The world is full of diversity and that is what makes the world worth living in, and the life, more interesting. Of course, we see a vast variety of species, monuments, structures and other stuff around us. But what I found even more fascinating is the fact that this diversity is reflected even in the abstract stuff as well.
Majority of us are trained to give more importance to tangible and non-abstract stuff, as it is quantifiable. If you, however, pay an attention to the fact that the abstract stuff opens the horizon as far as you can imagine. So, you can visualize the things which are formed, created or shaped yet. That is what lead to innovations and discoveries that eventually makes the lives better (or worst). Forget the outcome, but it more often than not, changes the way we live our lives.
The thought process of looking beyond what is available (not aimlessly, of course, but with a logical and justifiable intent) is probably called – Visionary Thinking.
Being the only species having the brain and thus having better abilities to analyse, store and evaluate our experiences and knowledge, we humans, know the importance of Visionary Thinking.
And that is the reason why artists, innovators and scientists are respected the most by the intelligent human beings.
But, why am I talking about “Visionary Thinking“?
Well, today we are going to talk about a book with the same name. We got a chance to connect with Mr. Ashish Jaiswal, a respected name in a specific circle for his approach for the education system, a few years ago, in the context of his book “Fluid“. The book is definitely worth reading and here is the quick link to our review for the same.
|Book Title||:||Visionary Thinking|
|Published by||:||Wisdom Tree ( 15 December 2021)|
|# of Pages||:||240 (Paperback)|
So, when we came to know about another book by Mr. Jaiswal, we were more than curious to explore it at the earliest. Fortunately, from our team, I got a chance to read Visionary Thinking and here are my unbiased and uninfluenced thoughts about the same.
By the way, I consider it as one of the most rewarding perk of having a hobby of book reading and being associated with the same, professionally as well. How otherwise could I have got a chance to connect with some fantastic human beings while reading and reviewing books?!
This Is Here In For You
Of course, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But, the cover page is responsible for the first impression of the book. It also helps the book to stand out while put in display along with many other items. Without a doubt, an attractive cover page attracts potential readers towards it.
Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.
As you can see the book cover is simple and elegant. Clear white background gives a rich look to the cover page and it also reflect the “clarity of vision” – the theme of the book.
While the illustration of an eye adds to the details, you can also notice that the eye is vertical – reflecting the ultimate “third-eye” (ज्ञान-चक्षु) of Lord Shiva. If you look at in detail you see various peripheries and how a clear vision can help you look beyond various layers based on the capacities and the limitations of a thinker.
A thoughtful cover page that is moderately attractive and faithful to the book content.
The Book And My Views For The Same:
Talking about this book will be like walking on a tightrope for me. As, I don’t want to include spoilers and there is a long list of points I want to share. Some spoilers are inevitable.
When you talk about visionary thinking in current times, one person you cannot miss mentioning is Elon Musk right?
Spread over in 3 segments and 14 chapters, this book starts with a chapter dedicated to Elon Musk, Bertrand Russel and Universe 25. A lot is known about Elon Musk and his personal and professional life, so if the same would have been mentioned in this book as well, it could have been a letdown. The author, however, keeps himself from doing so. And, that is what I like the most, especially about this segment.
This very segment presents the author’s clear vision about this book and its content. Through the example of “Universe 25” – an artificial world, created with a vision to provide all it needs to live a happy life to its inhabitants, so that they don’t need to spend time and efforts for those basic stuff. What a thoughtful idea? So, the inhabitants must have had a happy life and they enjoyed living, right?
Similar to many visionaries of the world, Russel desires to see all of us happy.
The results say a lot about how our brain and mind are engineered and how we see the life.
According to the author:
We can start by saying that visionary thinking is nothing but the ability of our mind to see the farthest and widest, which only comes when one encompasses wisdom from all dimensions of life – not just the ones which only our mind is normally trained to see.
And, the visionaries come across all casts, creeds and cultures and may belong to any discipline. Here is a short list of various known fellows mentioned in this book (in different context and at different length):
Richie Benaud, Sugar Ray Robinson, Peter Thiel, Walt Disney, Jack Ma, Sean Connery, Agrippa, Sage Agastya, Bruno, Carl Sagan, Jessica Alba, Satyajit Ray, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Edwin Land, Richard Dawkins, Danzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Larry King, and others.
The book talks about one more important thing – happiness in reality. When you see someone having enormous amount of resources or is surrounded by wealthy stuff, you need to believe that the person or the segment of the society is happy – but, remember “All that glitters is not gold”. The author refers a quote by Gloria Liou.
However, Gloria Liou decided to leave Silicon Valley, the only home she had ever known. she reveals how under the glamorous sheen of prosperity in the valley, exists a dark, depressing life.
I found detailed etymology in the book. The way the author explains root of some words reflects how detailed research work has been done by him for this book. For example:
Not many would know that the world “vision” comes from the Sanskrit word, vidya; and its root verb vid, means, “to know” or “to see”. Vidya has deeper meanings and it is difficult to translate it into English while retaining its true essence.
It also tells about how well-read the author is. He also mentions some books you can read to know more about specific person/incident/topic. Like:
- This is Silicon Valley by Gloria Liou.
- The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
- The Plastic Mind by Sharan Begley
One interesting segment in the book is the detailed conversation about “painting” and “sketching” approach towards almost any aspect of life. And the conversation analyses “Why Nokia has lost its place in the cell phone market?” This is something almost all the readers can easily be associated with, as most of us has seen the rise and fall of Nokia. The author says:
It seems painters draw and invisible ring around their ideas, decisions and ventures in their professional life in such a manner that nothing outside the periphery of this ring is visible.
In the same context the author also mentions a fact about Kodak.
Not many would know that Kodak had already made a digital camera way back in 1975,…
About the sketch approach, the author says:
Sketch thinking is being aware in the present about what your circumstances may become in the future. …
When the book says:
The most powerful button on the Apple TV remote seems to be the one with “forward arrow” and “pause” symbols.
You will agree with it immediate. When the author further elaborates about watching Netflix in 1x, 2x, … speed, you understand his perspective behind it, quite well.
The book talks about various theories like “xerox approach” and “jackpot problem”. In author’s words:
In a xerox approach, a person simply copies other people’s actions, decisions and trajectories without subjecting these to any original thinking.
Jackpot problem arises when we suddenly achieve unexpected success in our lives.
And, we have seen it being implemented by many of us in real lives. The author elaborates that success doesn’t come the easy way. There is a detailed segment focused on John Hubble, Edwin Hubble and Hubble Telescope. In the same context, Walt Disney and the history of Mickey Mouse are elaborated in depth. Here, the author refers some harsh incidents form Walt’s life, like:
Walt used to get up at 3:30 in the morning and start distributing newspapers when the skies were still dar. For six years, whether it rained or snowed, Walt Disney delivered newspapers, initially carrying the bundles over his shoulders. Once, in blistering snowfall, a horseshoe nail hidden in the snow, pierced through Disney’s worn-out boots and left him stuck knee deep in snow, for ever twenty minutes.
So, the life brings you challenges, how you deal with them makes you what you truly are.
And, the life doesn’t always get easier after a success. It actually brings you even bigger challenges, as opportunities to achieve even greater success.
Paradoxically, greater success made it even more difficult to break the typecast curse.
This is something, we had seen in movies more often. An artist, once get success with a specific performance, he or the movie making team wants to the same thing to be repeated. The approach is to walk on the proven path, rather than experimenting something. Be it Indian film industry or Hollywood, it is tough to break such stereotypes and re-discovering the self, especially for actors.
If you love to explore philosophical stuff, you will love conversation about Being a yogi and exploration of the concept of Maya.
The book talks about scientific stuff where required. The below given quotes are proof of the same.
A wormhole is a hypothetical tunnel connecting the space-time continuum.
After every ten years, you are born again!
What came to me as a surprise is a detailed segment about The Bridge on the River Kwai: the film that teaches us how to balance the long-term and short-term vision.
I must mention a question and its answer I found in the book, I am sure you will also love to know about it.
Can you guess, which city in the world is known as the city of books?
I like the way, the author has defined “a traveller”.
Travellers are those who are not satisfied seeing their everyday landscape, even though they may be happy and comfortable living there.
It couldn’t have been defined any better!
If I need to quote only a single line from the book, I would settle for the following:
You are not a visionary if you cannot materialise what you can visualize.
The detailed bibliography segment is a repository of resources you may want to explore. I consider it as a positive aspect of the book.
The author is the right person the decide the boundaries for his/her work. However, I feel that if more incidents and lessons from Steve Jobs’ life has been included, the reader would have enjoyed it even more. Since the death of Steve Jobs, Apple hasn’t came up with any path breaking discovery and the title of visionary is rightly claimed by Elon Musk in that context. So, the author’s approach is also understandable. There are people like Arnold Schwarzenegger whom many of readers look ideally. If such fellows are included in the list, the book could have been even better.
Though, the topic – visionary thinking – may sound abstract at a very first glance, it is unavoidable. Of course, you need to pay attention while reading the book and may need to re-read it more than once to absorb the things even more clearly. Such books are not meant for just time-pass reading.
A nice and enriching book that talks about Visionary Thinking. If you love exploring meaningful reads, this book is for you. Consider it as a self-help companion.
Around 8 stars out of 10.
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Over To You:
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