I'm pretty good at a lot of things. I'm a good programmer, a good blogger, a good writer, a good poker player and so on. Am I one of the BEST programmers in the world? Nope, not even close. Best bloggers in the world? Again, no. Writer? Not within miles of it. Poker player? Middling.
There's a type of bet in sports called a parlay. If you don't know what that is, it's a bet on multiple events. To get paid off, you have to be right on all of them. So maybe the 49ers have to win their game, the Patriots have to win theirs, and the Steelers have to win their game. Even if every event is pretty likely to happen-- say fifty percent to make the math easy, the odds of all three happening are pretty slim. One in eight. Because it's rare for all of the events to happen in the same way, you get paid off proportionally well.
In the same way, combinations of skills are extremely rare and valuable. I may not be the best at any of those things, but I doubt you can find someone who is as good at all four combined as I am. That's not because I'm amazing, it's just because we've all picked a handful of things that we specialize in. You might be the best juggling / running / physicist in the world.
Luckily very few things in this world require only one skill. Even things that seem like they do, like painting, also require storytelling, marketing, social skills, etc. In the infinite world of possible paths, we all have the opportunity to use our set of specialties and change the game so that the winner is the person who has those skills.
In my case, my shortcomings as a programmer are made up by the fact that I know blogging really well. I know what matters to bloggers and what makes the blogging experience a good one. I can use my writing skills to write copy and emails, and to clearly communicate what SETT is about when I'm presenting it to someone. Poker may seem irrelevant, but gambling has made me very good at making decisions and conserving my bankroll. It has also made me comfortable with risk-- to where going all in on this project and dipping into my savings doesn't freak me out or make me compromise.
I'm built for this project, because I built myself and then I picked the project I wanted to do. You can do this, too. It's just a matter of knowing what you're best at (or training in several areas that interest you), and focusing your effort on things that leverage those strengths.
Photo is from a cedar forest in Chiba, Japan.
I love this post more than most of your posts. That's not saying much though. ;)
Btw, you're *okay* at blogging.
I'm always in two minds about this. I feel sometimes like I'm spreading myself too thin across too many interests. Is this why it took me so long to reach tipping points in my projects? Maybe it would have been better to have focused at becoming awesome at one thing and then to have used that to leverage myself in other areas?
Yep, quite close to the point I was trying to make. Spreading yourself too thin to have significant contribution in any field is certainly a consideration
I think that there's an ideal mix, and it's something like focusing on one core skill at a time, while incorporating what you've learned from others as much as possible.
So right now I'm mostly getting better at programming, but drawing on other experience to maximize my output.
Tynan, if you're the one doing the programming for SETT, can you please make it so that if we post a reply somewhere by mistake, we can delete it?
Yep, I will. It's a little more complicated than it seems because you have to think about cases like where someone has posted something and then other people respond. Probably I'll make it possible to delete unless someone has responded (even then it's not great because what if someone is writing a response as you delete it?)
For your question at the end. I believe it should be possible to program this with the feature that, should a response to a deleted reply appear, the deleted reply is restored. It'll seem strange to somebody that knows their reply was gone for awhile, but they'll probably let it go when they see it's been replied to. If instead they try to delete the post again, you could have a message coming up telling them it's too late to take it back because it's been responded to. I used to program. In theory all of this can be done/should be doable, though you might find it tricky. Usually helps to sleep on it when this stuff starts to get tricky.
Nice post. Reminds me of something Dilbert creator Scott Adams wrote a while back.
Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes.
I don't entirely agree with the 'jack of all trades, master of none' perspective here. I certainly agree that it's beneficial to have a motley collection of synergistically helpful skills, but in my observation and experience it seems that the best approach is actually to devote the *majority* of one's time to one specialization, say 80%, while allocating the other 20% for the development of auxiliary skills. Hence, one becomes proficient in a broad range of skills, but is able to contribute and distinguish themselves in a greatly superior way in one particular skillset.
Hence, master of one, jack of several. Possibly better than extreme master of one, and probably better than jack of many and master of none, as I see it.
I have mixed thoughts on this. I think that it's very important to be the best at "your field", but that your field probably includes more than one discipline. Exceptions might be "best violinist", but if you look at people like Lindsay Sterling, you can see how although she may not be the best at violin playing, she has combined her talents to become the best at what she does.
I do agree that you have to go very deep on a limited amount of things. For some people that number might be one, but for most people I think it's more like 2-3.
Yes, I agree. I typically have a skew towards scientific/technological fields when I say things like this. Hence, physics, math, biology, and possibly programming, although in these fields it's very clear that many skills are very helpful. For example, the most popular physicists are all quite charismatic - take Feynman, or Sagan, or Einstein, or Neil deGrasse Tyson (http://alcalde.texasexes.org/2012/02/star-power/).
I suppose it depends on what you want to contribute. If you want to make a significant breakthrough in physics, perhaps it's best to focus deeply and ignore everything else but physics (and of course the requisite math).
If you want to be the best string player and make breakthroughs there, maybe be like Yo-Yo Ma.
If you want to make technological breakthroughs, perhaps it's best to purely concentrate on programming, like Donald Knuth or something.
If you want to be the best poker player, you can probably just focus on that one skill.
If you want to be the best chess player, you can probably just focus on that one skill.
If you want to be the best runner, you can probably just focus on that one skill.
If you want to make a billion dollars through technology, probably better to be like Bill Gates and be very astute in many other aspects of business (but that's primarily an entrepreneurial skillset, which is certainly very varied)
If you want to popularize science, possibly better to be like Isaac Asimov and be a stellar writer as well as biochemist.
If you want to be president, certainly a widely varied skillset.
I think the key differentiator, perhaps, is how 'pure' the contribution you want to make is, i.e., is it a direct, objective result of how skilled/brilliant you are, or are there subjective aspects involved? E.g., if you want to be a good writer, you have to understand your subjects and probably like people. Not so if you want to be the best chess player. You can be the best even if you're a misanthrope like Bobby Fischer. Same with math - you can be extremely skilled at math and highly respected, even if you have serial killer tendencies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Kaczynski).
So if it's a subjective field or contribution you'd like to make, like most humanities (even things like art and dance), and things like business and politics, probably a wide skillset and ability to engage with other humans is necessary.
If it's an objective field or contribution you'd like to make, you can probably get by just mastering one subject extremely well.
I agree with your own self-assessment. SETT is the complete embodiment of who you are. There is no one on this planet who will do a better job. Keep rock'n it.
Personally, I'm the same way, but haven't found my art yet. I do have a hunch though. :)
What are you good at?
My gut tells me that all the hats I've worn of the past 5 years is my way of connecting as many dots as possible. The more dots I connect, the more my mind seems to project dream like stories, half in reality, half in fantasy.
Filmmaking inspires me right now. It combines my aptitude for technology, marketing, and creativity without too many bounds to reality.
Right now I'm using my logical side to pay of my debts and generate enough cash so I can start casting dreams.
I enjoy your writing, enough to read each post when it shows up in my email, and I think you've chosen a near-optimal level of output to keep me interested. It's cool that you're building something, and you avoid many weaker tendencies of 'self-help'.
That said, the self congratulation in many recent posts is off-putting. The strongest point of this post is 'Tynan is great', rather than 'disparate skills produce efficiencies and competitive advantage.' Even this claim isn't very strong; most disparate skills don't produce valuable efficiencies. If I were to choose someone to create the best blogging platform, I would pick the best blogger/programmer before the best blogger/programmer/accupuncturist, even if given a persuasive argument on how knowledge of acupuncture promotes sound business. The marginal investment of time into programming is simply much more valuable as a function of blogging platform creation.
In any case, I will keep reading and remind myself to post the positive things I notice as well. 加油~
Strange-- I actually thought this post was pretty humble. I mean... I list my top skills and then point out that I'm nowhere near the best at any of them.
Anyway, the idea isn't to find the person for the job, it's to find the job for the person. So the blogger/programmer/acupuncturist may find something even better suited to him. For example-- my friend who is an acupuncturist, through his research of that sort of stuff, had learned Japanese and some Chinese. Those are skills he can leverage. Because he sees patients regularly, he's also very calming and good with people. He could use that, too.
I agree — if I may speak my mind, my interpretation of this article couldn't be further apart from JD's perspective. I didn't get the impression that you were stroking your own ego; in fact, this article helped to open my eyes to something I never saw before.
Honestly, I always compare my skills individually to others in isolation but never considered the combo of each of these skills makes it something "more than the sum of its parts." It reminds me of RPG games — you get so many points to spread around various skills, and it's the combination of these skills that proves most useful. Sometimes spending the time to become the very very best in the world (top 1% rather than top 10%) might not be worth the investment, when another skill can be acquired that will produce more value.
Also, cross-training and being good at multiple skills lets you also apply lessons and knowledge from one field to another; sometimes, this is how big breakthroughs in science are made.
Fair enough, I can accept that I misread the degree of ego-stoking in this post. But it is necessary to show High Value to readers in order to influence them, and there is a finer line for someone without a sort of default celebrity from some major success . Again, I think you do a good job, and you often stir up my thoughts a bit which is why I read your blog. What I described in my first post is a social/intuitive/emotional response that exists and that I've noticed before. This is more of an observation of myself than a criticism of you, but something to consider when trying to expand your influence.
Most other confusions about the post were resolved in the comments. A couple things to consider as you develop this further: 1. To what degree does Comparative Advantage hold as it relates to your own skills? It might be better to focus only on one or two skills and team up with someone who has done the same with complementary skills. 2. What are good methods for evaluating which skills would provide the greatest advantages over the field? This is tricky, because the skills that are undervalued in your field (and thus valuable) are not obvious, else they would not be undervalued. Any general methods to identify these?
Really like the photo, too. Feels almost kaleidoscopic when I stare at it.
I appreciate it and think it's constructive (unlike certain other criticism going on in this thread). It's definitely a tough balance, especially in writing, to balance confidence with humility.
Yeah, I thought the comments in this thread were great overall. It actually helped me think about the concept more clearly-- I think now I could probably write it better after bouncing ideas off a few people here.
To give a shot at the questions you bring up here:
1. I think there's always that balance of focus vs expansion, and if you find someone with similar goals and work ethic, but complimentary skills... that's better than starting from scratch yourself. At the same time, I'd try to learn from them to shore up my own weaknesses as much as possible. For example, in SETT Todd is much more methodical and detail oriented... so he often puts the finishing touches on things and makes them more robust. That's a great thing, so I also try to look at his code and see what I can learn from it.
2. I think if it's not obvious, to either continue developing skills you already have (go deeper rather than wider), or just learn whatever interests you. Personally speaking, I often can't see the synergies between fields until I get proficient at both of them.
Yep, this is exactly what I meant.
Haha screw that, I'd just game the system and give myself 25 points in every attribute. Or I'd just be a mage where pretty much the only thing that mattered was being intelligent lol. And possibly not so frail that you just died from walking around, but I think that's true for everything.
Generally I find that the cross-training in multiple scientific disciplines/etc. thing to be somewhat of a tenuous theory without many cases in real life. I could be wrong, but it still seems like this is significantly beneficial only in a minority of cases.
Haha, I appreciate your perspective. However, maxing out the intelligence of a mage to the detriment of hit-points means you can die from one hit. Gamers call those "glass cannons", and hey, it's a valid style of play if that's your thing, but I digress :)
I find examples of the benefits of cross-training everywhere. For example, take Mixed Martial Arts — in the early days of the UFC, Brazilian JiuJitsu destroyed every other art, without question; BJJ spoke a language the other fighters had no idea how to interpret, so they were steamrolled — it wasn't even a competition.
Once Mixed Martial Artists started cross training in JiuJitsu, they were able to fight back and even beat the pure JiuJitsu guys. Sure, they might not have been the best grapplers in the world, but if their main art was striking, they were competent enough to defend takedowns and submissions, and get back standing to their feet where they are in their best element.
I observe that philosophy holding true in other areas of life as well.
Good point with MMA, but important to keep in mind that for many forms of martial arts, pure ownage was not the only or even the primary goal. Many forms of martial arts also have a spiritual component, and other traditional considerations (take, say, aikido, where you're trying to not harm the opponent lol). Hence, yes, it's expected that MMA would own all since it's goal is really just taking what works for a specific purpose (i.e., kicking the shit out of people) from a lot of styles in which that wasn't the specific goal.
And at the same time, now that MMA exists, you can just focus on learning MMA if you want to be the best at kicking the shit out of people :) (not entirely true - there are always improvements, but if the goal is to kick the shit out of people, MMA is probably the best starting point as opposed to aikido or something).
It's a bit like saying parkour is an improvement on running by combining tactics from other fields, but that's not entirely accurate, since the *aim* is different.
Well, MMA isn't actually a style itself — it's more of an umbrella. MMA only exists because of cross-training! Modern day MMA (originally known as Vale Tudo) was born when JiuJitsu was crossed with kickboxing, in early 1920s Brazil. MMA now contains elements of Brazilian JiuJitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Western Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Karate (look at Lyoto Machida's successful use of Karate in the Octagon), you name it. Fighters can primarily be one main style, but still cross-train enough to be well versed; Cross-training between the different arts not only shows a fighter how to defend against it, but also has the added benefit of having an extra pool of experience to draw from in the other styles that he or she may practice.
To me, it is about leverage — MMA works because it takes the best elements of every art, those that have the most leverage, and applies it. Why was Bruce Lee seen as one of the world's best Martial Artists? He practiced Jeet Kune Do, which was his own hybrid system of cross-training, and taking the best elements from what worked based on real world applications. Jeet Kune Do practitioners believe in minimal movement with maximum effect and extreme speed — it doesn't matter what school or discipline it comes from.
But again, if you want to learn to "Kick the shit out of people", MMA might not be the best. MMA is mostly effective only against one opponent at a time, and doesn't permit groin strikes, eye gouges, etc. For pure "kick the shit out of people" art, I'd point out Krav Maga would be more effective, as it's focused on disabling / killing multiple attackers at the same time, defending against weapons, etc (they teach it to the Israel special forces).
And, I don't necessarily agree with the assessment that what I was saying is like saying parkour is an improvement on running. The way that I would word it would be to say that Parkour is an art that would benefit from cross-training running, similar to how a Muay Thai fighter would benefit from cross-training JiuJitsu. He might still primarily be a Muay Thai fighter, but at least he would be versed enough to defend himself from a grappler and get back to his feet where is strongest.
My philosophy: If it works, carry it with you. If not, drop the dead weight. Labels, boundaries, genres, and rigid classifications are limiting beliefs =)
Congratulations Tynan. Guess you found your first official troll! In Kyte.
I don't think she's an actual troll; I think she actually believes what she's saying. Or, at least, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt. I guess that's the definition of successful trolling (when they make us believe they're serious), so she just might be a particularly good troll, in which case thumbs up for her :)
Izzy, gee thanks. I'm not speaking out against gambling because my goal is to upset apple carts here, but rather because I have a real problem with it as I believe all decent people do. It destroys lives more than often enough for that.
I don't think he even gambles anymore, anyways. Maybe here or there. And I don't think that anyone here is really going to go pick up gambling if they weren't going to anyways.
This post is about how the dots connect backwards, like Steve Jobs said once - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr07uR75Qk0 . It's not really about gambling. It's about how different skills can help you in unexpected ways.
And I don't think your efforts here are going to be very effective - why not find gamblers, and help them through dealing with their addiction? You can't just 'speak out' and expect people to be like "Oh Golly Gee!, you're right! I'll put down the crack pipe and the card addiction!"
Of course I noticed it wasn't about gambling, and passed out many +1's to good responses to the theme. One or two even to Tynan. As far as whether speaking out has effects on people, usually it doesn't, sure, but to keep silent when something bugs us enough? There were quite a few who couldn't keep silent about what I had to say, and several who jumped to crazy conclusions about what I had to say, even though there are many, many millions of people in the world who have trouble accepting those who promote gambling.
I pretty much promised a friend to take it easier on you in the future. I guess I need to remember you're young yet and may not be very well educated. You have no lack of confidence & seem to have acquired some wisdom. Judging by your boasts you are intelligent, if not particularly moral (to be good at gambling is basically to be good at stealing from those who are directly productive). I think it would be great if you went back to school. Maybe you could find the courage to major in philosophy. This world has no lack of intelligent men. What it needs more of is good men. Yes, I expect to have many minuses coming at me from your fiercely loyal fan base. To speak out against gambling in such a forum takes courage and a thick skin. But the measure of a person is not found in his success, and is certainly not found in his boasting. I have just boasted of my courage and the thickness of my skin. I'm sure I'll be ridiculed for this. Bring it on, Tynan fans, I can always use some more humility. The measure of a person is found in his decency. To be an intelligent man without being a decent man first is to be a dangerous, often destructive human being. But there is hope for you, and therefore for the rest of us. The wisdom of the ages awaits you. Please take further advantage of it.
And the minuses have already started. Thanks, I needed that!
It would be more useful to give specific criticisms of his ideas, rather than list vague shortcomings ("you're young and not well educated"). Your only specific critique is of gambling being immoral, which is weird as the only people you might take money from are people who also voluntarily choose to gamble, which seems fair to me -- if they didn't want their money taken, they shouldn't gamble. I'm not sure why they would be more directly productive than Tynan or anyone else.
Edited to add: Btw, "young" isn't a shortcoming. It's a relative term to describe a number, and pretty meaningless in this context. And "not well educated" is a compliment in my book -- people who are overly educated tend not to know how things really work or how to get things done. I suggest reading Tynan's post, "A Hustler's MBA".
It's pretty apparent you didn't grow up in a home where the rent money was being gambled away on a regular basis, putting the family out on the street again. Neither did I, but that's beside the point.
And those are the kinds of people that you're calling 'directly productive'. No, those are just degenerate gamblers. Tynan is clearly not a degenerate gambler. He may be taking money from degenerate gamblers, but that's *their* problem, not his. They're the ones that aren't being productive with their lives, and losing their money in irresponsible ways. They're being irresponsible - not Tynan.
Edit: Upvoted Leo's post to counter your -1. I'm actually pretty sure you don't have that thick of a skin, given the fact that you specifically felt the need to, as you put it, 'boast of your courage and your thick skin'. If you really don't care, there's no need to mention that.
They were directly productive if they were working all week producing products or providing services. Gambling obviously produces no products. And the only service it can be said to provide is to unfairly redistribute money while wasting everyone's time. Poker has an element of chance involved, as most of us are well aware of.
Poker has an element of *probability*, which means that if you play it correctly against players who are playing it incorrectly, you'll end up ahead. This is why casinos *always*, consistently, win money. Their odds in every game are generally greater than 50%, ensuring that mathematically, in the long run, it's statistically impossible for them to lose money.
Refer to Leo's post - I'm fairly certain Tynan is more directly productive than most people on Earth. He works 12-14 hours most days on Sett, which has clearly already provided great value to many people.
Please note that when he plays poker, he's playing against other people who are *also playing poker*. It is impossible, as Leo noted, to assume that these people are all directly productive aside from their poker playing. *On average*, however, it's likely that they're *less* directly productive than Tynan, *especially* if they're the kind of idiot that gambles away all their money and can't feed their family. 1. Because Tynan is more directly productive than most people, and 2. because if they're that irresponsible at poker, it's unlikely they're much more responsible at other things in life.
How is it unfairly redistributing money? You've still failed to explain that. If you majored in philosophy in college, I don't think that speaks particularly well of that life path if this is the fruit of the critical thinking skills you gained by walking that path. No one in a poker game is playing against their will. Do we all have the right to decide for ourselves what we do with our hard earned money? If I work 40 hours a week at a grueling day job, do I have the right to decide if I want to spend it all on poker? And if I lose all that money because I suck at poker, do I have the right to complain that it was unfair and that the better poker players don't deserve to take my money, because I worked hard for that money and I didn't deserve to lose it playing something I decided to play with the full knowledge of and consent to the fact that I might lose the money I was playing with?
I didn't major in philosophy in college. Gambling often involves games of chance, poker is one of them (we're assuming no one is cheating here). Because being skillful at poker requires some effort, the winners may have the feeling that they have accomplished something. But they have created chaos where there was order by redistributing wealth disproportionately to how it was produced. When we work at our jobs or our businesses we create wealth in the form of products or services in aid of the production of products. The money we make reflects our contributions to this creation of wealth. "Professional" gamblers do not help to create wealth. They simply come along and skim the cream off the top of other people's efforts. This should be easy to see. What is not so easy to see is that anyone taking a monetary advantage away from gambling is doing the same thing. At the end of a long night of poker, a person may walk away with a large amount of money he did not earn. The people he won it from earned it, assuming they did not get it from gambling or stealing. I hope by now I've made my point about gambling unfairly redistributing money, because I'd like to add this - I can't help but admire the scoundrels with hearts of gold in stories who win back the town's money from cardsharps or thieves and put it back in the hands of those it was taken from. Good stuff.
1. How do you know they were working all week? Is this based on a generalization, or data you have on the people who gamble?
2. What about the time that these productive people are spending gambling with Tynan? Are they being directly productive then, or do we overlook that part of their week?
3. Why wouldn't Tynan working all week also be factored into your productivity/morality equation? He actually works more than anyone I know.
4. Why is Tynan being immoral, despite his productivity away from the poker table, and these other people gambling with him who are probably *less* productive than Tynan away from the table, are not immoral, but rather "directly productive" people?
5. Gambling produces entertainment. You could also say people who write novels produce no products, or bloggers, or artists, or musicians. Those damn immoral filmmakers, stealing from directly productive people who watch their films!
Watashi no hobakurafuto wa unagi de ippai desu!
I should add that I actually don't gamble myself. I find it too immoral for my own standards of entertainment (I much prefer Russian literature and pornography). But I think it's perfectly fine that Tynan has lower standards than mine when it comes to entertainment, and that you have lower standards when it comes to logic.
Leo, you seem like a pretty decent guy even if at times your anger gets the better of you (that happens to all of us). I liked you right off the bat when we were the first two responding to this Combo post. I was in the middle of typing my response when your shorter one popped up, If you knew me better, I don't see how you could feel I have low standards when it comes to logic. I always tell people that my father taught me how to think and my mother taught me how to feel. Plus, there's no way I could've gotten the degree I hold without logical skills.
> Plus, there's no way I could've gotten the degree I hold without logical skills.
What evidence do you have for this assertion?
It's self-evident. If you knew what it was in, I'm certain you'd agree. I believe I'm creating the 50th reply to this post now. Would this be a new record on SETT? Anyone?
I totally disagree with your last point. Gambling can also lead to addiction and ruin lives, that is I think one of the big reasons why it is considered a shady activity.
By your reasoning, selling drugs is also perfectly ok, since it produces enjoyment to the buyer. And of course, the buyer is totally free to choose not to buy the drugs.
By your reasoning, it is immoral to sell food, since it produces enjoyment, but can also be abused to decrease lifespan and produce misery. Same with chainsaws, cars, knives, or.... pretty much anything.
I think that out of respect, people have to be allowed to make their own decisions, even if those decisions appear to be bad ones.
I play in some regular poker games around San Francisco. There are all types who play, including some people who are probably losing money they shouldn't be losing. Most people are there for entertainment, though. Many are becoming better at logic and math. There are a bunch of older people who I'm pretty sure come there because they're welcomed warmly and it gives them a social circle they wouldn't otherwise have.
By far the most racially and economically diverse groups I've sat with have been at poker tables. It allows the rich Chinese businessman to bond with the tattooed black guy who's still wearing his Denny's shirt. Only your skill level matters, so you'll see levels of respect between different types of people that you'd never see anywhere else.
People who are going to squander their money are going to do it whether they can gamble or not (look at most lottery winners, for example). Is gambling the BEST way they could do that? No, probably not. But at least it's social, offers an opportunity to improve some skills, and doesn't harm your body.
Yes, well, morality is a very fluid concept that varies a lot between individuals and cultures.
Your examples are besides my point, since they are things that are either necessary for you to survive (food) or everyday tools that serve some practical purpose (knives, cars, chainsaws), which is associated with the risk you mention. I do understand what you are saying though - better examples would be smoking and alcohol.
I'd also like to contradict your last point - gambling can be harmful - see the Wikipedia article on problem gambling. And my point was that this is the reason why it is different from other forms of entertainment, like reading, watching movies and so on, and why I gave the drugs example.
You have not addressed the very real fact that gambling is an addiction for many people. And that many of those people have whole families depending upon them whose lives can be therefore very unstable and chaotic. This is one of the reasons the wisdom of the ages warns us to stay away from gambling and decent people do exactly that. I'm quite serious when I say that you could use a better education. You have a legion of loyal fans who defend you insanely. I wonder if they realize that by so doing, they insult you. For they act as if you cannot defend yourself. Well, in truth you can't, not adequately anyway. I will say again what I have said before, though in slightly different words. An intelligent man who does not put decency first is a danger to himself and others.
You and I both have inflexible views of the world. You think that school is always good, I think that it is often bad. You think that gambling is always bad, I think that in some cases it's good. You might be right, I might be right, but neither is going to convince the other of anything. Everyone else reading seems to agree with me (which could be expected since it's my site), so I don't see any point in arguing further.
You are mistaken, sir. I do not think that school is always good and I never meant to imply otherwise. There are schools in this world that teach things that I would prefer no one knew. I would hope you would not disagree with this statement. You are incorrect when you say that everyone here seems to agree with you. Can you honestly believe that Radu does?
That was Indonesian? I just looked at the clock. I need to get back to work, Sorry, Leo, et.al. Catch you later, alligators!
The last sentence referred to your assertion that gambling is "stealing from those who are directly productive". How are the people Tynan is beating at poker "directly productive"? Or at least, more likely to be directly productive than anyone else on earth?
How is the fact that you didn't grow up in a home affected by gambling besides the point, and the fact that I didn't either *not* besides the point? They're both besides the point. The point is that gambling isn't stealing from anyone. If Tynan were addicted to gambling, *and* losing, *and* not able to feed his children (he has none), then I'd see your point. None of those things are true.
Okay, so what I'm getting from your post is that, in a very long-winded fashion, you think Tynan is not a decent person and is not very moral. Besides your gripe against poker (note that Tynan plays poker - he doesn't devote time to any 'other' form of gambling), what else suggests to you that Tynan is not a moral or decent person?
On poker, how is poker to be equated with stealing from other people? First and foremost, poker is most certainly a game of skill and not sheer luck, as has been demonstrated by 1. Tynan's own consistently positive record and 2. the consistently positive record of countless other professional poker players.
Moreover, how is it stealing from other players who *mutually consent to playing the game and staking their own money, in the hopes of 'stealing', as you put it, your money*? Really, it's no different from a race, where every runner buys in to the race for $100, all that money is put into a pot, and the winner of the race wins all the money from the other contestants. Do you consider that stealing? If so, I'd suggest that there's something fundamentally tenuous about your moral system.
I just wanted to say, my moral compass was increasingly uncertain about the morality of Tynan's poker-playing until the race analogy. Made me lol hard and definitely I now come down on being a pro gambler is NOT immoral... although it's still not respectable. That's how I'm going to pigeonhole it for now.
By the way, I found something ironic in Kyte's mention of "coming away from a long night of poker" with some money... isn't that exactly what 90% of jobs are? Performing some repetitive task, often with a little element of conscious or unconscious statistical calculation based on work experience? Regularly earning money through poker would be indistinguishable from a "job" to aliens, don't you think?
One point AGAINST gambling - it does have something in common with sale of drugs... namely that addiction is a real thing. And I feel for the addicted gambler with a family to support. However I take a bit of a Randian viewpoint on that - namely, I'm sorry buster, but no one has a responsibility to protect you or your progeny, other than your own imperfect self.
TL; DR - I think gambling is more like voluntarily entering footraces than it is like selling drugs.
Haha glad that race analogy helped someone :).
On addiction - true, but the addiction is not directly caused by any external substance, as is the case with drugs. Whereas with drugs, say, an opioid like morphine or heroine, the drug literally binds to the opioid receptors in your brain and *directly* cause you to become addicted/act a certain way/feel a certain way.
With gambling, there's no drug being input into your system - the addiction can be very real for some (but not all, or even possibly most), but that addiction comes entirely from their own mind releasing neurotransmitters in response to external stimuli. The people who get addicted to gambling can literally get addicted to anything - say, running for example, which also releases dopamine and hence the term 'runner's high'. Or playing a video game. Or reading a book. Or watching a TV series.
If gambling is wrong to some extent because of its addictiveness factor, is running also wrong to some extent because of its addictiveness factor? Or TV? Or games? Or books? Or eating food? Or sex? Or adrenaline sports? It's a bit of a slippery slope - some things are certainly more addictive than others, but how and where do we draw the line for defining these things as wrong or acceptable if we believe that even things that don't directly cause addictiveness (in the physical manner as drugs do) can be classified as wrong because of their addictiveness?
it's less about trying to pin down an exact should or shouldn't, right or wrong about it and more trying to consider the whole big picture of what is going to help or harm the world (human and natural) in the long run. for me at least.
I don't think I FEEL, SHOULD feel, or should be MADE to feel "responsible" for the bad decisions in any way..
But when I consider how I want this earth to be the best earth possible and humans to be the best, most worthy species to dominate it - I definitely have to come down on the side of less gambling would be better in the long run.
Opportunity cost of time, energy, thought, and capital - lots of productive energy there - that could hypothetically go to building space elevators and shizz.
I know I'm idealizing and we all need ways to blow off steam. gambling seems to be what some prefer for their valve. spinning hypotheticals is one of my favorite choices of productive time-wasting, personally... a bit of an addiction, you might say, hmmm...
Just to be clear - I actually mostly agree with you. It'd be great if we were all more like robots and only cared about maximizing productivity. But for others, this argument again is a slippery slope. I could, and do, argue then that art is pretty much useless too - would much rather have that time spent on space elevators as well. And gaming. And tv. And probably sex except when carefully planned for the purpose of insemination. And socializing with other people. And eating good food. Etc. etc.
And if we take auxiliary benefits like say socializing with people building network connections and synergy, the same can go for gambling - it can lead potentially to things like the Nash Equilibrium and is a great case study for general game theory. Just as with books/TV/games as well - can be a form of entertainment. Or it can be a form of learning to come to accept and become friends with a diverse group of people (like Tynan mentioned). etc. etc.
Nice post, when reading I thought about the Expert Enought's philosophy, something like "just enought to accomplish your goals".
I get an annoying amount of email from people asking me how to gamble like I used to. The truth is that what I used to do isn't profitable anymore. It was a right time, right place sort of scenario. Although I'm not a professional gambler anymore, I have been spending time studying and improving at poker (I'm a break-even or slightly profitable player), and I have friends who are pros. There are surely several different paths you can take to make a living gambling; this is the one that I'm aware of and is feasible for someone of above average intelligence.
Despite offering a rough guide to making money gambling, I don't necessarily recommend that you do so. I gambled professionally for seven years. During that time I made a lot of money and enjoyed my life. One morning I woke up and all of my money was gone. The story behind that is complicated, but the gist is that "they caught on". The strongest emotion I felt was a sense of relief. Gambling is fun, but it's not "big". It doesn't contribute in a meaningful way or leave you with a body of work.
Most casino games have a house advantage ranging from 2-5%, assuming "perfect play". That means that if you play perfectly, you can expect to lose, on average, about 2-5% of the action you put through a machine. Perfect play for slot machines is simply to bet the maximum amount of coins (the jackpot is skewed heavily in favor of maximum coins). For blackjack you need to memorize what to do for every combination of player hands vs. dealer hands, specific to each set of rules (hit on soft 17, resplitting aces, etc).
I've been saying that college is obsolete for a very long time. I dropped out in 2000, because even back then I could see that it was a really poor value proposition. I didn't predict this because I'm some crazy genius, but because I'm willing to discard emotional attachment and stare plainly at the facts.
School is outrageously expensive, leaving graduates with a debt (or net expenditure) of tens of thousands of dollars-- sometimes even one or two hundred thousand. There are some things that are worth that amount of money, but for many people school isn't one of them. In fact, apart from very specific cases, I think that school is a bad thing, not worth doing even if it was free.
That's not to say that school has no benefits whatsoever. It does, and although I left with zero additional skills after my three semesters there, I had a good time and benefited from the social aspect. The problem is that you can't just compare college to doing nothing at all. You have to compare it to what you COULD have done.
Let's say that when you turn eighteen, it's a good idea to take four years to develop yourself. College is one way to do that. If we were to construct an alternative way to do that, what could it look like? One of the biggest weaknesses of school is how inflexible it is, so one of the greatest benefits of designing your own curriculum is that you could come up with one that uniquely suits you. That said, here's a plan that I think would benefit many people MORE than school would. Let's call it the Hustler's MBA.