Shortcut: How Analogies Reveal Connections, Spark Innovation, and Sell Our Greatest Ideas

“The word analogy traces its linguistic roots to the Greek analogia, a mathematical term meaning proportion, or equality of ratios.”
“In short, when presented with the words flying pig, the actual image we construct in our mind’s eye depends on an infinitely rich array of inputs and experiences that vary from person to person.”
“First, one can only describe or explain something new in an effective way by using concepts with which an audience is already somewhat familiar.”
“Use the familiar to explain something less familiar. Highlight similarities and obscure differences. Identify useful abstractions Tell a coherent story. Resonate emotionally.”
“Rather, breakthroughs are the rambunctious progeny of many other ideas, jostling one another in a crowded intellectual environment, where greater diversity, accumulating insights, and chance encounters expand the range of possible combinations. And it is only by making analogies that we connect ideas from one realm to another in a way that is relevant or useful, revealing the adjacent possible.”
“Be persistent. In working out an invention, the most important quality is persistence,” Edison said. “Nearly every man who develops a new idea works it up to a point where it looks impossible, and then he gets discouraged. That’s not the place to get discouraged, that’s the place to get interested.”
“Put another way, we can only conceive, understand, or explain something new in terms of what we already know.”
“In an extreme view, the world can be seen only as connections, nothing else,’ Berners-Lee wrote, adding that, “a piece of information is really defined only by what it’s related to, and how it’s related.” For example, while dictionaries define the meaning of words, each definition is itself composed of still more words. As such, every word’s definition depends on other, related definitions for its meaning. “Tree structures is everything,” he wrote.”
“Conceptually, the human brain functions in a similar way. “There are billions of neurons in our brains, but what are neurons? Just cells,” Berners-Lee wrote. “The brain has no knowledge until connections are made between neurons. ALl that we know, all that we are, comes from the way our neurons are connected.”
“The web is also accelerating the pace of innovation, as it offers people hyperlinked shortcuts to related information and others interested in those same ideas.”
“Innovators are those who spot useful analogies before others do and figure out how to put them to work.”
“Emotions, once triggered, are like a genie released from a bottle - hard to recapture and cork.”
“The condor won. The condor took the least amount of energy to get from here to there,” Jobs told the audience. “And man didn’t do so well; he came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. But fortunately, someone at Scientific American was insightful enough to test man with a bicycle. And man with a bicycle won - twice as good as the condor. All the way off the list. And what it showed was that man as a toolmaker has the ability to make a tool to amplify an inherent ability he has. And that’s exactly what we are doing here at Apple. It’s exactly what we are doing here.”
“As Jobs described it, Apple was building a “bicycle for the mind” - a tool that could take people’s minds anywhere they could possibly imagine and multiply its power.”
“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards,” Jobs reiterated. “So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
“The urge to model is nothing new. Albert Einstein once noted that poets, painters, philosophers, and theoretical physicists all pursue a similar human impulse: to express what they see in nature and create “a simple and synoptic image of the surrounding world…”
“Because models are analogies, and analogies are models; some are expressed as mathematical equations, some are visual in nature, such as maps and diagrams, and some take verbal form.”