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“Don’t Eat Fortune’s Cookie”

I hadn’t seen this graduation speech by Michael Lewis.  It blends well with my discussion on luck.    Good paragraph:

“The “Moneyball” story has practical implications. If you use better data, you can find better values; there are always market inefficiencies to exploit, and so on. But it has a broader and less practical message: don’t be deceived by life’s outcomes. Life’s outcomes, while not entirely random, have a huge amount of luck baked into them. Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your Gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.”

Better paragraph:

“All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.”

As I like to say, the best capitalists are the ones who give the most back. The team leader should have broken up that 4th cookie and distributed it to the team so they’d stay happy.  Remember, money is a social construct.  It is to be earned by giving much back to the society that offers it to you in exchange for goods and services.  Taking more than you deserve is just as bad as not paying back what you promised to pay.

*Thanks to reader KB

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