Information Anxiety: Towards Understanding. by Richard Saul Wurman. Published in Scenario Migration Winter “Communication is equivocal. We are. Richard Saul Wurman has written, designed and published 90 books on wildly divergent topics. Two of these are Information Anxiety: Towards Understanding . years; however, this paper views this complex relationship based on the foundation provided by Richard Wurman’s book. Information Anxiety (). The three.

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We are limited by a language where words may mean one thing to one person and quite something else to another.

Information Anxiety

There is no ordained right way to communicate. At least in the absolute sense, it is impossible to share our thoughts with someone else, for they will not be understood in exactly the same way. Richard Saul Wurman describes his work as the promotion of understanding.

The following excerpts look at the problem of too much information, how we create understanding, and the beauty of what may be a lost art form: How we use information matters and particularly in the work of design: The Oxford English Dictionary describes the word as having its root in the Latin word informare, meaning the action of forming matter, such as stone, wood, leather, etc.

What is information anxiety? definition and meaning –

It appears to have entered the English language in its present spelling and usage informtion the sixteenth century. The most common definition is: This definition was extrapolated to general usage infomration something told or communicated, whether or not it made sense to the receiver. Now, the freedom engendered by such an amorphous definition has, as you might expect, encouraged it liberal deployment.

It has become the single most important word of our decade, the sustenance of our lives and our work. The word inform has been stripped out of the noun informationand the form or structure has disappeared from the verb to inform. Much of what we assume anxisty be information is actually just data or worse. It must be imbued with form and applied to become meaningful information.

Yet, in our information-hungry era, it is often allowed to masquerade as information. So the great information age is really an explosion of non-information; it is an explosion of data. To deal with the increasing onslaught naxiety data, it is imperative to distinguish between data and information. Information must informxtion that which leads to understanding. Everyone needs a personal measure against which to define the word. What constitutes information to one person may be data to another.

In their landmark treatise inThe Mathematical Theory of Informwtion, authors Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver define information as that which infodmation uncertainty. The differences between data and information have become more critical as the world economy moves towards information-dependent economies.


Information drives infformation education field, the media, consulting and service companies, postal services, lawyers, accountants, writers, certain government employees, as well as those in data communications and storage. Many countries already have a majority of their work forces engaged in occupations that are primarily information processing.

The move to an information-based society ansiety been so swift that we have yet to come to terms with the implications. Understanding lags behind production. Essays on the Quality of Life in the Information Society. Better information processing can speed the flow of data but is of little help in reading the printout, deciding what to do about it, or finding higher meaning.

Meaning requires time-consuming thought, and the pace of modern life works against affording us the time to think. Talk is Deep note 3. The industrial design critic Ralph Wirman was talking to a woman who was trying to explain something to him. There is still only one method for transmitting thought, for communicating information in a manner that somewhat captures the spirit of the mind: Conversation can be a mirror of the mind, a petri dish inforrmation ideas.

It enables us to communicate our thoughts in a manner that closely models the way they occur in our minds. Without words, we would be severely handicapped in both shaping our thoughts and communicating them to others. While not the only tool, words elevate communication and lend an unparalleled degree of sophistication to expression. The implicit and explicit goal of all conversation is understanding. A conversation forms a two-way communication link.

There is a measure of symmetry between the parties as messages pass to and fro. There is a continual stimulus-response, cyclical action; remarks evoke other remarks, and the behavior of the two individuals becomes concerted, cooperative, and directed toward some goal.

Time and time again, studies have shown that the best communication occurs face to face. People still fly halfway across the world to meet clients for the first time. In many organizations, 40 to 60 percent of the workday is spent in meetings.

Managers need to be talking to their employees, real-time, one-on-one, telling them what is going on in their organization. Alas, too often the human voice is lost, and our communication skills come up short. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the business community. Studies anciety shown that poor communication is one of the main problems facing businesses today. Executives consistently rate communications among themselves as their main area of difficulty, according to Robert Lefton, president of Psychological Wumran Inc.


As Informaton Gladwell writes in The Tipping Point, we use influence to convince our clients and prospects to believe in us.

We use the art of persuasion and consistent messaging to build trust with employees and our market. That can be done through the influence of special kinds of people—people of extraordinary personal connection.

Conversation is a viable, appropriate model for the communications industry, but it is largely untapped. It is a simple-minded principle imbued with extraordinary complexities, nuances, and ephemeral magic. This is a book about clarification.

And the most basic conversation that we have takes into it an enormous complexity, comments about weather, dress, nuances of the visual someone nodding, blinking eyes, promptings, or lip movement that show they want clarification or want to interrupt. It has in it the possibility of great creative activity. There is nothing else we do better when we do conversation well. There is no other communication device that provides such subtle and instantaneous feedback, nor permits such a range of evaluation and correctibility.

Words are strung together seemingly without hesitation in phenomenally complex sequences and informatoon. They, in turn, work with each other to form new meaning.

By its existence this process allows for the development of new ideas. Ideas are created in conversation. It is our pipeline to understanding. We have more skills to put thoughts together by language than we do visually. He informaiton written eighty-one books.

Excerpts reprinted with permission from Richard Saul Wurman. Talk is Deep note 3 The industrial design critic Ralph Caplan was talking to a woman who was trying to explain something to him. The lost art of conversation note 4 Alas, too often the human voice is lost, and our communication skills come up short. Click to share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Click to email this to a friend Opens in new window Click to share on Reddit Opens in new window.

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