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Travel. You forgot to mention travel. Nothing makes you more interesting than being able to tell people that you visited a place they visited or a place where they once lived. People stuck in the same town just aren't as interesting as travelers. And, don't go to the same place every time. I know a guy that travels every other week to Hawaii. It's boring and no one is interested.

Also, if you like books, read Prometheus Rising. If you do the lessons at the end of the chapter, you will be more interesting. I promise.

Hi Russell, I got to this post totally randomly and found it great, plenty of nice ideas and everything. But imagine my surprise when I saw, above your third point, "Keep a scrapbook" a picture of one of my notebooks (you can see it there : http://www.flickr.com/photos/joachim/33361338/in/set-72057594051307376/ ), it's a great honor to illustrate an interesting article :)

/wakes up.
That was a really... yeah... post.

Really excellent post with good practical suggestions.

I'm a little late to the party on this subject, but allow me to add another idea to your list:


Bull's-eye every time? If so, you're standing too close to the target. If you're not failing every now and again, it's a sign you're not doing anything very innovative. Everyone has a "risk muscle." You keep it in shape by trying new things. If you don't, it atrophies and you're no longer able to take chances.

A good question to ask one's self: How can I exercise my risk muscle today?

Best wishes,

Roger von Oech

The tufte VDQI link is broken :-(

very interesting... ;)

love your tips, mate! keep going! you are very good on this ;)
greetings from brazil

Howabout a bit of science? I think we artsy types can miss out on a whole world of stimulus by neglecting this. I would add to your rules: every week, think about some object or process in the world around you that you don't really understand, and then research it until you understand it a bit better. eg How do seasons happen? How does an egg work? How come newborn babies can swim? Knowing stuff like that can make you fascinating!

Be happy......

take a spontaneous trip--1 day or 1 week--via backroads once a month. it can be to see what's going on 2 towns over or 2 time zones over. and mapping it on a theme or goal invigorates the journey. it's the best way to get an understanding and perspective on the lives of others as well as our own.

example: tripped with a friend from chicago to key west, rumbling down country roads mapped out as to hit towns named after european cities such as london ky and athens ga. absolutely amazing and eye-opening, the backroads exposing us to expanses i thought were only reachable through history books. perspective slapped us hard.

What Joachim said:

/wakes up.
That was a really... yeah... post.

Wonderful post. This is a laudry list of things that I've been trying to do over the years. Only some with success ;)

One thing I haven't done before though is the interview. I really, really like the idea. I work at a university and am surrounded by remarkably interesting people, a few of which I think would enjoy this kind of thing. Thanks for the inspiration.

The word 'interesting' has always bothered me. Can anyone really define interesting without using a root form in the definition? Think of the last time you used the word 'interesting' and look for a better word.

Trust me, there is one.

Hey is that a redhorseshoe scrap book thing? I've used a couple of those on the 700 hobo project.

Make a conscious effort to go places you've never been.

They can be new continents, new countries, new cities, or just that tucked-away little restaurant down the street that you've heard about for ages but never tried.

A few years ago we decided to avoid staying in the same vacation hotels twice - we progressed from there to finding ourselves trekking in Nepal for ten days last year! It was amazing and I highly recommend it.

hey.. I think this is a fantastic post.. here's some of mine:

1.Exploring a city on foot is always fun coz u see things u'd normally miss.

2.Films, defi.. esp if you can get films from all over the world. having said that, youtube rocks!

3. Ask questions.. (not in an annoying way) but don't be afraid if some of them sound stupid. we're all learning, every single day right? And I've found that if you ask nicely, most people are really happy to tell you what they think.

4. Do something that scares you and throws you out of your comfort zone. for me, it was being OK with eating out alone occassionally, just cause I wanted to. Without worrying that people would think I'm strange!

5. Try to learn a new skill every year.... =)

6. Go places where there are enthusiastic gatherings.. concerts, gallery openings... there's so much you pick up by osmosis and talking to passionate people can be so inspiring!!

Clearly you all have a lot of time on you hands. Go get a Job!

"Every month write 50 words about one piece of visual art"

If you are dumb enough to do these things, please forward me the your bank account number, I will certainly make your life very very interesting... no doubt!

I somehow agree with your "rules".
but why is the goal to become interesting?

isn't it to become interested?

and what is the purpose of getting interested then?

i would say the purpose is to do something.
but if you are interested in everything, how do you do something.
how do you select what to dive into.
do you have some "rules" about that?
or we should never dive seriously into anything?

ok , let´s play!

I stumbled upon this site by chance. Certainly offered up a lot of food for thought, I intend on using some of these suggestions. Thanks!

I would add smile a lot... people respond far better to a smiling face. Smiling will definitely help open up conversations with strangers, help with the flirting, and when eavesdropping while reading that book, they will assume that you're reading an "interesting" page. Just a simple little gesture like a warm smile has proven quite interesting. =)

When I was in grad school, a colleague complained about the use of the word "interested" in sentences such as, "I'm very interested in personal ethnography." There was something about it that implied maintaining a cool distance from the object of interest. Instead of being "interested " and "interesting," what if we aspired to be "engaged" and "engaging"? To the extent that your rules involve releasing new things into the world and interacting with people, I believe that, more than interest, you are promoting engagement. - Matt

scare the shit out of yourself once in awhile.

become an expert on something minute but significant and meaningful to you.

play spontaneous rhyming games. seriously - it helps keep you on your toes, and enhances your banter and wordplay skills. Like you're walking with someone, and you just keep talking in sentences where the last word has to rhyme with what they just said.

read childrens books. especially shel silverstein.

play some kind of game (not a video game) once a week. Poker, Scrabble, tennis, frisbee, clue - whatever. just play something.

Fun stuff. (Comments too.)

As far as travel and meeting people, the difference between just seeing & truly knowing comes from LIVING in a place other than your home area. Then you can REALLY get to know something other than your little world.

Don't get cabs to client meetings. Always walk or take public transport. You see much more of "real life" that way and bump into interesting stuff. More importantly you avoid getting into the unreal, self-interested bubble that cab-bound advertising execs can exist in.

Similarly, if you must "do lunch" do it somewhere odd. The Bhs cafe in Oxford Street was always a fave of mine when I worked near there. I once saw Michael Dinner having a "Winners Dinner" there with new owner Philip Green (i have the pictures).

Lovely post, worthy of the spike in readers you've seen.

How about this:

Take a left instead of a right when you're out and about.
I've recently moved house and it's amazing what wonderful things I've seen just by exploring this way.

Or for the parents, this one:
Next holiday, let your child decide what they want to do. Last time we did this we sat down and wrote our top 20 things to do on pieces of paper and then pulled 7 of them out of a bag. We did one a day and had a fantastic holiday.

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