“The key to finding ideas is to convince yourself that everyone and everything has a story to tell…. Our instincts as humans, after all, is to assume that most things are not interesting. We flip through the channels on the television and reject ten before we settle on one. We go to a bookstore and look at twenty novels before we pick the one we want. We filter and rank and judge. We have to. There’s just so much out there. But if you want to be a writer, you have to fight that instinct every day. Shampoo doesn’t seem interesting? Well, dammit, it must be, and if it isn’t, I have to believe that it will ultimately lead me to something that is.
“The other trick to finding ideas is figuring out the difference between power and knowledge… When I said that I’m most interested in minor geniuses, that’s what I meant. You don’t start at the top if you want to find the story. You start in the middle, because it’s the people in the middle who do the actual work in the world… People at the top are self-conscious about what they say (and rightfully so) becase they have position and privilege to protect–and self-consciousness is the enemy of ‘interestingness.'”
–Malcolm Gladwell, What the Dog Saw