Leap before you look, or you never will.

I’ve been enjoying a blissful nine days of freedom from work before the final push. I’ve been doing a great deal of reading, playing games, cleaning the apartment, spending time with my beautiful wife, and hard-core relaxing.

It was a gorgeous day out today — grey, sunless, drizzly and overcast — so I decided to sit out on the patio and dig back into Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.

I’ve written a bit about this book before but set it down for a while. It’s been calling to me from my bookshelf and I cracked it open again and found where I’d left off… in a series of kick-ass bulleted principles. A few of them knocked me off my feet. Here are some of them…

– The only way to win is to work, work, work, work, and hope to have a few insights.

– More important than the will to win is the will to prepare.

– Above all, never fool yourself, and remember that you are the easiest person to fool.

– It is better to remember the obvious than to grasp the esoteric. It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.

– Continually challenge and willingly amend your “best-loved ideas”

Enjoy the process along with the proceeds, because the process is where you live.

One of the things I find so valuable about this book is that Charlie Munger has devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge. He’s applied his mind to a lot of the same questions I’ve had and he’s faced the same problems I have. But, what interests me is that he’s spent infinitely more time on them than I have. Reading what he says is a bit like looking at the answer sheet to the questions that bother me.

I believe that people can only change to a certain extent. I also believe that people can only learn some things by actually doing them. And that no amount of reading, foreknowledge or preparation in the world can equal direct hands-on experience.

I think the value in reading most books really comes in when you’re already throat-deep in a problem you just can’t figure out, and you read a book to get someone else’s idea on it, and one sentence LEAPS out at you and everything in your head suddenly clicks. But that certainly wouldn’t have happened if you’d simply read the book first and waited to start doing whatever it was you were doing.

I didn’t realize that until recently. I always used to throw myself into things facefirst and learn as I went, but at some point I came to the conclusion that I should learn first and do later. And I don’t feel I’ve done much of anything since I made that decision. And now, years later, I’m completely reversing it because it’s simply not true, at least in my case.

What it boils down to is “learn as you go.” Which, according to my aforementioned point, would make no sense unless you’d first read the above. 😉

That’s all for now.

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