Learning · Philosophy · Psychology · Relationships

Being realistic about love

Another Alain de Botton interview, this time with Krista Tippett whose “On Being” podcast often covers interesting topics on relationships, spirituality etc.

I am a romantic and an optimist, yet I find such wisdom in Alain’s kind and compassionate realism and anti-romanticism. If you are serious about your relationships (with lovers, friends or colleagues) I think there is a lot to learn from Mr De Botton and I would strongly encourage you to listen to it.

The most read article in the New York Times in 2016, the year of the US election and Brexit, was Alain de Bottons article “Why you will marry the wrong person”. What does that tell us about us as a species? Relationships are what we are about.

Here are some of my memorable take-aways from this jam-packed episode

  • It is better to come to a relationship on your first date with a starting point of “I am flawed, I am crazy in the following ways, in what ways are you crazy?” rather than “I will pretend I am perfect and you will only find out how I am flawed over time as the facade fades”. Accept that we are two flawed people trying to come together.
  • “We are all deeply damaged people.”
  • If we think we are easy to live with then by definition we are going to be hard to live with and don’t have much of an understanding about ourselves. You have wisdom if you know that living with you, just like every one else, is pretty difficult. No one really gives you this feedback. Your friends, your lovers never tell you (during the good times) that you are difficult to live with because they don’t want to upset the relationship.
  • The great enemy of good relationships and good friendships is self-righteousness.
  • The ancient Greeks described love is a benevolent process whereby two people try to teach each other how to be the best version of themselves
  • We only get into a sulk with people we feel should understand us, but don’t. We expect out partners to read our minds. We operate with this mad idea that true love means we should have an intuitive understanding of what the other needs.
  • As adults we are incredibly generous towards children, we look for a benevolent reason for their behaviour, but we take it personally when we have a difficult experience with an adult. We need to go behind the facade to understand where the behaviour came from rather than taking umbrage and offence.
  • One of the greatest sorrows we have in love, is realising that our lover doesn’t understand part of us. A certain heroic acceptance of loneliness seems to be one of the key ingredients of forming a good relationship. If you think your lover must understand everything about you, then you are going to be furious most of the time.
  • “Asking someone that you love and admire to be in a relationship with you is a pretty cruel thing to do.”
  • Marriage is a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind, gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they ar,e or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of, and have very carefully avoided investigating.
  • Realism, accepting reality and acceptance of complexity is ultimately the friend of love.
  • Children are hard on a marriage.
  • There is a lot of mundanity in life and in relationships, and we don’t give enough significance to the every day activities that make up our lives.
  • A functioning society requires love and politeness
  • Love in society is a capacity to imaginatively enter into the minds of people with whom you don’t immediately agree; to look for the more charitable explanations for behaviour that does not appeal to you, or could even seem plain wrong; not to immediately tell people how stupid they are.
  • Politeness is an attempt to not say everything; an understanding that there is a role for private feelings which, if they were to emerge, would do damage to everyone. Our culture has a orientation towards self disclosure that “if I am not telling you exactly what I think, all time, then I am not doing the right thing or being true to myself”.
  • Compatibility with each other is the achievement of love, not the precondition for love.
  • We are used to being strong, what we don’t know is how to make ourselves safely vulnerable – which is what we need to do in a good relationship.
  • Flirtation is the attempt to awaken someone else to their attractiveness.
  • Freud is wrong: Psychological Dynamics are not all driven by sex. Rather Psychological Dynamics are everywhere including in sex. The meaning we infuse into sex is that “I accept you in a very intimate way.”
  • We have this idea that good relationships must be conflict-free relationships and we are quick to terminate relationships when conflict develops.
  • “We have a long way to go: a narcissism of our time is that we think we are far along in the development of the world. Rather we are at the very beginning in our understanding of ourselves as emotional creatures. We are taking the first baby steps in our understanding of love. We need a lot of compassion for ourselves, as we do make horrific mistakes all of the time.”
  • We have an enormous loneliness around our difficulties. We need solace for the sense that we are suffering for not being perfect in a culture that is oppressive in its demands for perfection.
  • We need a certain amount of pessimistic realism about our relationships, which is still totally compatible with hope, laughter and good humour.

To quote Alain in conclusion:

We must realise that in our relationships, however well-matched we are, the issues we face are common to all: we have to learn how to love well – it’s something we can progress – it’s not just enthusiasm, it’s a skill – it requires forbearance, generosity, imagination and a million things besides. We must fiercely resist the idea that true love means conflict-free love and that the course of true love is smooth: it’s rocky and bumpy at the best of times, and that’s the best we can manage as the creatures we are; it’s to do with being human, and the more generous we can be towards that flawed humanity, the better chance we will have of doing the true hard work of love.

Here is the podcast

http://feeds.soundcloud.com/stream/306909014-alain-de-botton-the-true-hard-work-of-love-and-relationships.mp3

The ideas covered in this podcast are similar or connected to a number of other podcasts that cover similar topics include the amazing Esther Perel for anyone looking for more wisdom on relationships. I will cover her in a future blogpost.

Learning · Psychology · Relationships

Practical philosophy and taking responsibility for our communication

Alain de Botton is a wonderful modern day philosopher with a very practical take on modern life emphasising how we can be emotionally healthy.

He has done quite a few podcasts on many different topics, all well worth listening to.

In this one he talks a little about his background and a wide variety of perspectives. I am just going to pick out a few of points that hit home for me in the context of relationships, difficult (in fact any) conversation and succeeding in life:

1. How we communicate effectively

Ferriss asks what he is working on to improve himself. His answer is “To communicate properly.” And he then goes on to explain what communicating properly means:

“Not communicating properly is not properly teaching others about myself, what I am feeling, what I would like, what’s bothering me. And instead of properly communicating merely acting out and symbolizing things and expecting to be understood. To not imagine that those around me can mind-read what’s on my mind. They won’t know what I feel unless I tell them. They won’t hear me unless I speak in a certain way. If I am agitated and get annoyed that immediately shuts off communication. If I blame them or humiliate then the message will get lost. Simply exploding, blurting out or emoting is usually the worst way.

Trying to learn to be a better teacher and a better student of others. As a student of others, to learn to listen properly, to interpret, learn to hear what is not being said, what is beneath the surface.”

Imagine if we were all able to really do this… how much richer our relationships and world would be.

2. The assumptions we jump to when others are communicating with us:

We easily take offence or jump to a conclusion about their intentions (especially liable to happen in email!):

“Never ascribe to malice what can be ascribed to incompetence, busyness or anxiety.”

3. The definition of a successful person

“A successful person is someone who has taken hold and fathomed their talents, and reconciled themselves to their weaknesses. They are not ranting and raging about the weaknesses, they have a sense of what they are, they are not blaming the world for them, they know them and they own them. They have a sense of their strengths and have made something of their strengths.”

Notice how much of the quote is focused on the acceptance of our own weaknesses as a key to success

Here is the podcast:

[The Tim Ferriss Show] #118: How Philosophy Can Change Your Life, http://podplayer.net/#/?id=41538895 via @PodcastAddict. Find out more about some of his teachings via The School of Life, at https://www.theschooloflife.com/london/about-us/ and on video at https://www.youtube.com/user/schooloflifechannel

Investment · Learning · Psychology · Statistics

Super Forecasting

[Farnam Street Podcast] Philip Tetlock on The Art and Science of Super Forecasting

http://podplayer.net/#/?id=24093071 via @PodcastAddict

Phil Tetlock forms teams of “super forecasters” who are amazing accurate at predicting the probabilites of real world events, in their case often used to predict the likelihoods of complex real world events for the intelligence community.

It has many insights useful to invesmtent management and I am sure other fields that depend on probabilities.

1. Start with the outsiders view. Establish baseline probabilities of how likely something is before you start refining with inside knowledge. Eg in predicting how likely someone specific is to get divorced start with the probabilities of anyone getting divorced.

2. Break the problem down into steps in a decision tree each with their own probability. You can then work on refining each node in the tree. That way you know what the key questions are that you are asking.

3. Focus on accurate statement of the prediction, many of us are managing career risk for fear of being wrong, creating fuzzy statements that could be right under a wide range of outcomes.

4. Being open minded is essential to being a good forecaster. We all like to think we are open minded – we really are usually not. We can be more open minded on things we are not ideological about but where we have ideologies its much more difficult to be open minded

5. A group of people with the same objective and a good debating style but where possible with very independent thought processes can operate far more effectively to get to the right probababilities.

6. There are lots of impediments to making accurate forecasts in organisations where the objective of accuracy may be to further your career, not rock the political boat or not be seen to make a mistake rather than getting to the right answer. Manging that culturally is a challenge that leadership have to undertake: ensuring that the goal is the accuracy, that open mindedness is real and that mistakes are welcomed to learn from.

7. One of the biggest risks is conflating mistakes with probabilistic outcomes. You thought the probabilty of an outcome was 75%, the alternative outcome actually happened. That does not mean your probability was wrong, it could just have been the 1 in 4 chance of the other outcome happening.

Business Culture · Learning · Psychology · Relationships

Leadership, coaching and managing

The Knowledge Project Podcast Shane Parish with Michael Lombardi, former general manger of the Cleveland Browns and coach of the New England Patriots. It’s a really dense podcast and you find yourself having to pause just to absorb some of the sentences because they are so packed with wisdom.

Four key aspects of leadership

1. Have a plan – have beliefs, a philosophy, create the system clearly, pay attention to the detail.

2. Communicate the Plan clearly and concisely to the people you are leading

3. Trust – people need to know that they can trust you to be consistent and fair

4. Management of self – being able to be self critical, and honest when you make a mistake

Coaching is both leading and teaching, to be successful you have to do both.

Some insights and quotes:

When you win figure out what you did well and do more of that, when you lose figure out what went wrong and what you could do differently.

How can what you have learnt from coaching be applied to raising your children being a parent?

Coaching isn’t criticism but it can easily feel like that. Conveying that you are aiming to help them by giving feedback and your goals are aligned with them and not to be critical of them as a person is a fine line to walk a difficult balance to achieve.

Difference between being a manager and being a leader:

Managers do things right, Leaders do the right thing

The podcast is interesting in itself in how analytical their coaching process, how much they analyse their team, the other team and come up with a strategic game plan that then gets implemented practically with the team. Also about developing a team with enough flexibility to meet very different conditions as they play against different teams.

Here is the podcast

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/knowledge-project-podcast-by-shane-parrish-curator/id990149481?mt=2&i=1000343404189

Business · Business Culture · Learning · Psychology · Relationships

Nancy Lublin, CEO of Crisis Text hotline

A truly inspiring podcast that I would recommend anyone interested in any of the following topics to have a listen to.

Key insights and takeaways for me:

Business leadership: Being decisive and moving fast, yet still caring very personally for the people you work with

Purpose: Being driven by a real need and passion not money and perhaps not even really aiming to make money, aiming to make a difference.

Hiring: aim to hire someone who you could live with in a bunker with, someone energetic and someone who is not going to bore you

Developing people: it’s okay to have someone onboard for a short period of time where they develop this part of their life/journey and for it then to be time for them to move to something else. Not everyone has to be a lifer ie. with the company forever. But in the time they are with you they have to be energetic and dedicated.

Developing people: Her enjoyment of seeing people through crucial development phases of their lives when they are in their 20s and 30s.

Creativity: giving people enough space to come up with creative ideas and then pursuing the ones that really get you excited

Process: Applying Systems thinking and feedback loops on data to training people, improving systems.

Creativity: Empowering people you work with and getting out of the way of their creativity, sometimes that requires you stepping out of the frame.

Empathy and support:When helping someone in crisis know the magic words: what not to say: don’t ask “why?” questions e.g. Why someone did something: it usually comes across as accusatory and denigrating. (note this is the opposite of what to do when you are being analytic, as highlighted in a previous blog, when asking Why repeatedly is a very powerful technique).

What to say: use the words “proud, brave, smart”. Those words move people from hot to cooler quickly. Use that with your kids too.

Other people’s perspectives: The value of the perspective of younger generations and understanding the millennial generation. Eg. Her insights that at least for a period of time, texting is a more powerful medium than Facebook and other social media as it is more trusted.

The podcast:

Uncut Interview — Crisis Text Line’s Nancy Lublin from Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/bonus-uncut-interview-crisis-text-lines-nancy-lublin/id1227971746?i=1000392185172&mt=2

Investment · Learning · Psychology

Ask “why?” five times…. Proximate causes vs root causes, Narrative fallacy and Mental Models

Great post for people in the investment field:

Farnham Street is an amazing blog dedicated to discussing mental models and they do a great job of explaining the challenges of proximate vs root causes and how to deal with the deductive problems that can occur when we jump to conclusions too quickly.

https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2017/05/proximate-vs-root-causes/

In investments we are always coming up with narrative to explain what happened. The financial press exist purely on this, reporting the day after on why the markets have moved the way they have as if it’s an obvious truth. Making an investment is much harder, you need to look forward to what is likely to happen.

When assessing our investment outcomes we are also immensely susceptible to a whole range of behavioural biases. The issue of proximate cause and narrative fallacy often comes up.

Proximate cause: The manager lost a lot of money because the position was very big and the stock blew up because company management were hiding what they were really doing and no one could have know. Root causes: they failed to size the position correctly because they failed to assess the risk in the investment correctly, they failed to assess the risk because they were trying to cover too many different investments without enough resource, or they failed to assess the risk properly because they did not have enough independent challenge to the key decision maker, or they failed to assess the risk properly because the analyst was not diligent enough/experienced enough to identify the risks…

Each of those different causes has very different corrective actions and very different reactions that we should have as asset allocators.

The opposite can also be true: the manager lost money, what an idiot, obviously they should have seen the risks, because now with hindsight we have the narrative stating how obvious it was. But at the time they understood the risks. They sized appropriately for the risks. And things just didn’t go their way this time, which will happen 45% of the time for most money managers.

The key to differentiating between these different potential cases is asking the right questions, and asking more and more questions. Digging deeper and challenging your assumptions.

In the Farnham Street article the particular route I like is asking “Why?” 5 times?

Why did you lose money? We sized it to big and got it wrong.

Why did you size it to big? We misestimated the risk.

Why did you misestaimate the risk? The analyst was an idiot.

Why was the analyst an idiot? Oh they are not really an idiot. It’s because we left him to do the work on their own and did not provide independent challenge

Why did you not provide independent challenge? Because I was too distracted on something else.

It reminds me of Ricardo Semler, who applies this approach to much of his business decisions, for him it seems to work when you just ask Why three times?

He is interviewed by Tim Ferriss episode 229 which can be found here. It’s a really inspirational podcast that covers his approach to building a phenomenally successful business with a very unconventional management style, well worth a listen for all sorts of good reasons.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-tim-ferriss-show/id863897795?mt=2

The Farnham Street post also has a great explanation of other mental models which are all relevant to Investment decision making if you read down to the end.

Business Culture · Investment · Learning · Psychology

Improving decision making in committees

A review of decision making literature from UCL on what makes for good decisions in committees is particularly relevant for investment committees:

1. Diversity of participants (functional diversity) with different independent expertise or knowledge makes optimal decision making more likely (finding global rather than local maxima more likely with different starting points for the mathematical optimisation geeks)

2. Slower decision making is more accurate. (And conversely sometimes you need to trade speed for accuracy).

3. Don’t vote, prefer discussion. Getting to a consensus answer or leave it to an expert final choice, if you do vote it needs to expertise weighted (ie some votes count more than others) based on objective expertise measurement, not one man one vote.

4. Over confidence bias: The worse you are at something the more delusional you are that you know the right answer! More expertise often results in less certainty from expert individuals: the problem is they know how much they don’t know and they can take other less expert people’s opinion into account too much. Go with the experts opinion after having the discussion and as the expert balance your opinion carefully with the input from others.

Podcast: The Naked Scientist

Episode 22/08/15

Dan Bang University College London 5:40 mins up to 10:40 mins

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-naked-scientists-podcast/id74171648?mt=2&i=1000391340611

Art · Investment · Photography · Psychology

Creative Constraints

I was listening to a podcast which reminded me of a really interesting counterintuitive truth: we are more creative when we have constraints.

People think creativity will happen when “I make enough space in my life and have this perfect zen moment and can unleash my creativity.” But creativity seems to come better when we place constraints around it.

What sort of constraints?
1. Completely arbitrary random constraints: it seems these are the most powerful way to unleash pure creativity*
e.g.1. For a photographer: Today I can only photograph pictures with red in them. Suddenly you start noticing things all over the show that have red in them. Suddenly you start looking much more carefully, it becomes a fun objective.
E.g.2. For a writer: Describe the forest only with words beginning with T and O… give it a try and see how much more interesting your descriptions have to be with this sort of constraint in place
2. Structure constraints: e.g. This project has to consist of exactly six photographs. The pictures have to be circular. Once you define a structure you start thinking about what will fit that structure and again looking for something different.
3. Spacial constraints: e.g.1. Take 200 unique photographs of this small space eg. Your kitchen. The first 50’are unique and cliche, the next 50 you start running out of normal ideas and after 100 the magic starts, you start seeing differently. E.g.2. I am only going to write while on the top desk of a bus travelling around London…
3. Time constraints: I have got to get this project done by July. By next week Friday. By Tomorrow. When that deadline is immovable we all come up with the goods…

So give it a try next time you are trying to do something a little more creatively…. constrain yourself!

* the idea of random arbitrary constraints reminds me a little of the approach Derren Brown recommends for memorising something using absurd imagery: if you create an absurd mental image of something you are trying to remember, you remember it much more easily. For example I was once trying to remember the names of a family I had met recently (as I am always forgetting names), so I pictured them as a giant dad of a man in a caveman’s loincloth (it had an association with his name. It I won’t give it away here!), standing on a map of the world on Sweden (that’s whether they were from) surrounded by his family in various other absurd poses and dress. To this day I can still rebuild the entire mental picture and I remember their names and where they are from. The more absurd we create a mental image the better our brain remembers it. I wonder whether it’s a similar thing going on with the creative constraints. It’s forcing our brain out of the everyday “auto pilot” and into a place where it has to do some work which then unleashes the creativity.

Here is the podcast, from The Psych Files by Michael Britt episode 269: How to get people to be creative
http://www.thepsychfiles.com/2016/11/ep-269-how-to-get-people-to-be-creative/

Learning · Maths · Psychology

How do we learn? How should we learn?

The fun bit is there are many ways to learn. Books, podcasts, videos, lectures, demonstrations, and doing it yourself. I have learnt that the optimal approach to learning is different for different people. Personally I find my self quite visual and auditory, if I can visualise a problem or listen to an explanation I can often internalise it.

There are also many stages to learning. Head knowledge, heart knowledge, practice, failure until eventually it becomes internalised, muscle memory, and we can be “in the flow…”, operating with unconscious ease.  

There are some guiding principles that I believe are important to remember on our journey to learn:

  • Be open minded: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ― Aristotle, Metaphysics
  • Seek to truly understand: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ― Albert Einstein
  • Seek simplicity on the other side of complexity: “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist. (In mathematics you often know you have the cracked a problem and arrived at the right answer when the formulas magically compress to an elegant, beautiful solution)
  • Hold your own beliefs lightly: “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” ― Allan Lokos, Thomas E Kids

Each of these make us more receptive to deep learning.

But most profoundly, are the principle paths to wisdom:

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ― Confucius

I don’t have time in this life to make all the mistakes myself! So Confucious’s first two paths are to be preferred:

If

  • I can learn through true understanding – often my preferred route, can I come up with an axiomatic explanation or understanding from first principles rather that statistical inference,
  • or learn from other people’s mistakes (or by deconstructing their successes) – the reason that studying history in any field of endeavour is so important is because through that we may potentially understand the reasons for the mistakes and successes of those who came before us

then I can get on with making the mistakes that I need to make myself, Confucius’s bitterest path, to push my own learning further.

And from there flows a further insight, to push the boundaries beyond what others have learnt, we need to be making mistakes. We learn by making mistakes. And you only make mistakes when you go for it.

So don’t be afraid to do, to act. My danger, my demon, is I spend all of my time thinking and not enough of my time doing. So doing is something I have to constantly challenge myself to do more of!

General · Learning

The Introspective Fool

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” ― William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Why this blog?

What inspires you? What motivates you? I love learning. I am motivated by learning and I become inspired by learning. I spend a lot of my time listening to podcasts, reading and interacting with interesting people. But I won’t make much impact if I keep what I learn to myself. I want to share the things I am learning, with anyone who is interested. Perhaps they will help and inspire you and make the world a better place…

What is the purpose of learning?

To acquire knowledge but more importantly to translate that knowledge into wisdom – the beneficial application of knowledge.

Some quotes to illustrate the difference

  • “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  ― Aristotle
  • “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” ― Socrates
  • “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ― Isaac Asimov
  • “The unexamined life is not worth living.” ― Socrates
  • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  ― The Bible, Proverbs 1:7

Why learn?

I love learning for many reasons:

We are creative beings. Creativity creates meaning in my life. As a kid I grew up programming computer games, reading fantasy novels and dreaming of creating my own adventure stories with friends. I remember thinking “adults lose their imagination.  I must make sure that as I grow up I must never lose this… this ability to create something out of nothing, by using my imagination.” As I grew up what interested me changed, or more accurately expanded: I still love those things I grew up with, but I discovered that the world had many more interesting topics to explore. I realised that creativity builds not out of nothing but on the ideas of others. Learning about things we don’t yet know is a great way to inspire yourself to being creative.

Learning will make me a better person. I know I will never be perfect (one of the wonderful, liberating truths to be found in the doctrines of Christianity). But I want to be a better person, more true to myself, and a richer contributor to the lives of my family, my friends, my colleagues at work, my community.

I do love trivia. I just love learning stuff just for the sake of knowing something interesting. I hope it makes me a more interesting person. But what I desire most through knowledge is wisdom. Let’s be clear though, Wisdom should not be our only aim. God was pleased with King Solomon’s request to grant him Wisdom, but he still ended up failing to live as a godly man. Perhaps there is something even deeper we should be aspiring to? Relationship? Wisdom about relationships? Join me on that journey…

Breadth vs depth, what do I want to be expert at?

In any given area there are experts, who through their tremendous skill, focus and extensive dedicated time have built exceptional expertise in that area, more than I could ever hope to do. The world typically encourages and rewards great specialisation.

But my interest in learning is broad. I love connecting the dots between disparate, seemingly unrelated topics. I have always tended towards the generalist rather than the specialist in one particular area. I love the idea of being the “meta connector” of concepts. As an example, my job in investments gives me the tremendous privelege of dealing with true “best in the world” experts on a very wide variety of investment topics, which is why I love it so much.  It was one of the few careers I came across where I felt, “I can do the same job every day and never stop learning about a very wide range of things.”

But what about the gaps between the specialist experts? The unexplored cracks and fissures between the various fields-of-endeavour?  For me the interesting opportunities are in making connections between those disparate areas, how can ideas in one area be applied somewhere new? That’s where I want to focus: to be the expert “meta connector”. I want my skill, my differentiator and competitive advantage, to be that I am a person able to make those diverse connections. Through that I will be able to have greater creative impact and to hopefully boost the creativity and enhance the skills of  the specialists with whom I am priveleged to work or interact.

But you can’t be properly broad and wise without also getting sufficiently expert in some areas. I still need to be enough of an expert in the areas I want to apply the things I learn to. So I will need the skills and focus to learn to become an expert in some select areas. The key is focus, doing a few things well.

My mission in life is to develop my expertise in a few specific areas:

1. In being the expert meta concept connector, my learning passion

2. In Investment Management generally, and specifically in Asset Allocation, my work passion

3. In Photography, my creative passion

4. In enriching a select human relationships: my family, my friends, my colleagues and my chosen communities, my human passion.

What do I want to learn and share about?

So what will this blog cover? For the reasons mentioned above I am intentionally keeping it broad. There are some broad categories I find myself interested in which might appeal to different people, so I will try to categorise each entry into one or more topics, listed below, to which it is most pertinent. But remember, it’s the connections between diverse topics, the repeating patterns, that allow us to make the connections where there are gaps in expertise.

The main categories of topics I will focus on are, in no particular order

  • Relationships
  • Psychology
  • Business (particularly the cultures we define in business)
  • Investments (because it is what I do)
  • History
  • Health
  • Science (broadly but also particularly Physics and Astronomy)
  • Art
  • and in particular Photography (because that is what my hobby is)
  • Maths and Statistics

Many of the posts are likely to be quite short. But occasionally I might publish a thought piece, more like an essay. If these are of less interest please skip them, the last thing I want to do is bore people.

So why another blog of this nature?

Well firstly just because I will enjoy producing it.

Secondly I have found an unexpected benefit in producing it: it helps me to internalise the learning, to explain it succinctly to others is to understand it better oneself (and it will be a useful reference for me in future when I want to remember something).

And finally because learning is how we progress as a civilisation. That may seem like a statement of the obvious, but how good are we at learning as a civilisation? If I can help spread ideas more widely we may all learn wisdom a little faster, and the world will become a little  better….