Book Review : The Unknown Unknown
I greatly enjoyed this little booklet by Mark Forsyth. As well as being a good message, I loved his sense of humour.
Forsyth brings out an important point about the internet and modern technology in general. We often extol the benefits of the internet but don’t consider the losses or the restrictions. One of the things we have lost is the ability to find things we weren’t looking for. I noticed this myself when I decided some years ago to buy an e-book, to see if I liked reading books this way. I wrote about my experience here. I went to an online store and immediately confronted a problem. The site expected me to type something into the search, but I didn’t know what I was looking for. Even the browse feature wasn’t the same as wondering around a bookshop and waiting for something to catch my attention. I have discovered many new-to-me authors in this way and been greatly blessed by their books, which I never would have found if I hadn’t stumbled across them.
Another area Forsyth mentions is romance. Online dating gives us the opportunity to eliminate all undesirable characteristics from potential suitors. Is this really what we want? All good romances have conflict and it’s in the process of working through the conflict that love blossoms. By excluding all potential problems, we could be removing someone that would be ideal for us.
The internet and machines in general can only churn out what we put in. They remove the serendipity moments. Those moments when we find something that we didn’t know we were looking for.
A great read.