3rd March 2002 - Learning to surf

I have spent the past four days on a vacation in Norway with a couple of friends. Having been a skier for more than 20 years, I decided to sell all my skiing equipment a week ago, following I bought a new snowboard. I was committed to learn how to “surf the snow”. It was very exciting for me to start on something completely new, I was totally in the arms of my ski instructor in the beginning, however after only a few hours I was able to “surf”. It was a rewarding feeling conquering a new skill that I can now work with on my next skiing vacations, but there is a lesson here too: The fact that I was so clear on my lack of knowledge gave me an ability to listen to my instructor without any presumptions –almost like being a kid- and it made me learn very fast!

In addition to “surfing”, I am also very happy that I acquired the speed reading skill. During my vacation I read the following three books that are relevant for my next two courses: 

Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity by Jakob Nielsen
This book was great! It is in my opinion a very good guide for anyone who is going to design a website or another program for that matter. Jakob Nielsen covers all the relevant design areas, and supports his recommendations with cases, statistics and examples from usability labs. This book has also inspired me to experiment with a few changes to this site –so stay tuned for the next couple of days. 

Flow: Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Another inspiring one! I have added this book to my recommendation list. This book is basically about the same subject as “The Other 90%” which I also highly recommend. This book is just 10 years older; this means that some of the examples are a little out of the current global context, but surprisingly many are not at all. This book deals solemnly with the “Flow” experience and how to integrate it into everyday life, a very good book!

Mind Over Machine by Hubert Dreyfus
In the company of the other two books, I must say that this book was the least exciting. Since reading “Optimal Experience” I must have come to expect that the issues around intuition were covered more from a flow-perspective, but they were much more referred to an “experience” and “expert use”. However, within these boundaries the book was a nice walkthrough around the problems with emulating “human intelligence” with computers. Noteworthy is that this book was written in 1986, a lot has changed in the computer industry since then, but in my opinion this book still hits many of the fundamental problems with AI right on the head. The only aspect that is not considered at all is the whole concept of the internet…

While awaiting feedback for my review of “Business @ the Speed of Thought”, I am now anxious to move on to my next courses in which these books will be involved.

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Updated 2002-06-13

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The official homepage of Morten Middelfart and CALM. Computer Aided Leadership and Management (CALM) is an inspirational speculation on where mankind may be heading in the quest to leverage computer potentials for helping individuals and organizations to self-actualize their symbiotic potentials.

The time frame for this well-informed and provocative speculation on relatively near-term and more distant potentials is clearly within mankind's grasp. Dr. Middelfart argues persuasively that within the next one or two decades, symbiotic links with "intelligent machines" will surely leverage people's potentials, far beyond all human progress to date!

Altogether, a tour de force of well-informed contemporary insights and maturely reasoned speculation; affording possible stepping stones and a creative springboard for what may lie ahead. As has been said: "Man's reach should exceed his grasp; else what's a heaven for?”


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