We live in a world where virtually every business is an “ideas” business. Executives and entrepreneurs are desperate for insights that allow them to amaze customers, reimagine products, and otherwise separate themselves from the crowd. But it’s hard to see new things if you don’t know how to pay attention, how to cut through the endless meetings, messages, and emails, how to really listen to and begin to decode what’s happening in the world that truly matters to your organization.

Rob Walker, a veteran columnist and design teacher with an eye for the creative side of life, has just published a delightfully instructive book called The Art of Noticing, meant to help people see the world differently. The most creative among us, he says, “notice what everybody else overlooks,” which is why he challenges his students to “practice paying attention.” He wants them to reflect on “what they notice, what they miss, why it matters, and how to become better, deeper, and more original observers of the world.”

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