Sunday, March 3, 2019

not EBT, but useful: lessons of the instructive dead

lessons of the instructive dead

That's a phrase I heard from Charlie Munger. What it means is you learn from mistakes of others that led to their death/failure. Why do you have to learn from the school of hard knocks and personal  experience from dangerous and fatal mistakes first hand? Why not learn from the mistakes of dumb and/or careless  people and not make those mistakes?

Similar to his teachings on 'invert. always invert', which is reminiscent of MN 117, looking at the 'right' forms of noble eightfold path in terms of not doing the 'wrong' form of it.

(excerpt from
Inspired by the mathematician Carl Jacobi, he said:
Invert, always invert: Turn a situation or problem upside down. Look at it backward. What happens if all our plans go wrong? Where don't we want to go, and how do you get there? Instead of looking for success, make a list of how to fail instead - through sloth, envy, resentment, self-pity, entitlement, all the mental habits of self-defeat. Avoid these qualities and you will succeed. Tell me where I'm going to die, that is, so I don't go there. - Charlie Munger
Munger says that the best way to achieve success is by avoiding failures. He implies that it is not brilliance that made Berkshire Hathaway succeed. They consistently avoided stupidity.

It is easier to avoid failures, than to strive for success directly.Looking at problems and scenarios from a different perspective helps us to identify obstacles in a better way.

Step-by-step guide to inversionWe can summarize inverted method to problem solving as below:
  1. Figure out what you want to achieve.
  1. What do you don't want to happen? This is the worst-case scenario.
  1. How could the worst-case scenario happen?
  1. How can you avoid the worst-case scenario?

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