Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not the sharpest knife in the drawer

Just a few days ago I ran into an ex-colleague of mine (Ravi G.) at a dinner party. He was mentioning his addiction to sudoku and he said that he would stay up late at night until he was able to solve a ‘medium’ difficulty puzzle in under 5 minutes. Now, that’s mighty impressive to me because I have only managed under-five-minutes on Easy puzzles and on rare occasions.

That got me thinking. Now that I don’t go to work and my life is devoid of the problem-solving that my day job entailed, I am really worried about my brain atrophying. Surely mental acuity drops due to disuse.

My plan to combat this (plan only, no action yet) is to get back to solving tactical chess problems, to actually attempt some of the problems from the many brain-teaser books that I own, and to find and visit web sites that are targeted at exercises for the brain.

1 comment:

Arvind said...

Ram, thank you very much for sharing.

Here are some random thoughts that were triggerred by this post of yours.

First I think there are parts to the problem solving urge
( a ) intellectual fulfilment
( b ) social fulfilment
At united it was both ( a ) and ( b ), when you were problem solving to make a living. Along with the above two came a lot of other crap that I am glad you are now free from.

What you are proposing by virtue of puzzle books is to address (a). But I suspect you may not find that fully satisfying. Heres my projection, at some point you will seek ( b ) in some way - through writing a blog or book or volunteering for some problem solving type work at a non profit, or teaching part time - not because of career reasons but because you might feel like being connected to society and want appreciation from others. Solving problems at United got you appreciation aside from a career but solving puzzles will only give you an appreciation of mathematics. In some form I think you will seek appreciation from others. Personally, I hope you write a good book as a way of getting this.

Best wishes.