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I’m exploring the idea, right now, of an “emotional operations manual.” That is, a document that is as engaging as a fiction novel but that encodes the complexity of, say, a McDonald’s Franchise Operations Manual (ew, but impressive).
This is kind of like that “business fable” genre. Here are some examples:
- Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
- The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
The books above are intended to be pleasant read, to pack an emotional punch, and to demonstrate new thought patterns and behaviors. At best, they one-shot install new behaviors. At worst, they provide some feel-good inspiration and some really impoverished, leaky abstractions that don’t survive contact with reality. (Actually, the “at worst” is worse, but I’ll leave it at that.)
The books above are… not that great. But it’s not a terrible strategy.
I just want to do something kind of like that, but… better. And, I want to see if I can do it efficiently.
Like, a really good novel (or short story, whatever) and, simultaneously, conveyance of high Kolmogorov complexity information, like a really good textbook. (Actually most textbooks suck and aren’t practical. But that level of technical depth, if not length.)
So let’s say like an evidence-based, 99.999-percentile-quality self-help book that’s a genuinely gripping read that you want to share and talk about for fun.
Because: ethically inspiring and coordinating people.
“Whoa, I want that. Whoa, I think that could actually happen if we all worked together. Whoa, enough other people would actually read and finish this and feel the same way. Hey, read this. Hey, let’s actually do this. Hey, ok, yeah, for reals. [sic]”
Here’s a subset of the tools I’m working with, right now, to explore this idea (minus specific domain knowledge; in no particular order):
- Theory of Instruction
- Sweet Anticipation
- Precious Nonsense
- On the Origin of Objects
- Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning
- Notes on the Synthesis of Form
- Techniques of the Selling Writer
- Scene & Structure
- The Work of Revision
Also, at first this reads as wtf, but there’s actually some deep insight, here: