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Be Productively Curious. Ian Leslie, author of “Curious: The Desire to Know, and Why Your Future Depends On It” – Love Your Work, Episode 95
Ian Leslie (@mrianleslie) is author of Curious: The Desire to Know, and Why Your Future Depends On It.
If you’ve ever had a lot of free time, you know how scary it can be. The very first day that I was on my own, more than ten years ago, I woke up to just vastness. I had a whole day ahead of me that I needed to fill up with something. I figured I’d have the best shot of making it if I just followed my curiosity.
I figured if I started with curiosity, I could keep myself from getting off track and wasting time. I also figured I would end up somewhere special, and most importantly, I’d be doing something I loved.
So I followed my curiosity and I ended up combining my interests in design, in programming, and in entrepreneurship. That became my first book, Design for Hackers.
Following your curiosity can be really powerful, but how do you deal with having disparate curiosities? How do you make sure you’re being productively curious?
Ian wrote the book on being productively curious. In Curious, Ian Leslie explains what curiosity is, why it’s important, and why there’s a growing curiosity divide: Some people are getting curious, while others are getting less curious. The more curious will be at a distinct advantage as the world gets more complex, and traditional work gets more scarce.
In this conversation, we’ll talk about:
- What’s the difference between diversive curiosity and epistemic curiosity? One can get us off track, while the other can really pay off.
- If you have lots of varied interests, how do manage your curiosity? You want curiosity to pay off, but you don’t want to be merely distracting yourself from being productive.
- A popular opinion these days is that you shouldn’t bother memorizing anything, because you can look it up. Ian explains why he disagrees with this. Learn why a well-stocked mind is your best tool for breakthrough insights.
I talked to Ian for more than an hour, but that’s more than we were able to put in the show today. We pay by the minute for editing the podcast, so we edited the conversation down to the most critical elements about being productively curious.
But, if you are a Love Your Work Elite member, be sure to listen to the full, uncut interview for some bonus listening.
There are some GEMS in there. In particular, towards the end, I asked Ian how he thinks about writing book proposals. I’ve struggled myself with writing book proposals. It seems like you have to write the whole book, before you can write the proposal, before you can get the book deal to write the book for real.
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