Mixed Media: (Book) A Spy’s Guide To Thinking

A Spy’s Guide to Thinking is going here and not my Fiction Analysis series because it’s impact outweighed what literary merit it might have. The claimed 45 minute reading time drew me in (it took me an hour total). I wasn’t upset in my decision to seek brevity either; the book, having assistance from brief sentences, communicated well. By why had it inspired me? Why has it changed how I will pursue writing? Why has it made me acutely cognizant of the flaws of my own thinking?

A Spy’s Guide to thinking enlightened me on the true purpose of thought. Thought is an activity in which I recklessly engage. I become muddled by my own exasperating, non-linear thoughts. All that effort to accomplish nothing. All I do is think until I’ve expended my energy. Thought should serve a purpose. As John Braddock put it, “Thinking, in its simplest form, looks like this: Data → Analysis → Decision → Action. Notice the end: action. If thinking doesn’t end with action, it’s useless. Taking action is why we think. If you’re thinking just to think, that’s useless, too.

I’ve spent much of my life thinking, I never considered its purpose as a conscious action. It was something I took for granted. My thought processes failed me in this Data → Analysis → Decision →Action (DADA) loop, perhaps better put, I have failed my thoughts by inaction.

Going forward will look much more like this DADA loop hopefully. Thoughts will transfer, with some effort, to action (or a decision of inaction). My work will hopefully reflect that. I’ve yet an idea how it will reflect it but I suspect, as my main source of inspiration this week, that it’ll begin to take its influence soon. I suspect it will stop me from constantly mulling over a possible plot and, instead of delaying action through thought, act.

I recommend this quick read to any one looking for inspiration on thought and on how to regard your own thought. If you’re anything like me, it might change you for the better.

“Don’t lose the game. Because Losing this game means you don’t play the next game. The next game is bigger.”

7 thoughts on “Mixed Media: (Book) A Spy’s Guide To Thinking”

  1. If you want some real spy thinking, try John le Carré’s autobiography, ‘The Pigeon Tunnel’.

    Whilst he doesn’t get the ‘DADA’ – which is an elaborated version of the reality of “Thinking, Feeling, Willing” – seeing, evaluating, action – there is a very great deal in the book that is both engaging and informative about the daily grind of being a professional spy.

    There are too many people who like the idea of being a spy, but don’t want the stale buns and fake cream cakes that come with life in what was the DDR.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It need only take a line or two to say hello, and leave the rest to me.

        When you do, let me know if you have time over the holidays, or I can leave it until a time of your choosing.


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