On The Right Delivery Of Advice

The best advice in the world will be of meager service if it is not conveyed in a way that enhances the likelihood of its acceptance.  Knowledge is one thing, and communication of that knowledge is another.  What is hard-won on the battlefield of experience may be dissipated in its conveyance to another.  He who wishes to render advice, then, should be aware of the snares and pitfalls that lie in wait for him.

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If They Had Lived Up To The Responsibilities That Went With The Privileges (Podcast)

The distinguishing feature of our “leaders” today is their near total disregard for putting the mission ahead of themselves.  They are unwilling to risk their careers to make the hard calls that would truly benefit society.  And because of their moral cowardice, all of us suffer.  We see this played out over and over.  In this podcast we examine an anecdote from the experience of one POW in the Second World War, and discuss its lessons.  When leaders betray their oaths and their offices, the betrayal extends beyond their immediate radius of control:  they betray future generations as well, the young people who were looking to them for protection and guidance.

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The Eminence Of Barley

Of all the cereal grains I like barley the most.  It has a smooth consistency and a nourishing quality that one does not find in other grains, such as rice or oats.  One reads of its ubiquity in ancient Rome, when it was a true food staple, and found its way into the bowls of gladiators, soldiers, scholars, scribes, and aristocrats.  It could be pounded into a porridge, baked into a bread, and fermented; added to soups or stews, it acted as a fortifying agent.

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Some Thoughts And Opinions On Investing

I’m certainly not a finance person.  At least I don’t consider myself one.  I am just a country lawyer.  I have no magic formulas for anyone, unless common sense and my own experience can be considered a magic formula.  I have no magic wands, no hidden secrets, no rabbits to pull out of a top hat for you.  But I do have some modest experience in dealing with my own money and investments.  I’m also a practicing bankruptcy attorney–a job I’ve been doing for over 20 years–and have represented a very large number of individuals and businesses.  I’ve seen what things get people into trouble, and what things do not.  One begins to notice recurring patterns, and I have tried to distill these into cautionary principles.  The result is what follows.

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The Nutriment Of Hippocrates

The Ionian philosopher Heraclitus, who flourished around 500 B.C., was even in ancient times known for his obscurity and elusiveness.  His well-deserved nickname was “The Obscure,” due to the fact that his elliptical sayings could be variously interpreted.  Yet this was no impediment to his influence; his renown was considerable, and his fame rested on the strength of one book, On Nature.  Time has not preserved it for us intact, but we do have about a hundred short fragments, and these provides us with the rudiments of his thought.

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Sometimes You Have To Make Allowances For People (Podcast)

Sometimes you have to accept the flaws and issues that people have, in order to accomplish the greater good.  If you are in a leadership position, the priority is mission accomplishment.  All else is secondary.  Your people will not be flawless: some of them will have issues.  If someone is a top performer, sometimes you have to learn to work around those flaws, as long as his abilities merit consideration.  In special situations, you have to make allowances for people, and work around problems.  Circumstances will be the judge of this principle–and it should not be abused.

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The Lack Of Thankfulness (Podcast)

There are many people who manifest a lack of thankfulness in their daily lives.  This comes across not only in how they treat others, but in how they treat themselves.  Lack of gratitude comes down to a failure of will: a failure to appreciate the real potential that lies within, and a failure to understand how short life can be.  Stop looking for free handouts, and start being someone who offers value.

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The Mind Of Hippocrates

Thomas Kuhn, in his brilliant 1962 treatise on the structure of scientific revolutions, proposed that the advancement of knowledge takes place more often in periodic surges than through slow, incremental linearity.  He proposed that progress can best be understood as a sequence of “paradigms;” in his view, a paradigm was a kind of general consensus on how systems should be understood and interpreted.

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