Book Review – Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Book Review

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson is another one of those books that shakes you up like a paint can at Home Depot.  This book also gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.

Bookcover - where good ideas come from

Bookcover – where good ideas come from

Today’s post should be about keel repair, but instead of that I’m going to share another book that is pretty amazing.  Steven Johnson is a very good writer.  He has the rare ability to pull things together than may not seem related and turn them into a compelling story.  In this case he tells us how ideas actually are related, where they come from, and how we can prime the pump a bit.

It also was another book that I could only read a chapter at a time.  Not so much because it was hard to read, but because I wanted to think about what I’d just read.  In broad terms he talks about how there is a myth of the “Eureka” moments where an idea leaps into consciousness.  What more often happens is that we have a “Slow burn” idea that can sit in the background of our mind for a long time, even decades, until it meets another idea and becomes fully formed.  The book is full of the stories of ideas and how they were developed.

One thing we can do to get more ideas is to expose ourselves to other disciplines and other types of people.  One interesting thing he mentioned was that Bill Gates will take a week of at a time to read a stack of books that he’s been saving all year.  It seems that it’s important not just to expose your self to new ideas, but to do it in a rush.  Somehow this cross connects the pathways in your brain in new ways that they didn’t have before.

I really enjoyed this book.  If you read it, let me know.

P.S.  He has many other books.  One I’ve read that I liked even more than this is “Ghost Map”.  I read it a while back at a time when I was only posting boat book reviews here.  It’s about how the mystery of the source of the Cholera epidemic in London was solved.  Believe me, you don’t have to be a doctor or like medicine stories to really enjoy the book.

P.P.S.  My mom read his other book “How we got to now” and said it is terrific too.  Apparently you can’t go wrong reading a book by Mr. Johnson.

Book Review – The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

The Art of Choosing is one of those books that grabbed me by my assumptions and tossed me around like a Gumby doll in a jack terrier’s mouth.  This book definitely gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

I found myself only able to read a chapter at a sitting, as I wanted to take a while and think about it before I moved on to the next topic.  (It took me almost 2 weeks to read this book  – unheard of!)  I’m lucky that Mrs. CapnRehab is willing to listen to me ramble on as I try to form my thoughts about whatever book I’m currently reading.  I think if I could get away with it, I’d spend most of my time reading, and the rest sailing.  (Speaking of which, there is a great blog “Sundowner sails again”  by a couple that has refitted a Sundowner sailboat for the last 5 years and JUST NOW (Jan 2015) are setting off for a life of cruising.  Go Dani and Tate!)  Ah, that’s the life… but duty calls….

The author has done many studies of her own (including a famous one that you’ve most likely heard of) and references and explains many more as she drew her conclusions on choice.  It turns out that not only the tangible results of our choices are important.  The process we go through to make them, and our feelings about them are just as important.  Not only that – our feelings about a choice we made will often change over time so that we tell ourselves that that was what we wanted all along.

Also, when faced with 2 terrible choices (you lose either way), it’s better to have an expert opinion about which one should be chosen so that when remembering the choice your memory and feelings will fall back on that opinion and absolve some of the guilt you will feel in the future no matter which is chosen.

There is no way I can do this book justice by giving an in depth review, so here is her own summary of important things to do when choosing.

  1. CUT your options down to manageable size.
  2. CULTIVATE confidence by using expert advice and personalized recommendations
  3. CATEGORIZE choices to reduce complexity  (it’s easier to choose from a smaller set)
  4. CONDITION yourself to start with smaller choices and work your way up to more complex choices

I think I can apply all of these to the Catalina 22 refit.

The list may help but you’ll be have more info available to you if you read the book – so read the book!

 

 

 

Keel repair continues – news from the machine shop

I decided to make a template for the machine shop to use when brazing the keel pivot pin bushing .  My dimensions are 5″ 3/8″  front to back, 4 7/8 wide at the front and 5″ wide at the back.

keel bracket template

keel bracket template

I’m not sure how useful this information is to anybody, or even if this template is needed – but it seemed like something worth doing to help the machine shop get this bushing in the right place.  The two pencil lines are the actual size of the slot in the hull where the keel swings up.  Notice that the brass brackets are significantly over into the swing space.  That’s as expected and the directions are to grind them down to the correct size to minimize the play in the keel from side to side.

In the above view, the template is actually upside down.  Here is it from the top:

keel bracket , right side up

keel bracket , right side up

The bolts will come up through the brackets like this, and will screw into the weldments as shown in the next picture.

weldment/bracket configuration.

weldment/bracket configuration.

You can imaging that the upside down “L” shaped weldments are embedded in the fiberglass at the bottom of the boat.  You’ll have to imaging it because I haven’t done it yet.

So, on to the machine shop news.

I dropped by a machine shop after work this week, and talked to a friendly guy about my keel.

It seems I had 3 jobs for them.

  1. Mill the brass brackets down to size
  2. braze or weld the bushing into the keel and build up the area around the pivot hole
  3. Sand blast the keel

He needed to talk it over with his boss and go online here to check out my pictures so as to get a good feel for the job without me hauling my 550 lb keel over there.  He did, and the prices were a bit more than I want to spend.

  1. $300 to mill the brackets
  2. $800-$1200 to weld the bushing into the keel
  3. Didn’t get to discussing the price for sandblasting, but in our initial conversation he did mention they didn’t usually do stuff this big.

Ouch!

In our conversation he was very helpful and realized this was out of my price range.  He suggested that maybe using JB Weld was the way to go to get the bushing in, and that with a grinder I should be able to downsize the brackets as needed.

So, bottom line, as that old saying goes:  If it is to be, it’s up to me.

I’m going to start grinding the keel this weekend to fit the bushing and get the crud off the sides.  Stay tuned.