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The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion

By David Zweig
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Invisibles by David Zweig

These blinks are about the invisible people of our society: those who work hard because of their own intrinsic motivation rather than the prospect of reward. Even though we can’t see them, they’re the backbone of society. However, current cultural attitudes are diminishing their role, and if we want to improve our world, we need to rekindle our appreciation for Invisibles.

Key idea 1 of 8

The world is getting “noisier,” and people are becoming more self-centered.

In our modern world, we’re constantly surrounded by “noise.” Whether it’s the crushing soundtrack of a film, the ever-present blaring of cellphones, or the millions of opinions posted online each day, our world is getting noisier by the minute.

To stand out in this intense and chaotic environment, we perpetually have to shout – both literally and figuratively. People use online social networks to broadcast their thoughts to everyone. Anyone seeking media exposure now views their own life and thoughts as a brand to promote: nothing is too personal to share with the world.

Facebook and Twitter, for example, are designed for people to share personal information. Apps like Foursquare even encourage us to share our current locations, and many people do so without thinking.

This ever-present noise is tipping our society dangerously out of balance.

In the last few centuries, successful nations have always had a healthy balance of working people.

On one side, there are the silent and determined people who drive the economy and other elements of society. They’re satisfied with doing good work, even if they don’t get public praise for it.

On the other side, there are people in the spotlight. They might be celebrities in Hollywood, the entertainment industry or the media. These are the people who are known for what they do, and they’re equally important for keeping the balance.

However, modern society now encourages us to be more like the latter group. Everyone’s compelled to stand out as a great individual, and everyone wants recognition. We want to be the lead singer, not the technician behind the scenes. The people who work “quietly” to make things better for everyone are becoming fewer and fewer, and this has some very unfortunate implications.

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