One Thing & Another

Word for the Wise

 Retrodict (ret-roh-DIKT) – to use present information to explain or reinterpret or revise knowledge of the past. Example from Jamie Whyte in The Wall Street Journal: “Many are impressed by the fact that climate models can ‘retrodict’ climatic change – that is, use past climatic data (say, from the 1860s) to predict climatic data from the less-distant past (say, from the 1920s). They should not be.”

Did You Know… ?

Top speed skaters can reach 37 miles per hour.

Principles of Wealth: #7 of 61

Every virtue has its opposite vice. The opposite of common sense is foolishness. The opposite of commitment is equivocation. The opposite of persistence is inconsistency.

In understanding what it takes to build wealth, it’s helpful to consider human habits in these terms.

You can make most business and investment decisions, for example, by applying a bit of common sense. Don’t act on facts you cannot verify. Don’t put all your trust in brokers and salespeople, even if they are trustworthy. Avoid investments you don’t completely understand – and if you ignore that rule, don’t invest more money than you are willing to lose. If you put all your money into buying a bridge in the desert and lose it all… well, that’s just foolish.

When it comes to investment strategies (in stocks or bonds or whatever), countless studies have shown that being consistent – sticking to a sensible strategy over a long period of time – is much more likely to make you rich than jumping from one strategy to another depending on what’s going on with the market or what’s going on in your head.

And when it comes to building wealth through a business enterprise or by developing a profession, getting to work early each morning and working steadily till the work is done – even in the face of challenges and disappointments – is not just important but essential.

From my book How to Speak Intelligently About Everything That Matters

In ancient Greece, plays were performed in huge, open-air theaters, and most people sat far away from the action. To help the audience keep track of what was going on onstage, actors wore masks with exaggerated facial expressions. That made it easier to distinguish the good guys from the bad guys, the masters from the slaves, and the male characters from the female characters. (Keep in mind that all the parts were played by men.) And when something about a character’s appearance or emotions changed (e.g., when Oedipus blinded himself), it could be quickly portrayed – even to the folks in the back row – by the actor donning a new mask.

This theatrical convention is represented today by two iconic images: the laughing mask of comedy and the weeping mask of tragedy.

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