Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New reading for the new year

I discovered a great blog this morning called Brain Pickings. Only a few posts in but I've already learned a lot from it about knowledge, creativity and work. One anecdote from a post on Combinatorial Creativity:
Picasso is sitting in the park, sketching. A woman walks by, recognizes him, runs up to him and pleads with him to draw her portrait. He’s in a good mood, so he agrees and starts sketching. A few minutes later, he hands her the portrait. The lady is ecstatic, she gushes about how wonderfully it captures the very essence of her character, what beautiful, beautiful work it is, and asks how much she owes him. “$5,000, madam,” says Picasso. The lady is taken aback, outraged, and asks how that’s even possible given it only took him 5 minutes. Picasso looks up and, without missing a beat, says: “No, madam, it took me my whole life.”
I have never thought about work and value in that way before. You're not paying $5,000 for 5 minutes of Picasso's work, rather you're paying $5,000 for the cumulative wisdom of his lifetime.

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