Monthly archives of “October 2018

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Surprises Shouldn’t Be Surprising

The habit of making decisions whose origins are so heavily weighted with retrospection is part of the process of change itself and part of the forces that shape the future. Rational expectations models so often go astray, in fact, because they are unable to accommodate this dynamic aspect of the process. More important, it is the main reason why surprise is so frequent in its occurrence and so shattering in its impact. Although human beings are always being taken by surprise, we have learned not to be surprised by surprise.

– Peter Bernstein

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What Is A Company?

The company is one of the most amazing inventions of humans, this abstract construct that’s incredibly powerful. Even so, for me, it’s about the products. It’s about working together with really fun, smart, creative people and making wonderful things. It’s not about the money. What a company is, then, is a group of people who can make more than just the next big thing. It’s a talent, it’s a capability, it’s a culture, it’s a point of view, and it’s a way of working together to make the next thing, and the next one, and the next one.

– Steve Jobs

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Chesterton’s Fence

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.”

– GK Chesterton

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A private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones. The library should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allows you to put there. You will accumulate more knowledge and more books as you grow older, and the growing number of unread books on the shelves will look at you menacingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this collection of unread books an antilibrary.

– Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Inferential Focus

Inferential focus’s discipline centers on the reading of 180 publications, which range from Adhesive Age to Yankee (many of these subscriptions are trade periodicals). Such reading serves as a “radar screen” on which the anomalies, or clues of change, first appear. This reading also provides a feeling for what is normal, as one needs to know normality in order to recognize an anomaly (something that shouldn’t be happening in terms of “conventional wisdom”). When sufficient anomalies or breaks in a trend are noted, inferential focus infers that a new trend is forming.

– Bennett W. Goodspeed