Diamond listening

I do love the ‘Best Bits’ episodes of The Extraordinary Business Book Club podcasts (Episode 60 went live yesterday). They take a long time to put together, but I don’t resent a moment of it: I get the chance to take a wide-angle view over the last 9 episodes, finding the parallels, the points of difference, the common themes, the bits I’d overlooked first time round. 

Heraclitus apparently made the point that it’s impossible for a man to step into the same river twice, ‘For it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.’ It’s the same with books, of course: there are several I’ve read many times (Michael Neill’s The Inside-Out Revolution is a good example, Middlemarch is another) and each time I see something for the very first time. And so it is, it turns out, with podcasts. There are things I barely register in the conversation itself, perhaps because I’m following a different train of thought, other things I might read when I’m checking the transcription but which don’t strike me as particularly relevant or insightful, and then I come back a couple of weeks later to compile the Best Bits and – boom. How could I have missed that? 

It was always there, of course, it’s just that my filter (as Mark Levy would put it) has changed. It’s worth remembering as a writer. You bring your A-game, you hone your insights into beautifully crafted sentences. And one reader will barely notice them while another is knocked off their perch. On a different day, different result. The writing is only one half of the story – the reader completes the book. Just as the listener completes the podcast. 

Content is magical like that.