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Random thoughts, Book Recommendations, and Other Items


It is my opinion that the most dangerous bias is confirmation bias. 


When examining complex issues it is best to break them down to core building blocks. If you can identify the building blocks to create the complexity, then you begin to understand your system and the laws that govern it. 


Everyone should read this at least once in their life. 

"Pessimism is intellectually seductive in a way optimism only wishes it could be."

The Seduction of Pessimism - Morgan Housel


I've been thinking about grit and resilience and its role in future success.  There's a famous study in behavioral psychology involving children and a toy, or marshmellow. The child is left alone in a room with a two way mirror. The researcher tells the child that if they can wait to play with the toy until the researcher returns they'll be able to play with it for as long as they want. If they play with it before the researcher returns it will be taken away.  The children that delayed gratification were more likely to be successful in school than the children that played with the toy.  What is often failed to be mentioned is a separate experiment in which the researcher returned but did not allow the children that waited to play the toy actually play with it.  When the researcher left a second time the child, wallowing in their disappointment, played with the toy when they were told not to. 

Did they lose their grit and resilience in the that momment? Or did they lose trust in figures of authority?  Which is the greater driver of success. Grit? or Trust in authority?


9/3/2020 Influence on Children

I have been seeing posts on social media shaming political leaders in our country for their behavior and its effect on our children. Children don't pay attention to politicians, or the news. Children under the age of 12 pay attention to their parents. This is their biggest influence up until that age. So, be careful how you influence them. After 12, children are influenced most by the likes and dislikes of their social group. Parents have little influence after this. After age 20 they are influenced most by their significant others. Once they get comfortable with their significant others, they are influenced by their social group again. If you are adult reading this, that would be you. Politicians and celebrities have little to do with it.


To have peace and understanding of each other one must first recognize they are an immoral being. This is a common theme in the Bible. The most successful publication in the history of the world.  This lesson still holds true. From Abraham to Paul. Both fell to their knees before God as sinners. From that position you can grow to a more virtuous Being. But you have to be humble enough to go there and face your own darkness. Knowing your evil is more valuable than knowing your virtue.  


The successful among us delay gratification and bargain with their future. 

- Jordan B. Peterson


Low price/book are the assets wall street cares about the least. Low price/earnings are the earnings wall street finds the least valuable. High dividend yields are the dividends wall street trusts the least. 

- Jeremy Grantham 



Should the decision be determined rational by the observer or the actor?


“Envy is a really stupid sin because it's the only one you could never possibly have any fun at. There's a lot of pain and no fun. Why would you want to get on that trolley?”

- Charlie Munger


A quick thought on schools and COVID-19.  In my opinion, any return to school plan that is not "pod" based is unlikely to be successful.  The best way to control a pandemic is to control exposure. Less contacts and fast efficient contact tracing is paramount. Schools are perfect environments to experiment with Pods. 4-5 students in a pod. They do everything together. If one child gets sick they can all be tested. There are no other contacts. You are in control.


Unfortunately most Governor mandates require social distancing indoors, which has drawn focus away from this strategy. Control is much more difficult with a distancing and mask strategy. This demonstrates how large scale mandates and protocols can limit creativity and discovery. Most politicians are moved into the intellectual class. Unfortunately, this class tends complicates problems and rarely develops practical simple solutions. Complication adds to the perception that simple ideas can not solve large scale problems, which keeps them employed. 


A calm mind is earned. Not given.


In other words an anxious mind must be tamed by improving the understanding of one's environment and pursuing activities that provide value to those around them. If you provide value to those around you, you will be protected by your tribe. 


Quote for the Day:

The seduction of safety is often more perilous than the illusion of uncertainty. 

-Robin Sharma


Think of one thing you read this week that influenced the way you thought about something? How did your preconceived notions of the topic change the way you thought about it? Were your beliefs reinforced, or were you skeptical? To what degree were you influenced?


When I was a kid I thought chess was silly. I didn't understand why so many adults said it would be good for me. To learn. As an adult I realized that in chess you have to see the board in the future, not as it is. Practicing this model of thinking is a higher level of computation. The average chess master can think 15 moves ahead. After 3 moves in chess there is 9,000,000 variations of the game. That's some serious computational power. Train your brain to compute, not react, and you'll control the game. 


I'm currently reading Skin in the Game  by N. N. Taleb. My favorite quote so far is, "It is morally reprehensible to give advice in which you do not have to suffer the consequences." This is your typical politician that passes a law but is immune to its consequences. i.e. taxes. Skin in the Game is having to live what you preach. Action before words. You tend to think more critically when you are accountable. 

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