Sunday Wisdom No. 17

Happy Sunday, and Merry Christmas in advance!

Trust you had a good weekend. 

It brings me great joy to present this week’s edition of Sunday Wisdom — a newsletter on decision making, strategy, and antifragility.

My New Article

The Green Lumber Fallacy — What works in real world may not match our stories of why or how it works. Unimportant details and post-hoc narratives can often distract us into thinking we know the reasons for something when we really don’t.

Knowledge is helpful, but there’s a stark difference between practical wisdom (phronesis) and scientific knowledge (epistēmē). This article explores the difference between academic knowledge and practical wisdom, and why you don’t lecture birds on how to fly. Why lucky fools are not always fools, and how celebrity analysts can often be charlatans.

The past three editions of Sunday Wisdom: 1615, and 14.

An Advice For You

It’s better to have a bad strategy than having no strategy at all. As General Patton said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”

An imperfect start can always be improved, but obsessing over a perfect plan will never take you anywhere on its own.

Articles Worth Reading

How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons — “How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons — “Employing hundreds of social scientists and data scientists, Uber has experimented with video game techniques, graphics and non-cash rewards of little value that can prod drivers into working longer and harder—and sometimes at hours and locations that are less lucrative for them.”

The Disappearance of Management Mantras — “Jack Welch’s most famous management tool was the “vitality curve”—every year, an employee’s performance was boiled down to a number on which they were ranked against peers. The bottom 10% was fired, whatever their absolute score. And this cruel practice was venerated and followed by myriad corporates. In 2015, GE retired the very concept of the annual review. Many of the world’s most successful companies (GE was certainly not in that group any more) had buried it years ago.” 

How to Grow Old: Bertrand Russell on What Makes a Fulfilling Life — “Make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.”

Worth Thinking About

“Knowledge that is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” — Plato

College education can be good for learning about what’s been done before, but it can also discourage you from doing something new. Young people have an option to succeed by thinking for themselves instead of just following a traditional route, or competing on old career tracks.

As always, please give me feedback. Do you have any comments, questions, or tips that you wish to share? Anything that you liked in today’s edition? Let me know. DM me on Twitter!

Until next Sunday!



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