Catching the Big Fish – David Lynch

Catching the Big Fish is such a great book. It consists of small stories about ideas, meditation, creativity, film making and other things in David Lynch‘s film making life. The tone is wonderfully light. Condensed advice for the living. It is a massive source for inspirational quotes, and I just thumbed through to get to these.

Catching The Big Fish

Sometimes restrictions get the mind going. If you’ve tons and tons of money, you may relax and figure you can throw money at any problem that comes along. You don’t have to think so hard. But if you have limitations, sometimes, you com up with very creative, inexpensive ideas.

Little fish swim on the surface, but the big ones swim down below. If you can expand the container you’re fishing in – your consciousness – you can catch bigger fish.

It would be great if the entire film came all at once. But it comes, for me, in fragments. The first fragment is like the Rosetta stone. It’s the piece of the puzzle that indicates the rest. It’s the hopeful puzzle piece.

In Blue Velvet, it was red lips, green lawn, and the song – Bobby Vinton’s version of “Blue Velvet”. The next thing was an ear lying in a field. And that was it.

The Ear in Blue Velvet
David Lynch

I can’t finish On Photography by Susan Sontag

I tried reading On Photography by Susan Sontag. The book was recommended to me as a must-read for photographers. I will not doubt it is a classic analysis photography, but my mind seems incapable of absorbing the sentences.

On Photography

The book analyses why people make photographs, what it means, how it relates to other art forms, how people pursue photography. And more, like an article about Diane Arbus’ work.

I find the theoretical analysis quite problematic, being a photographer myself. While taking pictures I do not want to (nor can I) philosophize about the picture-taking itself. I don’t want to know. I want to think as little as possible about the process, but focus on the act, on the picture. Of course I have a frame of reference. But it’s somewhere back in my head, in the unconscious probably.

Susan Sontag portrait
Susan Sontag

I put the book away about halfway through. I feel defeated.

Diane Arbus photographer in action portrait
Diane Arbus
Diane Arbus - Female Impersonators Backstage, 1962
Diane Arbus – Female Impersonators Backstage, 1962

Wandeling door de sneeuw met gescheurde laarzen

In mijn jeugd was sneeuw in de winter niet zo ongewoon. Deze winter nadert een week van sneeuw en vorst, en dat leidt tot nogal hysterische voorzorgsmaatregelen. Treinen en bussen rijden niet meer. Mensen slaan voorraden in. De regering waarschuwt ons met een code rood alarm.

Voor veel andere plaatsen, zoals Scandinavische landen, Rusland, staten in Noord-Amerika en Canada, zou de sneeuw die wij krijgen een babywinter zijn. Als zij op zo’n klein beetje sneeuw zouden reageren als wij, zouden hun plaatsen het grootste deel van het jaar onbewoonbaar zijn.

Ik haalde mijn oude sneeuwlaarzen uit de kast en ging een (foto)wandeling maken. Halverwege de wandeling merkte ik dat mijn laarzen begonnen te lekken. Een beetje onderzoek leerde me dat dat niet zo vreemd was. De rubberen zool van mijn laarzen moet in de loop der jaren in de kast helemaal zijn uitgedroogd. Grote scheuren in de onderkant van de ene laars, een groot gat in de andere.

On how write a good short story by Kurt Vonnegut


  • Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  • Give the reading at least one character he or she can root for. Every character should want something even if it is only a glass of water.
  • Every sentence must do one of two things reveal character or advance the action Start as close to the end as possible.
  • Be a sadist no matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  • Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world so to speak your story will get pneumonia.
  • Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on where and why that they could finish the story themselves should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
10 Perfect Kurt Vonnegut Quotes on Creativity & Life

The Universe is Wonky – The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch

Richard Koch’s The 80/20 Principle is about much more than just the 80/20 principle.

The first part of the book applies the 80/20 principle to business. 20% of a business’ activities brings in 80% of its profits. 20% of the customers are responsible for 80% of the profits. The trick is to find which 20% this is. Koch provides the guidelines.

The 80/20 Principle

The second part of the book is where the fun is. Here Koch applies the 80/20 principle to your personal life. He approaches this from various angles. Koch describes self-help topics in an excellent concise manner. He limits himself to the bare description of advice. Where many self-help authors often stretch single topics to a full book, Koch keeps it short and to the point. Very elegantly and entertainingly.

Our lives can be improved applying the 80/20 principle. We can be happier and more effective.

The majority of input in our lives have little impact on our outputs, or a small minority of inputs have a dominant effect on our output.

Seek excellence in a few things, rather than being average in many things. Delegate everything that you are not good at or do not want to do. Target a limited set of goals.

Simple is beautiful.

In decision making:

  • Not many decisions are important.
  • Many important decisions are made by default (nothing else is possible realistically).
  • Gather 80% of data in 20% of the time.
  • Make a 100% decision.
  • Change you mind early.
  • If it works, double the bets.

80/20 thinking: think skewness, expect the unexpected, everything. Look for the invisible 20%, focus on the 20% activities, ignore the 80% activities.

80/20 is unconventional, hedonistic, non-linear.

Combine extreme ambition with a relaxed manner.

20% of your activities give you 80% of your happiness. Seek these activities, expand them.

Take objectives seriously.

20% of activities lead to 80% of achievements. Focus on these (a la The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss).

Hard work leads to low returns.

Do the things you like doing.

Be extreme.

How far could you deviate from the norm without being thrown out of your world?

Prioritize things that can advance your life, things you have always wanted to do, invest in innovative things that can slash wasted time, things that can’t be done, according to others.

Be radical. Screw time leaking activities.

Do things you are much better at than others – and that you like.

Friends: 20% of friends give 80% of joy.

Specialize in a very small niche, one you enjoy.

Manage money 80/20. But stock when people are pessimistic, sell where there is general optimism.

Trust your subconscious. Set goals, let these sink in your subconscious and your subconscious will be put to work to achieve these goals.

Networks and platforms are 80/20 or 90/10 forces.

Work in networks, work in small size, high growth teams.

Find the 80/20 idea.