Some Thoughts About Life And Death From Various People

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“In a recent poll one in four people said they’d donate a kidney to a complete stranger. Yeah, sure. Ninety percent won’t even let a stranger merge in traffic.”

Jay Leno, The Tonight Show NBC

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car and house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.”

Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe

“The plumber fixes a leak in the doctor’s house—then bills him for $1000. ‘This is ridiculous!’ the doctor says. ‘I don’t even charge that much.’ The plumber says, ‘Neither did I when I was a doctor.’”

Jeffrey Raiffe

“Here’s one way of making sure a sales promotion won’t bankrupt your business. A sign in a local barbershop read ‘We offer senior-citizen discounts. Must be at least 80 years old and accompanied by a parent.”

Robert McGrory

“I recently ran into the woman who used to clean our house and was surprised to hear that she was still at it despite her advanced age. ‘How do you manage it?’ I asked. She explained her secret: ‘I just keep clients who can’t see the dirt any better than I can.”

Malcolm Campbell


Currently Reading: The Success Equation By Michael J. Mauboussin

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I love reading anything by Michael Mauboussin. His most recent book is The Success Equation, which really explains the difference between skill and luck and how it plays out in our lives. By understanding skill and luck hopefully will help with predictions in our lives and by being able to make better predictions will help us in our success.

Some thoughts from the book: On page 8:

“Useful statistics are persistent (the past correlates highly with the present) and predictive (doing well or poorly correlates strongly with the desired goal).”

From page 10: I love this because I put too much emphasis on trends and really overlook the limitations of analysis.

“Knowing what you can know and knowing what you can’t know are both essential ingredients of deciding well. Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that can be measured matters.”

Here are some thoughts on skill which to me are worth the entire price of the book.

From page 19:

“So here’s the distinction between activities in which luck plays a small role and activities in which luck plays a large role: when luck has little influence, a good process will always have a good outcome. When a measure of luck is involved, a good process will have a good outcome but only over time.”

And this is my favorite quote of the book from page 19:

“There’s a quick and easy way to test whether an activity involves skill: ask whether you can lose on purpose. In games of skill, it’s clear that you can lose intentionally, but when playing roulette or the lottery you can’t lose on purpose.”

From page 31:

“One of the main reasons we are poor at untangling skill and luck is that we have a natural tendency to assume that success and failure are caused by skill on the one hand and a lack of skill on the other. But in activities where luck plays a role, such thinking is deeply misguided and leads to faulty conclusions.”

These are just several thoughts that Mr. Mauboussin brings to the table concerning luck and skill and I must say having read his previous books that he is one of the better writers in bringing a subject that may be difficult to understand where the reader after he reads, has a much clearer understanding of the subject. To me, that is the mark of an excellent writer and communicator.

I have also included some video from the author discussing some of his ideas in the book.

Some Thoughts On Popularity From Anonymous

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“It may be easy to become the most popular citizen in town—if you can only find a town small enough.”

‘One thing to be popular is to listen attentively to a lot of things you already know.”

“Popularity is a matter of whether people like you wherever you go or like it whenever you leave.”

“Tact will make you popular, provided you endure being taught many things you already know.”

“A good way for your daughter to be popular is for you to be rich.”

Some Thoughts About Grudges From Anonymous

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“If you would quit nursing that grudge of yours, it might die.”

“No matter how long you nurse a grudge it won’t get better.”

“When you take responsibility on your shoulders there is not much room left for chips.”

“Men with clenched fists cannot shake hands.”

“Patting a fellow on the back is the best way to get a chip off his shoulder.”

Various Posts Of Interest

How does the Chinese economy do it?

How do we feed three billion more people?

Andrew Wiggins For Kevin Love?

Some Thoughts About Fools From Anonymous

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“A wise man is never confused by what he can’t understand, but a fool is sure to be.”

“If a man defrauds you one time, he’s a rascal; if he does it twice, you’re a fool.”

“If you want an enemy, just try to convince a fool he’s wrong.”

“He is a fool who cannot get angry, but he is a wise man who will not.”

“The kind of man who doesn’t know the meaning of fear is usually the kind who doesn’t know the meaning of many other words either.”

Currently Reading: War! What Is It Good For? By Ian Morris

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I have approximately eighty more pages to go and I must say I have enjoyed this book very much. Thus far, I must say that I am slightly disappointed in understanding how productive war has made us richer. After having just read Piketty with all of his statistics, I wish Morris had these statistics included to make his point much stronger. I am not saying that I disagree with him, I would at this point in the book liked to have seen this point made much more clearly. Maybe the statistics were not there for him to justify this point. I am interested in doing more syntopical reading on this and with limited time, I am including a poll to see which book or books I should read next.