Understand the source and you understand the solution. To keep your product or message at the top of someone’s mind, you should associate it with something that people encounter on a frequent basis. Time had the power to cancel all changes wrought by human artifice. If you are not aggressive, you are not going to make money, and if you are not defensive, you are not going to keep money. Nothing is so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all Be free of fear and desire. Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. For any plan to work, every team needs at least one asshole who doesn’t give a shit if he or she gets fired or exiled or excommunicated. No nature would not bring something that wasn’t beneficial to what it governed. Interesting things happened to people who could weave them into interesting stories. This is all a big lottery, and press is a good way to get more tickets. A person's worth is measured by the worth of what he values. Life is a waste of time; time is a waste of life, so get wasted all of the time and have the time of your life. The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. Affectus, qui passio est, desinit esse passio simulatque eius claram et distinctam formamus ideam. [Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering when we form a clear and distinct idea of it.] Very simple mechanisms, sufficiently scaled, can end up looking like magic. Politics is the art of postponing decisions until they are no longer relevant. You do not merely want to be considered the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do We need to make our message so integral to the narrative that people can’t tell the story without it. When you get on the ground if the order we issued you is wrong, execute the order we should have issued you. Memory can give warmth to time. The greatest risk is that we’ll get to the end of our lives having never risked them on anything. Because there is no demand for new and unknown goods, no demand for the unforeseeable fruits of innovation and genius, preoccupation with demand fosters stagnation The mind without passions is a fortress. Why do some places prosper and thrive while others juct suck? It's not a matter of brains. No part of the earth is dumber than Beverly Hills, and the residents are wading in gravy. In Russia, meanwhile, where chess is a spectator sport, they're boiling stones for soup If it’s not dangerous, ignore it. If it’s not new and exciting, ignore it. If it is new, summarize it as quickly as possible—and forget about the details. Better not to think at all than to think halfway. The most important conflict often happens within a character, or within the narrator. The story begins with an inscrutable character and ends with a person the author and reader understand better than before, a series of events that yields, however quietly, a dramatic truth. A model isn’t the thing but rather an exaggeration of one aspect of the thing. Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise. Never act on a new idea for at least twenty-four hours. O quam cito transit gloria mundi. Love without sacrifice is like theft. To learn from data, you have to make assumptions about it. The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it. Charismatic leaders often point out deficiencies in the status quo, contrast this picture to a glorious future, and show how they intend to get there. When we listen to your narrative, it’s not what happens to you that makes you interesting, but it’s what you do about the situations you are in. If I can get you to make a commitment (that is, to take a stand, to go on record), I will have set the stage for your automatic and ill-considered consistency with that earlier commitment. Once a stand is taken, there is a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand. Perfection is not pleasure and imperfection is not pain. Pleasure and pain are associated with transitions between states, not the states themselves. Fools try to prove that they are right. Wise men try to find when they are wrong. Risk greases the wheels of a free-market economy; uncertainty grinds them to a halt. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war Limit your attention to things that meet two criteria—they matter to you and you can influence them. Someone who has made plenty of errors—though never the same error more than once—is more reliable than someone who has never made any. In every man sleeps a prophet, and when he wakes there is a little more evil in the world. People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. The weak shows his strength and hides his weaknesses; the magnificent exhibits his weaknesses like ornaments. There's a thin line between vision, bulltshit, and fraud. If you want power, at some point you will have to spread fictions. If you want to know the truth about the world, at some point you will have to renounce power. Purity of soul is to will one thing When the Japanese say 'Yes', it means ‘Yes, I understand,’ not ‘Yes, I agree.’ Optimism is the best prevention for regret. A pat on the back is only a few inches from a kick in the butt. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted. There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in. Time is, ultimately, the expression of our ignorance of the world. When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money. How superb to become wise without being boring; how sad to be boring without being wise. The more you know, the less you need. All you need is a large batch of incompetent experts and some of them will end up with a fantastic track record. Prudence in contemplation, courage in execution. The fact that you can put a dozen inexperienced people into a room and conduct a brainstorming session that produces exciting new ideas shows how little relative importance ideas themselves actually have. Every chapter title uses a sequence of three words (with an action verb as the first word). Happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them. [I'm] not for sale but I'm takin payments. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it just a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such it is the invention of civilization. The price of a stock is still determined by people. And as long as people let fear, greed, hope, and ignorance cloud their judgment, they will continue to misprice stocks and provide opportunities to those who rigorously use simple, time-tested strategies to pick stocks. For a company to excel, employees must be reassured that self-interest, not the company’s, is their foremost priority. History aims above all to make us aware of possibilities we don’t normally consider. For any plan to work, every team needs at least one asshole who doesn’t give a shit if he or she gets fired or exiled or excommunicated. America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland. If you don’t encounter competition, you should wonder if you are doing something worthwhile enough. Market research can’t tell you about solving problems that customers can’t conceive are solvable. Giving the customer what he wants is less important than giving him what he doesn’t yet know he wants. Where there are people who want to buy there will be people willing to sell. The more you work to get something, the more you’ll enjoy it. The most successful companies make the core progression—to first dominate a specific niche and then scale to adjacent markets—a part of their founding narrative. A good enchanter believes objections are a way of saying, “Not yet” or “Tell me more” as opposed to “No.” Il n'y a qu'une route vers le bonheur : c'est de renoncer aux choses qui ne dépendent pas de notre volonté. Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home? Customers attach value to a product in proportion to its perceived ability to help solve their problems or meet their needs. All else is derivative. Many people think they are risk takers, but are actually gamblers A pillar of capitalism is you can’t reward the winners without punishing the losers. The efficiency and consistency of automated processes outweigh the benefit and cachet of doing things manually. In a fight, being crazy is better than being smart. Mastery, autonomy, and purpose (MAP) Better to craft a story that explains not just that you’re better and different, but how you cater to particular groups of people and use-cases. Experience teaches all too plainly that men have nothing less in their power than their tongue, and can do nothing less than moderate their appetites…. So the madman, the chatterbox, the child, and a great many people of this kind believe they speak from a free decision of the mind, when really they cannot contain their impulse to speak. If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you. A poor analogy is at the bottom of all bad ideas. A man is honorable in proportion to the personal risks he takes for his opinion—in other words, the amount of downside he is exposed to. Never explain―your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway. If you want to have what others don't, you have to do what others won't. Why models? Because the inanimate world is filled with quasi-regularities that hint at deeper causes. We need models to explain what we see and to predict what will occur. We use models for envisioning the future and influencing it. The real problem with robots is not their own artificial intelligence but rather the natural stupidity and cruelty of their human masters. The customer rarely buys what the business thinks it sells him. Capitalism’s raison d’être is to bring every aspect of human life into the economic arena, where it is transformed into a commodity to be exchanged as property in the marketplace. The only real failure is the failure to learn Good writing finishes strong. A story spans the distance from “before” to “after". Investing is a popularity contest, and the most dangerous thing is to buy something at the peak of its popularity. At that point, all favorable facts and opinions are already factored into its price, and no new buyers are left to emerge. We suffer roughly two times more from a loss than we enjoy a gain of the same size. What matters isn’t what a person has or doesn’t have; it is what he or she is afraid of losing. If you're going to say what you want to say, you're going to hear what you don't want to hear. When people don’t pay the true cost of something, they tend to consume it inefficiently. The first follower is what transforms the lone nut into a leader. All happy companies are different: each one earns a monopoly by solving a unique problem. All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition. On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key. The ability to stay disciplined to a process is arguably the most important aspect of being a successful investor. The knowledge that life is worthless is the flower of all human wisdom. Intuitive judgments are often unreliable because people base predictions on how well an event seems to fit a story. The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it. In order to make advances in our understanding of the world, it is not always necessary to have new data. Education is a progressive discovery of our ignorance Humans can thirst for money, knowledge, or love; sometimes for two, never for three. Running long or beyond the point of attention shows weakness, neediness, and desperation. In situations in which outcomes are important, we get stressed by uncertainty and feel the need to do something so that we have the illusion that we can control events. Do not focus on what you cannot control. Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth. The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive. Death smiles at us all; all we can do is smile back. Je ne m’estime pas comme blasé ; est-ce ma faute si autrui est médiocre ? Neediness equals weakness. Great art is horseshit, buy tacos. Identify the goal and then forget about it and concentrate on the process. Tactics mean doing what you can with what you have. Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. Leadership is the ability to convince people to work together in pursuit of a common goal. Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening. The smarter you become, the less you speak. Everything in the world becomes blurred when seen close up. Modern-day "capitalism" in America is to flatten the risk curve for people who already have money, by borrowing from future generations with debt-fueled bailouts for companies. Stop perceiving the pain you imagine and you’ll remain completely unaffected. Complex systems are weakened, even killed, when deprived of stressors. Like all milestones, something to look forward to, something to look back on, but at the time, nothing more than a pretext for indulgence. The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it. In a nutshell, a story is about how the things that happen affect someone in pursuit of a difficult goal, and how that person changes internally as a result. The best choices are the ones that have more pros than cons, not those that don't have any cons at all. The fundamentals of a stock don’t change nearly as much or as rapidly as its price. What I know at sixty, I knew as well at twenty. Forty years of a long, a superfluous, labor of verification. Success is the harmful passage from the camp of the hating to the camp of the hated. Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the Gods made for fun. Ask yourself, for example, what it is that you’re really selling. It is not the features or the thing itself. It’s the experience of the thing and all the emotions related to it that you are really selling. If you want to gauge group loyalty, requiring people to believe an absurdity is a far better test than asking them to believe the truth. Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue. The classical man’s worst fear was inglorious death; the modern man’s worst fear is just death. All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. Nothing in life is as important as you think it is when you are thinking about it. If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose. The real question is gumption. The simpler, the better. Complications lead to multiplicative chains of unanticipated effects. Remember the 80/20 rule and know that the key 20 percent is. What is done to me is ordained by nature, what I do by my own. Innovative strategies are based, not on finding out what people want and providing it, but on inventing ever-bigger hammers and then forcing us to be nails. You should never be able to reverse engineer a company’s organizational chart from the design of its product. Once we realize that imperfect understanding is the human condition, there is no shame in being wrong, only in failing to correct our mistakes. Social media are severely antisocial, health foods are empirically unhealthy, knowledge workers are very ignorant, and social sciences aren’t scientific at all. Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better. When you are called to action, sometimes the most useful action you can take is to improve the data.