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or “An Unexpected Turn of the Screw”

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Illustration by Ioana Șopov

Imagine that it’s the late 1800s, and you are a manufacturer of pocket-knives. You have a loyal customer base that really loves your product — and your knives are proven performers in the marketplace. But, you’ve noticed a curious thing: an increasing number of your most faithful clients have been bringing their knives back to your shop for repair. It seems that the tips of the blades have been bending.

This comes as some surprise because, after all, your knives are crafted from the finest, tempered steel. But, as it turns out, the problem is not the quality of your product, nor a flaw in their design. As your customers quickly explain, the problem is that they’d been using the knives in a rather unconventional way — not as they were intended to be used, but exactly as they were needed in the moment. …

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