I remember laughing out loud to this joke. Although it was more than forty years ago, it’s as if it were yesterday. I remember the place and person who first told it to me. And although I do not laugh out loud at it anymore, it still makes me smile.

Recently I have been spending my evenings, not watching TV, or on social media but sitting in front of the fire reading Yuval Noah Harari’s excellent book ‘Sapiens’.  And although the writing at times is a bit loose (perhaps the translation) and one feels he jumps too far in his conclusions, it certainly is an extremely interesting read.  Harari allows us to witness Homo Sapiens development story from more of a human psychology perspective than that of the usual Darwinian based evolutionary angle.

In-between the pages, the odd ‘ping’ is heard from my smartphone (not so smart, I suppose, not to know that I am busy reading – or perhaps it is and is programmed to interrupt to entice me to advert driven editorial)? Whatever, when I do interrupt my reading to look at the social media groups that I am a member of – so much of the content is amplifying nostalgic emotions. There’s money to be made in nostalgia.  Just this week Western Electric announced the opening of a new factory to start making again their classic 300B vacuum tube – now urgently sought after by aging HiFi freaks as being one of the source components of the holy grail of sound.

There is no doubt that the 300B vacuum tube, in good architecture can produce a wonderful sound, but who could imagine that something invented for telephony in 1938, that it is extremely inefficient and vulnerable to damage, un-ecological etc. etc. (not to mention very expensive) could be going back into full production eighty years after it was first invented? This begs me to re-think the fundamentals of business strategy, i.e. not looking forwards but backwards.  Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ is a world best seller, not because it tells how things will be but how things once were. However, I have no doubt that within his book, and others like it, lies the imaginings needed for solving many of today’s problems.

Next book on the list is: ‘The first 34,000 years’ by Karin Bojs!

Have a good week,

Harley