single most powerful part of informatics is that—regardless of the specialty
area—it still boils down to collection
and use of data. I so often wonder
(like the rest of the public) what the magic combination of data, messages,
stories or information which will create “success”—be it in health care goals
or life in general. Many times we know
what we have to accomplish—yet we need reminders, encouragement and/or a
reality check along the way. Years ago,
I read a short story about Norman Vincent Peale, as told by his wife and partner in business, Ruth. Understanding who he was is a critical
backdrop to the story.
Vincent Peale, the popular author of over 40 different books, has been called
the “Champion of Positive Thinking.” In
addition to being a minister, founder of the inspirational Guideposts Magazine, and author of the popular book, The
Power of Positive Thinking, he was an “ordinary man” who grew up working
multiple jobs to help support his family.
Until I researched his life for this post, I had no clue that his famous
book was very controversial and caused significant angst in both the
psychological and religious literature—but today it’s not relevant for this discussion.
story that bubbles to the surface each time I hear his name is a short
revelation by his wife of an incident that occurred years ago when Dr. Peale
was trying to get his famous book published.
When yet another denial letter from a publisher came, he tossed his book
in the trash in frustration. His wife
pulled the manuscript from the trash, brushed it off and put it aside until the
period of angst passed. He went on to
indeed get it published and sold over 20 million copies in 41 languages. Persuasion? Persistence? Trusted Support? Rebound
from failure? Yes, all of the above—and
the insight to realize that we are in a fabulous point in time where we have
the potential to use information, data and knowledge to create powerfully