Category Archives: Books

Scarcity

I had the recent pleasure of reading Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much—what a fascinating book! I never realized what having a scarcity mentality really means. In the past, I had heard this applied to my thinking and just figured that I was being negative. I now understand that the true meaning and impact of scarcity is much, much deeper than just merely being negative. In fact, it has very consequential and sometimes, deadly repercussions!

We all have experienced scarcity at some point in our lives and probably experience every day, whether scarcity of money, time, food or even love. What most people don’t realize is that the thoughts and emotions around scarcity are often not conscious, but subconscious. And when things move into the subconscious, our reactions are not in our control. We automatically shift into a “tunneling” mode and all other considerations become secondary or tertiary. When we are hungry, truly hungry — as in not sure where our next meal comes from — it is almost impossible to focus on matters beyond the moment, like paying rent or enrolling your child in school. You’re hungry and feeding yourself is job one.

Let’s take a less extreme example, one involving time scarcity, something most people can relate to. You have an assignment which is due in three weeks, allowing you plenty of time to accomplish it. You delay until the deadline looms near, say 2 days away, and now you are focused, very focused, on finishing the project. You forget about lunch plans you made with a friend. End of the world? No, just annoying. In fact, your focus was probably a good thing as it helped you do a better job on the project. But let’s say you’re short on money for rent. You are trying to do your day job and your mind keeps slipping back to the unpaid rent. As much as you try, it’s impossible for you to really focus on your work. Your boss thinks you’re distracted and not paying attention. You have no control over this. Moreover, your bandwidth to take on new problems in greatly diminished, so much so that your IQ has dropped significantly. These are some of the effects of scarcity and they have nothing to do with negative thinking!

I’m not going to spoil the read by listing solutions to the scarcity problems, as there are many. However, I will mention one other fascinating tidbit: Abundance, the opposite of scarcity, leads to its own problems and ultimately, it is the precursor to scarcity—go figure! Read the book, it’s enlightening.

A testimonial for “Marketing Interior Design”

Dear Lloyd,

It was my great pleasure meeting you yesterday, and I was inspired by your speech!  As I said, I bought your book a couple of months ago at Kinokuniya, a Japanese book store on 6th & 41st Street.  A stack of books were nicely displayed at the art section and I liked the cover (you are right…the first impression is important!)  The book has been my textbook with a full of hands-on advice including the idea of design fees…..it is a fun process to develop my business plans while reading and learning from you like conducting dialogue…..thank you for writing the book!  Since yesterday I became a big fan of you!

 

Sincerely,

 

Akiko Uryu

Interior Design, New York City

www.akikouryu.com

 

The Black Swan

I’m reading a wonderful book “The Black Swan” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb which details how the world is ruled by the highly improbable and our human need to try to make obvious and explainable, that which is not. It’s a fascinating and humorous study of our cultures, our need to understand, and need to try  and control the environments around us. It also sheds light on the people who try and predict that which will influence our lives, economies, and just about anything we can imagine.

 

Get the book and enjoy it! it might help let go of the inner control-freak and help you just dive in and take risks knowing that your chances of success are probably not that far from those of failure.

ideas

I recently read the book “They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine” by Harold Evans, Gail Buckland, and David Lefer.  I am truly amazed at how much of our society has been created by so few people. Everything that we use today from electricity, communication equipment, oil, farm equipment, brassiere’s for women, guns, medication, you name, was imagined and made profitable by one or a handful of people.

What’s significant about this is not the initial ideas themselves (because frequently, many people have conceptualized a breakthrough), but the creation of the idea into a workable and profitable concept. In many cases, a market had to be created for the invention to even exist. Take electricity for example: the idea of electricity was terrific, many experiments happening with it around the world. However, there were no stations to convert electricity in a form that would transmit over long distances, no boxes to receive and convert them into usable energy at a home/office, no switches to flip to turn-on the light bulbs that required the electricity to glow. EVERYTHING had to be created and the market and distribution systems needed to be created as well.

The amount of sheer will, determination, investment, persistence, and hard work, often in the face of relentless, negative public perception, personal loss and deprivation, and utter despair, makes the accomplishments of the men and women in the book simply staggering! I stand humbled and in awe of the many that have come before us in this amazing world we live in.

With respect to our own design industry, I am constantly amazed by clever creations that designers and architects imagine and attempt to bring to market. It takes courage to design and sell an idea, especially to people who lack the ability to see something in the conceptualization stage, but who require the physical object. So, hats off to the creators, marketers and sellers of ideas!