Hans Rosling: Upgrading our worldview via data visualization
Presentation Zen workshops in Washington DC, March 21-22

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Where ever you may be in the world, I wish you very happy Christmas and wonderful, peaceful, inspiring year ahead. This two-minute advert for John Lewis is an evocative message and an important reminder. I love it. Perhaps you will too.


Interestingly, many people look at a story like this and all that they can see is the impossibility of a man living on the moon with out oxygen (not to mention the ability to see such detail on the Earth with a simple telescope). But this story is, of course, metaphoric. Someone may feel deeply alone, isolated, cut-off from the world as if they were living alone on the moon. Indeed, there are millions of people who surely feel as lonely as the man pictured here.

The emotional touch points in the short story are many including loneliness, separation, compassion, kindness, hope. The theme — that is, the key message — is a reminder that each of us can make a difference in the lives of another. Even a very small gesture of kindness and compassion can make a world of difference for someone. The message is spelled out explicitly at the end: “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas.” But it was not necessary. The tagline was redundant. The message was clear. Slow down, reach out, and share an act of kindness with a fellow human being. That person may be a loved one, an old friend, or a complete stranger.  

The imagery is evocative. No one can look at an image like this and not feel for this man. We’ve all felt abandoned, lonely, or lost at one time or another. Maybe even now. We also see ourselves in him. “Will I too be alone in my old age?” we ask ourselves.

Yes, it's just a TV commercial so it’s easy to be cynical and see this as manipulative or even cliche, but I think it’s a lovely little piece of art. A simple Christmas message.

A metaphor can reveal a powerful and evocative truth. Literal interpretations of a metaphor kill the message and replace it with something far less illuminating.

Have a remarkable and illuminating 2016...and beyond.


Craig Millar

Merry Christmas to you and your family Garr. I agree it is a powerful ad and quite brave of John Lewis to do something that raises the subject of loneliness at Christmas. The choice of the child to make the connection with the old man seems significant.


Thanks so much for sharing THIS one. While I didn't know who/what was John Lewis, this is beautifully touching. Indeed you're spot on: anyone can relate to the message. Merry Christmas.

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Merrt Chmas and Happy New Year. Keep doing your website. You doin a good job here!


All the best to you. I have learned so much from here and your books.

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