Death of the Middle-Class – Get the Door, it’s the Robot delivering Pizza!

By: Heero Yuy

Friends are those that challenge you and equally you challenge them so that you may mutually benefit from this exercise and grow together in life. Acquaintances are individuals who are more prone to getting hurt feelings during the friendship process, fall to the way side, and can choose to leave and cease communication. This is the law of friends and acquaintances and one shall only grow in life by having more of the former and less of the latter.

Some acquaintances couldn’t understand full well why Automation is crash over everything like a Tsunami and destroy this precious thing we hold dear to our hearts called the Middle-Class.

When debating this topic, the opposing party mentioned that “humanity has infinite potential, we’ve adapt to countless automation measures in the past, and will live infinitely fruitful into the future.” While is this a blissful outlook on whats to come, the reality is far from this case. The survivors have to learn to adapt at a much faster rate than the rate of automation. There will be victims of Automation and the victims will far outweigh those who somehow survived.

This is my response to the above thesis of “everything will just be fine”:

“For this to succeed I see all of the following to align:

1) Learning rate that naturally exceeds the average rate of those in the IT fields (aka they are smart or smarter than the average person applying to those jobs). OR dedication to throw away all your free-time to make up for the fact that you can’t learn faster than your competitors and the only way to get the same yield is by committing ever more time just to keep up let alone get ahead (Gatech syndrome)

2) Spend at least a couple of hundred or (thousand if you are slower) hours getting proficient in a couple of popular programming languages

3) Spend another couple of hundred or (thousand – same as above) of hours getting proficient in AI and ML/DP applications in those particular languages

4) Hope that others who embarked on this journey are now way behind their current skill level

5) Hope that the job flyer they’ve targeted still exist, if not, it exists at another firm and is still open to a candidate of the current skill level

6) Hope that their interview skills are on par or better than all other people running in the same race with more or less experience

7) Make it to final round of interview

8) Actually get an offer and accept it

Or know someone in the industry or do your own startup and hope to get funding. Both of which are much harder than the steps outlined above in 1-8.

Note: Media reports on outlier stories. It is easy to believe that everyone around you is a multi-millionaire/billionaire and that if you apply these 5 easy steps that you too can be rich beyond your imagination. After a couple of iterations of this non-sense and seeing rest of what you read is complete garbage, you know that to find stories on the 0.0001% and report the collection of these findings as the empirical truth for the other 99.9999% that have no chance of making it is fundamentally flawed.

Each step is a conditional probability and the total probability of success for all 8 steps to all be 1 is rather low. Apply this over the masses of people that will be displaced and you will find that a few might luck out and make the transition while most will fall on their swords.”

A buddy of mine made some revisions to my statements above by saying:

“This is a good fucking post. You’ve honestly summarized the last 6 or so years of my life here. I would tighten some numbers – for 2, definitely hundreds not thousands required for entry level. For 3, that is specialization, which can be done after first round retraining. Everything else I agree. I retrained in my free time while earning 30k a year over 3 years so ~100k investment based on my hourly rate is on point”

Figure out your own self worth, reflect on that, and determine your proper market valuation based on jobs that are coming into popularity not existing jobs that are deemed safe.

Stability is the egg from which hatches Automation. You want to be a part of the Chicken and less so the Egg that is laid. There are plenty of eggs in this world and a ton of new Chickens about to hatch when Automation comes into the spot light.

Paradox of Worshiping the Established – How Every Breakthrough in History was Unconventional!

By: Heero Yuy

One of the main failures of Paper Tigers is that they cannot think independently for themselves and worship Elitists. However, as history has it, every single breakthrough in human history has been made through unconventional discoveries which often if not always goes against the views of the establishment and Elitists!

Most want to worship current Elitists because…? Well, their friends, family, or those that they respect follow the crowd and therefore they feel compelled to join the movement without much thought. This is why History is so illustrious with examples of individuals who’ve started movements and rebellions.

The world is filled with examples of cycles where the current establishment, in thought, government, or enterprise are constantly turning over; out with the old and in with the new. Holding onto the past or present precludes the development of the future. What is may not be in the near or distant future. Yet, however, we still want to believe in the current popular mainly because we fail to use critical thinking to think slowly on each and every decision; thinking fast is much easier in comparison so we feel less compelled to use higher forms of the thinking process.

What’s most challenging is when you are the ugly duckling going against the crowd and standing alone with your beliefs. Only when you can endure all the ridicule, mockery, and being thrown various labels can you shut out all the outside distractions and focus on the only thing that matters which is the self.

For anyone who has made in the past did not do so by strictly adhering to tradition as they would have become an ancient artifact themselves collecting dust in some dark corner of a museum.

Paper Tiger Logic – Three (3) Reasons Why Highly Educated People are actually Stupid!

by: Heero Yuy

Preface: I’m going to rag on Asians, especially Chinese, because I can, it is a suitable stereotype, and because I am Asian and Chinese so I can do it as much as I like. Tough.

Educated people are the worst. According to the Father of Alternating Currents, Nikola Tesla, “Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.” Erudite individuals often abuse their enlightened minds to persuade others into schemes for which they cannot comprehend in order to exercise confirmation bias to achieving one’s own agenda. These people indeed are the worst. While these individuals may be intelligent, they are exceeding dumb because they are not enlightened but just educated idiots.

Asians, especially Chinese, are some of the dumbest people I know. Forgive them because they know not what they do. Their parents told them stories of stories of people who are better than everyone else because of a lineage of Ancient and Wise philosophers from many Moons ago. If there is a thing of Generational Wealth, then it is safe to say that there is also something called Generational Wisdom. As Asians, we are blessed with Generational Wisdom because there were so many of us and we systematically survived a lot of iterations. Generational Wisdom can make people feel entitled to not DO anything because the previous Generations have done it all. Therefore, all one has to do is sit back and let the crowd of “wise” individuals validate a concept, idea, or person and then simply nod in agreement. (link to Boston.com’s article on pitfalls of crowd-sourcing and bias from online reviews) Baring from fake news, deception, and other charlatan tactics, this might be the most effective way to save one’s effort and outsource thinking to the masses. But what if that weren’t the case at all? What if YOU had to think for once? Uhoh… Get ready, Paper Tigers, because you are in for a wild ride.

Everyone knows that Chinese are supremely Elitist and ostentatious when considered as whole; Ivy League Education, Employee or CEO/President/VP/etc of Major Companies, and iPhone using Louis Vuitton handbag carrying individuals. Asians also encourage their offsprings to think in this way and to disregard anyone who is substandard in comparison to their social caste as people who are “beneath” them are intrinsically a waste of time. By beneath I mean anyone who has:

  1. Lower Education
  2. Lower Networth
  3. Lower Social Status/Rank
  4. Lower Bling Bling (Cars, Yachts, Houses, Jets, Clothes, Materialism, etc)
  5. Lower or non-existent on the Forbes 100 List

Reason#1 – Need for Crowd Validation:

Let’s examine Alibaba’s Jack Ma. No one cares about Jack Ma before his company went IPO as indicated here:

https://www.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=jack%20ma

But now Jack Ma is a household name. Before Jack Ma was successful he was hailed as a failure and now the media worships him like a hero. Quite the change!

When you ask Chinese what they think about Jack Ma before he is the man he is today they would be dismissive, reprehensive, or probably be glued to some Chinese-Drama on XYZ Channel without a care in the world. Now, when Jack Ma makes headlines, Chinese love him without question. Why? Jack was crowd validated and Forbe 100 certified. Without even looking up from their regular dose of Chinese-Drama, the answer, as per Generational Wisdom, is Jack is King. Easy, right? Wrong!

There are in fact hundreds of thousands of Jack Ma’s in the world, all equally hard working if not more so, all using the same if not similar techniques to tackle challenging problems, but only one Jack Ma made it and the rest are not THAT successful in comparison. Chinese glorify the story of the MOST successful while dismissing those of anyone “LESSER.” If the same message was said by Jack Ma and that of Jack Ma clones who didn’t make it, the Chinese will listen to the former and totally dismiss the latter and also remark that the latter is a complete loser and opinion irrelevant until they make something of their lives.

Reason #2: Worship Elitism and Fall to Pettiness:

This sure makes anyone preaching ANYTHING to the Chinese rather difficult under this philosophy of worshiping only the absolute top Elitists. Similarly, if this is applied to their own weaknesses, they would then become defensive and dismissive. Chinese are not particularly good at receiving it as much as they love dishing it out. For instance, one can argue that if the child were not successful then the parents are idiots and the grandparents are idiots as well, ad infinitum. Children who are clever can play this game with their parents and make them feel equally worthless under the Elitist system. If the child is not successful that means the parents could be better, the parents lack the resolve to improve themselves and therefore are not the most fit or Elite parents, and therefore unworthy to parent any kid let alone their own. If that were the case, then the parents need to find ways to hire other Elitist parents who are better than them and fall on their swords to save face because the child is ruined by lackluster environment and resources. No one wants to be told they suck themselves but the Chinese love to tell each other how much others suck. Ever wonder why a race of people never really got anywhere after thousands of years? It’s primarily because of this Generational Wisdom and maintaining this cancerous mentality of pettiness through thousands of years that leaves us with the righteous title of Chinese or Middle-Kingdom’s people or those that will never evolve to higher societies and will always be fending off surrounding Barbarians.

Why am I hating on Chinese so much? It illustrates my point and that the culture of Elitism is very much flawed. Natural learning that was supposed to happen to make people aware of the fact that they need to be more empathetic and sympathetic in understanding of others were silenced in favoring of blindly worshiping Elitists. If Jack Ma told everyone to jump off a cliff tomorrow then a lot of people will without question because it is Jack Ma, man!

Reason #3: Failure to actually be Educated:

Majority of Chinese interpret Education as a means of leveling up individual skills to get an ever higher paycheck in performing a high-skill based job and remaining pacified living a middle-class life. Education is for work only and work is for making a living. Education was supposed to be an enlightening experience to understand life better but many Chinese aren’t affording the luxury of understanding because they are too busy conforming to test taking and climbing the social status ladder. True understanding requires meditation for which is in short supply these days.

After exiting a rather dictatorial rule of Mao post Cultural Revolution, the Chinese mindset is that society and its systems are always right and the Government is absolute. Teachers and coaches have to be obeyed without question because they were appointed into those positions of authority by the Elitists due to their supreme qualifications and the system is supposed to work all the time without error. It’s a shame to have this mindset because the system in fact is flawed by construction and people who put people into positions most of the time do not have any clue what they are doing. That’s why mistakes happen, that’s why life is full of surprises.

It is much easier to have absolute belief and faith in the system without question and much harder to question everything and test ones understanding. Chinese love to do the former and fail often to do the latter. This is why they can be easily pre-suaded to buying dumb shit like Louis Vuitton bags and every edition of the Apple iPhone even though Huawei, Samsung, and LG make better phones at a lower price point and also run on a better platform called Android.

Paper Tigers are horrible creatures because they (1) live off of crowd validation, (2) worship elitism and at the same time fall to pettiness, and (3) lack a true understanding of education to think independently for themselves. Next time when you run into some “smart” Asian that says, “well, the Ancient Asian Philosopher said….” Hit them back with, “Well, what do YOU say?” They will try to cite a bunch of sources and use confirmation bias to bolster their original thesis, wait for this annoying display of “Education” to end, and then repeat once more, “That’s fantastic. Without citing references and quoting others, what do you genuinely feel about this issue or topic?” If you’ve always felt Asians were introverted and calm you will be in for a real treat as you witness full-on Paper Tiger Panic. Enjoy!

F*#!K Georgia Tech!!! – How to Hate the Best Four Years of Your Life [GOL-T]

By: Heero Yuy

Georgia Tech is like Trench Warfare. If the enemy doesn’t kill you the trench foot, mustard or chlorine gas will. It’s a lose-lose scenario for mere mortals (sane rational human beings) who get sacrificed as cannon fodder for the elite (conformists/tools) few that skew the bell-curve at each Mid-Term and Final. I thoroughly hated it there and resolved to detox elsewhere for my Graduate studies. The only thing that keeps you going in the classic case of Trench Warfare are good friends. Jims was one of those good friends that kept my spirits up during those rather hopeless and lost years. The saying goes: “Misery loves company.” 99% of Georgia Tech students are miserable and they all love to rag on how the school, facilities, and professors all suck.

Jims and I often find ourselves hating on Georgia Tech pretty hard. This was one of our favorite pass times between pontificating life and how utterly useless that shit is as well. We knew we were on the assembly line groomed for what will be 20-30 years more of relentless old and new ways to sell our souls to Corporate America. Yes, indeed, we hated life but we hated Georgia Tech even more than life itself! F**K Georgia Tech!

1. Normal people greet each other with some variation of the following dialog:

Person#1: “Hey, how are you doing?”

Person#2: “I’m good, thanks. You?”

Person #1: “I’m doing well, thanks for asking!”

Music continues along with the facade that life is just peachy. You see, these two people obviously did NOT go to Georgia Tech.

2. This is how two Yellow Jackets (current) greet each other:

YJacket#1: “Hey dude, you did an all nighter again?” (Yeah I said dude, that ratio is probably still shit. There aren’t any girls there, keep moving, skip go, don’t collect $200, and try again for wife-material at GSU, UGA, or Emory)

YJacket#2: “Of course man, you were in that [First Person Shooter or RTS] game all night with me and cramming for [XYZ whatever bullshit class you are going to get a ‘C’ in anyways due to some God forsaken Four Horsemen pyramid scheme]!”

YJacket#1: “Oh yeah… I must have forgot. Let’s pound some [ABC Energy Drink] and go fail that test together!”

Memory lapses are a regular occurrence after all nighters. Don’t worry, all will be well after you barfed out the information/solutions necessary to ‘pass’ that mid-term/final. Bro fist or High Five concludes this conversation.

3. This is how two Yellow Jackets (ghost of Xmas past) greet each other:

*The usual horrendous fake social pleasantries like anyone actually gives a damn*

OldJacket#1: “… so, aren’t you glad you aren’t at Georgia Tech anymore?”

OldJacket#2: *Blood boils, face turns into a volcano* “Georgia… Georgia what??? F&#*K THAT PLACE, I am so glad I am not in that [Mental Institution, Prison, Shady Shack, Saw# Movie, etc]”

OldJacket#1: “Spoken like a true Yellow Jacket!

Yeah, f**k that place.

Jims and I play #3 quite often and we truly invent new deeper layers of Hell each time we get into the flow of hate. During our recent hate session on that forsaken place, we started to talk about how Georgia Tech is rigged just like the real Game of Life. Then it clicked… Georgia Tech IS the Game of Life!

Jims applauded me with my following assessment on how the Game is played at Georgia Tech:

“just like goddamn Gatech with fraternities that horde all the loot (old Exams, Quizzes, and HWs)

if you don’t start in those clans, you are severely behind.”

#truth

This is about the only real thing I learned at my over-priced, under-valued, under-appreciated piece of paper that collects dust somewhere in an obscure filing cabinet.

I wall-hacked back in the classic teenage days where everyone played Counter-Strike and happen to also cheat in Team Fortress Classic (Half-Life 2 Mod – see above video). After my remark to Jims above, I followed it up with:

“The only way to win in a rigged game is to cheat. That’s why I used wall hack back in the day.

Loved that Team Fortress sniper shit… LOL, spy vs spy? Nal man, hacker vs hacker! LOLOLOL

 

me: Hey man, you are wallhacking!
cheater#2: Dude, so are you!!!”

Jims got a good laugh out of that one and I continued by saying:

“Takes a cheater to spot another cheater! LMAO!

but much is the same in the game of life… The ones who actually got up to the top, the Generational wealth, are all part of families or clans that cheated, horded resources, and didn’t give any of it back to the system.

 

when you [are] Rocky Balboa and make it to the top eventually, you can either:
1) Join them and start your own old money
2) Put all chips back on table (Gates + Buffett)

 

either way, as you are making it, pure grind or cheat codes used, you will start to see that these mfuckers were born with all the loot, cheat codes, and epic gear that no one else can feasibly get [even after] grinding a thousand life times!”

Sometimes being miserable, hateful, and cynic f from m*****r f*#king Georgia Tech has its perks. You get that sick clarity on life that others, who choose to stay in that masquerade, lack.

Now I need some time away from the keyboard to Detox from even recalling those dark times at Georgia Tech. Go forage for some berries or something but for God’s sake do NOT go to Georgia Tech!!!

All Hail Peter Gregory’s TED Talk (from HBO’s Silicon Valley)!

Automation – Divine Economic Salvation or Ultimate Demise? WALL-E or Terminator?

By: Heero Yuy

Repost from WallStreetOasis.com! Enjoy!

Automation is a very controversial topic. So controversial in fact that one of my friends got pissed off when I got under his skin about it.

Martin Ford explained Automation to me in his book Lights in the Tunnel back when I was a grad student and his recent New York Times Best Seller Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future dives deeper into this very topic.

I’m all for automation. It makes our lives easier, more productive, and enjoyable at the cost of jobs. While we want to believe this is frictional unemployment and leave it at that I truly believe it is structural unemployment that has no easy solution. Why?

Two things must happen to a displaced worker in order to get ahead of the Automation curve:

  1. Out learn and pivot into the next best field
  2. Hope that field doesn’t get automated before they’ve extracted enough Capital from selling their services through employment or business venture

1 deals with a rates issue and time available to dedicate oneself to training in a new discipline. When good ole Peabody, the Coal mining company, went belly up last year a lot of the miners were interviewed as to what they would do next. Turns out they are going to grind it out intellectually and pivot to become programmers. Very awesome and this shows the true American spirit for those who’ve made that transition while others were left behind. Bills, your spouse, and kids don’t stop though when the individual is put out of the job so time available for this retraining process is a premium the further down the road of life you’ve traveled. Different story if you can ramen noodle sleep on couches as a single person.

2 Deals with picking the right field that has lower likelihood of being Automated out. No one really knows how to do this because the speed and acceleration of the growth of Automation is quite alarming. Go be a Dentist or a Doctor or something, who knows!

My friend’s counter-argument against Automation:

  1. The human “potential” is infinite, we will always outpace automation as we’ve done in the past
  2. People have been dealing with automation for centuries and we’ve thrived
  3. People can learn to adapt even when displaced from jobs

1 Potential doesn’t get you jobs when you put that on the headline of your resume.

2 Automation has actually crushed a lot of people in the form of outsourcing. Some have drawn ties to middle-aged White American Men suicide rates to the Increased Trade with China.

3 Open-ended statement. Can but don’t is also useless. It’s about learning rates and deadlines. Given infinite time, most of us can figure everything out. We don’t live forever.

My friend doesn’t understand the difference between velocity (speed) and acceleration. This is crucial for not only understanding Physics but also Market dynamics and other things like the Peak Oil Hypothesis (can’t drink fast enough of black gold on to keep up with consumption). He overcompensates by being emotional and repeating his statements many times until I sent him packing by telling him that he is a lazy student.

What threw my friend and others like him over the edge

Ask him to employ those people who’ve been displaced and who he would choose if he had the option of selecting an overly qualified candidate and one that is pivoting with the aptitude but not the experience for a job ceteris paribus (i.e. same pay, benefits, etc). No rational person would pick an unknown over those with heavier paper and real life credentials.

When challenged with a real life problem, these arm chair theory guys go running right back to their books, journals, and obscure publications for rebuttals.

Automation. Our best ally or most feared invention to date? WALL-E or Terminator? You decide.

References:
Harvard Business Review: Beyond Automation
I Don’t Think we can Stop the Future of Automation and Job Losses – Martin Ford
Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence from U.S. Counties – Federal Reserve
Lights in the Tunnel – Martin Ford
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future – Martin Ford

Veteran Elite – Why you should Ditch the Debt Train and Join the Military!

Uncle Sam

By: Heero Yuy

Someone asked about the barriers to entry to the job market and the necessity of incurring debt from getting a college education. Here is my response from WallStreetOasis.com Post on how to circumvent the debt part, have fun, and get ahead in the game. Enjoy!

US Military

Service Academy or Scholarship Route
Get a free degree from US Federal Service Academies (Army, Navy, Airforce, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines) OR the ROTC route (possibly NUPOC or BDCP [Navy programs, go see www.Airwarriors.com ]).

  • Do your time and bank six figures for five (5) years guaranteed
  • Do three more to get 100% of your Post-911 GI Bill. Puts you at Eight (8) total post college
  • Get out earlier with a smaller portion of GI Bill and use Yellow Ribbon for M7 MBA

Officer Candidate School Route

  • Get degree from a very cheap University next to free (State school scholarship loopholes or scholarships)
  • Join any branch as an Officer
  • Take the GMAT before getting out, it is free (one time)
  • Get out after minimum four (4) year commitment with 100% Post-911 GI Bill
  • Get into M7 and use GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon for minimum debt load

Compensation

Active Duty DoD: Total Comp for Junior Officers (O-3 with four years or less) is $90-110K stationed in CONUS and $110-130K stationed Overseas (+$10-30K more at least if you are deployed in a War Zone. Whole paycheck is Tax-free and you get additional things like Hazard Duty Pay, Jump Pay, etc). This includes a TON of tax-free benefits and free perks such as:

  • Food Allowance (BAS)
  • Housing Allowance (BAH or OHA)
  • Oversea Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)
  • Free Dental
  • Free Medical
  • Free Prescriptions and anything else Health related
  • Access to the Commissary (Grocery store) and the Exchange (Wal-mart) which are all Tax-Free
  • A bunch of other subsidized entertainment, education, and resources
  • Secret or Top Secret Security Clearance (worth a lot to employers if they are looking for those with this gem)

All those are taken into consideration when calculating the approximate total compensation. I was clearing about $3400 net every other paycheck living in Japan as a junior O-2. Not a bad life! Every year for the past decades the Military has gotten across the board pay increases of 1-3% (inflation adjustment) in addition to the regular rank and time-in-service pay bumps.

Reserves: You can choose to join the reserves to keep some of the aforementioned Active Duty perks with weekend drills during your MBA program and get paid for drilling. Continuity can lead to a pension program that you can draw on starting at age 60.

Merchant Marines: Starting Salary for US Merchant Marines (Captain Phillips and Crew) is around $12-14k/month as an Engineer or Mate. More on this later if anyone is interested in this career (badass experience and all the perks of the US Navy with none of the bullshit. Personally shook hands with a 32 year old Captain [think Managing Director] of a mega military container ship. Works only half the year [2-3month on, 2-3month off, rinse and repeat] and takes off the rest clearing $250-300K a year. Never seen a happier sailor in my life.). Harbor Pilots, the folks who taxi cargo ships from the Ocean into the Harbor, consider minimum wage to be $250K a year and they average around $450-500K with the more senior Pilots clearing well above $600K at the busier Ports. Drive ships or manage Analysts/Associates/VPs? Desk job vs Adrenaline Job. Up to you. 🙂 Merchants are also eligible for the Reserves in addition to having their own pension from their respective Unions.

Post-Service MBA rebrand Option

M7 MBA is Veteran friendly typically having an existing Veterans Network. Chat up current students and Vet Network for assistance and apply with a GMAT 700+. They value the leadership and perspective from a military Veteran in that classroom setting when everyone else has been doing battle with Excel, Ballpoint Bic Pens, and Clickers for “Next Slide” during PowerPoint presentations. Tales of leadership under duress is a case study in and of itself.

Bottomline: Join the Military, See the World. You’ll come out the other side as a Leader with a degree, experience, and money in the bank. This enables you to apply to M7 MBA program and be a favored candidate to get another prestigious degree for nearly FREE. Afterwards, you can go hear others whine about the fact that you now have Veterans preferences, an M7 MBA, and a host of other excuses that makes you more employable vs the Average Joe.

Lastly, we have the Public Health Services; not as sexy but also uniform option: https://www.usphs.gov/

Footnote: Pricetag on freedom can be steep. You are risking your life for a greater good and getting a degree as a secondary effect. By being in this elite club, you have exclusive access to one of the finest networks in America as a Veteran.

The American Dream -Part 2 – Quantitative Analysis

By: Heero Yuy

Repost from WallStreet Oasis. Enjoy!
For those who can read Chinese, check out this blog post.

For the English audience, check out these key references:
The Fading American Dream: Trends in Absolute Income Mobility Since 1940

The Equality of Opportunity Project (source for the picture below)

The Fading American DreamMatt Kahn’s Blog post – Relative Income Disparity between Generations
Of course, one must not forget the gloomy sabermetrics folks over at Political Calculations with their analysis on the housing market and the median household income:

Housing Price vs Median Household Income

Food for thought.

Three Controversial Books on the Mind – Earth Shattering Discovery or Snakeoil?

By: Heero Yuy

Repost from WallStreet Oasis (WSO). Check it!

Facebook feed showed yet another plug from Harvard Business Review (HBR) on Carol Dweck’s concept of a growth mindset as it pertains to Microsoft’s adaptation. I quit reading the book when she cited Enron executives as a role models for creativity and ingenuity as I always thought the creative branch was over at Arthur Andersen.

Summary of Mindset: Everyone can whine about things, people succeed by believing they can and actually doing it.

Angela “Grit” Duckworth invents new vocabulary to go along with her new revelation that success comes from passion and perseverance in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Angela has been on TED talks and headline of articles such as this one from Forbes. Suggestions for her next buzzwords coined have been rest of the breakfast menu such as oat(s), egg(s), ham, and bacon.

Summary of Grit: Watch the movie Forrest Gump.

Last but not least, we have Malcolm “10K” Gladwell and his book Outliers. A Princeton study done back in 2014 on the meta-analysis of performance in different domains only found a 12% difference in performance based on practice in this article. Primary counter-argument for the 10,000-hour theory? It has to be deliberate practice and not just any practice that can allow a person to trend towards mastery as cited in the previous article and as well as this one on the National Post.

Summary of Outliers and ancillary books: Practice under a superb coach/teacher/mentor and actually know what the hell you are doing and love it at the same time. Hours are irrelevant.

Major Sales Pitch: You have to have the right growth mindset and grit to endure 10,000-hours of training to become a true Jedi Master. [Mindset->Grit->10K Race]

Let’s examine history. We’ve survived for thousands of years, tiptoed through disease and war, built World Wonders, innovated and engineered ourselves to the current modern life. Did we really haphazardly survive all this time without the above tools or perhaps we’ve been doing this the entire time under other terms? My people (Chinese) built a Big Wall to keep foreigners (Mongols) out, Egyptians built Pyramids, Europeans survived the Dark Ages and flourished through the Renaissance (thank you Assassin Creed, history class could never compare to the Animus), and now we got the internet and this wonderful place called WSO. In the first two examples of the Chinese and Egyptians came down to one simple concept; work or die. Surprisingly enough, from this is ‘new’ idea of work, the aforementioned items are two of the Seven World Wonders.

I’m not bullish on re-branded buzzwords. These books are good at explaining basic concepts to first time readers but the idea that we’ve somehow missed the train for tens of millennia is hard to swallow. It’s like the new twig calling the branch and the tree trunk fragile.

Do you believe these ideas are new?

Books referenced can be found on Amazon.com:
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance
Outliers: The Story of Success