Richard Saul Wurman calls himself an "information architect," one who organizes information into clear patterns. He has been on a phenomenal creative ride for years after creating and self-publishing the Access Guides to cities along with a new United States atlas. In 1984, he created the TED Conference bringing together America's finest thinkers in the fields of technology, entertainment, and design. Then Wurman hit the jackpot with Information Anxiety, a 1989 bestseller which put on display his out-of-the-box ideas about information, understanding, design, and culture.
Information Anxiety 2 is a continuation of this intellectual adventurer's exploration of the challenges of the present era with its overload of information and its endless diversions. This nonlinear work, which opens with a 22-page table of contents, aims to pass on a treasure trove of insights into the data deluge and the information glut that have taken over our lives. A second message is clear and simple: "Access means the liberty to take advantage of resources."
Put on your thinking cap and ramble through Wurman's thought-provoking interpretations of our world and work. Check out his analysis of the landmines of the understanding field; the predominance of design in the digital age; what the tech industry can learn from Oprah; attracting attention in a sea of information; finding the right questions; creating good and helpful instructions; the ideal curriculum in seeing, hearing and expressing; the art of learning and making connections; and designing your life.
We were most intrigued by Wurman's take on the art of conversation and its importance. Here are some quotes that he uses to seed our thoughts about this art:
• "The best of life is conversation, and the greatest success is confidence, or perfect understanding between sincere people." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
• "Education begins a gentleman. Conversation completes him." (Thomas Fuller)
• "Natural human conversation is the true language of commerce." (Christopher Locke)
• "The best kind of conversation is that which may be called thinking aloud." (William Hazlitt)
• "We do not talk — we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines, and digests." (Henry Miller)
• "There is nothing else we can do better when we do conversation well. There is no other communication device that provides such subtle and instantaneous feedback, nor permits such a range of evaluation and correctability." (Richard Saul Wurman)