Tag: The Knowledge Project

The Return of a Decision-Making Jedi [The Knowledge Project #28]

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Michael Mauboussin returns for a fascinating encore interview on the Knowledge Project, a show that explores ideas, methods, and mental models, that will help you expand your mind, live deliberately, and master the best of what other people have already figured out.

In my conversation with Michael, we geek out on decision making, luck vs. skill, work/life balance, and so much more.

Mauboussin was actually the very first guest on the podcast when it was still very much an experiment. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to continue with the show. (If you missed his last interview, you can listen to it here, or if you’re a member of The Learning Community, you can download a transcript.)

Michael is one of my very favorite people to talk to, and I couldn’t wait to pick up right where we left off.

In this interview, Michael and I dive deep into some of the topics we care most about here at Farnam Street, including:

  • The concept of “base rates” and how they can help us make far better decisions and avoid the pain and consequences of making poor choices.
  • How to know where you land on the luck/skill continuum and why it matters
  • Michael’s advice on creating a systematic decision-making process in your organization to improve outcomes.
  • The two most important elements of any decision-making process
  • How to train your intuition to be one of your most powerful assets instead of a dangerous liability
  • The three tests Michael uses in his company to determine the health and financial stability of his environment
  • Why “algorithm aversion” is creating such headaches in many organizations and how to help your teams overcome it, so you can make more rapid progress
  • The most significant books that he’s read since we last spoke, his reading habits, and the strategies he uses to get the most out of every book
  • The importance of sleep in Michael's life to make sure his body and mind are running at peak efficiency
  • His greatest failures and what he learned from them
  • How Michael and his wife raised their kids and the unique parenting style they adopted
  • How Michael defines happiness and the decisions he makes to maximize the joy in his life

Any one of those insights alone is worth a listen, so I think you’re really going to enjoy this interview.

Listen

Transcript

An edited transcript is available to members of our learning community or for purchase separately ($7).

More Episodes

A complete list of all of our podcast episodes.

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Members can discuss this post on the Learning Community Forum

[Episode #23] Life Lessons from a Self-Made Billionaire: My Conversation with Ray Dalio

Are you in love with your own ideas regardless of how good they are?
Would you like to make better decisions and fewer mistakes?
Would you like to improve the most important relationships in your life?

These are just some of the topics I discuss with my guest, Ray Dalio.

Ray Dalio is the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, and is the author of the new book Principles: Life and Work. He is also a leading figure in the world of philanthropy, is an avid supporter of transcendental meditation, and has appeared on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. His recent TED Talk on the topic of an idea meritocracy has already been viewed over a million times.

Ray gave me over an hour and a half of his time, and I didn’t waste a minute of it. We cover a lot of ground, including:

  • How most people are caught up in the “blizzard” of noise and information, and how Ray learned to operate above it
  • How predicting a financial collapse just before one of the most prosperous eras in US history almost ruined him — and why he’s grateful he was wrong
  • Ray’s meditation practices and a simple exercise you can use to foster more creativity, be more insightful, and eliminate stress
  • The one question Ray started asking himself that instantly improved how he made important decisions
  • Why the best decision isn’t always the one you have in your head — and how to know when to sacrifice your favorite ideas in exchange for the best ideas
  • The “two yous” that wrestle inside everybody, and how to help them get along
  • Why “tough love” is the greatest gift you can give somebody
  • The most common mistake we make every day that can bring our progress to a screeching halt
  • The five-step process Ray uses after a mistake has been made to make sure learning and growth occur

And much, much more.

Look, when you get the chance to ask one of the world’s most successful people how they did it, you should probably listen to what they have to say. I guarantee this will be time well spent.

Enjoy!

Listen

Transcript

A full transcript is available to members of our learning community or for purchase separately.

Show Notes

Ray tells the story of punching his boss in his face. [00:02:34]
What a typical day is like for the manager of the world's largest hedge fund [00:04:00]
Shane asks Ray how he filters what's valuable and what's noise when so many people throw information at him [00:05:25]
How Ray came to Transcendental Meditation [00:06:24]
The basics of Transcendental Meditation [00:07:05]
Ray's biggest influences in the 1960s,1970s, and 1980s [00:10:01]
Reading versus experiences [00:11:39]
How did Bridgewater almost go bankrupt? [00:12:04]
One of the most valuable experiences of his life [00:14:40]
The value of thoughtful disagreement and radical open-mindedness [00:15:40]
Learning to look at history for knowledge [00:16:41]
How to use a decision journal [00:18:14]
How long did it take you to figure out the value of stress-testing ideas? [00:20:15]
Idea-meritocratic decision-making is the best decision-making [00:21:36]
There are two things you need to do to be successful [00:21:55]
Thoughtful disagreement is not an easy thing for people [00:22:22]
What is an idea meritocracy? [00:22:43]
The difference between an autocratic decision maker and a democratic decision maker [00:23:50]
What is believability? [00:25:13]
How do people transition into an idea meritocracy? [00:26:44]
The equal values of meaningful work and meaningful relationships [00:29:16]
How can you tell that someone will respond well to an idea meritocracy? [00:30:19]
Understanding whether you're a teacher, student, or peer [00:32:27]
What advice would you have for somebody who doesn't work in an idea meritocracy but wants to improve? [00:33:49]
Are people more successful at Bridgewater with some experience or straight out of school? [00:35:42]
Which one of the principles of an idea meritocracy is most often misunderstood? [00:36:45]
Why is “tough love” one of the best gifts you can give somebody? [00:38:12]
Has your implementation of the principles of idea meritocracy changed over the years? [00:39:44]
What technology tools do you use to aid in decision-making or giving feedback? [00:40:32]
“Pain + reflection = progress” [00:42:04]
Can you define a culture of radical transparency? [00:45:06]
Radical transparency isn't for everybody [00:46:27]
Due to technology, radical transparency is happening anyway [00:47:40]
When radical transparency goes wrong, how does it go wrong? [00:48:49]
The importance of environment [00:49:17]
“There's no disagreement about strengths…” [00:52:03]
How do you foster open-mindedness in yourself or in others? [00:52:33]
Are social gatherings similar to work gatherings? [00:54:05]
The two things that Ray requires in a relationship [00:55:36]
Do other organizations like Bridgewater? [00:56:17]
Is leadership innate or can it be learned? [00:57:43]
The leadership program at Bridgewater [00:59:55]
Who are the masterminds behind the development program at Bridgewater? [01:01:05]
“2017 is going from the second stage of my life to my third stage…” [01:02:55]
The three life stages [01:03:14]
Does Ron worry about the next generation of leadership at Bridgewater? [01:04:43]
How do the principles at Bridgewater extend to philanthropy? [01:06:13]
In what ways will the future be the same as today? [01:09:13]
First-order versus second-order consequences [01:12:11]
With the growth of algorithmic thinking, who is at risk of losing their job? [01:14:08]
Machine-created art versus human-created art: does it matter? [01:15:10]
What's the most common mistake that successful people make? [01:15:53]
Why are many successful people unhappy? [01:16:31]
The connection between community and happiness [01:18:12]
How would a Universal Basic Income interact with a person's need for purpose? [01:19:37]
Ray's wife's experiences with low-income schools and disengaged students [01:20:58]
What is the overarching decision-making process at Bridgewater? [01:23:28]
“Rather than thinking about what our decision is, we spent more time thinking about what our criteria for making our decision are.” [01:23:54]
Ray's five steps to success [01:25:58]
Is the reflection process the most important? [01:27:41]
What advice would you give to a class of high school students? [01:28:33]

People, Events, and Books

Ray’s TED Talk
Bridgewater Associates
President John F. Kennedy
Steve Jobs
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mexican Debt Crisis
Vince Lombardi
Adam Grant and his book Originals
Robert Keegan and his book, An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization
Warren Buffett

Learn More About Ray

You can learn more about Ray on Twitter and Facebook or by visiting his website, www.principles.com.

Comment on Facebook | Discuss on Twitter

Ed Latimore: The Warrior Poet and the Secret to a Happy Life

Ed Latimore (@EdLatimore) might be the most interesting person you'll ever meet.

Ed is a professional heavyweight boxer, physics major, and philosopher. He's also the author of the cult-hit Not Caring What Other People Think Is a Superpower. If there's anything Ed feels like doing, he simply does it.

This interview explores the physics of boxing, the value of a coach, and much of Ed’s hard-fought wisdom. You’ll discover:

  • How the painful end to a relationship lit a fire under Ed that hasn’t stopped burning
  • How Ed knows when he’s bitten off more than he can chew and needs to ease up on the accelerator
  • Why motivation is a terrible way to achieve great things (and what to do instead)
  • The unlikely way that Ed’s runaway best selling book came about
  • Why Ed thinks every person should step into the boxing ring at least once in their life
  • How people get stuck on the “dopamine treadmill” which feels productive but actually gets you nowhere (this is the kiss of death if you want to accomplish any important goal)
  • Ed’s brilliant philosophy on pain and suffering that will change the way you view hardships in your life
  • Ed’s somewhat controversial approach to coaching children and getting the very best out of them
  • The most important element of creating a positive habit (most people get this wrong)

And more.

After listening to this warrior poet, you won’t look at life the same again.

Enjoy this amazing conversation.

Listen

Transcript
A lot of people like to take notes while listening. A transcription of this conversation is available to members of our learning community or you can purchase one separately.

Marc Garneau on the Future of Transportation

Marc Garneau (@MarcGarneau) is a Canadian politician, an engineer, and former astronaut who holds the distinction of being the first Canadian in space. He is currently serving as the Canadian Minister of Transport.

This episode of The Knowledge Project was recorded in front of a live audience in Montreal, Canada at a Junto event. (You'll hear bits of French from the audience questions here and there at the end, but the interview and Marc's responses are predominantly in English.)

In this fascinating interview, we discuss:

  • What the future of transportation looks like (including self-driving cars and their second-order effects)
  • The effect that new technologies have on how governments invest in infrastructure
  • How truck and taxi drivers throughout the world will be impacted in the future
  • Marc’s experiences in space as the first Canadian to join three NASA expeditions
  • What it means to be a liberal in 2017, and how the political landscape is shifting
  • How we, as citizens, can judge the performance of an elected politician
  • How Marc ensures that he's getting accurate information in a sometimes backward and messy political system

And so much more.

There’s so much to learn and think about in this discussion. Please enjoy!

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Future-Proof Your Knowledge: My Interview With the Brilliant Samuel Arbesman

Samuel Arbesman (@arbesman) is a complexity scientist whose work focuses on the nature of scientific and technological change. Sam's also written two books that I love, The Half-Life of Facts and Overcomplicated.

In this episode, Sam and I discuss:

  • Our relationship with technology and how it has shifted the way we consume and retain information
  • What “mesofacts” are and how to keep our mental databases updated in a world that’s constantly changing
  • Whether art or science is more fundamental to a thriving, successful society
  • The metrics Sam uses to define success for himself
  • The difference between physics thinking and biological thinking and why it matters
  • The phrase Sam’s father repeated to him every time he left the house that helped shape who he is today
  • The books that had the most profound impact on Sam’s life
  • How to prioritize our learning so we’re spending time on information with the highest return on our investment

And much, much more!

If you love learning, but feel like it’s impossible to keep up with the endless flow of information in the world, then Sam’s your guy.

Enjoy this fascinating interview below.

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Listen

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Show Notes

A complete transcript is availale for members of the learning community.

Books mentioned:

Reading, Writing, and Lifelong Learning: A Conversation With Morgan Housel

On this episode, I’m happy to have Morgan Housel (@morganhousel)

Morgan works at Collaborative Fund. He’s a former columnist at the Motley Fool, and a former columnist of the Wall Street Journal. His work has also been published in Time, USA Today, World Affairs, and Business Insider. You name it, he’s been there. Simply put, he’s one of the shining lights of the business press.

More than that, though, he’s one of the few people that I read all the time. As I’ve gotten to know him over the years, I can also tell you he’s an exceptional person.

We cover a lot in this interview, including:

  • What valets are really doing in your sports car once you hand over the keys
  • Morgan’s shocking discovery that his dream of becoming an investment banker wasn’t a good fit
  • The hilarious way Morgan was “not fired” from one of his earliest jobs
  • The three types of financial writing and the one Morgan finds most useful for readers
  • The brilliant method Morgan uses to keep his confirmation biases in check
  • When it’s ok to change your mind and when it’s important to double down on what you know
  • The teachers that most influenced Morgan’s life and what they did differently that made them so outstanding
  • The process Morgan uses to generate fresh ideas even when he feels like he’s exhausted them all
  • How he structures his daily routines around when he does his best thinking and writing

We even tackle a few of your questions, like what would he do if he knew there were no consequences, how life has changed since becoming a new father, and what’s on his bucket list.

You’re going to love getting to know Morgan. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

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Listen

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Transcript:
A complete transcript is available for members.