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Strange things happen to Me! One of the strangest was having a seminal book of the computer revolution being written with opening and closing quotes from a book of mine—Tao and War. Their book: The Fifth Generation: Artificial intelligence and Japan’s computer challenge to the world by Edward A. Feigenbaum and Pamela McCorduck. On page 9

“a quote from it opens a U.S. Army field manual of the 1980s that marks the first significant change in army field tactics since the U.S. Civil War. Knowledge, says Sun Tzu, is power and permits the wise sovereign and the benevolent general to attack without risk, conquer without bloodshed, and accomplish deeds surpassing all others.”
“The New York Stock Exchange recently published its own treatise which says, less poetically, the same thing: …”.”

That is a quote within a quote but to me the strangest part was that the quote wasn’t really from Sun Tzu. The quoted part was actually my comment on what Sun Tzu was saying. It was a natural fill to what was being said but I was the one who said it. You must realize that I am nobody! Absolutely nobody special, that is, and with absolutely no inside connections anywhere. All of the things I wrote about or reported on with inside information were absolutely public things available to anyone who attended to them.

Moving on, the the recent past concerning public things freely available for study and comment. I have been going to public events lately which are free of charge. I don’t think I have attended a paid event, even a movie, since I began blogging almost two years ago. However, I have gone out of my way, just a bit, to talk with some really famous people but you could have done so as easily as I did if you went to the free events. Sometimes, they even gave the attendies free stuff. Here are some I blogged about:

Craig Mundie of Microsoft spoke of the future.

The really cool people – Andrew Hargadon, Jean Paul Jacob, Julien Decot

Who is important now who will be significant in 500 years?

SanDisk founder Sanjay Mehrotra speaks at Berkeley.

Founding a Billion Dollar Company by James Truchard.

Michael Marks – The chairman of Flextronics and much much more.

Review – Your Inner Fish – by Neil Shubin.

LIE TO ME, Paul Ekman.

These are some of the people whom I met and talked with briefly last year. There are many more! You could have done it as easily as I did and I encourage you to do so. Talking to a person who has been super successful makes it clear that it is possible to do and that if these people can do it so can you. Perhaps, even me. Perhaps, even better. So give it your best shot.

One suggestion. After a lecture but before you talk to someone important think for a minute about what you want to say. Make it a question which would be interesting to them—something they touched upon but didn’t amplyfy on very much and which you believe you have some special information upon. They will probably enjoy answering a good suggestion or question. Your biggest benefit probably won’t be so much the answer they give you as is your inner learning experience. That you can talk to important people about important things and they will listen to what you have to say gives you a type of confidence you just can’t get any other way than by personal experience.