5 guides that improve my life
Don't disappoint our 18 year old selves
Nassim Taleb is a provocative, modern day philosopher. He is a Marmite character, i.e. you either love or hate him. I find his ideas refreshing and deeply thought provoking. Taleb dislikes professions and organisations which, in his view, do not have Skin in the Game. If you can see past the abrasive style then I think there is much to be gained by taking a closer look at his work. I share some of his guides for life and how I try to implement them.
5 guides for life
1. Do not disappoint your 18 year old self
Look at yourself in the mirror and consider if you disappoint the person you were at 18. Let them be your judge, not your current wealth or reputation. If you do not feel ashamed then you are successful.
The 18 year old me left my childhood home to study Maths and Computing at Bath University. My reading and writing skills were poor, and my general knowledge was limited. Since that time, my communication skills have improved and my world view expanded. My 18 year old self would judge me favourably, I believe.
2. Do not read newspapers
Do not follow the news in any way or form. To be convinced, go to the library and read last year’s newspaper.
Until recently, I listened to BBC Radio 4 news about 2 hours per day. I now spend this time in more intentional ways, e.g. reading, writing or listening to podcasts.
3. Be respectful to manual workers
Taleb says, Greet a doorman with a lot of respect, more than the boss.
This wall was built by David Mullins (1938 - 2011), a gentle giant and master mason from Combe Down. It takes many skills to make this world special, some of the mind, others of the hand and eye. - plaque on rear of the main entrance sign for the University of Bath
The Kennet and Avon Canal, I am sat next to as I write these words, was constructed by many unsung heroes. I would love to have been able to thank them and David Mullins for the treasures they left for me to enjoy.
4. Have skin in the game
Take a risk, start a business and create jobs. Provide input before expecting an output.
There are almost 7b people on this planet. Someday, I hope there will be almost 7b companies. - Naval Ravikant
5. Tell people what you do (not what they should do)
Illustrating with examples is more powerful than theoretical explanations.
The superior man acts before he speaks and afterwards speaks according to his action. - Confucius
This blog explains how I develop apps and apply mental models. As explained in Blog Well. Think Well., blogging helps me organise my thoughts while sharing my journey with others.
The Black Swan book by Nassim Taleb
Demystifying Randomness post by Phil Martin
How to Benefit from Disorder post by Phil Martin
I loved Oasis’ music even though Liam and Noel Gallagher were antagonistic and full of themselves. In a similar way, I see past Nassim Taleb’s abrasive persona because he shares original, impactful ideas.