Cover of book A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life

by: Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman

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29 Highlights | 1 Note
  • With the iPhone, the cup holder, the easy-to-use dishwasher, the engineer has done something simple but often overlooked: he or she has asked questions.
  • Who is going to use this product? What’s going to be happening while they are using it? How is that person different from me?
  • As soon as I realized the power of curiosity to make my work life better, I consciously worked on making curiosity part of my routine. I turned it into a discipline. And then I made it a habit.
  • Curiosity is the tool that sparks creativity. Curiosity is the technique that gets to innovation.
  • What I do, in fact, is keep asking questions until something interesting happens.
  • Using curiosity to disrupt your own point of view is almost always worthwhile, even when it doesn’t work out the way you expect.
  • being tortured, she had to take herself out of the reality of what was being done to her. You slow your brain down, you slow yourself down. People talk about being in “flow,” when they’re writing, when they’re surfing or rock-climbing or running, when they’re lost in doing something completely absorbing.
  • not reality. That may seem obvious, but it’s not at all. When you come home from work and tell your wife or husband “the story” of your day, you reshape those nine hours to highlight the drama, to make your own role the centerpiece, to leave out the boring parts (which may be eight hours of the nine). And you’re telling a real story about your real day.
  • Inspiring curiosity is the first job of a good story.
  • Curiosity is the engine that provides the momentum of good storytelling. But I think there’s an even more powerful connection between them.
  • feel welcome, comfortable, and respected. Etiquette is the set of techniques you use to have great manners.
  • Manners are the way you want to behave, and the way you want to make people feel. Etiquette is the granularization of that desire to treat people with grace and warmth.
  • And in every case, the curiosity is all about the story. What’s the story of your life, and how are you hoping that money or a new house or a new hairstyle will help you shape that story, and help you tell it?
  • If manners are the lubricant that lets us all get along, curiosity is the shot of Tabasco that adds some spice, wakes us up, creates connection, and puts meaning into almost any encounter.
  • I’ve learned to rely on curiosity in two really important ways: first, I use curiosity to fight fear.
  • Curiosity rewards persistence. If you get discouraged when you can’t find the answer to a question immediately, if you give up with the first “no,” then your curiosity isn’t serving you very well.
  • Curiosity can help spark a great idea, and help you refine it.
  • idea forward in the face of skepticism from others.
  • think of myself as impervious to rejection. We’ve been talking about using curiosity when the world says “no.” But just as often, the “no” can come from inside your head, and curiosity can be the cure to that kind of “no” too.
  • Even if you’re “naturally curious”—whatever that phrase means to you—asking questions, absorbing the answers, figuring out in what direction the answers point you, figuring out what other questions you need to ask, that’s all work.
  • The epigram that opens this chapter—“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will”—comes from a book by the Irish poet James Stephens. The quote goes on a little longer and makes a central point: Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will; indeed, it has led many people into dangers which mere physical courage would shudder away from, for hunger and love and curiosity are the great impelling forces of life.
  • to tease apart the kinds of curiosity—we’ve tried to granularize it, to create a taxonomy of thinking about, classifying, and using it. As a tool for discovery, as a kind of secret weapon to understand what other people don’t. As a spark for creativity and inspiration. As a way of motivating yourself. As a tool for independence and self-confidence. As the key to storytelling. As a form of courage.
  • Human connection requires sincerity. It requires compassion. It requires trust. Can you really have sincerity, or compassion, or trust, without curiosity?
  • There are two key elements to a questioning culture. The first is the atmosphere around the question. You can’t ask a question in a tone of voice or with a facial expression that indicates you already know the answer. You can’t ask a question with that impatience that indicates you can’t wait to ask the next question. The point of the question has to be the answer.
  • And you have to listen to the answer. You have to take the answer seriously—as a boss or a colleague or a subordinate. If you don’t take the answers seriously, no one will take the questions seriously.
  • Curiosity is what creates empathy. To care about someone, you have to wonder about them. Curiosity creates interest. It can also create excitement.
  • CURIOSITY EQUIPS US WITH the skills for openhearted, open-minded exploration. That’s the quality of my curiosity conversations.
  • Curiosity requires a certain amount of bravery—the courage to reveal you don’t know something, the courage to ask a question of someone. But curiosity can also give you courage. It requires confidence—just a little bit—but it repays you by building up your confidence.
  • You can’t search for the answer to questions that haven’t been asked yet. And you can’t Google a new idea.
    Note: on the limitations of dependence on technology