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December 08, 2009


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Your strategy point one reminds me of Tyler Cowen's advice about getting the most out of a museum: pretend that it's a gallery and you can buy one (but only one) artwork. Which one would you buy? Why? What about that other one over there-- it's beautiful or interesting or whatever, but is it more to your liking than the current leader? Why?

It's basically designed to focus attention, and like your strategy, it focuses on the good and away from the bad. Sure, the museum may have pieces that don't work for you, but why focus on that? Focus on the ones that do work for you and you'll have more fun and get more out of it.

In some Italian churches there are coin operated machines for lighting selected frescoes. (They help pay for maintenance/preservation, I believe.) On a trip, years ago, I noticed that most people don't light them, but that if you light one yourself people will drift over to see. A few times when I thought a painting I'd already spent a while looking at wasn't getting enough attention, I lit it again and walked away.

I like your suggestions and think this guy would benefit from them, but when it comes to conversations he shouldn't just focus on things that *he* has to say. He should ask his conversational partners open-ended questions that invite them to open up interesting topics.

Ha, I predicted the 3rd question, more or less -- your character is such that I was certain one of the questions would be along the lines of "How would you make it better?"

Which, incidentally, is an aspect of your character that makes you likeable as well as interesting. I think the complainers, if they are sufficiently witty, can be interesting. They just rarely come off as likeable. I might laugh at what they have to say, but I don't think "I want to spend more time with this person."

Nice post. I like your 'does stuff, reflects on it' formula. That is often what makes a good blog too.

I found your blog following a link from the Bodytribe website and have read some of the posts under 'weightlifting' as that's what interests me. But I enjoy your other musings too :)

Holy crap, am I linked from Bodytribe? Or did you just happen to see it under my name. I gotta go look.

Very few people are interesting in and of themselves. Some have interesting accomplishments, to be sure, but it's far from a given that their own thoughts on their accomplishments are particularly entertaining or insightful.

Curiosity about the world would be the primary requirement, because it would naturally engender a certain attentiveness to what's going on around you. Follow that with a taste for narrative where you take shards of observation and overheard talk (why does eavesdropping have such a bad rap?), filling in the gaps with some fanciful caulk, and you're on your way.


It was your name I clicked on in the comments section of an old post - can't remember which one.

What Liz said. I think people perceive others as interesting when those people are intelligently curious and ask good questions in conversation. Open-ended, surprising questions tend to create interesting conversation.

Of course, this is more in theory than actual practice, as I'm not all that out-going myself, and tend to fall back on cleverly sarcastic remarks in social situations.

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