It was hot. Ninety degrees or so.
Sweat was pouring off my face, and I sought respite under the shade of a tree.
As I did, I watched some of the other people at the park. One of them was a little kid sat alone at a picnic bench. He couldn't have been more than eight years old.
And he was wearing a massive sweater (or "jumper" for those of you in the UK). After a moment, some adults joined him and then a few more kids, and it was evident that a few carloads of people were gathering there for a picnic.
Evidently, I wasn't alone in noticing that a sweater was an odd choice for the weather. I heard one of the adults remark to an older man "Why is he wearing that sweater? He's got to be boiling!"
The other man replied "I can't get him to take it off. He loves it. His mother made it for him before she passed."
And then it all made sense, this little boy had a reason for what he was doing. It was poignant and touching and sad.
That kid loved that sweater, but he didn't say a word to anyone why he was wearing it and so it was an oddity perplexing enough to confuse everyone else who saw him wearing it under the circumstances.
Now, I will say that I've seen a lot of iterations of the idea that is addressed in TDBT - Bill's thinking here is by far my favorite. It is simple, deceptive, and a little bit low and cunning. That's high praise indeed. The text is not only well written, but it offers excellent video that explains the process - something which is important, as this is a visual piece and visual descriptions go a long way toward conveying meaning.
I can't fault his method at all. But in the past, I've often taken issue with the WHY of the ideas I've seen. WHY is that happening? WHY is this kid wearing that great big sweater on a hot day. This seems odd and out of place. Until a link is made and the logic of what is occurring is identified, this will always be the case.
And, to be honest, when I read TBDT, that's what I was looking for.
I went into this review entirely prepared to be critical. Thankfully, in his routine "Seven Deadly Sins", Bill takes the time to explain why he is wearing a sweater - and it is a pretty good explanation. It is the sort of thinking that I feel this methodology was tailor made to complement, and I congratulate him on his understanding of method in the context of presentation. I cannot say for certain, but I recently read something by Canadian Mentalist David Thiel that led me to infer that he was taking a similar presentational approach (the actual work was different) with powerful results.
Bill's thinking here is sound. His approach is simple yet deceptive. I'm happy with the book, but even happier that an emphasis was placed on making sure that the sweater isn't out of place.
When you learn this, take care to make sure you learn how to present it as well.
PS - For those of you still sad about the kid, don't worry - he was made up for the sake of driving home a point. The fiction is easily changed. See? His mom is actually alive, and he has a unicorn. The end.
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