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To find out more about my books and where / how to buy them, go to http://www.hankgreen.com

Ideas are absolutely a kind of magic. There is individual synthesis in how and whether things stick, but inspiration isn't 99% perspiration...that's a weird bad term. Innovation??? DEFINITELY 99% perspiration. But inspiration is, for me, 99% things I already know and 1% something I'm adding.

That's fine! That's not something to be ashamed of or to feel like an imposter because you're not really adding anything. That 1% is MAGIC...it's HUGE...it's EVERYTING.

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Good morning, John.  Book, book, book, book, book, book, book, book, book.  I've spent this week doing basically nothing but talking about my new book, which I have, to be honest, loved, 'cause I spent two years writing it and not being able to talk about it and I've had lots of things to say, and one thing that I keep getting to talk about is ideas.  In part because like, there's a lot of weird surprising things that happen in the book and people are like, where do you get your ideas, but in part because the characters in the book talk about ideas and where ideas come from and how they come to ideas, and this is an idea that I'm fascinated with and have been for a very long time, as someone who kind of has to come up with an idea for a video every week but also as a person, because like, where ideas come from is really important because almost everything is an idea.  

Like, justice is an idea, and an evolving idea.  America is an idea.  Money is an idea.  Borders are ideas.  Political parties and businesses are ideas.  This video doesn't have any spoilers in it, but there are two characters that are having sort of a different take on where ideas come from.  One of them is struggling a lot with feeling like he can't come up with any actually original ideas and all he does is like, grab on to stuff from around him and synthesize it into something slightly new or just his own take on an existing idea, while the other character has like, a system that really works for her and that's take a good robust strong understanding of the problem that you're trying to solve and a carefully selected problem, and second, all of the tools that you have access to and then you just sort of like, put 'em in your brain bucket and shake 'em around and something falls out, and if that doesn't work, then you either have to change what problem you're looking at or the scope of the problem or you have to modify your toolkit, but here is the thing and this isn't talked about in the book: those are actually the same thing.  

That first character, what he's doing is not identifying his core problem, but he's doing the second thing where he's trying to modify his toolkit to see what falls out, and really, his problem is that he's supposed to have interesting stuff to say, like, suddenly, it is his job to have good and interesting takes.  

I had an interviewer ask me yesterday if I thought that there were actually ever any new ideas or if we're in this like, weird sad world where everything is just a slight tweak to something else, and I was like, ye--yes, but.  There are new ideas.  Every new idea, though, is contingent upon all of the old ideas.

There's a saying, I think that Newton said it, "If I thought of anything original, it was because I was standing on the shoulders of giants."  Something like that.  I'm paraphrasing.  I shouldn't paraphrase.  I should look it up. 

Turns out it's older than Newton, but Newton did have his own take on it.  His own tweak to the--this is great.  "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants," but here's the thing, while that is very complimentary, we are not standing on the shoulders of giants, we are standing on the shoulders of each other, of normal sized people.  

Both of these books talk a lot about music and that is not an accident, because music for me is the best example and the clearest example of how every creation is a collaboration with the past.  Ideas are deeply dependent on our toolkits and our toolkits didn't come from nowhere and that's everything from how we imagine the world, the stories we tell about ourselves and our society and also the things that we actually know about the universe and the skills and talents that we've taken the time to develop and so when people ask me where ideas come from, it's from there.  It's from building on the work of billions of other people over hundreds of thousands of years, and I cannot imagine thinking that that makes this less amazing.  It only makes it more amazing to me.

John, I'll see you on Tuesday.