I’m currently reading Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson. Of course I’m reading a lot of it in snatches and little bites on the bus and at lunch and a bit before bed, which will make the following a bit ironic, but still it really caught my attention. He has a whole chapter where he talks about the serendipity of ideas coming together from reading deeply and widely on many topics. In fact he says it’s the way that connections between things can actually come about. He talks about a habit of Bill Gates, who stockpiles different things he wants to read and then takes a “reading vacation” to read all of it in one long sitting over the course of a couple of weeks. Intriguing.
By compressing their intake into a matter of days, they give new ideas additional opportunities to network amont themselves, for the simple reason that it’s easier to remember something that you read yesterday than it is to remember something you read six months ago.
-Location 1281 of the Kindle Edition
As I thought about this idea after I got off the bus and was walking the several blocks to work I began to wonder if that isn’t what happens when working with code or projects at work. If there is time to think deeply on something and plan and wonder will it lead to better ideas, better code, better projects? Lately I have felt very rushed and hurried on my projects and it is all about getting things out the door and completed to be able to go on to the next thing. If that is the case, am I writing the best code, is the end product the best it can be? I am not sure, but I long for time to be able to think, to be able to let ideas come together in my head, to find a bit of serendipity.