Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

Being remarkable is a little thing, and everything

In Ideas on October 2, 2008 at 2:12 pm

Every year thousands of books are published. I’m guessing 99% of them are forgotten before we flip the calendar to the next year. But here’s a book that has stuck in my memory, though I must admit I’ve never read it: Gadsby. Published in 1939, the book’s story didn’t receive critical acclaim and would probably be relegated to the dustbin of history save for one fact: The entire 50,000 word novel contains no letter “e.”

That’s right, an entire book written without the use of one of the most common letters in the alphabet.  It’s a small thing, just omitting a certain letter; but it’s everything as well.

What’s the one small thing you are doing that makes your product or service remarkable? Not good, not valuable – those are mandatory – but remarkable?

Postscript – Take a look at the link above, it goes to the Gadsby wikipedia page. Yep, the entire entry is done without the letter “e.”

Post-Postscript – This blog post contains the letter “e” 86 times.

  1. You might be interested to know that ‘La Disparition’ by Georges Perec is another novel (in French) which does not contain the letter ‘e’, and he followed it up by telling much the same story (or so I’ve heard; I haven’t read much of either, because it really requires having a dictionary handy) in ‘Les Revenentes’ which does not contain any vowel except for ‘e’ (although he does cheat with the spelling of certain words, for example simply removing the ‘u’ which should come after ‘q’.)

    I hadn’t noticed that about the wikipedia entry. Unfortunately, it now has quite a few instances of the forbidden letter, but not in the plot summary.

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