Friday, January 9, 2009

Following the crowd, laterally

We’ve all done this. You arrive at the publishing house to see editor x. Reception gives you the signing-in sheet for your badge. You fill in the easy stuff: your name (you can usually manage that), the name of your company, who you are seeing. Then comes that tricky one – the date. It’s particularly bad at this time of the year, when we’re all still writing ’08 on cheques. What makes it worse is that you are standing up, away from you desk, so you don’t have access to a mouse you can slide to the bottom corner of the screen for that little handy pop-up date…..

So, what do you do? You do what everyone does. You see what people above you have put and simply copy it. Today, 9 January, at Random House in London, I noticed that the author Edward de Bono – yes, he of ‘lateral thinking’ fame – had put 10/1 a few people earlier than me, and everybody had simply followed suit. Call me sad, but this amused me no end.

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