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Preserving Wealth, Answering the Key Question, & The Spirit of a Visionary (Reading/Study Notes 5.31.18)

Resource: How to Lose Time and Money


” If you’d asked me as a kid how rich people became poor, I’d have said by spending all their money. That’s how it happens in books and movies, because that’s the colorful way to do it. But in fact the way most fortunes are lost is not through excessive expenditure, but through bad investments.”

“It’s hard to spend a fortune without noticing. Someone with ordinary tastes would find it hard to blow through more than a few tens of thousands of dollars without thinking “wow, I’m spending a lot of money.” Whereas if you start trading derivatives, you can lose a million dollars (as much as you want, really) in the blink of an eye.”

“The solution is to develop new alarms. This can be a tricky business, because while the alarms that prevent you from overspending are so basic that they may even be in our DNA, the ones that prevent you from making bad investments have to be learned, and are sometimes fairly counterintuitive.”

” the situation with time is much the same as with money. The most dangerous way to lose time is not to spend it having fun, but to spend it doing fake work. When you spend time having fun, you know you’re being self-indulgent. Alarms start to go off fairly quickly….But the same alarms don’t go off on the days when I get nothing done, because I’m doing stuff that seems, superficially, like real work. Dealing with email, for example. You do it sitting at a desk. It’s not fun. So it must be work.”


The skills and mindset necessary to go from poor to rich are different from what’s necessary to from becoming rich to staying rich. The habits that help you create wealth don’t necessarily help you sustain wealth.

The main cause of losing a fortune is not bad spending, but bad investing.

Bad spending feels bad after awhile and it makes your alarms go of. investing feels responsible. So it doesn’t make your alarms go off as quickly.

The most dangerous activities are not the ones that are wasteful and fun, but the ones that are wasteful and not-fun. We are most vulnerable to bad decision-making when we do wasteful things that feel like work.

Resource: “What do I get?”


“‘What do I get?’ When people are confused, unengaged or dubious, it’s probably because you haven’t answered a very simple question to their satisfaction. The answer doesn’t have to be direct (quid pro quo doesn’t scale very well) but it must be clear enough to be understood. Marketing is often the craft of using symbols and inferences to make it very clear to people what they’re going to get.”


Questions for contemplation — What is my answer to question “What do I get” for every scenario where I receive a paycheck for my services/talents? How would I answer this to my employers, my customers, and even my co-workers? How would they answer it?

Resource: Egon Schiele on What It Means to Be an Artist and Why Visionaries Always Come from the Minority


“To be an artist is to have a particular orientation to the world — the interior world and the exterior world — the exact composition of which is somewhat like temperature, impossible to deconstruct into individual phenomenological components without ceasing to be itself.” – Maria Popova

“One needs to observe and experience the world with naïve, pure eyes in order to attain a great weltanschauung; — that is a living cult. — the proper tone is a book which, for some, may be nice to consult, but proves itself completely useless in the world; in other words, there are those who should live through books and those who exist through themselves; who are better? — that is clear. — Few see the sun and everyone else must read novels and novellas in order to finally realize that there is light.”

“The “many” are those who are dependent upon each other, — the people. — The “few” are the direct leaders of the world because they introduce only that which is new and are therefore repugnant; that should be clear enough. Beyond that are the fighters — leaders… — One battles against the capital and the philistines; the large spirit wishes to see the smaller one equally large whereas the small spirit forever wishes to overshadow every small spirit around him. — That is a lack of will and whatever else… — Envy those who see beauty in everything in the world.”


The size of your own spirit is measured by how small or how big you wish others to feel in your presence.

You can exist through the stories/lives of others or you can exist through the authoring of your own story.

Go with the minority rather than the many. The many depend on the validation of numbers. The minority receive their validation from conviction.

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