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jerryking : virtues   13

The winner’s wisdom of Silicon Valley Stoics
MAY 31, 2019 | Financial Times | Janan Ganesh.

An idea that works for an established winner can be utterly ruinous for a mere aspirant.....In common parlance, Stoicism used to mean nothing more specific than a kind of grin-and-bear-it fortitude......The new Stoicism calls for — and here I paraphrase — a virtuous rather than joy-centred life. It often takes the guise of self-denial.............the worst of it is the deception of those who are just starting out in life. Unless “22 Stoic Truth-Bombs From Marcus Aurelius That Will Make You Unf***withable” is pitched at retirees, the internet crawls with bad Stoic advice for the young. The premise is that what answers to the needs of those in the 99th percentile of wealth and power is at all relevant to those trying to break out of, say, the 50th.
advice  cannabis  fads  Greek  Janan_Ganesh  natural_order  new_graduates  relevancy  self_denial  Silicon_Valley  stages_of_life  Stoics  virtues 
june 2019 by jerryking
Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?
March 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nellie Bowles.

a new entrepreneurship-focused lobbying firm, the Cicero Institute.
Daily Stoic, a popular blog for the tech-Stoic community.
“Meditations,” by Marcus Aurelius
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William B. Irvine
Ryan Holiday’s life-hacking books on Stoicism.
Search for books by Ada Palmer.

The wealthy of Silicon Valley ought to be living their very best lives right now. John Doerr, an early Amazon and Google investor, calls their moment “the greatest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” And yet, the people of Silicon Valley seem determined to make themselves miserable. They sit in painful, silent meditations for weeks on end. They starve for days — on purpose. Cold morning showers are a bragging right. Notoriety is a badge of honor. So the most helpful clues to understanding Silicon Valley today may come from its favorite ancient philosophy: Stoicism. An ancient Greek school of thought, Stoicism argued that the only real treasures in life were inner virtues, like self-mastery and courage. The Stoics offered tactics to endure pain and pleasure without complaint.

* Is this really a thing? - Some executives in SV believe that our pleasing, on-demand life will make them soft. So they attempt to induce pain..... incorporate practices in our lives that “mimic” our ancestors’ environments and their daily challenges....Tim Ferriss wrote on his blog that Stoicism is “an ideal ‘operating system’ for thriving in high-stress environments.”.....there are the founders who may not call themselves Stoics, but who practice some of its tenets (e.g. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's C.E.O., who likes to walk five miles to work each day and meditates in silence 10 days each year.
* Why are they attracted to Stoicism? - Stoicism “a wonderful therapy against grief and the blinders of the rat race.” “So much of Stoicism is about achieving interior tranquillity,”
* Why does it matter? - The Cicero Institute comes at a time of tension in Silicon Valley.
books  courage  discomforts  emotional_mastery  endurance  founders  Greek  high-stress  inner-directed  inner_peace  John_Doerr  joyless  philosophy  Roman  Ryan_Holiday  self-deprivation  self-mastery  Silicon_Valley  Stoics  suffering  Tim_Ferris  tough-mindedness  virtues 
march 2019 by jerryking
Giving Away Your Billion
JUNE 6, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

Recently Brooks has been reading the Giving Pledge letters. These are the letters that rich people write when they join Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge campaign. They take the pledge, promising to give away most of their wealth during their lifetime, and then they write letters describing their giving philosophy......Most of the letter writers started poor or middle class. They don’t believe in family dynasties and sometimes argue that they would ruin their kids’ lives if they left them a mountain of money. Schools and universities are the most common recipients of their generosity, followed by medical research and Jewish cultural institutions. A ridiculously disproportionate percentage of the Giving Pledge philanthropists are Jewish.......What would David Brooks do if he had a billion bucks to use for good? He’d start with the premise that the most important task before us is to reweave the social fabric. People in disorganized neighbourhoods need to grow up enmeshed in the loving relationships that will help them rise. The elites need to be reintegrated with their own countrymen. .....Only loving relationships transform lives, and such relationships can be formed only in small groups. Thus, I’d use my imaginary billion to seed 25-person collectives around the country.....The collectives would hit the four pressure points required for personal transformation:

Heart: By nurturing deep friendships, they would give people the secure emotional connections they need to make daring explorations.

Hands: Members would get in the habit of performing small tasks of service and self-control for one another, thus engraving the habits of citizenship and good character.

Head: Each collective would have a curriculum, a set of biographical and reflective readings, to help members come up with their own life philosophies, to help them master the intellectual virtues required for public debate.

Soul: In a busy world, members would discuss fundamental issues of life’s purpose, so that they might possess the spiritual true north that orients a life.
social_fabric  David_Brooks  philanthropy  moguls  high_net_worth  Warren_Buffett  elitism  collectives  personal_transformation  plutocracies  plutocrats  disorganization  daring  relationships  emotional_connections  soul  North_Star  virtues  engaged_citizenry  civics  Jewish  biographies  friendships  self-reflective  giving 
june 2017 by jerryking
Best Books on Making the Most of Later Life - WSJ
By DIANE COLE
Nov. 30, 2014

Classic Thinking
More than 2,000 years have passed since Cicero, the Roman philosopher and statesman, wrote his essay “On Old Age.” Today, his advice to embrace later life sounds refreshingly contemporary in retired classics professor Richard Gerberding’s clever adaptation, “How To Be Old: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Retirement.”

Cicero’s ideas—based on his belief that “the best weapons against old age are your inner qualities, those virtues which you have cultivated at every stage of your lives”—remain intact. But Mr. Gerberding makes them more accessible by replacing Cicero’s references to ancient Greek and Roman statesmen with modern figures like William Fulbright, Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy.

“Someone who doesn’t have much in the way of inner resources will find all stages of life irksome,” Cicero wrote. That’s advice for the ages, whatever your age.
advice  aging  books  Cicero  Greek  inner_strengths  longevity  mybestlife  retirement  Romans  stages_of_life  thinking  timeless  virtues 
december 2014 by jerryking
The Mental Virtues - NYTimes.com
AUG. 28, 2014| NYT | David Brooks.

Thinking well under a barrage of information may be a different sort of moral challenge than fighting well under a hail of bullets, but it’s a character challenge nonetheless. In their 2007 book, “Intellectual Virtues,” Robert C. Roberts of Baylor University and W. Jay Wood of Wheaton College list some of the cerebral virtues. We can all grade ourselves on how good we are at each of them.

First, there is love of learning.
Second, there is courage. Not just the willingness to hold unpopular views. But the subtler form, which is knowing how much risk to take in jumping to conclusions. Reckless thinkers take scraps of information and leaps to some faraway conspiracy theories. Perfectionists are silenced, except under ideal conditions, for fear of being wrong. Intellectual courage is self-regulation--knowing when to be daring and when to be cautious. And guarding against confirmation bias.

Third, there is firmness. Don’t be the person who surrenders his beliefs at the slightest whiff of opposition. On the other hand, you don’t want to hold dogmatically to a belief against all evidence. The median point between flaccidity and rigidity is the virtue of firmness.

Fourth, there is humility, which is not letting your own desire for status get in the way of accuracy. Fight against vanity and self-importance.

Fifth, there is autonomy. Don’t be a person who slavishly adopts whatever opinion your teacher or some author gives you. On the other hand, don’t reject all guidance from people who know what they are talking about. Autonomy is the median of knowing when to bow to authority and when not to, when to follow a role model and when not to, when to adhere to tradition and when not to.[In this case, autonomy sounds a lot like judgment]

Finally, there is generosity. This virtue starts with the willingness to share knowledge and give others credit. But it also means hearing others as they would like to be heard, looking for what each person has to teach and not looking to triumphantly pounce upon their errors.
David_Brooks  thinking  howto  cognitive_skills  biases  virtues  humility  intellectual_courage  courage  autonomy  resolve  generosity  praise  grace  firmness  confirmation_bias  self-regulation  recklessness  cerebral  perfection  independent_viewpoints  discernment  self-importance  pairs 
august 2014 by jerryking
After moving here, I think Americans would be happier if they were Canadians - The Globe and Mail
JACOB BUURMA
Contributed to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Jun. 30 2014

As a country with two official languages, there’s always a second opinion, a perennial need to co-operate across cultural lines to move forward. Until that moment, I didn’t grasp that humility, empathy and co-operation are the virtues that actually matter on the world stage.

Canadian theologian Victor Shepherd says that the depth of our relationships is measured by the degree to which they change us. If we have been married to someone for 35 years but remain unchanged, we actually don’t know our spouse at all....Americans tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves. I still find this a virtue, but no longer an unqualified one. In truth, my high-school football team set records for consecutive losses; something more than “pep” was needed to turn it around.

By comparison, I’ve found Canada’s capacity for honest observation a helpful corrective. After a dozen years north of the border, I’m listening more and speaking less. I’m more aware of “the other.”
crossborder  immigrants  relationships  Canadian  values  patriotism  virtues  humility  empathy  co-operation  world_stage 
july 2014 by jerryking
Knowledge is the key - FT.com
December 6, 2013 12:01 am
Knowledge is the key

By Feargus O’Sullivan

"Many business plans come past my desk, often from young people with possibly good ideas but very little experience. Without base knowledge of your industry, often you’ll fail. That’s the last thing a young entrepreneur wants to hear, but I see things going wrong so often because they lack fundamental business understanding.

“If I had any advice for my younger self, I’d say read Ayn Rand. I’ve always been a libertarian, a believer in capitalism, freedom and the individual. That’s what keeps the world afloat. Rand defined seven virtues that we have running through the business, [rationality, productiveness, pride, independence, integrity, honesty and justice] ... because we thought they were good guidance for both a fulfilling life and for a successful organisation.
Ayn_Rand  knowledge  libertarians  virtues  business_planning  advice  industry_expertise  young_people 
december 2013 by jerryking
Why Machiavelli Still Matters - NYTimes.com
By JOHN SCOTT and ROBERT ZARETSKY
Published: December 9, 2013

“The Prince” is a manual for those who wish to win and keep power. The Renaissance was awash in such how-to guides, but Machiavelli’s was different. To be sure, he counsels a prince on how to act toward his enemies, using force and fraud in war. But his true novelty resides in how we should think about our friends. It is at the book’s heart, in the chapter devoted to this issue, that Machiavelli proclaims his originality.

Set aside what you would like to imagine about politics, Machiavelli writes, and instead go straight to the truth of how things really work, or what he calls the “effectual truth.” [Effectual truth means not only that the truth will have an effect, a consequence, but also that its effect will show. Those who try to live by a profession of good will fail and be shown to fail. ] You will see that allies in politics, whether at home or abroad, are not friends....Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

For such a leader, allies are friends when it is in their interest to be. (We can, with difficulty, accept this lesson when embodied by a Charles de Gaulle; we have even greater difficulty when it is taught by, say, Hamid Karzai.) What’s more, Machiavelli says, leaders must at times inspire fear not only in their foes but even in their allies — and even in their own ministers.
cynicism  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Medici  indispensable  advice  friendships  politics  power  virtues  interests  consigliere  leaders  self-interest  fear  adaptability  political_power  self-preservation  effectiveness  Charles_de_Gaulle  negative_space  primers 
december 2013 by jerryking
Tom Clancy knew that it was all about the story
Oct. 04 2013 | The Globe and Mail | ROBERT WIERSEMA

Late one afternoon, two men came into the store, clearly American in that slightly louder-talking, slightly bigger-than-life way that stands out in unassuming Victoria. They wandered the store for a bit before stopping at the display of Tom Clancy’s then-newest paperback, The Sum of All Fears.

One of the men brought a copy to the cash desk. Rather than pulling out his wallet, though, he asked to borrow a pen. Flipping the book open, he signed the title page, along with a note, something along the lines of: “Thank you for your support.”

He slid the book back across the desk to me with a small smile. And then, without another word, Tom Clancy left the store.

That casually bad-ass blend of hubris and humility was my one personal encounter with Clancy.....Clancy was one of a group of authors that included the recently departed and much-missed Elmore Leonard and Ray Bradbury, among others, who reminded me of the values of storytelling, the virtues of characterization, plot and wonder – elements that were either overlooked or looked down upon in the English department.
Tom_Clancy  covert_operations  espionage  authors  tributes  obituaries  writers  storytelling  virtues  characterization  plot  wonder 
october 2013 by jerryking
'It Didn't Happen' - WSJ.com
July 26, 2007 | WSJ| By JAMES TARANTO.

"Well, look, if that's the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now -- where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife -- which we haven't done," Mr. Obama told the AP. "We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven't done. Those of us who care about Darfur don't think it would be a good idea."

Mr. Obama is engaging in sophistry. By his logic, if America lacks the capacity to intervene everywhere there is ethnic killing, it has no obligation to intervene anywhere -- and perhaps an obligation to intervene nowhere. His reasoning elevates consistency into the cardinal virtue, making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Further, he elides the distinction between an act of omission (refraining from intervention in Congo and Darfur) and an act of commission (withdrawing from Iraq). The implication is that although the U.S. has had a military presence in Iraq since 1991, the fate of Iraqis is not America's problem.

Unlike his main rivals for the Democratic nomination, Mr. Obama has been consistent in opposing the liberation of Iraq.
Obama  Iraq  Vietnam  Laos  consistency  virtues  U.S.foreign_policy  national_interests  sophistry  values 
july 2012 by jerryking
Schumpeter: Built to last
Nov 26th 2011 | The Economist |

WHY do some companies flourish for decades while others wither and die? Jim Collins got his start as a management guru puzzling about corporate longevity. Given that Mr Collins has remained at the top of his profession for almost two decades, it is worth applying the same question to him.

How has he produced one bestseller after another?...Part of the answer lies in timing....Another part of the answer lies in Mr Collins’s mastery of the dark arts of the management guru. He bases his arguments on mountains of data. His recent books come with several appendices in which he discusses his methodology and challenges possible objections....His central message, which has remained the same through global booms and recessions, is admirably humdrum. He seeks to describe, in detail, how great bosses run their companies....Mr Collins challenges some common beliefs. Do turbulent times call for bold and risk-loving leaders, as so many people think? Probably not. Most of Mr Collins’s leaders are risk-averse to the point of paranoia....A second myth that Mr Collins punctures is that innovation is the only virtue that counts. Mr Collins’s companies were usually “one fad behind” the market.
Jim_Collins  gurus  management_consulting  data_driven  fast_followers  leaders  myths  turbulence  virtues  CEOs 
january 2012 by jerryking

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