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He Who Throws Dirt

May 27, 2018

They say that he who throws dirt is losing ground. We all know that this is true because we’ve all been in an argument where someone starts slinging mud. We see it in politics, and we see it in entertainment. And most importantly, we hear it behind closed doors when insults fly freely.

Throw dirt if you don’t have a point, but everyone will know that you stand on unsolid ground.

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Books

On Liberty – Book Review

May 26, 2018

My copy of On Liberty was given to me as a gift by an uncle who is such a pro-Trump nutjob that he’s wholly unable to stop blathering on about the man. His incessant ranting over the past year or two has alienated his friends, family, and co-workers – to the extent that he risks losing his job as a university professor because he rants and raves about Trump instead of teaching his unrelated classes. Because of this, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to avoid thinking about contemporary politics and policies as I read this book, and my enjoyment was definitely coloured as a result.

That said, On Liberty is an important book to read in order to understand the reasoning behind modern conservatism. Mill makes solid points in favour of an ideal government that is limited in scope and grants its citizens as much individual liberty as is reasonable. However, his arguments rely on some semi-contradictions on his own behalf – that the populous is smart enough to eventually understand the right side of any argument they hear, but too dumb to band together to make the best laws if given power. If the majority is so “mediocre”, how can they possible create a society where liberty is well-preserved by the law?

My biggest problem with On Liberty as an essay was that using arguments Mill makes in this very book, nearly any form of government intervention could be justified. Almost anything an individual could do has ramifications on others, and self-destructive behaviours have consequences to society even if they’re done in private. Mill admits a few examples where he isn’t sure about the right solution in some such cases, but doesn’t really explore that conundrum.

As far as political philosophy essays go, On Liberty is an interesting read as long as you can get past the language.

Stray thoughts:
1. Mill argues that a person shouldn’t be allowed to take action that would limit their freedom, but would he allow people to democratically vote for a dictator? To limit them would be to limit their liberty and challenge democracy, but the end result would do the same.
2. Mill’s defence of free speech was my favourite section of On Liberty. Although I’m not sure that I agree with the politics, he does give free speech absolutists the good name that they so desperately need.
3. Mill mentions that “wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument; but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it” as a key part of the foundation for free speech absolutism. I suppose he couldn’t have predicted a world in which half of America completely disregards the other half’s “facts and arguments” due to their nothing but their source.

★★★☆☆

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Entrepreneurship

The 7 Ps

May 25, 2018

Focus your business by remembering the 7 Ps. The 7 Ps are essential because they highlight what to focus on. They are:
  1. People
  2. Pain
  3. Product
  4. Placement
  5. Plan
  6. Pitch
  7. Proposal

Finding clarity on all 7 of these points will help you find clarity on your business.

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Books

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Book Review

May 24, 2018

I found The Yiddish Policeman’s Union to be inventive, familiar and surprising. Chabon perfectly captures the feelings associated with Jewish diaspora, along with the culture’s dry wit, inflection and dark humour. I particularly enjoyed the curiosities of Union’s fictional world, which are presented begrudgingly and piecemeal. I felt connected to its Jewish Sitka, even though the Jewish community that I grew up in barely extended beyond a neighbourhood.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who was also raised in a Jewish community. Strange times to be a Jew, indeed.

★★★★★

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Books

Of Mice and Men – Book Review

May 23, 2018

I finished Of Mice And Men in one sitting, albeit on a plane. I loved the characters, and the direct and indirect telling of their story and ultimate fate. This book was a quick, powerful read that I’d highly recommend.

★★★★★

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Sociology

Incels and Communists

May 22, 2018

Incels and communists are very similar at the base level because both demand that others share. Incels demand that people rich in sex share their wealth. Communists demand that people rich in money share their wealth.

Obviously the former is asking for human contact as opposed to a resource, which is a big difference. But you can’t look at incels without understanding that they’re just people who want what they don’t have.

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Leadership

Say it Like It Is

May 13, 2018

I had a hard conversation with my boss because an employee lied to her. Sometimes you have to say it like it is, even if the truth is hard. Covering up small issues opens you up to bigger problems.

Step up and tell the truth.

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Values

You are Not Illiterate

May 12, 2018

If you can read this post, that means that you are not illiterate. This is a blessing because it means you’re in the 75% of literate adults.

Imagine information transfer without written word. Stories change upon every telling because people add, remove and change details. Imagine living without being able to read novels.

Just one of many small things we take for granted.

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Business

Building the Default Product

May 11, 2018

Near my office there’s a beautiful sandwich shop called Porchetta and Co. Next door is a crappy, run-down Subway restaurant. Guess where we go for lunch? I’ll give you a hint – it’s the place we’re familiar with.

Subway is the default because it’s easy and familiar. Your product needs to be the same way so that it becomes the customer’s default.

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Books

The Confidence Game – Book Review

May 10, 2018

This book should be a hit with people who have a passing interest in cons and psychology. Unfortunately, I was hoping for something a little more focused. The writing flits capriciously between dense with psychological facts and breezily anecdotal. This caused me to fatigue by the time I was halfway finished. I would have rated this book 2 stars, but I found a number of interested takeaways (and no, not takeaways in how to run cons).

★★★☆☆

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