Related to: 'Reinventing Capitalism in the Age of Big Data'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

John Murray

Big Data

Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier
Authors:
Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier

Adam Becker

Adam Becker is a science writer with a PhD in astrophysics and an undergraduate degree in philosophy. His writing has appeared in the BBC and New Scientist. He has recorded a video series with the BBC and several podcasts with the Story Collider. He is also a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley's Office for History of Science and Technology. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Adam Lashinsky

Adam Lashinsky is a Senior Editor at Large for Fortune magazine. As the magazine's leading correspondent in Silicon Valley, he has interviewed all of the technology industry's top figures. He also is a weekly commentator on the Fox News Channel and prior to joining Fortune he wrote for TheStreet.com and the San Jose Mercury News.

Alex Ferguson

Born in Glasgow in 1941, Sir Alex Ferguson was playing football at an international level as a school boy. He began his professional playing career in 1958 with Queen's Park. Four times winner of Manager of the Year, he has been the manager of Manchester United for thirteen years during a time when they have become the most successful and richest club in the world. MANAGING MY LIFE was awarded the British Book Awards' Book of the Year in 1999.Sir Alex Ferguson was born in 1941 in Govan, Scotland. A goal-scoring centre-forward, he was later transferred to Rangers for a Scottish record transfer fee. In 1974, he entered management with East Stirlingshire and St Mirren before joining Aberdeen, where consistent domestic success, followed by victory in the 1983 Cup Winners' Cup over Real Madrid, brought him wider attention.Arriving at Manchester United in 1986, he went on to accumulate 38 trophies, including five FA Cups, 13 Premier Leagues and two Champions Leagues. He was knighted in 1999, following Manchester United's remarkable Treble campaign, and his overall haul of 49 trophies makes him the most successful British manager of all time. Sir Alex announced his retirement in 2013, but he continues to serve United as a director and is a Fellow to the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

Ben Hammersley

BEN HAMMERSLEY is a British technologist, journalist, and broadcaster. He is the Prime Minister's Ambassador to Tech City, London's Internet Quarter; and a member of the European Commission High Level Group on Media Freedom. He is based in London.www.benhammersley.comFollow him on Twitter: @benhammersley

Beverly L. Kaye

Beverly Kaye (Los Angeles, CA) is president of Career Systems International and author of several top selling career management books including Love 'Em or Lose 'Em and Up Is Not the Only Way.

Catherine Kaputa

Catherine Kaputa is the award-winning author of You Are a Brand! and Breakthrough Branding. She is a successful branding strategist and speaker and led the 'I Love NY' campaign. Catherine lives in New York City.

Diana Mather

Diana Mather is a communications trainer, writer, broadcaster and personal image consultant. She started her career as a newsreader and interviewer at the BBC, and for the past 30 years has taught communication skills to people from 5 continents, including UK MPs and US senators. She is a regular talking head on TV, including The Culture Show, Trisha and Jeremy Kyle.

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt served as Google's CEO from 2001 to 2011. During that time he shepherded the company's growth from a Silicon Valley start-up to a global technology leader that today has over $55 billion in annual revenues and offices in more than 40 countries. Eric is now Google's executive chairman.

George Binney

George Binney is an experienced coach and consultant who for many years has worked with chief executives and senior teams. He studied history before becoming a barrister, a McKinsey consultant and a manager in large corporates. He specialises in supporting senior doctors, scientists, lawyers and other professionals who now lead organizations.

Gerald R. Ferris

The authors dig into what political skill is-and isn't-including how and why it works, methods for development, and tools for measurement.

Gerhard Wilke

Philip Glanfield coaches and consults to individuals, teams and organizations by focusing on the conversations that shape their leadership and impact. He studied theology and worked as a probation officer and a senior manager in the NHS before consulting. He led the team that won the European EFMD award for organization development in 2015.

Hu Wenzhong

Hu Wenzhong, Ph.D., of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, is also president of the China Association for Intercultural Communication and Fellow of the International Academy for Intercultural Research.

Iain Maitland

Iain Maitland has been a professional writer since 1987. He has written over 50 books, mainly on business, and been published as far away as Russia, India, Japan, USA and Australia. He has also written for the Sunday Times, Which? and the Financial Times amongst many others.

Jared Cohen

Jared Cohen is Director of Google Ideas and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously he served as a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff where he focused on the Middle East, counterterrorism and the development of '21st-century statecraft'. He serves on the Director's Advisory Board at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He has a BA from Stanford University and an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He is fluent in Swahili.

Jonathan Rosenberg

Jonathan Rosenberg joined Google in 2002 and managed the design and development of the company's consumer, advertiser, and partner products, including Search, Ads, Gmail, Android, Apps, and Chrome. He is currently an advisor to Google CEO Larry Page.

Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort was born in Queens, New York. He hustled ices to put himself through college, showing early entrepreneurial flair. His first business sent him bankrupt at twenty-four so he went down to Wall St with $100 in his pocket and ended up building one of the largest brokerages in America - the now infamous Stratton Oakmont. A hard partying lifestyle ended in crash and burn. Ultimately indicted by the federal government, Belfort served twenty-two months in prison, and time in rehab. He's now a highly successful motivational speaker.His story has been made into a Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.He is currently living in Los Angeles.

Judy Bartkowiak

Judy Bartkowiak's training courses and coaching practice have helped thousands of people to apply the skills of NLP in their everyday lives. She is a qualified NLP Trainer, NLP Master Practitioner, NLP Sports Practitioner, NLP Business Practitioner and NLP Children's Practitioner.

Ken Shelton

Ken Shelton (Provo, UT) is chairman and editor-in-chief of Executive Excellence Publishing and publisher of Executive Excellence and Personal Excellence magazines.

Kevan Hall

Kevan Hall is an experienced CEO and consultant working with major multinationals around the world to inspire and enable people to succeed in connected global organizations. His previous books include Speed Lead and Making the Matrix Work.