Morgan Housel

Five Lessons from History

"Stories are more powerful than statistics because they take less effort for your brain to contextualize complex issues."

Morgan Housel

Five Lessons from History

"Hard times make people do and think things they'd never imagine when things are calm."

Jason Zweig

"Being right is the enemy of staying right because it leads you to forget the way the world works."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"Whenever you feel unusually certain and excited about a plan or idea, you must step back and gauge whether it is a viral group effect operating on you. If you can detach yourself for a moment from your excitement, you might notice how your thinking is used to rationalize your emotions, to confirm the certainty you want to feel. Never relinquish your ability to doubt, reflect, and consider other options - your rationality as an individual is your only protection against the madness that can overcome a group."

Charlie Munger

"A great philosopher said 'A man never steps into the same river twice, the man is different, and so is the river when he goes in the second time.' That's the trouble with economics. It's not like physics. The same damn recipe done a different time gets a different result."

Charlie Munger

"This business is of controlling the costs and living simply. That was the secret. Warren and I had tiny little bits of money. We always underspent our incomes and we invested it. You live long enough, you end up rich; it's not very complicated."

Anthony Robbins

Awaken the Giant Within

"The quality of your life is a direct reflection of the quality of the questions you are asking yourself."

Albert Allen Bartlett

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

Carl Jung

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"We all know the effects of 'hyperintention': If we want and need desperately to sleep, we are less likely to fall asleep. If we absolutely must give the best talk possible at some conference, we become hyperanxious about the results, and the performance suffers. If we desperately need to find an intimate partner or make friends, we are more likely to push them away. If instead we relax and focus on other things, we are more likely to fall asleep or give a great talk or charm people. The most pleasurable things in life occur as a result of something not directly intended and expected. When we try to manufacture happy moments, they tend to disappoint us."

Ray Dalio

Ask Me Anything on Reddit on May 7, 2019

"I think the greatest tragedy of most individuals and most groups in dealing with most of their issues is that individuals are inappropriately attached to their own biased perspectives so that they don't properly stress-test their thinking through the art of thoughtful disagreement."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"Each human is radically unique. This uniqueness is inscribed in us in three ways - the one-of-a-kind configuration of our DNA, the particular way our brains are wired, and our experiences as we go through life, experiences that are unlike any other's."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"We have a responsibility to set out to discover what we are made for, to discover our life's work, to discover what we are called to do. And after we discover that, we should set out to do it with all the strength and all of the power that we can muster."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"The great problem facing modern man is that, that the means by which we live, have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live. So we find ourselves caught in a messed-up world. The problem is with man himself and man’s soul. We haven’t learned how to be just and honest and kind and true and loving. And that is the basis of our problem. The real problem is that through our scientific genius we’ve made of the world a neighborhood, but through our moral and spiritual genius we’ve failed to make of it a brotherhood."

Friedrich Nietzsche

"He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how."

Shane Parrish

"In the same way compounding interest increases our bank balance, better decisions produce exponentially better results the more of them we make. Hard decisions today, made well, prepare us to make decisions more easily in the future."

Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

“A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider is, ‘What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?’ Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.” 

Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck

“The backwards law [is] the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become in trying to get there.” 

Jeff Bezos

2018 Amazon Shareholder Letter

"As a company grows, everything needs to scale, including the size of your failed experiments. If the size of your failures isn't growing, you're not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle."

Marcus Aurelius

Meditations

“Our actions may be impeded... 
But there can be no impeding our intentions or our dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.

The impediment to action advances action.

What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Ray Dalio

Principles

"This is why many people who have endured setbacks that seems devastating at the time ended up happy as (or even happier than) they originally were after they successfully adapted to them. The quality of your life will depend on the choices you make at those painful moments. The faster one appropriately adapts, the better. No matter what you want out of life, your ability to adapt and move quickly and efficiently through the process of personal evolution will determine your success and your happiness. If you do it well, you can change your psychological reaction to it so that what was painful can become something you crave.” 

Ray Dalio

Principles

"We are all products of our genes and our environments and approach the world with biases.

I want you to work for yourself, to come up with independent opinions, to stress-test them, to be wary about being overconfident, and to reflect on the consequences of your decisions and constantly improve.

I learned that failure is by and large due to not accepting and successfully dealing with the realities of life, and that by achieving success is simply a matter of accepting and successfully dealing with all my realities."

Henrik Ibsen

"This longing to commit a madness stays with us throughout our lives. Who has not, when standing with someone by an abyss or high up on a tower, had a sudden impulse to push the other over? And how is it that we hurt those we love although we know that remorse will follow? Our whole being is nothing but a fight against the dark forces within ourselves. To live is to war with trolls in heart and soul. To write is to sit in judgment on oneself."

Arthur Schopenhauer

"This is why the same external events or circumstances affect no two people alike; even with perfectly similar surroundings every one lives in a world of his own... The world in which a man lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he looks at it, and so it proves different to different men; to one it is barren, dull, and superficial; to another rich, interesting, and full of meaning. On hearing of the interesting events which have happened in the course of a man's experience, many people will wish that similar things had happened in their lives too, completely forgetting that they should be envious rather of the mental aptitude which lent those events the significance they possess when he describes them. 

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"If people improved their diet and their exercise habits, this would have a beneficial effect on all of the organs, because the body is an interconnected whole.

This seems obvious to us now, but such an organic way of thinking has great application to our psychological health as well. Now more than ever people focus on their specific problems - their depression, their lack of motivation, their social inadequacies, their boredom. But what governs all of these seemingly separate problems is our attitude, how we view the world on a daily basis. It is how we see and interpret events. Improve the overall attitude and everything else will elevate as well - creative powers, the ability to handle stress, confidence levels, relationships with people.

Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens - A Brief History of Humankind

"Biology enables, culture forbids."

James Grant

Graham & Dodd Columbia Newsletter

"Graham & Dodd Columbia Newsletter: What advice do you have for students or investors in the early stages of their career?

 

James Grant: See the older gent walking down the street, the one not checking a mobile device? He has money, security, position. In short, he possesses everything you don’t have and desperately want. But do you know something? The elderly gent would give his money, security and position for your bounding energy, full head of hair and limitless prospects. You should enjoy them!"

Steve Jobs

2005 Stanford Commencement Speech

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

Ludwig von Mises

"There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved."

James Grant

Intro to Benjamin Graham's Security Analysis 6th Edition

“[Benjamin Graham's investment partnership] came through the crash creditably: down by only 20% was, for the final quarter of 1929, almost heroic. But they gave up 50% in 1930, 16% in 1931, and 3% in 1932 (another relatively excellent showing), for a cumulative loss of 70%. 'I blamed myself not so much for my failure to protect myself against the disaster I had been predicting,' Graham writes, 'as for having slipped into an extravagant way of life which I hadn’t the temperament or capacity to enjoy. I quickly convinced myself that the true key to material happiness lay in a modest standard of living which could be achieved with little difficulty under almost all economic conditions'— the margin-of-safety idea applied to personal finance.” 

Peter Bevelin

Seeking Wisdom From Darwin to Munger

"Human evolution started about 4 to 7 million years ago and today's 'modern' human brain appeared on the scene some 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. For most of that time our ancestors lived in primitive hunter-gatherer societies. These societies existed until the end of the last Ice Age, around 13,000 years ago. Soon thereafter, some 10,000 years ago, agriculture was developed. This means that humans have spent more than 99% of their evolutionary history in the hunter gatherer environment. If we compress 4 million years into 24 hours, and if the history of humans began at midnight, agriculture made its appearance on the scene 23 hours and 55 minutes later."

Tim Ferriss

"For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn't conspire against you, but it doesn't go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. 'Someday' is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it's important to you and you want to do it 'eventually,' just do it and correct course along the way."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"So often we think that power has changed people, when in fact it simply reveals more of who they are."

Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

"Anonymous: 'You give a lot of advice about what to do.  Do you have any advice about what not to do?' 

 

Cheryl Strayed: 'Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do.  Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay.  Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight.  Don’t focus on the short term fun instead of the long term fallout.  Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.  Don’t seek joy at all costs.  I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is.  Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do – have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly.  I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it.  Even when I justified it to myself – as I did every damn time - the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always as the years pass, I’m learning now to better trust my gut and not do the wrong thing, but every so often I get a harsh reminder that I’ve still got work to do.'"

Sam Walton

Made In America

"[My] rules for building a business:


 1. Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.
 2. Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners.
 3. Motivate your partners. Money and ownership alone aren’t enough.
 4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.
 5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
 6. Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up. Have fun. Show enthusiasm — always.
 7. Listen to everyone in your company
 8. Exceed your customer’s expectations
 9. Control your expenses better than your competition
 10. Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going in the exactly the opposite direction."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"Almost all of our social attention is absorbed by what people say, which more often than not actually serves to conceal what they are really thinking and feeling. Nonverbal cues tell us what people are trying to emphasize with their words and the subtext of their message, the nuances of communication. These cues tell us what they are actively hiding, their real desires. They reflect in an immediate way people's emotions and moods. To miss this information is to operate blindly, to invite misunderstanding, and to lose endless opportunities to influence people by not noticing the signs of what they really want or need."

Howard Marks

Political Reality Meets Economic Reality (January 30, 2019 Memo)

"More than anything else, perhaps, economics is the study of choice."

Russell Ackoff

A Lifetime of Systems Thinking (https://thesystemsthinker.com/a-lifetime-of-systems-thinking/?mc_cid=c407a7cc64&mc_eid=5edaac4958)

"The best thing that can be done to a problem is to solve it. False. The best thing that can be done to a problem is to dissolve it, to redesign the entity that has it or its environment so as to eliminate the problem. Such a design incorporates common sense and research, and increases our learning more than trial-and-error or scientific research alone can."

Russell Ackoff

A Lifetime of Systems Thinking (https://thesystemsthinker.com/a-lifetime-of-systems-thinking/?mc_cid=c407a7cc64&mc_eid=5edaac4958)

"The principal function of most corporations is not to maximize shareholder value, but to maximize the standard of living and quality of work life of those who manage the corporation. Providing the shareholders with a return on their investments is a requirement, not an objective. As Peter Drucker observed, profit is to a corporation as oxygen is to a human being: necessary for existence, not the reason for it. A corporation that fails to provide an adequate return for their investment to its employees and customers is just as likely to fail as one that does not reward its shareholders adequately."

Scott Adams

How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big

"I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks for is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over. A normal slot machine that requires money will bankrupt any player in the long run. But the machine that has rare yet certain payoffs, and asks for no money up front, is a guaranteed winner if you have what it takes to keep yanking until you get lucky."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"Human nature stems from the particular wiring of our brains, the configuration of our nervous system, and the way we humans process emotions, all of which developed and emerged over the course of the five million years or so of our evolution as a species. We can ascribe many of the details of our nature to the distinct way we evolved as a social animal to ensure our survival - learning to cooperate with others, coordinating our actions with the group on a high level, creating novel forms of communication and ways of maintaining group discipline. This early development lives on within us and continues to determine our behavior, even in the modern sophisticated world we live in."

Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature

"But first we must clear up a common misconception: we tend to think of our behavior as largely conscious and willed. To imagine that we are not always in control of what we do is a frightening thought, but in fact it is the reality. We are subject to forces from deep within us that drive our behavior and that operate below the level of our awareness."

Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets - Making Smarter Decisions When you Don't have all the facts

"At the very beginning of my poker career, I heard an aphorism from some of the legends of the profession: 'It's all just one long poker game.' That aphorism is a reminder to take the long view, especially when something big happened in the last half hour, or the previous hand - or when we get a flat tire. Once we learn specific ways to recruit past and future versions of us to remind ourselves of this, we can keep the most recent upticks and downticks in their proper perspective. When we take the long view, we're going to think in a more rational way. 

Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets - Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

"We tend to think about conflicts of interest in the financial sense, like the researchers getting paid by the sugar industry. But conflicts of interest come in many flavors. Our brains have built-in conflicts of interest, interpreting the world around us to confirm our beliefs, to avoid having to admit ignorance or error, to take credit for good results following our decisions, to find reasons bad results following our decisions were due to factors outside our control, to compare well with our peers, and to live in a world where the way things turn out makes sense. We are not naturally disinterested. We don't process information independent of the way we wish the world to be."

Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets - Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

"In most of our decisions, we are not betting against another person. Rather, we are betting against all the future versions of ourselves that we are not choosing. We are constantly deciding among alternative futures: one where we go to the movies, one where we go bowling, one where we stay home. Or futures where we take a job in Des Moines, stay at our current job, or take some time away from work. Whenever we make a choice, we are betting on a potential future. We are betting that the future version of us that results from the decisions we make will be better off. At stake in a decision is that the return to us (measured in money, time, happiness, health, or whatever we value in that circumstance) will be greater than what we are giving up by betting against the other alternative future versions of us."

Stephen Hawking

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."

Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets - Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts

"Those world-class poker players taught me to understand what a bet really is: a decision about an uncertain future. The implications of treating decisions as bets made it possible for me to find learning opportunities in uncertain environments. Treating decisions as bets, I discovered, helped me avoid common decision traps, learn from results in a more rational way, and keep emotions out of the process as much as possible."

Jason Zweig

On Writing Better: Getting Started

"Good writing is full of wonder; it marvels at the glory and stupidity and frustration and pain and beauty of being alive. You can't write anything if you don't feel something. You have to want to tell people what you feel, what you care about, what you believe, what you know; if you don't have something you're on fire to tell us about, you shouldn't be writing."

Jason Zweig

On Writing Better: Getting Started

"I also know why I write: to learn. For me, writing is like peeling the onion of my own ignorance. The clearer and simpler I try to make my thoughts as I set them down, the more I realize how little I know and how much more I need to read, how much longer I need to study, how many more people I need to talk with, before I can finally write without feeling like a complete impostor or intellectual fraud. In my columns, that often means coming back to the same topic again and again until I finally figure it out."

Brian Chesky

"I remember the first day at [Rhode Island School of Design] I had a teacher who said, 'You’re a designer. You live in other people’s worlds because they designed that world for you, but those people were no smarter than you. It is your time to design the world you live in.' This had a huge effect on me because it allowed me to stop editing my imagination. I think we go through our lives limiting our potential, and when times are tough it’s easy to convince ourselves that something isn’t possible, but if you start there then you limit yourself and the possibilities of what you can create."
 

William B. Irvine

A Guide to the Good Life

"We should keep in mind that any human activity that cannot be carried on indefinitely must have a final occurrence.  There will be - or already has been! - a last time in your life that you brush your teeth, cut your hair, drive a car, mow the lawn, or play hopscotch.  There will be a last time you hear the sound of snow falling, watch the moon rise, smell popcorn, feel the warmth of a child falling asleep in your arms, or make love.  You will someday eat your last meal, and soon thereafter you will take your last breath." 

Albert Einstein

"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Warren Buffett

Jeff Bezos: "You are the second richest man in the world and yet you have the simplest investment thesis.  How come others didn't follow this?"

Warren Buffett: "Because no one wants to get rich slowly."

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Warren Buffett

The Snowball - Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

“When I was sixteen, I had just two things on my mind - girls and cars. I wasn't very good with girls. So I thought about cars. I thought about girls, too, but I had more luck with cars. 


Let's say that when I turned sixteen, a genie had appeared to me. And that genie said, 'Warren, I'm going to give you the car of your choice. It'll be here tomorrow morning with a big bow tied on it. Brand-new. And it's all yours.'


Having heard all the genie stories, I would say, 'What's the catch?' And the genie would answer, 'There's only one catch. This is the last car you're ever going to get in your life. So it's got to last a lifetime.'
If that had happened, I would have picked out that car. But, can you imagine, knowing it had to last a lifetime, what I would do with it?


I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I'd have it fixed right away because I wouldn't want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime.


That's exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. And it's got to last a lifetime. Now, it's very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don't take care of that mind and that body, they'll be a wreck forty years later, just life the car would be.


It's what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”

Ray Dalio

Principles

"It is a fundamental law of nature that to evolve one has to push one’s limits, which is painful, in order to gain strength—whether it’s in the form of lifting weights, facing problems head-on, or in any other way. Nature gave us pain as a messaging device to tell us that we are approaching, or that we have exceeded, our limits in some way. At the same time, nature made the process of getting stronger require us to push our limits. Gaining strength is the adaptation process of the body and the mind to encountering one’s limits, which is painful. In other words, both pain and strength typically result from encountering one’s barriers. When we encounter pain, we are at an important juncture in our decision-making process.

                                                               PAIN + REFLECTION = PROGRESS"

Scott Adams

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

"My guideline for deciding when to quit is informed by a lifetime of trying dozens of business ideas, most of them failures.  I've also carefully observed others struggling with the stay-or-quit decisions.  There have been times I stuck with bad ideas for far too long out of a misguided sense that persistence is a virtue.  The pattern I noticed was this: Things that will someday work out well start out well.  Things that will never work start out bad and stay that way."

Charlie Munger

"The human mind is a lot like the human egg, and the human egg has a shut off device.  When one sperm gets in, it shuts down so the next one can’t get in.  In other words once people make a decision then it becomes extremely unlikely that they will reverse this decision, especially if they have publicly committed to it."

Ray Dalio

Principles

"Though most people think that they are striving to get the things (toys, bigger houses, money, status, etc.) that will make them happy, for most people those things don't supply anywhere near the long-term satisfaction that getting better at something does. Once we get the things we are striving for, we rarely remain satisfied with them.  The things are just the bait. Chasing after them forces us to evolve, and it is the evolution and not the rewards themselves that matters to us and to those around us.  This means that for most people success is struggling and evolving as effectively as possible, i.e., learning rapidly about oneself and one's environment, and then changing to improve."

Richard Feynman

​​"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."

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Steve Jobs

2005 Stanford University Commencement Speech

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.  You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart."  

Joseph Tussman

“What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.”

Conan O'Brien

2011 Dartmouth University Commencement Speech

"It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention."

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Emily Esfahani Smith

The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters

"People commit suicide because they're unhappy, right? Wrong. They do it because they lack meaning.  From The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters: When they crunched the numbers, they discovered a surprising trend: happiness and unhappiness did not predict suicide. The variable that did, they found, was meaning -- or, more precisely, the lack of it."

Art Markman

October 2016 Issue of Psychology Today

"The biggest regrets of adults in their 70's and 80's are the actions they did not take - never learning to swing dance or not switching careers when they had a chance.  When young, people are prone to avoid risks and potential failures in the belief that they will rue any bad outcomes.  As a result, they miss out on opportunities that, as an older adult, they will regret not having pursued.  It is helpful for younger adults to deploy the mental capacity to travel in time.  Imagine yourself at an advanced age and think back on your life.  Consider the experiences that the older you will likely regret not having had. Then, work toward having those experiences while you are still young enough to do so."

Viktor E. Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

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