Interesting – “Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture”

This is pretty amazing stuff. More here.


“When you have a working knowledge of economics, it’s like having a mild super power”

Scott Adams applies economic thinking to everday life at this post.

The Dilbert Guide to Personal Finance

Via FireVault:

According to Adams, everything you need to know about financial planning boils down to these eight principles:

– Make a will.
– Pay off your credit cards.
– Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
– Fund your 401(k) to the maximum.
– Fund your IRA to the maximum.
– Buy a house if you want to live in a house and you can afford it.
– Put six months’ expenses in a money market fund.
– Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker, and never touch it until retirement.[Original Source Vanguard]

It is pretty good…nice and simple. The Asset mix should 50/50. 70/30 add more risk (variability) with little additional return.

Hmmm…I am overdue in re-balancing my retirement assets.

Why Smart People Defend Bad Ideas

A buddy sent me this link entitled Why smart people defend bad ideas from It has some gems like:

We all know someone who’s intelligent, but who occasionally defends obviously bad ideas. Why does this happen? How can smart people take up positions that defy any reasonable logic? Having spent many years working with smart people I’ve catalogued many of the ways this happens, and I have advice on what to do about it. I feel qualified to write this essay as I’m a recovering smart person myself and I’ve defended several very bad ideas.


The problem with smart people is that they like to be right and
sometimes will defend ideas to the death rather than admit they’re
wrong. This is bad. Worse, if they got away with it when they were
young (say, because they were smarter than their parents, their
friends, and their parent’s friends) they’ve probably built an ego
around being right, and will therefore defend their perfect record of
invented righteousness to the death.


If you want your smart people to be as smart as possible, seek a
diversity of ideas. Find people with different experiences, opinions,
backgrounds, weights, heights, races, facial hair styles, colors,
past-times, favorite items of clothing, philosophies, and beliefs.
Unify them around the results you want, not the means or approaches
they are expected to use. It’s the only way to guarantee that the best
ideas from your smartest people will be received openly by the people
around them. On your own, avoid homogenous books, films, music, food,
sex, media and people.


The primary point is that no amount of intelligence can help an
individual who is diligently working at the wrong level of the problem.
Someone with wisdom has to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Um, hey.
The hole you’re digging is very nice, and it is the right size. But
you’re in the wrong yard.”


But the reason I mention all this is because I learned a great bit of
philosophy from many hours of playing pool in the college student
center. The lesson is this: “Speed kills”. I was never very good at
pool, but this one guy there was, and whenever we’d play, he’d watch me
miss easy shots because I tried to force them in with authority. I
chose speed and power over control, and I usually lost. So like pool,
when it comes to defusing smart people who are defending bad ideas, you
have to find ways to slow things down.The reason for this is simple. Smart people, or at least those whose
brains have good first gears, use their speed in thought to overpower
others. They’ll jump between assumptions quickly, throwing out jargon,
bits of logic, or rules of thumb at a rate of fire fast enough to cause
most people to become rattled, and give in. When that doesn’t work, the
arrogant or the pompous will throw in some belittlement and use
whatever snide or manipulative tactics they have at their disposal to
further discourage you from dissecting their ideas.

5-sentence email?

43 Folders has a short post Guy Kawasaki & the art of the 5-sentence email.

I have many times had problems when writing very short emails. Since most human communication is non-verbal, often my short email has been interpreted by co-workers as being curt or standoff-ish or mean or evil (yes, evil).

Mostly, I have been trying to make short phone calls instead of short emails, or following up a short email with a phone call to avoid those problems.

I used to complain that the real problem was my co-workers were stupid, or drama queens or hyper-sensitive dinks or just should be fired an replaced with robots, but strangely that attitude wasn’t useful.

You have to accept the world as it is sometimes and deal with others as they are, not as you want them to be.

Even if they are dinks.

At least until robots get better.

Better Email Usage? Maybe:

PurpleSlog commentator kusswords hip’d me to a resource on making better use of email:

Here is a Table of Contents of sorts.

I have just started going through it – I have yet to adopt any of their ideas.

Feel free to share any suggestions, links, or comments for making better use of email.

Shredding for Better Personal Information Security

The David M. Piscitello Blog has a post on Shredding:

Before you toss these items in the recycling, consider shredding them:

  • Credit card, loan, bank statements and any correspondence on which a complete account number is printed.
  • Insurance, medical plan, and any other correspondence on which a complete social security number, claim number, or record of service is printed.
  • Pay stubs, Social Security, retirement and other “benefits” statements.
  • Credit card offers.
  • “Debt consolidation” and Cash Advance checks financial companies send you (I call these “debt expansion” checks).
  • Utility bills.
  • Correspondence that contains your full mailing address and phone number.
  • Any paper on which you or a creditor has written credit card and ATM PINs.
  • Pages or covers of mail order catalogs that contain your address and customer number.
  • Children’s school work.
  • Truly personal correspondence – love letters, cards, you no longer care or dare to keep.
  • Photographs (see “truly personal” above).

Read all of the good advice (I edited it down a bit).

I do shred…somewhat. I am a lazy shredder though – sometimes too lazy to shred.