Addicted to Trump

Don’t assume Trump to go quietly, warns broadcast journalist Ted Koppel in Washington Post,

It is all but inevitable that whoever succeeds Trump in the White House will be perceived by 30 to 40 percent of the voting public as illegitimate-and that the former president will enthusiastically encourage them in this perception. Whatever his failings, Trump is a brilliant self-promoter and provocateur.

Untethered from any political responsibility whatsoever, he can be expected to capitalize fully on his new status as political martyr and leader of a new ‘resistance’ that will make today’s look supine. The dirty little secret about the United States’ relationship with Trump is that we have become addicted to him.

The True Investor Welcomes Volatility

Warren Buffett wrote in Berkshire Hathaway’s 1995 Chairman’s Letter:

In assessing risk, a beta purist will disdain examining what a company produces, what its competitors are doing, or how much borrowed money the business employs. He may even prefer not to know the company’s name. What he treasures is the price history of its stock. In contrast, we’ll happily forgo knowing the price history and instead will seek whatever information will further our understanding of the company’s business. After we buy a stock, consequently, we would not be disturbed if markets closed for a year or two. We don’t need a daily quote on our 100% position in See’s or H. H. Brown to validate our well-being. Why, then, should we need a quote on our 7% interest in Coke?

Is Obama’s Legacy Dead?

Matthew Walther, national correspondent at The Week, writes,

Trump resembles most his immediate successor, whose actual accomplishments in office will always matter less than what his election itself represented.

Obama’s actual achievements in office—the auto bailout, “Cash for Clunkers,” the passage of the Affordable Care Act, DACA, the Iranian nuclear deal, winning a Nobel Peace Prize—seem mostly insignificant. They certainly do not live up to the scope of his ambitions as a newly inaugurated president who spoke incessantly about “the fierce urgency of now.”

How to Fail

Pema Chodron explains How to Fail (from Tricycle,)

If you want to be a complete human being, if you want to be genuine and hold the fullness of life in your heart, then failure is an opportunity to get curious about what is going on and listen to the storylines. Don’t buy the one’s that blame it on everybody else, and don’t buy the storylines that blame it on yourself either.

Adapted from Pema Chödrön’s commencement address to the 2014 graduating class of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Steve Jobs on Saying ‘No’ by Saying ‘Yes’

Communications coach Carmine Gallo wrote in Forbes,

According to Steve Jobs, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”

A Defense Against the Vicissitudes of Inflation

Charlie Munger at the 2004 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting:

Most people are going to get a very small real return from investment after considering inflation and taxes. I think that’s an iron law of the world and if, for a brief period, some of us do better than that, we ought to be very thankful. One of the great defenses to being worried about inflation is not having a lot of silly needs in your life. In other words, if you haven’t created a lot of artificial demand to drown in consumer goods, why, you have a considerable defense against the vicissitudes of life.

Persevering Biological and Cultural Evolution

Theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, Professor Emeritus in the School of Natural Sciences, in his Edge essay “Biological and Cultural Evolution: Six Characters in Search of an Author”:

Our double task is now to preserve and foster both biological evolution as Nature designed it and cultural evolution as we invented it, trying to achieve the benefits of both, and exercising a wise restraint to limit the damage when they come into conflict. With biological evolution, we should continue playing the risky game that nature taught us to play. With cultural evolution, we should use our unique gifts of language and art and science to understand each other, and finally achieve a human society that is manageable if not always peaceful, with wildlife that is endlessly creative if not always permanent.

Lessons from Military Leadership

Lisa Petrilli presents lessons on leadership from two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor:

On Leadership: You never truly lead anybody until you learn to serve, and you never truly learn to serve until you learn there’s something so much greater than yourself.

If it’s to be it’s up to me. I lead by taking the first step.

As a leader, only ask others to do what you’ve done. Only ask them to do what you’re willing to do.

Seneca on the Happy Life

From Seneca’s De Vita Beata (“On the Happy Life,”)

I shall make whatever befalls me become a good thing, but I prefer that what befalls me should be comfortable and pleasant and unlikely to cause me annoyance: for you need not suppose that any virtue exists without labour, but some virtues need spurs, while others need the curb. As we have to check our body on a downward path, and to urge it to climb a steep one; so also the path of some virtues leads downhill, that of others uphill. Can we doubt that patience, courage, constancy, and all the other virtues which have to meet strong opposition, and to trample Fortune under their feet, are climbing, struggling, winning their way up a steep ascent? Why! is it not equally evident that generosity, moderation, and gentleness glide easily downhill? With the latter we must hold in our spirit, lest it run away with us: with the former we must urge and spur it on.

The Catholic Church Has Turned into a Revolting Institution

After quitting the faith, The Week’s Damon Linker wonders if the Roman Catholic Church will ever survive the barrage of scandals engulfing it:

Of course the history of the church is filled with imperfection, of violence, of all-too-human sin and corruption … it is to come face to face with monstrous, grotesque ugliness. It is to see the Catholic Church as a repulsive institution—or at least one permeated by repulsive human beings who reward one another for repulsive acts, all the while deigning to lecture the world about its sin.