patterns of connection

When I read a good book I highlight passages that catch my attention. I copy a few of the highlights into a book-snippet.

This photo is of page 75 of my battered copy of The Secrets of Consulting. The yellow highlights are from the first time I read the book, the pink ones from the second time, the blue ones the fourth time. At the bottom right is one sentence outlined in pen and marked with an eight. That tells me I marked that sentence on my eighth re-read. (I've run out of new colours.)

I find it better to re-read a really good book 10 times rather than read 10 average books once each. It's the really good books that provide new insights each time I re-read them. Marking highlights in this way allows me to go back in time. What topics caught my attention in early readings? What topics in later readings? I can explore the differences. Of course, part of that newness is that I'm a different person each time I re-read. I'm older. A sentence triggers a new thought based an experience I've had since my last read. Also, I remember more of the book each time. For example I can see on my seventh re-read I marked this
The toughest problems don't come in neatly labeled packages. Or they come in packages with the wrong labels.
and I underlined the words labeled and labels because I'd consciously connected them to The Label Law (on page 64).
The name of the thing is not the thing.
Underneath that I can see I've written "The Dread Pirate Roberts". That's a connection to a scene from one of my favourite films, The Princess Bride. Westley is in the fire swamp explaining to Princess Buttercup how he has become the Dread Pirate Roberts...
Westley: I, as you know, am Roberts.
Buttercup: But how is that possible, since he's been marauding twenty years and you only left me five years ago?
Westley: I myself am often surprised at life's little quirks...
Westley: Well, Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. So he took me to his cabin and told me his secret. "I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts," he said. "My name is Ryan. I inherited the ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Pirate Roberts, either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia." Then he explained the name was the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear. You see, no one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westely.
John Gall (who was born in 1925), recently gave a fabulous talk called how to use conscious purpose without wrecking everything. He said:
As the years go by, the brain begins to put the dots together, to make conscious links between one experience and another, between one historical fact and another. A person begins to experience one’s entire life history as an integrated narrative.
This integrating capacity of the human brain is perhaps its most marvelous achievement. And you have to be old—usually fifty or sixty years old—to reach that point where it dawns on your conscious mind that that’s what’s going on. Unless you are already in your coffin, your mind is always a work in progress, an ongoing process of continual growth and greater differentiation, richer and more far-reaching correlations.
He chatted about how much his mind had changed during the first 40 years of his life compared to the most recent 40 years of his life. He said the latter change was far greater.
Isn't that amazing. Fantastic.
I'm looking forward to getting older!
I'm looking forward to seeing more and more patterns of connection.

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