Sure, why not?

29 May, 2010

Ax lent me his copy of Yes Man, and it’s awesome. The concept is simple: Danny Wallace decides to say ‘yes’ to everything for a year, be it a spam email or an invitation to Singapore. It’s a much gentler ride than The Dice Man, a similar what-happens-if-I-do-this concept that gets a namecheck early on in the book. The deliberate naivety is occasionally grating, but often laugh-out-loud funny and quietly inspiring.

I can’t decide (and have not been able to find out) how much, if any, of the story is true. It’s kind of plausible (especially given Wallace’s previous projects and the company he keeps).

There are three ways to look at this kind of thing.

One angle is that it’s an exercise in giving up control, being able to say ‘The Project made me do it’ and not having to make decisions for a bit. I am not sure that that is healthy.

The second is that it’s not giving up control but shifting the control up a level: I decide to do this, and to go through with it even though I could just decide to stop. This is how most worthwhile things actually get done, after all. It’s an everyday, I’ve-started-so-I’ll-finish attitude taken to an extreme.

The third, and the one that appeals the most, is that it’s an experiment, internal as well as external. Does the world really work the way I think it does? Will I react to this new situation the way I expect (or find it unexpectedly fun/terrible/tasty/dangerous/impractical)? You can only find out by testing a few edge cases 🙂


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