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SDC Weekly 11; Lessons from Buffett; Kahneman & Tversky
Natural talent, iPhone alarm, fixing a watch in space, Rolex tops a certain ranking again and ... a hacked auction house!
Good Morning, and welcome back to another edition of the ScrewDownChronicle! If you’re new here, thank you for subscribing - you can find the older editions here. Let’s get into it!
Warren Buffett is no ordinary man… He has been finding ways to make money since he was really young. In his first money-making venture a six years old, according to Alice Schroeder’s 2008 biography (“The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.”), young Warren sold packs of Juicy Fruit, Spearmint and Doublemint chewing gum for five cents a piece!
Alice Schroeder also wrote about how Buffett had some difficulty fitting in at high school. The book “How To Win Friends and Influence People” was published in 1936, and when Buffett got his hands on it, can you guess what he did?
He ran a numerical analysis! Of course he did.
Specifically, he conducted tests in social situations using the principles outlined in the book. With certain groups, he would embody Carnegie’s advice from the book, and address them by name, ask detailed questions and listen to them intently. With other groups, he would do the opposite. He kept a record of the outcomes from all these interactions, and once the numbers proved the advice from the book actually worked, he adopted it as part of his own life. This is how he improved his own social-awkwardness.
What is the key message here? To me, the idea that Warren Buffett loved analytics as a child, makes a lot of sense when you see the success he’s had in analysing large corporations. When we all try to find our calling in life, I rarely hear people advise children to look at their own childhood to find what their natural ‘calling’ was. Indeed, most adults no longer have fun, and this need not be the case at all.
Young Warren conducted numerical analyses for fun to optimise the outcome in social situations - but that was natural because numbers were fun to him then, and they are fun to him now. To many others, running numbers might seem like ‘work’ and they would never bother doing something like this. It is no wonder, therefore, that he was able to carry on doing the same thing over a 70+ year career. He’s having dun daily, running numbers.
Many of you reading this are probably already well into your chosen careers, so this is less about career advice and more about collecting advice. There are so many ways to collect, as you already know. Some folks collect variations of the same watch, others collect single watches from many different brands, and some just enjoy hunting down obscure watches from a certain era because of their penchant for rare objects. If you don’t have your own ‘collecting compass’, perhaps you can find answers in your childhood - find your calling by thinking about what excited you the most as a child - and perhaps you’ll find your true north there.
Just Do It
The friendship between Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky completely changed how people think about: how people think! These friends developed a body of work that earned Kahneman a Nobel Prize, for the most part, by simply talking to one another! (Tversky died before the prize was awarded).
In his book The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, Michael Lewis tells the story of this friendship. Like most of his other work, the book is filled with fascinating stories. Here’s a great anecdote which describes how Tversky approached getting anything done:
For instance, when he wanted to go for a run he… went for a run. No stretching, no jogging outfit or, for that matter, jogging: He’d simply strip off his slacks and sprint out of his door in his underpants and run as fast as he could until he couldn’t run anymore. Amos thought people paid an enormous price to avoid mild embarrassment … and he himself decided very early on it was not worth it.
What a nutter! :)
We idolise “natural” talent because it helps us make peace with the fact that we do not excel to that degree.
“Greatness is many, many individual feats, and each of them is doable.”
- Grit, by Angela Duckworth
Links of interest
😇 This “iPhone alarm” piano ballad is absolutely AWESOME! I love it, and have played it too many times to count - enjoy!
😮 Hackers claim to have breached the network of a major auction house and offered access to whoever was willing to pay $120,000.
📹 Here’s an awesome video of Astronaut Don Pettit making field-expedient repairs to his Omega Speedmaster Professional X-33 aboard the International Space Station (3 mins).
💀 Interesting Harvard Business Review article that makes the case for having multiple careers.
👁️ Many are going back to Orwell’s 1984 to make sense of the world.
🤔 What Is Narcissism? Science Confronts a Widely Misunderstood Phenomenon
🤾♀️ Don’t worry about 10k steps. Research suggests four thousand per day is enough to keep you healthy.
🐵 Buyers of Bored Ape NFTs are suing.
If you missed it on my Instagram story last week, this absurd article really blew my mind.
Here’s the gist of it:
This just in: the Piaget Polo was just rated, by Google Trend searches, as the most iconic watch in the world
Even if you didn’t have more than a passing interest in the hobby, you’d realise how stupid this statement really is. Yes, I checked it anyway, and this statement is a complete lie.
I don’t think this deserves any explanation either, because you already know that Piaget is a relatively unknown brand, and when you compare it to Rolex, it is non existent!
Perhaps it was an attempt at driving traffic using clickbait titles and phrases … and in that sense, they succeeded, as I would not otherwise be writing about it here either. The problem is, this goes back to my recent ire with watch media and so-called journalists writing complete drivel which is at best ignorant and misinformed, and at worst, purposely misleading readers. This seems to be the latter, and I think it is preposterous. This woman should not have a job in watch journalism, let alone be allowed to hold the position of ‘Editor in Chief’ at any publication.
Say no to shills!
Have a great humpday, and stay tuned for a longer post coming soon.
Bonus link: The hunt
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