Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dissertations

May 15th is National Chocolate Chip Day. So, grab a big glass of milk, and I’ll show you how your dissertation can be just like a chocolate chip cookie…

Ruth Graves Wakefield didn’t invent the cookie. But, she did invent the chocolate chip cookie. In her honor, today has been designated National Chocolate Chip Day! So grab a cookie from your cookie jar, kick back, and let me tell you all about how the chocolate chip cookie was invented and how you can knock out your dissertation in no time by treating it like a chocolate chip cookie!

In 1938, chef Ruth Graves Wakefield was working as a chef in the Toll House Inn when she decided she needed something new for her guests to enjoy with their ice cream. She’d been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream, and everyone liked it.  She knew everyone liked cookies, and of course chocolate is delicious. So she decided to make a batch of cookies with chunks of a Nestle chocolate bar in it.

Back then chocolate didn’t come in little pieces, so her big innovation was this: she cut up the chocolate and put it into cookie dough. That’s it!

The cookies were delicious of course, and the Toll House Inn became so famous for them that Nestle licensed the image of the Inn and the recipe and started printing it on their chocolate bar wrappers. Eventually they began selling the chocolate already in little pieces.

Thanks to Ruth Graves Wakefield, the chocolate chip cookie is now ubiquitous. Almost every bakery has a version! I’m feeling a craving for one right now….

Anyway, back to your dissertation. So, what’s the big take-away from this story, besides a major craving for chocolate chip cookies? Simply, this: You don’t have to do much to make a major contribution. Ruth Graves Wakefield made a minor innovation.

She didn’t invent cookies.

She didn’t invent chocolate.

She didn’t even invent cutting up chocolate.

She just invented cutting up chocolate and putting it into cookies. And, that was enough to make her famous.

So, don’t get bogged down trying to invent something you deem original enough for your dissertation. Keep it simple! Build on the work of others. That’s how the best inventions almost always come about.

Don’t try to be a hero. Don’t invent something totally from scratch. Be like Ruth Graves Wakefield. Just add a new flavor to someone else’s dough! Follow their recipe, but throw in your own little twist. That’s enough to make it your own.

And, for your dissertation, that’s enough to get it done and graduate!

Need help finding the right recipe to start with? Not sure how to add your own twist? Click here to schedule a quick, 15-minute chat with me to see if you’re a good fit for our Fast Track Your Dissertation Coaching Program. If you are, then I’ll invite you to join the fastest group of dissertation students out there and help you to reach graduation a good year or two faster than you would on your own.

If you need extra support and guidance to make it to graduation, I may be able to help. If you'd like to find out whether you qualify for the support we offer throughout the dissertation process, then...

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Dr. Russell W. Strickland

RUSSELL STRICKLAND, Ph.D., has been referred to as a “rocket scientist turned management consultant.” In truth, he applies an eclectic body of work from astronomy and nuclear physics to dynamic inventory management to market research to each of his student engagements.

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