people say that about non-fiction books.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2010 on Deep Structure at
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Sep 17, 2010