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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Some Advice To A Recruit (Podcast)

I recently received an email from a man who is about to ship off to USMC boot camp. He wanted to know if I had any pieces of advice for him before he goes. This is a subject I could talk about for hours, so I had to force myself to boil things down to the absolute essentials.  I offer ten points that I found to be useful from my own experience.  You’ll do fine.  You will rise to the occasion, and will be surprised at the progress you have made by the final week.

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Ibn Zafar’s Ideas On Revolutions


A careful reading of Ibn Zafar al-Siqilli’s (“The Sicilian”) masterpiece of political philosophy Sulwan al-Muta’ (سلوان المطاع في عدوان الأتباع, or The Consolation of the Ruler in Dealing with the Hostility of His Subjects) shows an emergent theory of political revolutions.  In a previous article here we have discussed the fundamentals of the subtle Sicilian’s treatise.  We will now give the details of his ideas on how revolutions are born and take hold in a nation.

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Cato’s Advice On Purchasing A Farm


Cato the Elder (234-149 B.C.) is one of those legendary figures in early Roman history.  Known for his stern, uncompromising vision with regard to personal morality, rules, and social obligations, his treatise On Agriculture (De agri cultura) constitutes the earliest complete Latin text that has survived.

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How To Gain Your Boss’s Appreciation


A lot has been written about how to be an entrepreneur.  A lot has been written about how to innovate.  Not as much has been written about how to be a good employee.

Being a good team-player is not glamorous.  Being a good team player is not what receives all the attention.  But it is just as critical–if not more so–than the innovator or trend-setter.

We don’t talk much about the virtue of obedience very much.  Which is our loss.  Because obedience is absolutely critical.  In everything.

Before you can innovate, before you can create, before you can speak as an authority, you must obey.  You must submit.

Yes, I mean you.  

One of the (many) problems in America today is that there are too many chiefs, and not enough Indians.  Too many cooks, but not enough servers.  Too many shit-talking bastards, and not enough work-horses.

You get my drift.  I tend to curse a lot when I speak colloquially.

In every type of situation in life, we will have some form of boss.  In every situation.  No man is an island, unto himself.  No man.  Not a single one.

Very, very few people are answerable to no one.  There is always someone else.  Someone who needs to be kept happy.

And this is something that most people will not tell you.

It is this:  you need to learn how to obey.  I don’t mean a slave.  I don’t mean that you should demean yourself.  I mean something more along the lines of loyalty, fidelity, and comradeship.  There is a quiet dignity in these virtues.  They are somewhat out of style now, in this age of bombast and self-promotion.

That’s what I mean.

All that innovation stuff comes later.  After you’ve built a foundation.  After you’ve demonstrated your worth.  Yes, you.  You’re not a unique snowflake until you’ve proved that you are.

So, let me talk about how you can gain your boss’s appreciation.  Do you really want to know?  I will tell you.

First, put yourself in the position of the average boss.  He is harried, harassed, and overworked.  He already has a lot of problems.  And he doesn’t need more of them.  He doesn’t need you to add to his problems.

Bosses want this:

1.  Do your fucking job.  Your boss doesn’t want to spoon-feed you.  He doesn’t want to wipe your nose or your ass.  He wants you to do your fucking job.  With no bullshit, no back-talk, and no attitude.

So do your fucking job.  Isn’t that simple?  If you have to study extra to learn your job, do it.  If you have to work harder than Mary Jane Rottencrotch to learn your job, then do it.

But do your fucking job.  No whining, no bullshit, and no problems.

2.  Don’t be an asshole.  An asshole is someone who thinks the rules of the world don’t apply to him.  An asshole thinks he can do whatever he wants.  Don’t be an asshole.

How do you know if you are an asshole?  Here’s a good test.  If more than three people think you’re an asshole, you are an asshole.  Figure out why, and correct yourself.

3.  Don’t fuck your boss up.  Your boss wants things to go smoothly.  He has a million things on his plate.  The last think he needs is more of your stupid drama.  So get your head out of your ass.  What do I mean by not “fucking your boss up”?

I mean don’t do things to embarrass your boss.

I mean don’t do things to make your boss look bad.

I mean don’t cause drama, create drama, or perpetuate drama.

That’s what I mean.  If more people could understand the beauty and the simplicity of these principles, there would be much less problems between bosses and employees.


Your boss is (usually) not evil.  He’s (usually) not trying to go out of his way to make your life difficult.  But the reality of the rough-and-tumble of life is that he is stressed out.  He wants to have his stress reduced, not increased.

Bosses hate whiners, complainers, and assholes who cause drama.  He wants things to run smoothly.  If there is a problem, he wants you to have a proposal on how to solve it.  He doesn’t want to hear your stupid-ass bullshit.  

So there you have it.  There it is.  Let’s recap the three things you need to do to gain your boss’s appreciation (notice I didn’t say respect.  That a subject for another day):

1.  Do your fucking job

2.  Don’t be an asshole

3.  Don’t fuck your boss up.

If you can follow these rules, you’d be surprised at how much your boss will appreciate it.

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