The film “Yi Yi” is a masterpiece.
It’s an art film. Not the way “The Cremaster Cycle” is an art film. “Yi Yi” is one of those films that rewards close, thoughtful viewing, and it reflects on the nature of life. “The Cremaster Cycle” is mostly just bizarre.
There’s this particular scene in “Yi Yi” that says something important about consulting. One of the main characters is a partner at a failing software firm. They’re going to work with an outside consultant to re-invigorate the company, and the partner has travelled to Japan to meet the consultant and talk business.
Over dinner, the consultant starts doing some card tricks.
The potential client is astonished. The client asks how he does it.
The consultant reveals that he has taught himself to know where every card in the deck of cards is at every moment. It’s not a trick; he simply pays more attention, more carefully than others, to what’s going on with the deck of cards.
The potential client, still enjoying his own astonishment at this, keeps asking the consultant to predict what card is next in the deck. The consultant interrupts:
“I have no magic to save your company. Nobody does. I am just like you. I have no tricks. We can work together, but I think your partner wants magic.”
It’s a beautifully-done scene, full of cinematic subtlety.
At the end of the day, I think every consultant would admit the same.
“I have no magic. I just have a better process for navigating this decision than you do.”
“I have no magic. I’ve just seen this situation more than you have.”
“I have no magic. I just have some data and a framework that you don’t.”
“I have no magic. I’ve just spent more time forcing myself to think through this stuff than you have.”
That last one is essentially what I’m saying in this recent podcast conversation with Glenn Stovall, where I talk about daily publishing: https://share.transistor.fm/s/1860d26e
I really appreciate Glenn giving me some time on his podcast to talk about daily publishing which, even after doing it for 4 years, I find a valuable way to frequently visit the “mind gym” and work out ideas.
If this sort of practice is interesting to you, I think the conversation with Glenn is worth a listen: https://share.transistor.fm/s/1860d26e
And if a meditative cinematic reflection on life is interesting to you, you can watch the whole of Yi Yi in HD on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U089cG2BqR8
No magic, just a lot of writing and thinking,