Tag Archives: By George Treasury

On becoming Google-stupid, a digital dummy

As we become more computer dependent, there is an emerging argument that we are fast becoming intellectual mutants. Does increased screen time equate directly to a devolving humanity?

A few nights ago, our family saw an interesting and frightening CBC documentary entitled “Are We Digital Dummies?” This is worth every minute of your time!


As we cope with our wired world, we’re at the point that we must begin probing whether we can think for ourselves and socially interact? Are we all fast becoming “Google-stupid”?

Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote: “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” And for those who believe that information is power, Albert Einstein warned: “Information is not knowledge.”

The documentary and these learned reflections took me back to a previously written article that was first published in the By George Treasury.  In this excerpt, we make a few suggestions for dealing with our modern day info-glut.

It is the amount of data that a person is expected to absorb that is scary. Consider that a daily edition of the N.Y. Times contains as much information as the average 17th century person would have come across in an entire lifetime. At our workplace, the average corporate worker receives 191 messages – 51 phone calls, 39 e-mails, 16 internal memos, and 20 items of outside mail. 

The amount, and pace are becoming unbelievable. We offer some hints on how you might avoid receiving so much… and give yourself some healthy ‘headspace.’  

  • Find a place of your own and sit and close your eyes for five – fifteen minutes, in the morning, noon and night.
  • Don’t take work or work related materials to bed with you.
  • Don’t take reading materials – or your blackberry or iPad – to the washroom (this could be your five – fifteen minute mental break).
  • At home, turn the TV – and all screens – off at least two hours at night.
  • Travel to work with the radio/i-pod off at least half your travel time.
  • At work, schedule time when you will concentrate on a single screen and not answer phones or e-mails. 

So, do you need to find a road to recovery? Step one to a better life-computer balance is recognizing the threats of your daily routines. Begin by watching “Are We Digital Dummies?” Step two would be to unplug for one evening and think this through for yourself.



In December 2005, CG&A COMM published their research on uncovering the most significant quotes through the ages. Here is an annotated list (in no particular order) of the ‘Top-Ten-Quotes-of-All-Time.’ 


Do onto others as you would have others do onto you. The Bible – This is known as the ‘Golden Rule’.  It captures the fundamental belief of what we most want from the human condition – to be treated with the same degree of respect that we afford others.


Know thyself. Anon. – This ancient Greek quote is an inscription at the temple of Apollo at Delphi. The sage advice is said to be the key to happiness. It is found in ancient scriptures; writings from the middle ages; cited in thoughts of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer and Freud; and, today, it can be found as core advice in many ‘self-help’ works.


I think therefore I am. Rene Descartes (1596-1650) – a French mathematician and philosopher.  ‘Cogito ergo sum’ is a profound thought that influenced many thinkers for centuries. For his many works, Descartes is recognized as the ‘The Founder of Modern Philosophy.’


Nothing succeeds like success. Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) – a French novelist.  A saying that successful people like to quote – one of Donald Trump’s favourites. It is also often used by sports coaches and commentators. It best sums up the thought that if one experiences success at something, then the next success will be that much easier.


Knowledge is power. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) – an English philosopher and scientist. Bacon believed that one should learn and acquire as much knowledge as possible. It’s liberating – powerful. Today, this saying serves as a cornerstone of our information age. With the advent of the Internet and our telecommunications industries – acquiring information and the ability to acquire information is of paramount importance.  


The more things change, the more it is the same thing. Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) – a French writer.  This observation is often used to rationalize man’s reoccurring life experiences.  The thought is wrongly attributed to the existentialist J.P. Sarte who slightly altered Karr’s quote to muse: The more things change, the more they stay the same.


It is better to have loved and lost, than not to have loved at all. Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809 – 1892) – an English novelist.  Consolation for that raw feeling of loved lost. This is a very popular saying for jilted lovers who are trying to rationalize the time spent in a failed relationship.


Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lord Acton (1834 – 1902) – an English historian.  Unbridled power is dangerous and leads to misuse of power. Think of how many times we hear political analysts and pundits comment on a dictatorship or an abuse of power with this quote. Lord Acton’s thought: Power requires checks and balances.


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana (1863 – 1952) – a Spanish born philosopher and poet, schooled in America and resided in Italy.  Santayana’s thoughts moved many world leaders in the aftermath of the World Wars. He believed people (our leaders included) are not properly instructed in history. We see this quote often employed when a historian or writer wishes to juxtapose a current happening with a historical event.


God, give us serenity to accept what cannot be changed; courage to change what should be changed; and wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Reinhold Niebuhr (1892 – 1971) – an American theologian. Probably best known as the Alcoholic Anonymous creed. It is also used within many spiritual writings. We see it in many pieces dealing with death, particularly untimely deaths of loved ones. It is a powerful saying that has helped many accept the unknown and unacceptable.


(ed. – This is a repost, picked as one of our favourite three posts from the earliest of posts on this By George Journal back in 2008.) 


This article also appears in the By George Treasury, a collection of the very best materials from the CG&A COMM offices dating into the mid-90’s. In that collection, there are pages and pages of remarkable quotations, classic wordplay, puns and quizzes, editorials, humour and popular feature articles.  You can read more about this book at:




By George Journal’s 2011 Editorial Line-up


Through 2010 By George Journal provided readers with an editorial line-up that included:

  • tips for more effective meetings
  • resources, insight and advice to improve your writing skills
  • a lament for the ills of “Big Government”
  • a celebration of hockey, our national passion
  • raising awareness of anaphylaxis and what can be done in Ottawa
  • 1,000 quotes on politics, democracy and elections (with many Canuck musings)

Our editorial mission with this journal is to provide resourceful, provocative and fun postings that can be used and enjoyed by our readers in their workplace and among friends. 


To give you a glimpse of the 2011 editorial line-up, By George will be turning its attention to:

  • providing a ‘tune-up’ on how to be a more effective communicator in the workplace
  • reflections on the changing nature of news reporting
  • quotes that motivate and inspire
  • punny material
  • compiling jokes and humourous stories relating to elections and political campaigns

And we will not be able to help ourselves in commenting further on the glorious sport of hockey.


Enjoy the read! We welcome your feedback and contributions and look forward to entertaining dialogues through the next twelve months.  – Editor Chris George



By George, we’ve got it: motivation and inspiration


Through the summer at CG&A COMM, we’re collecting motivational and inspirational quotes for an electronic publication. By George Journal is asking, “What are your favourite motivational and inspirational quotes?”


We invite our readers to send your favourite quotes and stories. Reply to this post – or send an e-mail to Chris George at chris@cgacommunications.com


And if you are reading and enjoying By George Journal, you’ll also enjoy By George Treasury – a compilation taken from more than one thousand past By George articles. The book includes lists of some of the most remarkable quotations, classic wordplay, puns and quizzes, editorials, the best of the humour over the years, and the 15-most popular feature articles to have appeared in the publication.


Here’s how to order your By George Treasury: