I am always fascinated by the trail of inspiration leading from one idea to the other. The invisible thread that weaves books with articles with podcasts with experiences with travels with exhibitions with presentations. Even with business ideas.
Considering how much I read and how long I have been using amazon, I am often surprised how ineffective its recommendation engine is on me. It might help that I have been sharing account with my wife for 15 years, and now with my daughter - I guess it confuses the hell out of it - but it is more than that.
Recommendation engines try to infer what I will read next looking at my history and at what people like me have been reading. Even for data monsters like Amazon, they rely on internal knowledge: me and my reading habits, other people and their reading habits. It is better than nothing, and obviously quite effective looking at the success of these players, but incomplete. Most inspirations come from external sources: a friend's recommendation, an article you have read, a cue within one of the previous book, a movie you have watched. Looking at books alone, you can trace a path from one to the other and you can maybe try to anticipate what the next one will be based on the trajectory. But you will always be blind to what happened in between.
I have always wanted to keep a log of this path. A sort of Ariadne's thread on which to weave the pearls I find along my life. I have begun working on it, starting from what I am currently reading and going backwards until my memory assists me. I ll post a link to it soon.