Monday, April 08, 2013

New Non-Fiction: How To Be Interesting

Some years ago, a colleague turned me onto a blog he thought I'd like: indexed. And he was right, I did like it. In fact, I loved it. (Thanks, Casey!)

At indexed, a Seattle writer named Jessica Hagy diagrams life. She crosses one idea with another mathematically, and the result is a new lens -- a new and often invigorating way to look at the world. I wondered how all this came about, and in a recent interview Hagy was kind enough to share the origins with me. "

“I knew I wanted to make a blog, and I was taking a class with all these chart things. I started labeling things, and I thought, I can do that with a lot of things. So then I drew a bunch of them. It’s the same sentence structure. So I could make sentences out of graphs. I never thought it would go as far as it did.”

And it’s gone pretty far. Now Hagy has produced a book, How To Be Interesting: (In 10 Simple Steps (Workman). Here, she presents little bits of wisdom that she suggests will make you more attractive at work, at parties, on dates and in life.

Using many of her diagrams and very little text (all of it wonderful, though, both charming and compelling), she presents ways to stand out in your life and be someone people want to know.

 The cover alone gives you a sense of what’s inside: a Venn diagram of “places to go” and “things to do” produces infinity. To me, this is a brilliant way to try to make sense of the world. Logically ... mathematically. Her whole way somehow creates insights that may surprise you, as they did me.

I asked Hagy if her brain has started to see the world this way on its own. Has diagramming things become her default lens? “It has defnitely gotten a lot easier to just sort of sit down and dash out ideas,” she said. “But at first it was like, wait. How does this work, and can I use these axes this way? And what is this overlap? And is this more of a pun than a truth? Things like that. Now I can just talk through them because I see the format so easily.”

I’m hoping Hagy keeps going. Her blog is addictive -- and I want more books. Maybe one on personalities? Maybe another on pop culture? Jessica, the world is waiting. Patiently. ◊

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home