How airport Newsstands feed curiosity ...

I have flown my fair share, particularly for business; most within North America, but also across the "pond"... and mostly in economy. Standing, waiting, sitting, standing, more sitting and waiting... did she say "delayed again"? With all of that said, other than LAX, there has never been an airport I didn't like; yes I am aware of the issue of pricing, but that is just microeconomics at its finest. What I am really drawn to is the airport Newsstands and the books they offer. They have best sellers of course, but once you get past those, they seem to have an array of the most unexpected titles and topics. They feed my curiosity!

A little while back, I wrote a post called "Along came awareness" , offering a perspective as to how Awareness is an important component of effective problem solving and execution; I then suggest Awareness is born from Curiosity. So now you can see why I am so excited about the airport Newsstand. 

It isn't my intention to offer a book review of my most interesting airport newsstand books, but I did want to offer a sampling, as they have expanded my awareness in very interesting areas... so here goes:

"It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be" by Paul Arden. Bold font and insights from a successful advertiser makes this an easy read. "Life's Creative Circle" offers great perspective.

  • 0-1 yrs: Nothing
  • 1-3 yrs: Minimalist
  • 3-5 yrs:  Fantasy
  • 5-10 yrs: The beginnings of copying
  • 10-15 yrs: Art becomes grown up
  • 15-20 yrs: A need to change the world
  • 20-25yrs: Beginnings of political awareness
  • 25-30 yrs: Maturity
  • 30-40yrs: Hell bent on success
  • 40-45 yrs: Repeating success
  • 45-50 yrs: Trying to keep up with the 25 year olds
  • 50 yrs: Watershed
  • 50-60 yrs: Reinventing yourself
  • 60-75 yrs: Gentle decline into senility
  • 75-85 yrs: Youth regained
  • 85 - 100 yrs: Inhibitions lost. Don't give a damn. Me,me,me

"Universe on a T-Shirt", by Dan Falk. A very readable and entertaining book about the great physicists of the ages and the ultimate search for the theory of everything that is so concise that it could be put on a "T-shirt.

  • "The answer to the Great Question... of Life, the Universe and Everything ... is Forty-Two*

"Genghis Khan and the making of the Modern World" by Jack Weatherford. Offers great insight into the man who subjugated more lands in twenty-five years than the Roman Empire did in four hundred.

  • At the age of almost sixty, after being provoked by a neighboring Sultan, Genghis Khan took part of his army across two thousand miles of steppes, mountains and the feared Red Desert; doing what no one thought could be done. He completely out flanked and surprising his foe, and as you might guess, it did not end well for the Sultan. 

"SWAY - The irresistible pull of irrational behavior" by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman. This is a fascinating book as to why rational people will do irrational things... interesting insight into the human condition.

  • The chapter, Anatomy of an Accident is a stunning account of the contradictory actions of a veteran pilot, and the attempt to understand why he did what he did, which in the end, resulted in the loss of 584 lives.

"The Procrastinator's Handbook - Mastering the Art of Doing it Now" by Rita Emmett. I really should get around to reading this book. (Feel free to roll your eyes)

"The logic of Failure - Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations" by Dietrich Dorner. This is a heavy book to get through, but it does a great job of illustrating the relationship between things and the ripple effect that changes can have.

"American Prometheus - The Triumph and Tragedy of J Robert Oppenheimer" by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin - The complex story of the man, the Manhattan Project and ushering in the Atomic age.

  • Prometheus stole fire and gave it to men. But when Zeus learned of it, he ordered Hephaestus to nail his body to Mount Caucasus. On it Prometheus was nailed and kept bound for many years. Every day an eagle swooped on him and devoured the lobes of his liver, which grew by night.**

"Resilience - Why Things Bounce Back" by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy. This offers an interesting perspective on systems, behaviors and their relationships which allow for resiliency through adverse situations, be it in nature, communities or as individuals. 

  • There is some interesting commentary on "gaming theory" and what you need to win. If you are playing a computer it's a "tit for tat" strategy. But if you are playing a person, it's a "tit, tit for tat" strategy, as people sometimes do things not appreciating what they have done - It's all about the benefit of the doubt when it comes to people it seems.***

This is a great age to satisfy your curiosity as everything is a "click" away on our smartphone, but I think there is a depth that comes from reading a book which feeds awareness a little bit better. No matter how you satisfy your curiosity, the awareness that is born will help with your creative problem solving.

As I flip through these books, I still find an old boarding pass or two that I used as a marker. 


* From the "Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy" and 42 fits easily on a T-shirt.

** By Apollodorus, The Library, book 1:7, second century B.C.

*** Page 160-162. Tit for tat is an English saying meaning "equivalent retaliation". It is also a highly effective strategy in game theory for the iterated prisoner's dilemma. Anatol Rapoport first introduced this strategy in Robert Axelrod's two tournaments, held around 1980. Notably, it was (on both occasions) both the simplest strategy and the most successful in direct competition. (Wikapedia)