Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

Independent Thinking

A few months ago now, I managed to read Ian Gilbert’s (@ThatIanGilbert) ‘Independent Thinking’ on the train- on my iPad- on my Kindle app. Fiction has not made it’s way over to my Kindle yet- I just can’t bear not to have pages and smell and another completely indescribable quality.

The start of the book contains 42 ways of using the book. I think the first one: ‘To make you think’ is the most accurate for describing my experience. What follows are the bits from the book that I loved:



‘Don’t assume if they’re not speaking out, they’re not thinking hard.’ I wish my teachers had realised this about me.

One of my new favourite phrases in class will be- ‘I disagree with you, persuade me.‘ I love the possibilities of response that kind of thing could provoke…

I think I’ll need this one imprinted on the insides of my eyelids in the coming year:

‘You can until you can’t. And then you still can. Don’t let anyone put artificial limits on what you are capable of achieving. Including yourself. Often what seems like a wall is just a door. And even if it is a wall, treat it like a door anyway.’

As I enter my new role at work, I found the thoughts on leadership particularly interesting:

‘There are only two secrets to good leadership. One is to encourage special people to be themselves in the opportunities you give them. The other is attracting special people. The secret of good management, it should be noted, is retaining special people.’

I love his career advice for young people:

‘You can divide the world into five groups:

  1. Those that create the system.
  2. Those that work the system.
  3. Those that serve the system.
  4. Those that break the system. 
  5. Those that change the system. 

You just have to work out where you want to be.’

There is a wonderful list of ‘ways of knowing you have spent too long on Twitter,’ My favourite of which is, ‘You experience something mildly interesting and stop experiencing it in order to Tweet about it.’



‘Can the worst thing that has ever happened to you also be the best?’ I love considering the very fine lines between things that are supposed to be opposites.

Is anger a better force for good than happiness?

Can you be a head teacher if you’ve never been a teacher and can you be a good head teacher if you’ve never been a good teacher?’



I totally loved these parts. So many of them made me think. Which I guess, is their purpose!

‘The scars of the fight I never had are the ones I can’t get rid of.’

‘Creativity starts with ‘If only…’ Mediocrity ends with it.

‘Life is a rollercoaster – you spend ages waiting for your turn, you spend most of the time either screaming or feeling sick and at the end of it your legs are shaky and you vow to never put yourself through such an ordeal ever again.’

‘Some people in an organisation are like conifers in that they give an impression of structure but drain far more from their surroundings than they put back in.’

‘I will also lose faith in you if you take more than you give.’

‘By striving to be yourself, and only yourself, you make the world and everyone it all the richer for it.’

Independent Thinking Gilbert, I (2013) Independent Thinking [Kindle version] Available at:

Read this! Now! I think I’ll be getting a hard copy because it’s one of those that I can use to inspire me when I need it the most.

The final thought:

‘Never move from. Always move towards. Life is like a dog. If it sees you running away it hunts you down. The only time you should move back is to take a better run up as you move forward.’

All images for this post were found after watching this video on using Google for finding copyright-free images.

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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