Instead, Will redefined success for himself as winning in such a way that others are satisfied with his success. This implies not only excellence but also magnanimity. It’s like when opposing crowds would give Michael Jordan standing ovations. Or when fellow golfers would congratulate Tiger Woods on his shots. Or, you know, when conceding politicians used to say nice things about their opponents.

~ Mark Manson from,

I’m reminded of zero-sum games, versus synergy. My definition of success precludes my participation in zero-sum games. I find that Mahatma Gandhi’s, “an eye-for-an-eye just leaves the whole world blind,” brings clarity when I’m uncertain. I often joke, “chaos? disorder?! …my work here is done.” Joking aside, and truth be told, I like to imagine leaving a wake of joy and improvement as I move through the world. I’m also reminded of…

To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children […] to leave the world a bit better […] to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson



Brittle and prone to failure

Together, these approaches comprise “complexity.” They tend to make the economic system less resilient. At least temporarily, they pass fewer of the higher costs of energy products through to current citizens. As a result, the economy can temporarily withstand a higher price of energy. But the system tends to become brittle and prone to failure.

~ Gail Tverberg from,

I don’t know whether to say you’ll be better, or worse, off—but I absolutely recommend reading everything Tverberg has ever written. I’ve a number, (nowhere near all of her stuff however,) of things quoted here on the blog; All those posts are tagged Gail Tverberg. History shows many examples, over thousands of years of recorded history, where economies, (empires, civilizations, and the people,) grew slowly and ended precipitously. There’s yet to be an example of a gradual decline. The open question is for how much longer—possibly very very much longer—can humanity continue to incline? (And to be clear, I don’t have an educated opinion about that question.)


Respectable occupations

Don’t think that the arts and verbal professions are the only respectable occupations, (a common mindset of grandchildren of workers.) The elites sneer at commerce as tawdry, but it’s what gives people what they want and need, and pays for everything else, including the luxury of art.

~ Steven Pinker


High-quality information

I get paid to read and comment on the news for a living, and I still wake up every morning completely overwhelmed by all that’s going on. I can feel my blood pressure go up as I try to figure out what to focus on first. The way I manage it is to remember that the world will go on if I don’t read everything. Newspapers will publish again the next day. I will always be better off consumg a smaller amount of high-quality information that trying to consume it all.

~ Tommy Vietor



In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time—literally—substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.

~ Peter Drucker


Be polite

Be polite, on time, and work really fucking hard until you are talented enough to be blunt, a little late, and take vacations and even then … be polite.

~ Ashton Kutcher