If you often find yourself participating in small talk about topics you have no interest in or have already discussed to exhaustion, the solution may be asking people unexpected, thought-provoking questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.
It’s a good idea to have stock questions so you don’t have to think them up in the moment.
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The first two are easy to understand. It’s the third that’s hardest to learn, and can often only be learned through experience.
The big technical leap of the 1930s could not have happened without the devastation of the depression. However, there is a limit to stress-induced innovation: The foundations of the economy itself should remain intact to support new ideas and innovations.
This balance between a disturbance in the economy, while the foundations of the economy remain intact, has only happened a few times in modern history: the period from 1930 to 1945 and in 2020.