- Jul 2022
Harold Jarche looked at his most visited blog postings over the years, and concludes his blog conforms to Sturgeon’s Revelation that 90% of everything is crap. I recognise much of what Harold writes. I suspect this is also what feeds impostor syndrome. You see the very mixed bag of results from your own efforts, and how most of it is ‘crap’. The few ‘hits’ for which you get positive feedback are then either ‘luck’ or should be normal, not sparse. Others of course forget most if not all of your less stellar products and remember mostly the ones that stood out. Only you are in a position to compare what others respond to with your internal perspective.
The cumulative effect of one's perception of Sturgeon's law may be a driving force underlying imposter syndrome.
While one see's the entirety of their own creation process and realizes that only a small fraction of it is truly useful, it's much harder seeing only the finished product of others. The impression one is left with by availability heuristic is that there are thousands of geniuses in the world with excellent, refined products or ideas while one's own contribution is miniscule in comparison.
Contrast this with Matt Ridley's broad perspective in The Rational Optimist which shows the power of cumulative breeding and evolution of ideas. One person can make their own stone hand axe, but no one person can make their own toaster oven or computer mouse alone.
Link to: - lone genius myth (eg. Einstein's special relativity did not spring fully formed from the head of Zeus, there was a long train of work and thought which we don't see the context of)
- Apr 2020
Johnson’s book (lively and well sourced – highly recommended) transcends the cliche of the individual innovator and shows the ways in which innovation depends on a form of social capital — the networks of people and ideas that innovators learn from and build upon.
It's rarely ever about the "lone genius".