Why I don’t fear deflation

posted on October 26, 2015 in

The argument about why deflation is bad seems to boil down to: “Deflation makes people keep cash instead of spending it….”

To some degree, sure, it gives people a reason to spend less, in the same way that high interest rates give people a reason to spend less.

But people still need to eat. They still have needs and wants. Maybe they eschew a few wants and let their cash pile up, but people are not machines – they’ll eventually decide the desire for the thing outweighs the value of the cash in the bank.

It may slow down growth, but it also rewards people who have been careful about saving their money. That resonates with me, personally.

Struggling with “Never reason from a price change”

posted on August 20, 2015 in

Scott Sumner at http://www.themoneyillusion.com/ regularly reminds his readers to “never reason from a price change”. Which, if I understand it correctly, means never to assume that certain things will happen if the price of something changes. He’s given various examples – the price of X dropping might increase demand for X or it might be dropping because demand for X is already dropping and the price change won’t have any effect

But I struggle with this sometimes. For example, the other day, on the topic of raising the minimum wage at restaurants, Kevin Drum said “since it affects all restaurants, they’re all in the same boat, and people will still go out to eat”.

Megan McArdle at Bloomberg pointed out that if restaurants raise prices, people can also choose not to eat out as much.

Which seems manifestly true, but also seems like she’s violating the Sumner Principle. What am I missing?

I enter the Mandatory Vaccination quagmire

posted on July 16, 2015 in

Gennady Stolyarov II writes an article discussing the merits of mandatory vaccination.

I found this link via a post from Dr Robert Murphy who I profoundly disagree with on a number of things.

But in this case, I must agree with Dr Murphy over Mr (?) Stolyarov. Two specific quotes are salient:

Like Dr. Meyer, I base my argument on the non-aggression principle and the recognition that people do not have the right to involuntarily expose others to deadly diseases that, with continued vaccination, could become eradicated or remain at minimal levels.

if you replace “deadly diseases” with “hate speech” and “vaccination” with “indoctrination”, you have a fairly common left-wing argument. I believe strongly in the value of a herd immunity, and would prefer that everyone (or as close as possible) were vaccinated. But the precedent is too easy – once you establish a libertarian position that a lack of action is so dangerous that it justifies curtailing liberty to force action – you open the door to lots of clever people making that same argument about anything they care to. They’ll make those arguments anyways, of course, but at least now we have the consistency of our position to use as a base for resistance. Once we weaken that with compromise, it just becomes a matter of time before it starts devolving into “X is just as important as vaccination” and then you’re arguing about X, rather than arguing about force.

Only medical doctors who recognize the benefits and efficacy of vaccination in the majority of instances, but consider the risk of adverse side effects to be too great for a particular patient, should be able to provide exemptions to vaccination.

This is another classic progressive trope – “only the experts who think the correct way about this issue shall be given the authority to deviate from the mandate”. Who decides which experts are guilty of vaccine thoughtcrime, and which ones aren’t? Who decides which people sit on the vaccination thoughtcrime doctor evaluation panel, and who doesn’t? And so on – the standard problems with thoughtcrime punishment strategies. It’s ultimately too fragile, subject to the whims and fancies of a small number of people, who are all vulnerable to their own biases and agendas. It doesn’t make our decisions better, all it really does is establish another precedent that panels of experts should be making decisions instead of individuals.

He then goes on to discuss tactics – his proposed approach of denying unvaccinated kids access to public school is not completely unreasonable. I’d personally rather have all the unvaccinated kids shipped to the same school, where they can be kept isolated from the rest of the school-age population. Knowing that their kids were going to be in a cluster of high vulnerability should scare the dickens out of an even slightly self aware parent, and there’s really no hope for the ones that aren’t self aware.

The rest of his article is handwaving which I don’t have the patience with which to respond here.

Missing the mark on rational voters

posted on June 29, 2015 in

This article on the rational case for voting was interesting.

Derek Parfit’s “Harmless Torturers” argument
His argument here is that since performing 1/1000th of a torture is clearly bad, we shouldn’t even perform 1/1000th of a torture. Fair enough.

He then extrapolates:

so long as we accept that collectively high participating in voting is good, it follows that each individual decision to vote is good

So a significant part of the problem here is that “collectively high participating in voting is good” does not follow. It’s an assertion, not a fact. I personally suspect that many things that I might vote for might be considered 1/1000th of a torture to some poor soul. Logically then, I should never vote, since I don’t want to be 1/1000th of a torture. And in all honesty, any politician that one might vote for will make policy choices that will negatively impact some members of our society in meaningful ways. Thus, 1/1000th of a torture.

Anthropology and sociology hugely mitigate against the narrow economic view of adjudicating individual actions on a narrow benefit-cost of marginal action

This language is obtuse, and perhaps deliberately so. I believe what he’s trying to say here is that society is so complex that trying to perform cost-benefit analysis of a specific individuals actions is pointless.

… so what?

There’s no reason not to vote

or, he elaborates:

the costs to voting are extremely small,


But in a general equilibrium that is either positive or near a tipping point, especially given the prior point, if the costs of doing the socially beneficial and ethically sound thing are low or negligible, it is absolutely rational to do it.

His argument here is that leading by example is a legitimate use of your time if it helps motivate others to do good things. Actually, I’m inclined to agree that if you feel that you represent the tipping point of a movement, you should act, even if it wastes your time.

Having said that, I am not so narcissistic to believe that I ever represent said tipping point. Also, since the net effect of my voting might cause 1/1000th of a torture, me leading by example will ethically hold me responsible for a lot more than 1/1000th of a torture. Egads.

Voting is fun

I absolutely affirm his right to vote, if he finds it enjoyable and time well spent. That doesn’t make it rational in the general case.

Voting is empowering on an individual and communal level

He’s saying that you can’t legitimately complain if you don’t vote, and by voting, you uphold the legitimacy of voting.

The first part is tripe. The paying of taxes is all the legitimacy I need to have a say in the political process. The second part glosses over the fact that many bad things were legitimized by society’s participation. Just because lots of people do certain things doesn’t make them good, rational or ethically sound.

This argument mitigates against all public and civic participation

Except that you just established that one of the reasons to vote is that (for you) voting is fun. Can’t I donate to a candidate or sign a petition because it gives me enjoyment, even though I know it will have virtually zero impact?

This argument is particular to first-past-the-post elections on a very large scale

I believe there’s a typo in his sentence:

But if you’re going to vote for everything, the marginal cost of voting for everything on the ballot is so vanishingly small that even the narrow, economic argument against voting is thin as straw.

I believe the bold everything was meant to be “something” in his text. (Because otherwise it’s incoherent). And to some degree, he’s right – if you are going to go in and vote for one particular ballot item, voting for everything else on the ballot is virtually free, in terms of the sheer effort involved in pushing the appropriate button.

But, then there’s the fact that the ballot item you might be voting on will cause 1/1000th of a torture to someone. Don’t you have a tremendous ethical responsibility to educate yourself heavily on the pros and cons of every ballot item you vote for or against? Which is a *lot* more effort than just the physical pushing of the button. Mayhaps you don’t have time to do it right, and you ethically decide that since you aren’t informed on that particular ballot item, you shouldn’t participate?

Making this argument is immoral from a consequentialist standpoint

His argument is that if one accepts that high voter turnout is good, any argument that dampens high voter turnout is bad, even if the impact of that anti-voting argument is vanishingly small.

So first off, I am not comfortable claiming that high voter turnout is good.

Secondly, even if I did, what he’s saying is that if some policy or social action is considered a “public good”, any argument against it is damaging and shouldn’t be made. Applying this argument consistently across the past would have unravel all social progress. It used to be considered a “good thing” that the races were kept from interbreeding, that gays should never cohabit, let alone marry, that the state religion was the only religion that should be observed, and that certain people were born to rule.

Making this argument is immoral from an anthropological standpoint

and specifically, this gem:

Promoting cynicism and non-participating is bad

Yes. Let us never distrust government, nor point out that there are significant flaws in the current process. Thank goodness a Democrat is in charge, we don’t have to be cynical about government actions. The moment a Republican is in charge, cynicism and dissent will once again be a high form of patriotism.

Making this argument makes you look like a smug, dislikeable cynic

“Give me liberty or give me death!”

Patrick Henry, smug, dislikeable cynic, at least to the English….

My response

In my opinion, if you’re going to vote for or against a ballot item, you have a lot of responsibility.

First, you need to be very well educated about the ballot item, both pro- and con=. You have to have a good model of the future impacts of that item, societal, economic, political, etc.

Secondly, you have to be smart enough and well-adjusted enough that you can create this model dispassionately, and without your personal cognitive and political biases usurping your rational judgment.

Thirdly, you have to be an extremely advanced utilitarian to tease out whether then 1/1000th of a torture for some set of citizens is cancelled out by the benefits to others, and you have to be able to do that over a very long time horizon.

If you can’t do that – if you aren’t capable or don’t have the time to make these highly nuanced, insightful analyses of the issues at hand, you’re really no more sophisticated than a baby smearing dirt on a wall because it feels good.

But that’s fine – if you want to smear more dirt on the walls, that’s your right. I wish you wouldn’t, but I recognize that most people think it’s perfectly normal. Just don’t tell me that I also have to smear dirt on the wall, because most everyone else is doing it, and society thinks its a good thing.

What I think progressives believe about business

posted on June 24, 2015 in

When I was younger, I thought of US government spending as an absolute waste – no different from pouring money into a giant hole in the ground and burning it.

But I was wrong – most of the money the US government spends is not the equivalent of burning it – most of it goes to pay for salaries, to buy equipment and services. Some of that money is much more well spent than the rest, and there’s definitely an incredible amount of room for improvement, but even so, I was still wrong in my thoughts that government spending is utterly without benefit.

I think many, perhaps most progressives make the same categorical mistake about business. They seem to think that businesses are automatically profitable, and immensely so. That anyone can start a business and it will immediately make them very, very rich. They fall into the cliche’d belief that anything they don’t understand must be easy. Any counterexample – businesses that don’t make a lot of money – they can (and do) explain away as either lying about their actual profitability, or utterly incompetent.

Progressives look at stories like this one – CEOs make 300 times the average wage of their employees – and they go ballistic. They assume that it’s true across the board – everyone, every business in the world must have this vast gulf in wealth between the owners and the employees.

Armed with those assumptions, the rest of the progressive agenda is easy to follow:

“Increase the minimum wage” – why not? The managers are clearly making 300x the employees wages, it’s no big deal to increase the pay at the bottom. What, the management might only make 200x the average wage instead? Cry me a river.

“Add new regulations” – why not? Those fatcats can afford to hire people to manage the paperwork for them. They might have to spend 1% more every year and reduce their giant annual bonuses by 1%. Boo hoo, cry me a river.

“Increase healthcare services” – again, why not. Employees will be better off. So the manager only gets to buy three Ferraris this year, instead of four. Poor guy…

“Change salaried employees to hourly rates” – those employers were just using salaries so they could exploit those poor workers. And anyways, they can just raise prices – no matter how much your product/service costs, people will still pay for it, and at the same quantity.

And so on. And this is what makes progressives so livid when conservatives push back on these things – because it just seems so petty for these businessmen (and their cronies) to be complaining about thousands of dollars of additional expense to make their employees lives better, when these businessmen are (in the progressive mind) bringing home millions of dollars a year in profits. Especially when you factor in all the infrastructure that has been built over the years to facilitate those fatcat businessmen.

And if you think about it – if those things were true – if every competent businessman was immediately immensely successful and massively profitable – most of us would find arguing about a few pennies of additional cost to be disgustingly Scrooge-like. It would be evidence of the businessman’s bad faith, and then that would further justify any sort of additional restrictions you might wish to impose.

So remember this when you’re arguing with progressives about business. There’s an assumption of incredible wealth, and an associated assumption that the only way that business owners aren’t incredibly wealthy is when they’re completely incompetent. If you are in business, you are either evil, or stupid.

You need to be able to get past both of those objections before you can rationally engage on business-related policy discussions.

How dare these people give away their money!

posted on June 12, 2015 in

I agree with Marginal Revolution, this article about the Gates Foundation totally reads like the criticism of Reardon Metal.

I mean, the gall of that man, giving away so much money without the guidance of the intellectual zeitgeist.

War! Uh! What is it good for?

posted on November 26, 2014 in

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?
Resource Allocation!
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for?
Human Coordination!
Say it again, y’all

War, huh, good God
What is it good for?
Intelligent Cooperation
Listen to me!

Ooooh, war I despise
Because it means destruction
Of innocent lives

But war takes plans
In thousands of men’s lives
Coordinating to fight
Spurring a cultural rise

War, is for certain,
a heartbreaker
But it leads to cultural cooperation
Oooh, war
Is the evolutionary spur of mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War causes loyalty
Within the younger generation
Induction and alignment
so their culture won’t die

Inspired by: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-11/nifm-pch112514.php

An open letter to my friends on the Left

posted on July 22, 2014 in Politics

This is basically the starting point of the nightmare scenario for me with regards to government.

I understand the position that government exists to solve problems. And I agree that there are plenty of problems that the government can solve more efficiently than the private sector / markets.

I also certainly understand that the IRS is absolutely something that can’t be realistically privatized.

And, most importantly, this isn’t an issue about Obama specifically – this is just as problematic with any president.


So, look at the facts – Lois Lerner is suspected of deliberately targeting audits of non-profits that were politically rivalrous.

Ok. Not the end of the world, in and of itself – again, I agree that tax collection is a core competency of government, and, since the government is run by humans, not angels, you can expect that people will be seduced into doing unethical things for political purposes. The right thing to do here is to investigate and see if there’s a problem here, and if so, punish it as a warning to others.

But then it turns out that her hard drive crashed, and is wiped, eliminating all of the emails. Conveniently, only from the period under investigation. OK. This is bad – the IRS claims to destroy them to avoid publishing taxpayer data. Which makes sense, if they have a decent backup policy for emails, etc. But they don’t. Which is insanely incompetent. Or deliberately designed to protect the organization from accountability.

And then, to discover that also, incredibly conveniently, many of the people whom she corresponds with also had hard drives fail???

This is a perfect example of why I don’t like expanding the scope of government – because the bureaucracy protects itself against accountability. It becomes a political agent, with a specific political goal – not to support the life, liberty and happiness of the citizens of our country, but to protect itself and to support any other political agent that will help it grow larger and more influential.

Normally, when I comment on government agencies growing large and corrupt and abusing power, the response from liberals is “we just need good oversight”. In theory, this is true. In practice… Well, here’s an example of where we see corruption and abuse, and oversight has utterly failed. In my opinion, this will only happen more and more as time goes on, and we continue to increase the scope of what problems government is expected to solve.

When I show preferences for markets over governments to solve problems, it isn’t necessarily about efficiency. I get that there are scenarios where top-down solutions are more efficient than markets. But if a private organization being investigated “just happened” to lose the hard drives of the key people in a congressional investigation, there would be a significant amount of jail time involved. If the VA was private, its leadership would be in jail. If the BATF was private… again, jail for much of its leadership. Again, I’m not saying the IRS or the VA or the BATF needs to be privatized – I’m saying that our government has problems with accountability and oversight, and if we can’t get the oversight we were promised, we need to remove some of these functions. Private organizations are routinely punished for mistakes and cover-ups. Government agencies, apparently, are not.

As an aside, if this was a Republican administration, and Lois Lerner was a Republican appointee, there would probably be Occupy Wall Street-style protests out there because of this cover up. Which is, frustratingly, a reason to vote Republican – apparently Republican administrations are held accountable to the people and the press, while Democratic administrations are not.


posted on November 13, 2013 in

I’ve read extensively about HealthCare.gov, and I’ll be honest with you. I’m more than a little relieved that it has failed.

That sounds cruel, but bear with me. I’m relieved because for that project to have succeeded, given the constraints that it had, would violate almost everything I know about making software. It would be akin to saying “lets throw some bits of cloth into a dryer and see if it comes out as a sweater”.

From my perspective, as a grizzled veteran of the software world (20+ years), the list of things that were wrong with this project is staggering:

  • They didn’t have requirements until very, very late
  • they didn’t have a ‘product owner’
  • they didn’t have people with experience developing large software projects
  • they had the developers in silos
  • they didn’t have the right budget
  • they had a horrible, byzantine management structure
  • they never had a beta period
  • they had leadership that said ‘failure is not an option’. And that leadership has the power to assassinate / torture its enemies.
  • they were integrating with dozens, if not hundreds of third-party vendors

The layers of management incompetence here are incredible. No one could succeed under these constraints.

And so the project runs into problems, and what do they do? They double down on the mistakes:

  • Threats: “No one is madder than me, which means it’s going to get fixed” – Right, because scared, stressed-out programmers are the best.
  • Arbitrary Dates: “We’ll have it ready by November 30th.” – Did the developers assess the code and tell you this, or is this politically driven?
  • People: “We’ll bring in top people to fix it.” – Here’s one of the few iron laws of software: “Adding more people to a late project makes it later.”

And so what do we have? A website that has struggled with every aspect of its existence (although I admit it does look pretty). Data is lost, information is missing, errors are rampant and confusing. And everyone promising that “if we just fix this one issue, it will work.”

I am not one for swearing, but….


HealthCare.gov, like every other software project in existence, is an onion with hundreds of layers. And every time you find a problem (peel off a layer), you’re going to find another layer behind it.

More specifically – when they fix a bug, it quite possibly exposes one or two or three or a dozen bugs that no-one has seen before, because the first bug was hiding them. This is another one of the iron laws of software – layers upon layers of issues that don’t reveal themselves.

You’re looking at a project that will almost certainly take many months to fix. It may take years before it is fully debugged and functional for everyone. There will be all sorts of contingencies that get put into place that will help it limp along. But it will limp for a very , very long time.

I am not saying this out of malice – this is not an ideological issue for me – this is a matter of professional pride. Software doesn’t work just because the CEO wants it to. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline and artistry and skill to make it work. And an environment that supports discipline, artistry and skill. If you don’t have that environment, you will fail.

Crumbling infrastructure

posted on October 15, 2013 in

You know that trend where our infrastructure is failing – that more and more of our bridges are structurally deficient, etc?

Turns out that that’s not a thing. In percentage terms, the number of structurally deficient bridges has been cut in half over the last 20 years. In absolute terms, almost half.

Oh, that’s just Cato manipulating the data. Yeah, not so much. The data is here: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/bridge/deficient.cfm

So let’s review. Bridges? Not collapsing. Peak oil? Postponed for at least a few decades. Global warming? Paused for the last 17 years.

A late epiphany

posted on April 16, 2013 in

Paul Krugman writes a lot about the Liquidity Trap. I’ve always struggled with the concept – on one hand, he’s right – you can’t have interest rates below zero. But on the other hand, being in a liquidity trap (i.e. Monetary policy doesn’t work, so we have to perform Fiscal policy) is a justification for lots of arbitrary Keynesian stimulus, which I find loathsome because of the extremely high probability of abuse, corruption, waste and fraud.

But thanks to a podcast by Scott Sumner and Russ Roberts, I think I finally understand now why the Liquidity Trap doesn’t exist – or at least, doesn’t have to exist.

First – here’s my understanding of the Liquidity Trap:

1) The Fed can reduce interest rates, which helps incent businesses to borrow money, because the interest rates are low.
2) But once interest rates get close to zero, they can’t lower them any more, because people can hold cash – people would just withdraw their money from the bank altogether if the interest rate went negative.

And nominally, that is true. The nominal interest rate can’t get below zero. But because of inflation, the real interest rate absolutely can get below zero. This is obviously true, and bipartisan – liberals have been talking excitedly about the fact that the US government can borrow money from the world at a rate lower than inflation – “the world is paying us to borrow money!” they say.

But the same is true of businesses – if the inflation rate is, 3%, and the interest rate on borrowing is 1%, a business is essentially being paid to borrow money and turn it into a profitable work. And that is even more true if the inflation rate is 5% or 10% or whatever.

And as Prof. Sumner has said – no central bank has ever failed to credibly commit to causing inflation.

So there we are – when a large, diverse country hits the lower bound on nominal interest rates, the next monetary option is to increase inflation, making the real interest rate negative. Real interest rates can go below zero, which means that the Fed is never truly out of options, and we don’t need fiscal stimulus after all. Businesses (and individuals, and municipalities, etc) will essentially be paid to borrow money, and that will cause them to start new projects that were previously unattractive.

Fantastic quote from an unexpected source

posted on January 7, 2013 in

If national institutions give even their poorest and least educated citizens some shot at improving their own lives — through property rights, a reliable judicial system or access to markets — those citizens will do what it takes to make themselves and their country richer

I would not have expected that statement to come from an article in the New York Times.

Great Quote

posted on November 14, 2012 in

As the philosopher David Schmidtz says, if your main goal is to show that your heart is in the right place, then your heart is not in the right place.

Things I need to make sure my children know

posted on September 11, 2012 in

  • People will try to sell you things by making you feel bad/inferior for not having it
  • People will try to sell you things by trying to convince you that you will be better/more awesome if you have it
  • People will lie about who uses their product in order to make it seem more important (so they can then sell it to you)
  • People will imply that their product is heavily used elsewhere (for example, in Europe) in order to make it seem better (so they can sell it to you)
  • People will make up statistics, facts, endorsements, etc, in order to make their product seem better (so they can sell it to you)
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by asking you for a favor
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by implying that you owe them a favor
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by implying that they are your friend, that they are “looking out for you”
  • People will try to get you to buy their product by making you feel bad about yourself, hoping that you’ll buy it just because you’re sad or depressed.
  • A _LOT_ of people will criticize your tastes/selections/preferences as inferior to their own. They will do this primarily as a way to boost their own egos, but also, often, to try to convince you that you should buy what they are selling
  • People will imply that they have a tremendous amount of insight/knowledge that you don’t have, in order to convince you to trust them with your money & decisions.
  • People will suck up to you, and tell you how great your choices are, so you will feel good about buying things from them.
  • People will tell you that you owe them a favor, often for no legitimate reason at all, just so you’ll feel defensive and awkward and apologetic. Then they’ll try to sell you something because “you owe them”.
  • People will imply that they have secret knowledge that no one else has. Then they’ll try to convince you to buy something.
  • Sometimes, people aren’t trying to get you to buy things with money. Sometimes they’re trying to get your vote, or your trust, or your time.
  • If you give time or money to a charity organization, they will almost always ask you for more, more, more.
  • People might ask you to volunteer to do X. Then, when you agree, they will try to change the arrangement so that you must do X+Y. If you refuse to do Y, they’ll often try to make you feel guilty.
  • Advertisements on TV are all essentially the same: If you buy this product, you will be as glamorous/be as successful/have as much fun as the people in the advertisement.
  • People will tell you that their product is in short supply, in order to make you feel like you must act fast in order to take advantage of this special offer
  • The price people offer you for something you want to buy is almost always not the minimum price they’re willing to sell at.
  • If you are buying a car, and you say you’re willing to pay X, the salesperson will almost always show you cars that cost X+Y, hoping that you’ll be too embarrassed or ashamed to push back.
  • Salespeople will always, always, always try to compel you to make a decision quickly. Sometimes it will be difficult to resist. But a decision made in haste is almost always worse than if you waited.
  • “Act now”, “going fast”, “will sell out” are all signs that they’re trying to get you to make a snap decision, because their product isn’t good enough to justify careful shopping.
  • Salespeople will try to imply that there’s a connection between you, that you are friends. So you will trust them, and buy things from them.
  • People will claim that the price of their goods is normally very high, but for you, there’s a pretty good discount. That’s a sign that you should continue negotiating.
  • Politicians are salespeople. Except that they can often throw you in jail if you don’t buy what they’re selling. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will imply that they are selflessly devoted to the common good. They will say that they are a ‘servant of the people’. That is a sure sign that they are power-hungry narcissists desperate for power and prestige. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will promise X to one group of people, and an hour later promise not-X to a different group of people, and they will seem absolutely sincere when they do it. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will imply (or say) that their opponents are vicious monsters. Even though they agree on 99% of the facts, somehow, that 1% of disagreement makes someone a monster? Vote with care
  • Politicians (and their supporters) will absolutely try to make you feel that if you don’t agree with them, that you are an uncaring monster. Vote with care.
  • Politicians will always imply that their preferred solutions are better in every possible way. That their opponents solutions are full of horrible side-effects. Every solution has lots of side effects. Vote with care.
  • People will lie about almost anything to get you to trust them. They will fake their accent, fake their history, fake their knowledge, who they know, what they do in their spare time, how they vote, what they like, what their name is, where they’re from. And they will do it all with incredible apparent sincerity.
  • If someone comes up to you and starts acting like they’re part of your life, that they’ve been your friend for a while, watch out. They’re probably a serial killer.
  • For a lot of people, credentials matter more than knowledge or skill. Those people are stupid, but there are a lot of them. Sometimes, its easier just to go with the flow.
  • Sometimes, people will respect you more for agreeing with them, and sometimes they will respect you for disagreeing with them. One secret to success is knowing when to agree and disagree.
  • Some people respect forceful, passionate disagreement, and some respect logical, thoughtful disagreement. Another secret to success is knowing how to disagree with any given person.
  • Hard work is not the only factor in success, but it’s pretty darn important. You’re must less likely to succeed by avoiding hard work.

More later.

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