Posts tagged with success
I loved being a rifle company commander. Having the responsibility for 211 men. Being totally in charge of their welfare and their training. That was the happiest period of my life, professionally, looking back on things.
[M]y only qualifications … are having read several books about marriage and experience from my own marriage, now in its 30th year…
- “… a misconception: … to make a marriage work, you have to find the right person. The fact is, you have to be the right person,…
… students … interview friends about their … weaknesses, and discuss what triggers their … reactions … in order to understand their … hot buttons… “Being blind to these causes people to experience problems as due to someone else—not to themselves,” Solomon explains. “We all have triggers, blind spots, growing edges, vulnerabilities. The best thing we can do is be aware of them, take responsibility for them, and learn how to work with them effectively.”
- … blaming, oversimplifying, and seeing themselves as victims are all common traits of unhappy couples and failed marriages. …
- … frame statements as “X, Y, Z” statements, rather than finger pointing: When you did X, in situation Y, I felt Z….
Here are a few of my own thoughts on marriage:
- There are a huge number of dimensions on which one might wish to be well-matched with one’s spouse. There is no way you are going to be well-matched on all of those dimensions.…
- The reputation you have built up with your partner for telling the truth about objective facts is a precious asset in any relationship. …[T]here is bound to be some way to tell the truth. (If you can’t think straight, say “I can’t talk about this right now,” rather than lying.) The more subjective realm of revealing what is in your heart is trickier; seize moments when you will be able to express yourself well and be well understood. It is worth working toward being known.
- In an argument, if each partner comes back with 101% of the irate heat the other just gave, things will explode. But if each partner ratchets down the intensity to 99% of the intensity of the last remark, things will eventually calm down.* So a small difference in reaction pattern can be the difference between an explosion and something that simmers down.
* Math note: To pursue the logic a bit more, if your partner is coming back with 125% intensity on each round, you are going to have to return less than 80% intensity on each round to avoid an explosive chain reaction….
The Audacity of Despair
by David Simon (creator of The Wire)
- arch cynicism about the public purpose of television
- The Wire is not hyperbolic about our inability to solve our own problems.
- The news media buries and forgets relevant information.
- New Orleans was not destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. An untethered barge breached the retaining wall, destroying the Ninth Ward.
- Three years later during Hurricane Gustav, another barge was unsecured in the same canal.
- “The Wire is not about sinister people doing sinister things. There’s no fun in that. There’s no drag in writing a show about bad guys and good guys. First of all, it’s not credible. And second of all, it’s not where the real evil lurks.”
- As a reporter: “Every time someone dragged out a statistic, I immediately distrusted it as [probably fabricated or] dubious [method]”
- Management: No sooner does someone invent a useful measure of institutional progress, than someone else begins to game it to the point that the measure becomes useless.
- "In my city [Baltimore], every single effort to quantify progress was an effort by somebody to advance themselves.”
- People are promoted or leave to another job before anyone figures out what they got was dross.
- Cops retire with a pension despite making zero progress in 40 years in the war on drugs.
- Why? is the only of the 5W’s+1H that matters. That could have made journalism “a game for grown-ups”.
- Bulls∗∗t US government claims about progress in Vietnam.
- More profitable for Chicago Tribune Company’s shareholders to stop asking Why?—and lay off reporters.
- This was due to their monopoly: they didn’t need top-quality journalism to compete. But the drop in quality, if efficient at the time, made the papers soft targets when the Web became big half a decade later.
- He thinks Internet reporting is less magazine-like and more frothy. I contend ∃ both.
- “Crime wasn’t going down anymore. So robberies became larcenies. Aggravated assaults became common assaults. Felonies were leached down to misdemeanors.” Robberies in southwest Baltimore went down 70%. The commander was promoted to head of CID. Next boss went in, crime went up 70%, he took the flack.
- "40% decline in crime, but the murder rate stayed constant. [red flag] The only thing that that says rationally is that they’ve opened up a gun range in West Baltimore and they’re better shots.”
- Any reporter who had any sense of his beat would know this was a huge red flag, would dig deeper into the data and call the complainants.
- "How is it that we’re able to talk about this in an entertainment medium—television—but not in journalism?”
- Curfew for Blacks in Baltimore (fallacious arrests). ACLU tries to sue, but by the time it wends its way through the courts the practice has stopped; the Mayor has become Governor.
- "If you walk into The Other America and ask people how they feel about certain things, you’re likely to hear how they feel.”
- "We stole facts from real life, but thematically the people we stole the most from were Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles."
It’s much easier to destroy than to build. I can destroy not just one £30,000 car, but all the £30,000 cars in a car park, with a little planning and maybe a few hundred expenditure. And I could do a decent job of destroying a car with only £20.
Nothing in his pockets but knives and lint.
Same with houses—fire for example is a very effective tool per-effort for ruining lives. Four skinny pirates with a modicum of guns & ammo can hijack a vessel that cost $10 million or $100 million to build.
Despite it being so easy to destroy, where I live things are quite peaceful. Nobody slashes all the tyres in a car park, for example. Why? Economic theory says that when the cost of something goes down we’ll see more of it. Shouldn’t this be true as well for the destruction of other peoples’ lives & property?
Chances of US Blacks, Hispanics, Poor, Women, Men, Whites, Rich to reach the middle class by middle age.
by Isabel Sawhill, Scott Winship, and Kerry Searle Grannis
SWG define the US middle class as 3 times the poverty level. That’s
- at least $35 000 / year for a single person
- or at least $71 000 / year for a family of four (multiple family members can work toward that).
Middle age they take to begin at 40.
You can also see the 40% who do not make it to the middle class in Catherine Mulbrandon’s picture:
SWG find “rungs” on the ladder to prosperity, such that within their dataset,
- achieving today’s rung increases the odds of achieving tomorrow’s rung,
- and failing to achieve today’s rung decreases the odds of achieving tomorrow’s rung.
(The weakest link is from basic reading & maths skills + social & emotional skills → to high school graduation + non-criminality. The strongest link is from acceptable pre-reading & pre-maths + school-appropriate behaviour → to basic reading & maths + social-emotional skills.)
That is a Markov or AR(1) at each step, but changing 2×2 matrices (pass-through probabilities) each time.
The poor outcomes for low-birthweight black poor youths are then understood, within the paper, as the composite effect of passing through the several gates.
For example low birth weight, poor parents of the wrong race starts the child off in the disadvantaged category. 40% of those are off track when school starts. Then 55% of (not just the
0-disadvantaged ∩ 1-disadvantaged, but all of the) stage-1-disadvantaged continue to advance to the next stage on the losing track.
In this way the eventual low success-rate of the adults from poor families is seen as the product of a succession of gates.
In matrix terms each 2×2 matrix “shuffles beads from gate to gate”. For example the first matrix is
and the product (composite) of the first two is this matrix product:
In the product matrix the red entry is the fraction of babies born disadvantaged (
0-loser) who end up
2-disadvantaged after 2 matrices
M₁bull;M₂ have been applied—entering middle childhood.
If you wanted to compute the overall numbers from the bar chart at the top you would need also a starting vector
X₀ saying how many babies start off already at a disadvantage. (The fraction who don’t start off disadvanaged is not a free parameter.)
I had a Managing Director tell me years ago … that the best strategy to succeed in investment banking was to keep your seat. Success would come, and success would go, but you could never enjoy the fruits of good luck or a heated market if you weren’t in a position where you could get paid. Young and naïve as I was, I remember finding this advice rather cynical and dispiriting. Surely you kept your seat and made lots of money for your firm because you were really good, because clients respected and trusted you, because you gave them great advice. Because you were better than anybody else. This was stupid on my part. He was right.
Nobody is indispensable in my industry. Nobody. Ever. For every hotshot trader or investment banker glorying in her run of luck and outsized compensation, there are twenty waiting in the wings who could do just as good a job. And a hundred who would be willing to work for half pay to prove they could do so too.
I’ve said it a billion times: in investment banking or sales and trading, you’re only as good as your last deal or your last trade. And your last deal or your last trade had much more to do with you being in the right place at the right time—being in the right seat—than with your charm, skill, or intelligence. And none of us know when the right deal is going to hit.
[T]here is nothing about your charm or intelligence that will distinguish you from the line of a hundred identical eager valedictorians waiting outside our hiring office. If anything, they’re probably hungrier and more naïve (hence more malleable) than you. Intelligence is table stakes.
The Epicurean Dealmaker (@EpicureanDeal)
Mega admire him for saying this.