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Pick his brain? 请教别人的意见

中国日报网 2024-02-20 16:14


Reader question:

Please explain “picked his brain” in this sentence: Jon is very good at math, so I picked his brain about a homework problem.

My comments:

Jon, apparently a fellow student, is very good at math. So the speaker asked Jon for help with homework, asking him for advice about a particular math problem to solve.

That’s what the expression “pick someone’s brain” means. In our example, Jon is brainier (smarter) than the speaker is at math so the latter goes to Jon for ideas (brains).

Pick Jon’s brain, in other words, like a vulture picking meat off the bones of a carcass, picking them clean.

A terrible analogy, I know, but this is probably where this expression comes from. I’m not entirely making this up, as FreeDictionary.com explains:

This analogy to picking clean a bone or carcass dates from the mid-nineteenth century. “Do you possess the art of picking other people’s brains,” wrote clergyman Benjamin Jowett (1817–93).


“Pick” is apt, by the way, implying that we are picky and choosey. We only select the best ideas to adopt.

To sum up, we pick other people’s brain to gather information, improve our understanding or expand our imagination.


All right, here are media examples of people picking someone else’s brain:

1. Long-time friends Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan are the legends of their respective games. Both achieved the pinnacle in their career, winning multiple accolades in their respective careers. They’ve been there for each other in the important moments of their lives.

It is normal for friends to pick their brains when one of them might be better at certain things than the other. Both athletes have played for around two decades in their respective sports. And they have achieved a lot after retiring from the games that have helped pushed their net worth to a humongous value. Jeter had no shame in accepting that he did use to pick his friend’s brain over things that he needed help with.

Though the sports that they played were completely different, Jeter’s and Jordan’s mentality was alike. Even the Yankees legend agreed upon the same in an old interview. Jeter also agreed that at times he would pick Jordan’s brain.

I pick his brain quite a bit. We play two completely different sports, we’re two completely different athletes, but the mindset is the same. You go out there, and you try to win regardless of what you’re doing. So, I picked his brain over the year,” said Jeter.

- MLB Great Derek Jeter Once Revealed How NBA Legend Michael Jordan Played a Huge Part in His Career, EssentiallySports.com, November 19, 2022.

2. Travel is well and truly back on the agenda in 2023. For many of us, it’s been a hot minute since we’ve planned a big overseas trip. Can any of us even remember how to? From picking what countries you want to visit, where to stay, who to trust, what to do, and how to find the most Instagrammable meal (to make your friends back home wish they’d muted your profile), it’s … a lot.

People are yearning to get off the beaten track, to experience the unusual and unexpected, but our time is precious, and our priorities have changed. More of us are thinking about solo travel than ever before, and unsurprisingly, it’s mostly women seeking those solo experiences and the empowerment they bring. Intrepid gets it. It’s why they’ve developed a range of Women’s Expedition tours around the world that are pre-planned, tried and tested.

“Women seeking those really authentic experiences seem to connect on a different level with each other. Travelling in an all-female group means that women can connect more directly with each other experiencing a different culture, whilst also giving local women a really amazing opportunity to share their stories of challenge and triumph.”

Jenny Gray is the Senior Product Manager at Intrepid Travel. She gets to design these tours for a living, so naturally, we picked her brain for all her best advice on how to make the most out of our next adventures.

Why is solo travel so appealing to women? What’s holding us back?

There’s something empowering about packing up and setting off on a trip on your own, having the opportunity and the time to fill your cup. Doing something by yourself and for yourself is really empowering but of course, it comes with the normal concerns for any traveller but in particular, female travels, around safety.

We know that 80 to 83 per cent of Australian women are concerned about safety when it comes to solo travel, and it can get lonely, plus the inconvenience of time – some people love putting a trip together, but it's really time consuming.

On an Intrepid tour, you can have that empowering solo travel experience, in the comfort of a small group with other like-minded people. There’s also appeal in travelling with an expert local leader who knows the ins and outs of where you’re travelling, the itineraries are pre-planned; tried and tested. Plus, you get the comfort of travelling with an established brand who has a reputation of delivering good trips safely.

How have travel trends changed in 2023?

People are seeking out those ‘bucket list’ experiences, more than ever before. Perhaps that pent up urge to travel and tick things off the list of people have spent years waiting for or dreaming of, they’re now prioritizing actually making it happen. We’re also finding that a lot of people are choosing more comfort over entry level standards.

- ‘I design women’s holidays for a living. Here’s my advice for women travelling solo,’ MamaMia.com.au, May 31, 2023.

3. Tom Brady is trying to learn the ins and outs of being an analyst and recently reached out to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Scott Zolak for an assist.

Brady, who wanted to take a year to learn the craft before officially becoming FOX Sports’ lead NFL analyst, reached out to the Patriots former quarterback and radio voice to get some pointers.

“He actually called me two weeks ago and we went over calling games,” Zolak said on Tuesday’s “Eye on Foxboro” podcast. “He tried to pick my brain as he gets ready to do games with FOX.

Before retiring, Brady had agreed to a 10-year, $375 million deal with FOX. He was initially supposed to start immediately but wants to take a year to work on his new craft.

“I want to be great at what I do, and that always takes some time, strategizing, learning, growing and evolving,” Brady said on the Colin Cowherd show.

Naturally, Zolak is happy to help the former Patriot great and give him some broadcasting lessons and tricks of the trade.

“I’m just amazed he’s doing it. Going in, I told him the biggest thing you’re going to find out, these production meetings, everybody’s going to want to do story time with Tom Brady,” said Zolak. “He goes, ‘no, no, no,’ ... but I told him, you’re a different guy. You’re not Troy Aikman, you’re not Tony Romo. You’re Tom Brady.

“But the thing I appreciate with Tom, is the attention to details. Same thing with (Bill) Parcells and (Bill) Belichick. Brady wants to attack this. He’s talking to everybody. The fact he even called me ... I do a radio call for the home team, which is sort of a rah, rah call. I said, ‘You’re down the middle, and everybody is going to be hanging on every word you say.’'’

- Which local radio host is coaching Tom Brady on being a broadcaster? MassLive.com, January 10, 2024.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)


Act your age 按照年龄行事


Sitting tight? 按兵不动


Significant other? 重要的另一半


Pandora’s Box? 潘多拉魔盒


Identity theft? 身份盗窃


Works like a charm? 非常有效

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