Roger von Oech

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Tim Siedell

You've just described the University of Nebraska football program over the last 37 years. The Noah Effect kicked in November 23, 2001. Not that anyone's counting or anything...

Tom Haskins

As I pondered these patterns, I realized that sometimes Joseph morphs into Noah. When the persistence is stable, Joseph remains the same. But there can also be steady declines, accelerations and inflations. Runaway costs, spending,and price increases lead to economic collapse. Rampant consumption, grazing, polluting lead to ecological cataclysms. Over taxation, imperial domination and minority subjugation bring about political ruin. When Joesph is drunken, Noah shows up with a vengeance.

Free to think, Free to believe

I've noticed that you also tend to have a tendency to persist on like topics...

However another persist trend, which both brooches the 'Noah' and 'Joseph' is the tendence for things to 'complicate' - that is one tech leads to another and then you may have an improvement on the first...

Robert Wright's book 'Nonzero' explores this both biologically and in our tendency to build things upwards...

Roger von Oech

Tim: I guess when Bob Devany and Tom Osborne were running the Nebraska football program, that was your "Joseph" period (predictably good teams shooting for the national championship). And then your "Noah" period at the beginning of this decade when the wheels came off the program. Question: with Callahan running the program, are you once again in a predictable period of mediocrity?

Tom: Good observation, and good food for thought. Also, Mandelbrot didn't rule many of the things you described; he just noted that after a long of period of the "same" (whatever it is), a big change can come seemingly and drastically out of the blue.

Free to think: Thanks for stopping back. "You also tend to have a tendency to persist on like topics." Indeed! :-) Maybe I'll surprise you and do my next post on Swedish films stars from the 1960s.

Thanks for your recommendation of Wright's book, "Nonzero." I read it in 2001 and picked up useful ideas from it — especially regarding turbulence in history.

Lewis Green


I spent the first 50 years of my life (well 40 of them, anyway) ensuring the Noah Affect ruled my life and also affected those around me. Lots of jobs changes, lots of life changes, lots of locations changes, lots of mood changes, and lots of adventure. Despite my efforts, the Joseph Affect also played a strong role, as change often came abruptly and unexpectedly, despite my best effort to control change.

The past 10 years, for my family's sake and my mental health, I have tried to build some continuity into my life, and here's what's interesting--neither Joseph nor Noah seem to be present. I would say that I am now present to my own center and have found balance in the earth's tension--but I had to look to find it.

Roger von Oech

Lewis: Interesting story. Thanks for sharing it. Here's a side note: I first wrote about the "Joseph and Noah Effects" in a book called "Expect the Unexpected." It was published the first week of September, 2001. The next week was a big "Noah Effect" for just about everyone.

Lewis Green


Now you have me worried. What is your next book entitled and when does it publish? I want to prepare my escape.


Hi There

I've been trying to think of how either of these terms might apply to my life. Call me a pessimist, but all I can think is that I've been hit by the Plagues of Egypt for the most part of my life.

Though saying that, 2007 has been a really great year and I'm going from strength to strength. I think that the one parallel I can certainly draw from this is that when the troublesome river rises and you don't immediately start swimming for shore, it get's harder and harder to keep your head above water.

Can't think why I'm so "Half Empty" today.

I know, I'll finish by wishing you the happiest and most successful of Days!

Tim Siedell


I think the Cornhuskers need a Lazarus.

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