Thursday 10 February 2022

Weekend Reading - 11-Feb-22


Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week. If you like this collection, consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate it.


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Why Do Kids Lie?

Children typically begin lying in the preschool years, between two and four years of age.

But from a developmental perspective, lying in young children is rarely cause for concern. In fact, lying is often one of the first signs a young child has developed a “theory of mind”, which is the awareness that  others may have different desires, feelings, and beliefs to oneself.


While lying itself may not be socially desirable, the ability to know what others are thinking and feeling is an important social skill. It’s related to empathy, cooperation, and care for others when they’re feeling upset.


As children get older and their perspective-taking ability develops, they’re increasingly able to understand the kinds of lies that will be believable to others. They also become better at maintaining the lie over time. Moral development also kicks in. Younger children are more likely to lie for personal gain, while older children increasingly anticipate feeling bad about themselves if they lie. Older children and teens are also more likely to draw distinctions between different kinds of lies. White lies, to them, are considered more appropriate than harmful or antisocial lies


Strive to be 1% better each day

The 1% better each day mindset doesn’t work if you have an enormous ego. Egos tell us we can have 300% better days. Egos make us believe in fake progress. Egos make us take credit for progress someone else created.


1% better is laced in humility. It’s a competition you have with yourself, quietly, each day.


The progress of 1% better is slow. It took me 5 years to get momentum from this 1% mindset. Most people can’t last. They want it now! now! now! so they can take a picture of success and put it on Instagram.


It takes everything you’ve got to show up every day for 5 years and be 1% better each time. When you do, though, you stack hidden progress you can’t see. Being 1% better includes pain. No need to avoid it. Expect it and let it help.


You stay on path with your goals when you have a system. But if tragedies can temporarily derail systems you build, then there’s a mindset you need.


Program your mind to see everything in life as opportunity. Optimism helps keep your 1% each day winning streak going. The best question is this: how can I use this to my advantage? Or say to yourself, if I had a gun to my head and got forced to see the good in this situation, what would it be?



We are never satisfied

As for money, more of it helps up to a point—it can buy things and services that relieve the problems of poverty, which are sources of unhappiness. But forever chasing money as a source of enduring satisfaction simply does not work. “The nature of [adaptation] condemns men to live on a hedonic treadmill,” the psychologists Philip Brickman and Donald T. Campbell wrote in 1971, “to seek new levels of stimulation merely to maintain old levels of subjective pleasure, to never achieve any kind of permanent happiness or satisfaction.”


Yet even if you recognize all this, getting off the treadmill is hard. It feels dangerous. Our urge for more is quite powerful, but stronger still is our resistance to less.


So you try and you try, but you make no lasting progress toward your goal. You find yourself running simply to avoid being thrown off the back of the treadmill. The wealthy keep accumulating far beyond anything they could possibly spend, and sometimes more than they want to bequeath to their children. They hope that at some point they will feel happy, their lives complete, and are terrified of what will happen if they stop running. As the great 19th-century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Wealth is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become; and the same is true of fame.”



Mind your attention

It’s not just your time that matters, but your attention. As the great Stoic philosopher Seneca once said: Life is long if you know how to use it.


But I’m not wasting time anymore. Because I’ve started to notice how some other people guard their attention and it’s had a profound impact on me.


For example, Marc Andreessen has been known to block thousands of people on Twitter so that he doesn’t have to see opposing ideas in his newsfeed. He won’t even let his attention stray from his core beliefs for a fraction of a second. Though Andreessen’s actions are extreme, I understand why. He realizes that attention is the last frontier, the last thing we have to ourselves. So he does everything he can to protect it.


The message is clear—protect your attention at all costs. Because if you don’t, someone else will happily take it from you. That someone else could be a corporation, a social media influencer, or someone in your personal life. Whoever it is, watch who and what you give your attention to.


Because every day your attention is getting more valuable. Every day companies are getting better at monetizing it and every day you are getting a little bit older (meaning you have less total attention to spend than the day before).


In fact, there is a war going on for your attention. It’s a war that has been waged for decades and it’s only getting worse. For example, it’s been estimated that the average person encounters over 5,000 advertisements per day, up from just a few hundred per day in the 1970s.


Today there are more people fighting for your attention than ever before. This is why you have to be mindful of it if you want to make progress in your life.



Wealth is what you don't do with your money

Wealth is what you don’t spend, which makes it invisible and hard to learn about by observing other people’s lives. Spending is contagious; wealth is mysterious.


Money is often a negative art. What you don’t do can be more important than what you actively do.


Everything has a price, and prices aren’t always clear. The price of exercise isn’t just the workout; it’s avoiding the post-workout urge to eat a ton of food. Same in finance. The price of building wealth isn’t just the trouble of earning money or dealing; it’s avoiding the post-income urge to spend what you’ve accumulated.



As part of the Intelsense Knowledge Series, we published the following Annual Report Summaries:

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