What I have learned at 32

Ryan Holiday recently wrote a post about what he has learned so far. It’s not been my birthday but I like the format. It’s something I can be publicly wrong about later. Please do add your agreements and disagreements in the comments.

  1. Nobody knows anything.
  2. The best way to judge your friends’ morally is not to. Try and maintain a state of negative capability.
  3. Your real judgements about the world are your actions.
  4. If you don’t read you are choosing to be at a disadvantage relative to the person you could become.
  5. Try to think rather than have opinions. Opinions are what we think clever people have but we are wrong. Schooling is terrible at teaching us this.
  6. Politics is the subject where clever people are the most stupid.
  7. Biology beats maths. Pragmatism beats ideology.
  8. Data can disprove your long-held beliefs very, very easily.
  9. Almost no-one is interested in data that can disprove your long-help beliefs very, very easily.
  10. Friendships with people in different generations are highly underrated. Get one.
  11. ‘Life is long if you know how to use it.’
  12. ‘Life is too important to be taken seriously.’
  13. Making your own bread is one of the best uses of your time, at the margin.
  14. The concept of margins is widely not understood, but hugely important.
  15. Economics is the subject most people would benefit most from knowing more, or even something, about.
  16. Clever people are often worth ignoring more than listening to.
  17. You should not finish every book you start.
  18. Saving money is the most basic thing we do badly. People used to have less money and bigger families. Almost no-one who says they struggle to save is right.
  19. The housing market is rigged. People who believe otherwise have another motivation.
  20. ‘Life should be an art form. It should not be like a factory assembly line.’
  21. It is more interesting to be wrong than right.
  22. When you enjoy something, stop doing it before you stop enjoying it.
  23. Try to only drink when you are in a good mood.
  24. Drink less. Sleep more. Talk less.
  25. ‘A nice man is a man of nasty ideas.’
  26. Genetics are more important than most people think.
  27. Anecdote is the governing principle of most people’s lives.
  28. ‘No wise man ever wished to be younger.’
  29. More money brings more happiness.
  30. Happiness is about more than money.
  31. Systems are better than goals.
  32. Life will never get easier. Stop wanting it to.

10 thoughts on “What I have learned at 32

  1. Data is often only a snapshot; it is the conclusions drawn that can vary from person to person.
    Irrefutable conclusions are found to be erroneous after a decade … or two.
    The older one becomes, the more we learn.
    Wisdom involves knowing when to act quickly and when to take a back seat and act slowly.


  2. Hmmm,

    The completist in me wants to comment on the whole list…however:

    Data can disprove your long-held beliefs very, very easily…is wrong IMHO. A very useful model is to consider a spectrum, with Data at the left, and Decision making on the right. In between (from L to R) come Information and Intelligence. Data on it’s own is almost useless. Information is better, provided that you submit it to the scrutiny of your own (or your team’s) knowledge and experience, WITHOUT strangling it using those self-same tools, which brings us to Intelligence: useful information. Which you can apply to your Decision making.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.