How to fail at almost everything and still win big

How to fail at almost everything and still win big “I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over.” – Scott Adams Most autobiographical self-help books on success recommend a “work hard”, “stay focused”, “never give up” doggedness. This book is one of the few that makes a direct reference to the role of luck in living a successful life. The typical tone of self-help books “I have it all figured out so

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Beating the Street

I learnt a while ago, when reading non-fiction books, it’s important to mentally separate the content into what’s interesting because it’s entertaining and what’s interesting because it has underlying principles that help me understand the world better. Great books tend to combine entertainment and providing tools/frameworks but most books lean one way or the other. For books on investing and business in particular, I learnt to become wary of eloquent stories replete with hindsight bias that end with convenient and short takeaways as a guide to successful anything (outthinking competition / managing world-class teams / investing…). For investing books, unless the content is

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How to Get Lucky

It isn’t enough just to be good. You’ve got to be lucky, too. This is the central premise of Max Gunther’s book “How to get lucky”. I first came across this author when reading “The Zurich Axioms“, a set of investing rules followed by Swiss Bankers to manage risk and reward. It starts with this comforting idea that we fall short of our goals largely because of a lack of luck. That we deny the role of luck when successful only speaks to our susceptibility to survivorship bias. And yet, according to Max, luck, in gambling, career, love, friendships and even

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What is Money?

One of the challenges of trying to read wide and deep I’ve found is ensuring active engagement with the content. Without that, it’s difficult to take away the author’s key message and to assimilate that into my mental models. It is an important enough problem faced by people who like to read that Shane wrote a great post describing how to take notes while reading. I’ve tried various techniques in the past and in this post, I’ll highlight a technique I’m experimenting with, using mind maps to summarise my understanding of the content. The image below is from the beginning

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12 Axioms of Risk Reward followed by generations of Swiss Bankers

How is it that Switzerland, a tiny country, poor in natural resources and arable land, has one of the highest per capita incomes and standards of living in the world? This is the enticing premise with which Max Gunther opens his book The Zurich Axioms: The rules of risk and reward used by generations of Swiss bankers “The Swiss did not become the world’s bankers by sitting in dark rooms chewing their fingernails. They did it by facing risk head-on and figuring out how to manage it.” And therefore, the author says, there is a lot to learn about how

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