The Phantom Tollbooth

Thanks to the recommendation from my frenemy, read the book The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster  . 

Despite being a children’s fantasy adventure story book, I enjoy reading the book.  Milo, the protagonist , of the book , visited different places like Dictionopolis, Silent Valley, Expectations and Mountain of Ignorance with Tock and Humbug. During the journey , they met with interesting characters such as Dr Dischord, Ryhmn and Reason and Wordsnatcher.   By just looking at the names, one can draw parallel between the place & characters  in the story and reality.  This is a  fantasy-reality story book and suitable for readers of all ages!

Lots of insights can be gleaned from the book. These serve as  constant remainder to myself that I shall not forget these common sense insights in our daily lives. I will just highlight the two insights that particularly strikes me:

  • Jumping to Conclusion

Milo and company jumped to the Island of Conclusion  and the island was petty crowded. This is a very apt analogy as we have a tendency to  jump to conclusion. I confess  I  jump to conclusion as I have some assumption which might blind my judgement. I guess this is something I need to constantly remind myself not to let my prior experience or assumption  cloud my judgement

  • It is a matter of how you look at things

In the book, Milo met a same man who called himself the Giant, the Midget, the Fat Man and the Thin Man. Why is that possible? It is all matter of perspective. A man much smaller than the Giant will see him as giant. But, if a man is much larger than the Midget, he will see him as Midget.

This is a very simple yet profound logic. There are always two or more sides of a story.  So, one should not jump to conclusion by just hearing one side of the story. Sometimes, the one-side is just your side of story. Have we tried listening to to other sides of story? In a leadership position, I need to have a complete view of the picture before coming to any conclusion.

But easier to be said, as sometimes, I know that I  blinded by my own emotions/feelings. Now, the challenge to myself : How can I make myself free from biases?

I guess why these two insights particularly stuck a chord with me as currently, I am dealing with certain sticky issue.  I need to constantly interrogate myself: Am I jumping to conclusion? Am I being fair by not considering the other perspective? I do admit initially, I tend to jump to conclusion and am blinded by my prior biases/assumption. But, I still stand by what I say. Whatever I choose to say are defensible claims  based on observable evidence.

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