Thoughts on Life, and Learning

Remember learning is life long, be that in reading, observing or talking to people. The Wall Street Journal brings you up to date on important developments. I also recommend sources such as annual letters from good CEOs, PIMCO monthlies, and TED. I would ask myself the whys, the whats, and the consequences. We never know until we exercise our brains, until we ask ourselves the important questions.

Returning to the dead trees department, I like recent ones in Last Man Standing, This Time is Different, letters by Bill Gates on his foundation, and Superfreakonomics. For starters, the letters to Berkshire shareholders in the 80s are cream da la creams. Books by Peter Drucker are indispensable, and I recommend his Essential collection. Besides reading, observe other people, watch how they perform under stress and in difficult situations, and understand what is the best to do and not to do.

Relentlessly strive to foster the culture - focus on integrity, strong execution, quality products, long-term value creation, and doing the right thing. In particular, I would think of the newspaper as a litmus test. How would people feel when they read what you did? This threshold serves as a strong protecting barrier. Ask ourselves the decisions we make today - are they the right one for the long run? Are we investing for our future, or are we just taking money off the table?

Incentive matters. If there is only one thing I could highlight, is that incentive matters. There are a lot of dimensions in incentives - time, convenience, social, monetary, respect, achievement, ethics, happiness; but the one thing in common is that incentive drives people. Incentive matters in personal, business and professional worlds, in philanthropy and political economy. In making decisions and proposing solutions, think about how everyone else would react to incentives. Encourage the thoughts on how we can provide, not what we demand from others.

I leave you with an inspiring video in which a college dropout and a dying man shares his story on connecting the dots, love and death. Good luck.


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