extravagant festivals

NYT:

Two M.I.T. economists, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, found that the world’s poor typically spend about 2 percent of their income educating their children, and often larger percentages on alcohol and tobacco: 4 percent in rural Papua New Guinea, 6 percent in Indonesia, 8 percent in Mexico. The indigent also spend significant sums on soft drinks, prostitution and extravagant festivals.

The Little Big Things by Tom Peters

Bill Young: “Strive for excellence. Ignore success”

Issac Newton: “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”

Stuart Horney, former Lend Lease (Australia) CEO: “Every project we take on starts with a question: ‘How can we do what’s never been done before.’”

Muhammad Yunus: All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves, we were all self-employed. We were finding our food, we’re feeding ourselves. That’s where the human history began with. As civilization came, we suppressed it and… We became labor, because (they) stamped us, “You are labor.” We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.

The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company: “One of the curious aspects of Pixar’s story is that each of the leaders was, by conventional standards, a failure at the time he came onto the scene. [Animator-superstar John] Lasseter landed his dream job at Disney out of college—and had just been fired from it. [Tech genius and founding CEO Ed] Catmull had done well-respected work as a graduate student in computer graphics, but had been turned down for a teaching position and ended up in what he felt was a dead-end software development job. Alvy Ray Smith, the company’s co-founder, had checked out of academia, got work at Xerox’s famous Palo Alto Research Center, and then abruptly found himself on the street. [Steve] Jobs had endured humiliation and pain as he was rejected by Apple Computer; overnight he had transformed from boy wonder of Silicon Valley to a roundly ridiculed has been. …”

Viktor Frankl: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

John Seely Brown: “Leaders don’t just make products and make decisions. Leaders make meaning.”

Rolf Jensen: “We are in the twilight of a society based on data. As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place new value on the one human ability that can’t be automated: emotion. Imagination, myth, ritual — the language of emotion — will affect everything from our purchasing decisions to how well we work with others. Companies will thrive on the basis of their stories and myths — on their ability to create products and services that evoke emotion.”

Plato: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

E.M. Forster: “Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect…”

Scott Simon: “Intelligent people can always come up with intelligent reasons to do nothing.”

Tom Peters: “Change will take precisely as long as you think it will.”

Napoleon: “The art of war does not require complicated maneuvers; the simplest are the best, and common sense is fundamental. One might wonder how generals blunder; it is because they try to be clever.”

How Doctors Think: “Observers have noted that, on average, physicians interrupt patients within eighteen seconds of when they begin telling their story.”

Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Karen Lamb: “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”

BMW ad:
“On the back of this three-letter word, we built a company.
Independent in spirit, philosophy, and practice.
Accountable to no one but the driver.
We do not build cars.
We are the creators of emotion.
We are the guardians of exhilaration, thrills, and chills.
We are the Joy of Driving.
No car company can rival our history.
Replicate our passion.
See our vision.
Innovation is our backbone, but Joy is our heart.
We will not stray from our three-letter purpose. We will nurture it.
We will make Joy smarter. We will push it, test it, break it – then build it again.
More efficient, more dynamic.
We will give the world the keys to Joy and they will take it for a ride.
And while others try to promise everything, we promise one thing.
The most personal, cherished, and human of all emotions.
This is the story of BMW.
This is the story of Joy.”

“In a way, the world is a great liar. It shows you it worships and admires money, but at the end of the day it doesn’t. It says it adores fame and celebrity, but it doesn’t, not really. The world admires, and wants to hold on to, and not lose, goodness. It admires virtue. At the end it gives its greatest tributes to generosity, honesty, courage, mercy, talents well used, talents that, brought into the world, make it better. That’s what it really admires. That’s what we talk about in eulogies, because that’s what’s important. We don’t say, ‘The thing about Joe was he was rich.’ We say, if we can, ‘The thing about Joe was he took good care of people.’”—Peggy Noonan, “A Life’s Lesson,” on the astounding response to the passing of Tim Russert, the Wall Street Journal, June 21-22, 2008

the search continues

Roger Ebert:

Some traditions remain (at Cannes). Before every screening at the Auditorium Debussy, for example, someone in the dark is sure to call out “Raoul!” There’s laughter and a little buzz as old-timers explain to their neighbors that once in dim antiquity a moviegoer entered after the lights went down, was unable to find his friend, and shouted out “Raoul!” The search continues.

they call him the greatest

Q: What would you like people to think about you when you’ve gone?

A: I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love, he took one tablespoon of patience, one teaspoon of generosity, one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one pinch of concern, and then, he mix willingness with happiness, he added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well, then he spread it over his span of a lifetime, and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.

this way is better, no?

NYT:

“The male (chimpanzee) will pluck a leaf, or a set of leaves, and sit so the female can see him. He spreads his legs so the female sees the erection, and he tears the leaf bit by bit down the midvein of the leaf, dropping the pieces as he detaches them. Sometimes he’ll do half a dozen leaves until she notices.”

And then?

“Presumably she sees the erection and puts two and two together, and if she’s interested, she’ll typically approach and present her back side, and then they’ll mate.”

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

9 – Plato, as usual, was there first. He liked to imagine the mind as a chariot pulled by two horses. The rational brain, he said, is the charioteer; it holds the reins and decides where the horses run. If the horses get out of control, the charioteer just needs to take out his whip and reassert authority. One of the horses is well bred and well behaved, but even the best charioteer has dif­ficulty controlling the other horse.

18 – Emotion and motivation share the same Latin root, movere, which means “to move.”

51 – But Robertie didn’t become a world champion just by playing a lot of backgammon. “It’s not the quantity of practice, it’s the quality,” he says. According to Robertie, the most effective way to get better is to focus on your mistakes. In other words, you need to consciously consider the errors being internalized by your dopamine neurons… He knows that self-criticism is the secret to self-improvement; negative feedback is the best kind.

51 – The physicist Niels Bohr once defined an expert as “a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very nar­row field.”

54 – Although we tend to think of experts as being weighed down by information, their intelligence dependent on a vast amount of explicit knowledge, experts are actually profoundly intuitive. When an expert evaluates a situa­tion, he doesn’t systematically compare all the available options or consciously analyze the relevant information. He doesn’t rely on elaborate spreadsheets or long lists of pros and cons. Instead, the expert naturally depends on the emotions generated by his dopamine neurons.

70 – The world is more random than we can imagine. That’s what our emotions can’t understand.

Continue reading

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Simenon

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By by Simenon

Introduction by Luc Sante

vii – The Legend of Georges Simenon expresses itself in statistics: four hundred books, ten thousand women, half a million pencils, some exalted quantity of pipes.

ix – Somewhere along the line, though, he made his signal discovery, that so much of what passes for literature merely consists of studies of people in their clothing, that is, people operating within the rigid confines of social codes. He, on the other hand, wanted to write about the naked human, who is forced by circumstances to confront life without the usual protections.

18 – People aren’t worth all the trouble we go through to make them think well of us. They’re stupid. It’s the ones who force you to look like you’re virtuous who treat you the worst.

81 – They are all like that—foreigners. That’s why you can’t understand a word they say.

130 – Once you’ve made up your mind on that point, once you’ve decided to make a change, you can’t imagine how straightforward everything else is.

and it ends with:

203 – …”There isn’t any truth, you know?”