Did you know…
… that today is World Smile Day? Harvey Ball, a commercial artist who invented the smiley face, started this day because he was worried that the commercialization of the symbol would lessen its impact. Celebrating today is simple: smile and do small acts of kindness. Harvey wanted to keep the smile connected to the human being. By doing so, you’d smile and in return, you’d make someone else smile and brighten up their day. So… smile! 🙂
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“A good rule to remember for life is that when it comes to plastic surgery and sushi, never be attracted by a bargain.”
— Graham Norton
In 1859, before he was president, before he suffered through that harrowing train ride to Washington on his way to office where many thought he would be killed before he arrived, before the Union tore itself to pieces and around 750,000 people died in the Civil War (the total number dead is still unknown), Abraham Lincoln gave a speech at the Wisconsin State Fair. The subject of the speech was supposed to be agriculture, but Lincoln decided to go a little deeper.
He told the story of an Eastern king who asked his wisest philosophers to provide for him a sentence that would be not just true in each and every situation, but always worth hearing too. “They presented him the words,” Lincoln said, “‘And this, too, shall pass away.’ How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride!—how consoling in the depths of affliction! ‘And this, too, shall pass away.’”
Did Lincoln know that this story was a core teaching in Buddhist philosophy? Did he know the incredible triumphs and fiery trials that lay ahead? Could he have been morbid enough to sense that it applied to his brief existence on this planet—that he had less than six years left to live, with which to do his work, before he too would pass away?
Marcus Aurelius certainly understood this, writing that we must “keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now, and those to come.” The events of the world—good and bad, beautiful or tragic or terrifying—flow past us quickly. None of them are stable, each of them disappears with due time into the rush of the water, and is never seen again. “It would take an idiot,” Marcus wrote, “to feel distress or arrogance or anger.” Just wait a second—whether you’re being elevated to the highest office in the land or sucked into the awful carnage of a civil war or locking yourself indoors during a pandemic.
This too shall pass. It will be taken care of soon enough.
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Heyo, Nik here with your free summary of the day.
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1-Sentence-Summary: Winners Take All helps you see the ultra-rich in a more accurate light by identifying their shady strategies, including using the idea of “making the world a better place” as a front that only serves as a way to solidify their wealth and power.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
The world is progressing quickly. It seems all around us advancements in technology and productivity are making things better for everyone. Our lives are surely easier today in a lot of ways, but are we getting all of the benefits of these improvements?
Unfortunately, while we might think of the many progressive movements going on around us, the majority of people don’t benefit from them. It’s the elite that suck up almost all the potential good that comes from societal growth.
I think this is perfectly summed up in a recent Tweet from Ron Placone:
“Any country that’s about to get their first trillionaire while simultaneously having people lined up for food a la the Great Depression is a failed state.”
Regardless of its exact accuracy, this statement identifies one of the biggest atrocities of our day. And these issues are exactly what Anand Giridharadas dives into in his book Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World.
Here are the 3 most despicable lessons I’ve learned about the wealthiest people:
- The elite control social progress, which we think is happening for our benefit but really only benefits them.
- Inequality is rampant because the “win-win” attitude of the ultra-rich is actually a lie to cover up their plans to only look out for themselves.
- Powerful people often deny their influence, which ironically just cements their status even further.
Are you ready for your daily dose of social justice? Let’s see how we can find some in these lessons!If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.
Lesson 1: Social progress makes us think that our lives are improving, but it’s just one weapon that the elite use to help themselves.
Hilary Cohen was a recently graduated philosophy major who was curious about what to do with her future after the recent recession. Knowing she wanted to make a positive difference in the world, the only question was how. Entrepreneurship, and using it’s principles to help stop inequality, seemed like the best answer.
Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few decades, you know how bad inequality has become. It’s gotten especially bad in the US where searches for the word doubled in just the four years between 2010 and 2014.
In that same year, an article came out identifying just how bad it had become. The research discovered that people getting into the top 10% of earners would make double the amount they would have if they had done the same thing in 1980.
But the bottom half of people would only make a total of $200 more.
So it made sense for Cohen to join a management consultancy firm. After all, what’s the harm in using business principles to help alleviate the social issues in the world?
Well, hidden behind this idea is the thought patterns of neoliberalism. It’s centered around the free market, which values little economic regulation and letting prices be governed by what people want and need.
According to the author, we may think this makes people happy, but it’s actually a huge risk because of the way it helps people in power stay in their positions.
Lesson 2: “Think win-win” might be a good adage for individuals to follow, but businesses use it as a front to hide their selfishness and greed.
You’ve got to love Stephen Covey’s classic self-improvement book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s been one of my favorites since I first read it as a teenager. But one of the habits, “Think Win-Win” is dangerous when business elites apply it.
If everyone can be a winner then in these people’s minds whatever benefits them also helps everybody else. With this mindset, it seems like the process of social progress is simple, painless, and without any sacrifice. It seems like a no-brainer that if businesses profit, everyone does.
In the real world, however, things aren’t working out in favor of this mentality.
Take a problem like productivity. Seems simple enough, right? A Silicon Valley go-getter might think it’s a great idea to build software that helps people and companies improve their efficiency. Couldn’t everyone can benefit from something like that?
It turns out this approach is solving the wrong problem. Productivity has already been increasing dramatically in the last few years. Some estimates say that between 1973 and 2014 it’s gone up 70%!
But the distribution of the benefits isn’t going to everyone.
For the average worker, their income has only gone up about 10% for that massive increase in performance. In other words, the elite took the benefit!
Lesson 3: People in power have a hard time being honest about how much control they actually have because they know it solidifies their status.
It’s been exciting for me to see the change in the nature of jobs in recent years. I’ve seen many people give up conventional work for a more entrepreneurial vision of their career, and it’s amazing. For me, this transformation has made my life significantly better.
But according to the author, this isn’t a good thing. It’s just another way that the ultra-rich keep themselves in power.
And if you think about it, putting stock in a prediction of what the future will be like is the perfect way to hide an agenda.
If you’re a business, all you have to do is find what story will benefit you and spin it as a mere guess at what life and work will be like. When everyone thinks that scenario is inevitable, it’s easier for you to have things turn out as you want.
The everybody an entrepreneur idea is just that. It’s easier for businesses to deny employees of health care or retirement plans under these pretenses, for example.
Big wigs also deny their power by making their businesses seem like they’re humble do-gooders.
Uber, for example, identifies as one fighting against monopolies, taking down “taxi cartels.” But the power they have over their workers is obvious. They have to follow strict rules or risk being fired, for example.
Winners Take All Review
I have mixed feelings about Winners Take All. There wasn’t much data to back up the claims it made and it seemed to have a clear agenda. Identifying the corruption of the ultra-rich is important, but doing so carries the danger of making us think wanting money is bad, which only harms us more.
Who would I recommend the Winners Take All summary to?
The 56-year-old billionaire who wonders why their conscience is always bothering them, the 27-year-old who is worried about social justice, and anyone who is sick of the corrupt and greedy elite controlling the world.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
|👋 Hey Failories! It’s Nico over here.|
Last week I didn’t send any newsletter. For the last two weeks, I’ve been 24/7 studying for some mid-term exams. Anyway, I’m finally back, with more free time and content to publish.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a short article on IndieHackers about Failory’s eBook pre-sale campaign. Thought some of you would find it interesting. It covers three main topics: customer surveys, a/b testing and digital products.
The ebook has recently achieved $400 in revenue. We haven’t started writing it yet, as we’re first doing a ton of research and brainstorming, but it will be our main priority in October.
This newsletter is sponsored by NerdPilots.
|INTERVIEWFrom $20k/Mo to 0 – How incorrect market focus killed the encrypted Google Doc alternativeJustin Hunter created Graphite Docs, a privacy-focused alternative to Google Docs powered by blockchain. He soon started gaining traction from individual users. However, he decided to focus on the B2B model, rather than B2C, and this decision cost him the business.Read More +|
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|INTERVIEWStronger U: Earning $600k/month teaching proper dietingMike Doehla converted his garage into a gym and began training people. After 13 months, he realized that people didn’t have a problem with fitness; they had a problem with food and nutrition. So he shifted to nutrition coaching and started Stronger U, now making $600k/mo.Read More +|
|I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s content.|
Let me know if you have any questions about you, me, your business, Failory, or whatever 😉
On the side, if you have any great resources about product-market fit or if you know anyone with experience on PMF, it would be incredibly helpful if you could refer me to it.
That’s all. Hope you have a great weekend.
3-2-1 ThursdayNote: You are receiving this email because you subscribed to my weekly 3-2-1 newsletter. Every Thursday, I share 3 ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder. Occasionally, I also send out long-form articles on habits and self-improvement.
3 ideas, 2 quotes, 1 question (October 1, 2020)
“The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.”
Happy 3-2-1 Thursday,
Fall has officially made it to Ohio. I hope the weather is beautiful wherever you are in the world as well.
Here are 3 ideas from me, 2 quotes from others, and 1 question for you to ponder this week…
3 IDEAS FROM ME
“When talent is lacking, habit will often suffice.”
Can’t learn an exercise? Reduce the range of motion.
Struggling to grasp a new concept? Break it down.
Failing to stick with a habit? Make it easy.
Master stage one, then advance.”
III.”‘You’re probably right’ has become of my favorite phrases.Whenever someone disagrees with you on a small matter (read: most things), you can shrug, say ‘you’re probably right’ and move on.
Not caring about winning trivial arguments saves so much time and energy.”
2 QUOTES FROM OTHERS
Theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin on obstacles:
“I used to resent obstacles along the path, thinking, ‘If only that hadn’t happened life would be so good.’ Then I suddenly realized, life is the obstacles. There is no underlying path.”
Source: Interview in Tribe of Mentors
Author and entrepreneur Derek Sivers on finding time to do what matters:
“When you experience someone else’s genius work, a little part of you feels, ‘That’s what I could have, would have, and should have done!’
Someone else did it. You didn’t. They fought the resistance. You gave in to distractions. They made it top priority. You said you’d get to it some day. They took the time. You meant to.
When this happens, you can take it two ways: You could let that part of you give up. ‘Oh well. Now I don’t need to make that anymore.’ Or you could do something about that jealous pain. Shut off your phone, kill the distractions, make it top priority, and spend the time.
It takes many hours to make what you want to make. The hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort.”
Thanks to David Perell for originally sharing.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
This week, I’ll steal a question from Richard Hamming’s fabulous talk, You and Your Research.
What are the important problems in your field? And if you’re not working on them, why not?
If you enjoyed that, please share with others.
Or, copy and paste the link below:
Until next week,
1. Donate a bag of “seniors” kibble to the local animal shelter
2. Donate extra books and toys to your local homeless shelter or church nursery.
3. Give spare change to the food pantry.
4. While out shopping, compliment an employee on how hard they’re working (you can even take this a step further and inform their manager that they’ve impressed you)
5. Write a poem for a friend.
We all die, but not all of us will truly live.
Every man dies. Not every man really lives. (William Wallace)
It’s the things and people someone loves that tells you who they are.
The things that we love tell us what we are. (Thomas Aquinas)
|WORD OF THE DAY|
|1The branch of zoology that deals with whales, dolphins, and porpoises.|
|Examples of Cetology in a sentence “The marine biologist was also an expert in the field of cetology.” “Captain Ahab reviewed his cetology notes to learn more about the white whale he pursued.”|
Did you know…
… that today is International Coffee Day? A favorite day for quite a few people! We’ve been preparing coffee for drinks, candies, medicine, and some have even used it as currency. No matter how you take it, coffee can energize you, warm you up, refresh you, keep you awake, and make your day a little bit more pleasant. 😉
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”
— Grenville Kleiser
“Well, that’s a dumb idea” seth Godin’s newsletter
As dumb as selling shoes, an item that comes in 100s of sizes, over the internet.
As dumb as expecting people to find a date or a spouse online.
As dumb as building an encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
You get the idea. Electric cars with 100-mile range, vegan hamburgers, milk made from oats, free college courses…
The next breakthrough is almost certainly going to be something really dumb. Or perhaps merely obvious and unoriginal.
2. International Day of Non-violence –2October
This day is observed on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a proponent of nonviolence all his life.
Content marketing ideas:
- Listicle idea: X Books on Gandhi that detail his philosophies
- Infographic idea: A timeline of the most important moments from Gandhi’s life
- Video idea: X Places around the world where you can witness Gandhi’s influence
- Podcast idea: X Teachings by Gandhi to incorporate in your daily life
Brand campaign that worked:
This simple post by Lumix India replaces the wheel with a lens, and suggests that we ‘focus’ on capturing the truth.https://www.instagram.com/p/BoauawrDCx4/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=12&wp=1408&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fscatter.co.in&rp=%2Fcontent-marketing-october-calendar%2F#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A10755.075000000033%2C%22ls%22%3A10566.334999999981%2C%22le%22%3A10685.979999999745%7D