On re-reading The End of Eternity

End of Eternity book cover

Isaac Asimov, The End of Eternity. Originally published by Doubleday, 1955. The cover illustration is from the 1959 Panther edition.

NOTE: This book is now so old and well-known that I will not take any care to obfuscate the plot for those who haven’t read it.

I’m always on the hunt for bedside reading material: light and fluffy stuff that won’t suffer for being used to put me to sleep, but that won’t just bore me to distraction.

Unlike years ago, my bedside reading ‘stack’ is now just a tablet with an ebook library. That encouraged me to start duplicating old paperback faithfuls with digital counterparts. A recent spurt of acquiring old science fiction as new ebooks included a swag of Asimov. That guy was a factory!

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Innovation without delusions

Paul Klee: Ancient Sound.
Paul Klee (1879-1940): Ancient Sound, 1925. Klee was a musician whose creativity led him to ‘see’ sound. A kind of thinking often missing from innovation efforts.

If I told you that contemporary ideas about innovation and disruption were driven mostly by ideology, ignorance, and marketing hype, would that seem controversial or extreme?

If my proposition were true, though, would it change the way you think about innovation?

It changed for me. I came to my conclusions over the Christmas-New year break, when my reading list contained an unusually dense stack of essays and articles about innovation. The common features were about undefined buzzwords, and formulaic models that avoided coming to grips with innovation, often missing even of a workable definition.

So let’s start there.

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