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I am not a self-made man (facebook.com)
785 points by sergiotapia on Dec 9, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 261 comments

Suppose any rich man wakes up in the Amazon jungle with nothing to his name, no clothes and no money. He may in fact be the richest man on earth, but in the jungle it doesn't matter.

Society is their wealth. It's even the source of their language and ability to express themselves. In the past, Athenians realized this idea. They realized that Athens is what gave wealth any meaning at all. Literally the word wealth and also the supernatural amounts of wealth that some individuals accrued.

It's through this lens that we should consider a wholistic approach. Let Athens first take care of itself, then reward those who helped her grow better and stronger. Don't let a few wealthy athenians confuse you and say, because I'm wealthy, I get to make decisions legally and in the clear that enrich me and hurt Athens. No, we should not allow Athenian wealth be destroyed for the sake of a few Athenians!

Personally I count opportunity cost too, so all this time that wealth is being siphoned off into a few hands is creating a different future that we might otherwise have. What if we didn't siphon a trillion dollars into an expensive war in Iraq? What if my friend had not died on the battlefield? That stain still hasn't quite come out of our fabric yet.

> Suppose any rich man wakes up in the Amazon jungle with nothing to his name, no clothes and no money. He may in fact be the richest man on earth, but in the jungle it doesn't matter.

Suppose a aboriginal guy from the Amazon wakes up naked on a snowy Manhattan street... He could be the best Tapir hunter in the five valleys, but that doesn't count for much if he inevitably either freezes or gets locked in a cell for indecent exposure.

But that aside, I think Arnold was saying something misleading: When people call him a self-made man, they're not saying he's not the benefactor of the efforts of the people who came before him. Even the aborigine is on the receiving end of 15,000 years of tribal knowledge about how to survive in the American wilderness. What they're saying is that he's not one of the people who was handed success by default, and it's fine to say "thanks" to the people who helped you in your efforts to better yourself, but there's still an important distinction there.

> Suppose a aboriginal guy from the Amazon wakes up naked on a snowy Manhattan street... He could be the best Tapir hunter in the five valleys, but that doesn't count for much if he inevitably either freezes or gets locked in a cell for indecent exposure

You seem to be making OP's point for them.

Definitely not.

The OP's point is that wealth is created and bestowed by society. The rebuttal is that it is an interaction between skills and environment, which may or may not involve other humans.

The Amazonian hunter has a form of wealth with no dependence on other humans. And yet it is as fragile as the rich person's wealth once you change the environment. To that rebuttal I would add that merely bestowing riches on people does not generally result in wealth. The classic case in point being that lottery winners generally wind up no better off than they were previously, and this reversion is surprisingly quick.

What human society and industry has done is create the possibility of great wealth. Untold wealth. Wealth undreamt of in the past. Aristocracy in Elizabethan times would envy the average US citizen today. And not for the technological marvels that we would normally list - topping the list of things they would wish that they had is that our medical care lets us expect to see our children grow up, and our dental care means that we do not regularly go through a level of pain that they took for granted.

But wealth remains an interaction of skills and environment. It is not merely granted by society.

> The rebuttal is that it is an interaction between skills and environment

That's the main point. It is not. You need society: > Suppose any rich man wakes up in the Amazon jungle with nothing to his name, no clothes and no money. He may in fact be the richest man on earth, but in the jungle it doesn't matter.

He has his skills, and a rich environment full of resources. But he lacks what society provides: law and order, education, skilled workers, media that spread ideas, etc...

It is when society defines the environment though, to a certain extent. When wealth can be used to change the environment to tailor it to your skills, then you do get an advantage.

I'd like you to elaborate more your idea in terms of the relation between skill, society and environment. Assuming all three influence each other.

I don't think they are. I think "Aboriginal helpless in Manhattan" means that any skill you may have is dependant on environment, is an specialization, and you shouldn't judge a fish by its cycle-riding skills.

> Suppose a aboriginal guy from the Amazon wakes up naked on a snowy Manhattan street... He could be the best Tapir hunter in the five valleys, but that doesn't count for much if he inevitably either freezes or gets locked in a cell for indecent exposure.

That is true, but it's a different point. The point of the rich man is that, in society, he can use his wealth to get other people to just give him stuff and do things for him. But that power evaporates in contexts where there aren't other people around, or they don't care about money.

The analogy to what you said about the aboriginal guy would also apply to the rich man: the rich man's skills (eg. business) that he might use to actively work at making a living might not apply in a different context.

It seems to be essentially the same point. In the Amazon the best Tapir hunter is a rich man indeed.

I think Arnold realizes this. I think he's just using this shift or reframing to highlight his point that while people can succeed with sticktoitedness, vigor and ambition, etc. despite not inheriting success directly from someone, that despite this, they do owe something to the system and people which and who allowed them to succeed.

I think that above all, what Arnold is saying is that the blueprint for success is "standing on the shoulder of giants", or listening to successful people advice, which, though it's probably good advice, happens to lead right to the book his article is advertising.

That is all fine and good, but who gets to decide what is "good" for Athens? It could be argued that the tyranny of the majority is just as dangerous as the tyranny of the wealthy, perhaps more so.

Who gets decide what is "good" for us? Us. It's our society, and we would have to give the keys away to have it be any other way. Democracy is the default, the resting state, although looking at history, you wouldn't guess that.

Since time began, people in power (read: wealthy), and their apologists, have tried to argue against it. But slowly, since the Enlightenment up to modern times, these kinds of arguments have fallen more and more on deaf ears. The more it was tried, the more the results spoke for themselves.

The last time I heard "tyranny of the majority" said with any seriousness, it was in the context of why South Africa should not end Apartheid. Democracy is something we've figured out now, finally, thankfully. There's no going back.

Regarding tyranny of the majority: I think there are a lot of HN users that could tell you about CA Proposition 8 how tyranny of the majority might be used in all seriousness in that context.

Edited to correct Proposition 13 to Prop 8.

"Democracy is something we've figured out now"

Really? I would love to learn more about this ideal society that has a perfect, working democracy?

In the long run, Democratic Republics favor loosely associated blocs of power, mainly in the form of corporations. The wealthy in Europe probably didn't like it very much when fascists and communists came to power.

Any type of centrally planned economy is an anethema to those who have saved massive sums of capital.

I think there are two main arguments here. The first is about credit assignment, and the second is about property rights.

For the first, you're saying (if I understand correctly) that, without a stable society, without good government, without healthy civic norms, etc., nobody who's rich now would have much of anything. That's clearly true, at least in absolute terms. But as with most things, there are multiple points of dependence.

Eg., consider a new Silicon Valley web startup. The founder incorporates it, the investor puts in some capital, the backend engineer builds a great server, the frontend engineer makes the page slick and responsive, the designer creates an awesome UI, and the salesperson brings in customers. If any one of those people disappeared, the web application wouldn't exist, so in some sense they can all claim 100% credit. But going deeper, Web applications wouldn't exist at all without Kahn and Cerf's work on the Internet, Noyce's work on semiconductors, Edison's and Tesla's work to create an ubiquitous, reliable electrical grid, and so on. So they can all claim 100% credit too. But of course, everyone can't get 100% of the stock, so we divide things up based on who contributed what, using heuristics about replaceability and so on.

Because, without "society as a whole", wealth wouldn't exist, you seem to be saying that society should in some sense get 100% of the credit. But this feels like the same fallacy as the backend engineer saying, hey, without me this app wouldn't exist, I should have 100% of the equity. When there are multiple contributors, each one of which was absolutely essential, you can't give 100% to everyone, and giving 100% to any particular person or group (when others were equally essential) is unfair.

For the second argument, you seem to be saying that (eg.) if a very rich person raises the rent on a poor apartment building, and many of the tenants (being unable to pay) get evicted, this is a wrong, because you make many people worse off to make one person slightly better off. In the short run, again that's true. But in the long run, it's very clear that societies which enforce strong property rights are much wealthier as a whole. The correlation between, say, Heritage's Index of Economic Freedom or the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index, and median income per person, is like the correlation between smoking and lung cancer. Philosophically, this is like the difference between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism: rather than judging each action individually, you can judge what overall rules, followed consistently, make everyone better off in the long run.

Athens was built by slavery, so not the best example of full equality for all.

Neither was it presented as the best example. One idea was taken from Athenian beliefs and op then says "It's through this lens that we should consider a wholistic approach ..."

Of course it's easier to throw out a random fact like 'oh slavery' so your argument is moot, but what are you really adding here?

It's not a random fact, it's the counterpoint to invalidate the OP's argument. It's easy to espouse individualism and not have to worry about anything when you have a whole class of people who you can order to do your bidding (to grow food, build buildings, even defend the city).

Good point... but I think the OP was just trying to say that it is easy to talk the talk, but no so easy to walk the walk.

So was England and the rest of Europe, they just called them serfs.

To answer questions here and in responses, as to what serfs were and how distinct they were or weren't from slaves:

"Serf" is servus in Latin: literally the word "slave". Serfs began as chattel slaves on late-Roman latifundia, but were tied to the land, not to individual owners, by late Roman laws trying to fight depopulation and keep agriculture running.

In the Dark Age, the Carolingian period, and the Viking Age, slaves'/serfs' rights increased due to pressure from the Church, while free commoners' rights decreased, often also due to pressure from the Church. By the end of the Viking Age and the beginning of the Middle Ages proper, official documents spoke of "slaves free and unfree"; by the High Middle Ages, land as well as people was servile or free, so that a serf could own free land (which required a cash rent) or a freeman could own servile land (which required labor service). "Own" here meant "lease", but you could literally buy or sell the lease, or borrow money against it.

A History of Private Life, especially its second and third volumes, and Marriage and Family in the Middle Ages are excellent sources on this.

There's a technical distinction in that serfs are bound to the land, not an individual, but that's nitpicking.

That distinction is slightly more theoretical than actual. They effectively become owned by a position not a specific person.


Serfdom does starts with a specific owner at the start. What separates serfs from indentured servants was: "By taking on the duties of serfdom, serfs bound not only themselves but all of their future progeny."

And of course people where at times forced into serfdom making the slavery connection even more obvious.

That distinguishes serfdom from chattel slavery, not from slavery in general.

By whom are they bound by, though?

You judge something from 2k+ years in the past with our current set of values.

This is not a case of someone casting contemporary normative values on an ancient culture in judgement. The parent made a correct positive claim; ancient cultures, including Athens, typically had vastly more inequality than is present today.

It doesn't matter whether or not inequality had a different flavor of cultural sophistication or acceptance attached to it at the time. It remains that the culture is not a good example of equality.

> It remains that the culture is not a good example of equality.

If you take context into account, inequalities in Athens were actually pretty decent compared to other places.

For one citizens were equals (~10% of the population, males only). Women, again for that time, could enjoy a relative freedom and had a place in society. Slaves were quite notoriously well treated in Athenian households, more like mandatory work than inhumane treatment, and a comparatively high proportion would eventually 'earn' their own freedom in Athens. In the wider picture, don't forget that slavery was that age's "industrial" drive, you could not end slavery and have the means to defend the city.

If you look at Athens within its own space and time, it really was a prime example of philosophical and societal enlightenment. It would, as you know, go on as a political model to influence the Roman Republic institutions (sadly a pale copy in practice) and later on the Empire's culture, down to our modern days quest for democracy passing by Revolutions. Judging "humanity" is relative, it can only be done relevantly to a context —that of the deed, and the idea.

> In the wider picture, don't forget that slavery was that age's "industrial" drive, you could not end slavery and have the means to defend the city.

I have a suspicion that much of our moral advancement as a species is essentially a function of our technological advancement. We're not more humane because we have better and more strongly held ideals, but because we're allowed by technology the space to practice them.

Our current set of values: wearing a five dollar T shirt and cheap sneakers ... made by slaves in a sweatshop somewhere.

I think slavery has always been wrong, even when it was accepted by society.

There's many things that are widely accepted today, that will be considered wrong in the future. Two examples would be eating meat and circumcision.

As I said above, don't forget that slavery was that age's "industrial" drive, you could not end slavery and have the means to defend the city. It was a life or death situation, and no society at the time found a way to sustain military might without slavery as an economical asset. I take that as a sign that it was no easy change of paradigm.

Later on, machines allowed one man to put out the work effort of several, and things progressively changed, but it took centuries, for hard reasons that I observe are, historically, more economic than philosophical. You could argue that domination or independence should not have been the end goal in civilizations history and I could agree, but then we're not talking about human beings anymore and it all becomes an abstract thought experiment rather irrelevant to our world.

This is an interesting point- but I wonder, do you know of any significant civilizations that tried to end slavery around the same time period?

When individualism fails, all you end up with is egoism. The problem with individualism, is that it's only some form of organized egoism. People are content when their self-interest meet with others, but when they don't the whole thing crumbles and people blame the government and don't pay their taxes, because it's not their fault anymore.

Individualism is a really misleading word, because it easily is an excuse to dismiss the system entirely, pat yourself in the back, and blame all the ones who did not make it like you did. It is worse than egoism. Individualism becomes an excuse where people deserve their bad situation.

Individualism literally becomes the "no excuse". You're not a star? No excuse, did not work hard enough. No job, no friends? No excuse, you have a bad personality and are weak minded. TV appearance is the established ideology of success.

That's the problem with every-man-for-himself individualism. If people are doing well, it's treated as a success of individualism. If people are doing poorly, is it a failure of individualism? Of course not! It's due to a betrayal of individualism, so we must hunt down and punish the betrayers. It's the exact same thing we used to see on the extreme-collectivist side. Every real-world success was a success for collectivism, and every real-world failure was a betrayal of collectivism. Rand/Trump zealots have more in common with Lenin/Mao zealots than either would admit. Both refuse to accept that their ideology could have failures or weaknesses. They're both unrealistic, though frankly the shadowy conspiracies required to betray individualism are even less realistic than the lone bad actors required to betray collectivism.

Back here in reality, a more practical kind of individualism can prevail. Whatever you do by yourself, you do by yourself. As soon as you start aggregating power with others, you will be required to do so in ways that do not become coercive mini-governments undermining the system itself. Relying on individuals to resist such aggregations of power doesn't work, and neither does the "gang warfare" model. The only model that kinda-sorta works is a democratically elected and accountable government to keep the autocratic mini-governments under control. It's the worst option except for all the others.

America's obsession with individualism also has a much darker side-effect:

> Between 1998 and 2013, Case and Deaton argue, white Americans across multiple age groups experienced large spikes in suicide and fatalities related to alcohol and drug abuse—spikes that were so large that, for whites aged 45 to 54, they overwhelmed the dependable modern trend of steadily improving life expectancy.

> The larger context of this isolation and alienation is America’s culture of individualism. It, too, can worsen the despair. Taken to an extreme, self-reliance becomes a cudgel: Those who falter and fail have only themselves to blame. They should have gotten more education. They should have been more prepared.

From an article in The Atlantic called "All Hollowed Out, The lonely poverty of America’s white working class": http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/01/white-wo...

Contrast this with say Japan, where people kill themselves and suicide doesn't have quite the cultural stigma that it does in the US. They also have less individualism, more collectivism. Yet people kill themselves there too.

In theory, individualism is a concept best that might best be described by the Nash Equilibrium: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium

An individual failing to account for others is just as natural as them responding to that failure to account for them.

In an idealized state, no single individual is able to change the state of the system without cooperation.

I think in Karl Poppers "The Open Society And Its Enemies" I read a helpful description of indivualism and egoism. He basically says that individualism, egoism, collectivism and altruism form a 2x2 matrix. Egoism being the opposite of altruism, and individualism (caring about individuals rather than groups) being the opposite of collectivism, you get these combinations:

- individual egoism (probably what most people mix up as the same)

- individual altruism (altruism directed at specific people, specific problems, e.g. Jesus says "love thy neighbor", not "love the entire town" or "love thy people")

- collective egoism (this is what you would see very typically in form of racism, sexism, but also the elites in communist states)

- collective altruism (people forming systems to help each other, in various forms)

Nash's equilibrium is mathematical description, it does not really describe what people perceive of themselves, of their fellow citizens and of the system as a whole.

I agree that we need sound economic tools, but reducing people to numbers is what leads to inhumane treatments.

Here's a thought:

You can't really believe in individualism and judge people at the same time, can you? You can judge yourself, but in judging others you try to make them fit into your view of what a person should be. And that hardly sounds like something befitting an individualist.

Individualism and moral relativism are two orthogonal things.

I say that with no attempt to imply anything about the rightness or wrongness of those things (at this time, anyhow); I simply am pointing out you seem to have conflated two things that are quite different.

It doesn't sound like a conflation to me. I think the point of the person you were replying to is that, while they are separate things, individualism isn't internally consistent without moral relativism.

I think you're making the same conflation without realizing it. No, they aren't the same. There is no inconsistency in thinking non-relatively that people should generally be able to stand on their own as individuals or that the individual is generally more important than the collective or any other interpretation of the term I can think of, nor any special inconsistency in thinking that morals are relative but that individualism has no value or may even be harmful, beyond the general logical incoherence of moral relativism. They're orthogonal concerns.

No, they aren't the same. I explicitly said that in the comment you're replying to. Two ideas can be harmonious or conflicting without being the same.

For example, the ideas "water is red" and "the color red exists" are not the same at all — most people believe the second one is true but not the first, and you could believe both are false without any contradiction. However, believing in the first one makes it impossible to self-consistently believe in the second.

Belief systems are more complex and subtle than simple claims like that, but they can still harmonize or conflict. I think the line of thought here is something like this:

Moral relativism is self-determination in the moral realm. Self-determination is a cornerstone of individualism. Therefore, individualism without moral relativism is somewhat compromised.

"Moral relativism is self-determination in the moral realm. Self-determination is a cornerstone of individualism. Therefore, individualism without moral relativism is somewhat compromised."

I'd call that equivocation on the word "self-determination". I'm not even sure the first sentence is correct in any sense. At best engaging in self-determination is a permitted result of moral relativism, but it is not the conceptual essence of it, nor even particularly necessary to be morally relativistic. Declaring all morals are relative, then importing someone else's wholesale is not something that contradicts moral relativism.

A competition is only worthy if it is in the mutual interest of everybody. In reality people seek achievement and success with an ego contest, and it end up in cannibalization. To me success is only fueled by jealousy and the fear of mediocrity.

I'm not sure that you have to be a moral relativist to be an individualist. You could just hold that the highest moral good is people having the agency to pursue what will make them content (which I think is an appropriate definition of individualism). I believe a whole bunch of moral principles follow from that, like that they can't do whatever they want to other people because then those other people won't have agency.

Who knows if it's a good moral code, but I don't believe it's moral relativism.

I like to say hyperindividualism, not individualism. Individualism and collectivism are naturally related: cooperation can bring out our individual potentials. From David Graeber's “The Democracy Project”, about Native Americans:

> Others (John Locke, for example, or many of the other English political philosophers so beloved by the Founding Fathers) became fascinated by the discovery of societies in North America that appeared to be simultaneously far more egalitarian, and far more individualistic, than anything Europeans had previously imagined possible.

In a European settler society like the US, people are still propagandized to believe the two are at odds: individual vs collective. But a moment's thought shows this to be ridiculous.

This guy is one of the most under-rated celebrities out there. Sure the films in which he played didn't help - I actually felt to the trap too.

His autobiography is just amazing - you realize he's just extremely smart, hardworking dude that also happens to have a vision.

Many "making of" shows him as a very very respectful and friendly (right amount of goof on set) person. His words about body building are also not shallow, he talks about the dedication and the inner exploration about your own limits. It resonnated with ideas I had in other fields that are much less "dumb" in the public eye.

ps: he's also directly responsible for movies like Total Recall, which were burried for years, and he arranged financial and directorial setups for it to happen because he loved the script and the filmmaker. I've heard it for other movies but my memory is in DDoS right now.

> Sure the films in which he played didn't help

"Total Recall" and "Last Action Hero" are two of the greatest films made in the last 30-40 years, and I'm not saying that just because I'm a huge Paul Verhoeven and John McTiernan fan. The final action scene from "Predator" is one of the best from all time when it comes to action-movies.

I think Conan the barbarian (the first one of course) was his best movie. A perfect fit for Arnold and wonderful cinematography. I watch it every year.

If copyright didn't exist my dream film would start with Arnold as an old man sitting in front of a fire. "You could say I had an interesting life..." It would begin as it attempted to draw a single timeline from every one of his films as if he was playing the same character in all of them.

Yes. I think it is a really imaginative and well-made piece. At the time, with all the violence and sex around, it was quite frowned upon where I lived, but in fact I think it was made in perfect style.

Conan, what is best in life?


What I like about Conan is to see how the character evolves through the movie. In the beginning through his upbringing he believes in violence as a means to solve all problems, however he slowly realizes that power lies elsewhere - Thulsa Doom reveals to him that strength is not about one's abilities, but about the ability to control and influence others. And there's the whole myth about the father and its role in one's life (and ultimately Conan's father's sword is broken at the end of one fight, while his father told him right at the beginning "you cannot trust men or beasts... but this (steel), you can trust".)

Most people see Conan the Barbarian as a barbaric movie with blood and sex but it goes much, much deeper than that. There are multiple interpretations and ongoing symbolism everywhere in this flick.

And the music... the music! It's almost like an opera.

>> "Total Recall" and "Last Action Hero" are two of the greatest films made in the last 30-40 years.

Last Action Hero is still one of my favorites.

I still recite a lot of the one liners from that movie. Arnold was so funny in that movie, and it was really well done. I was impressed his his ability to lampoon his own typecasting as an "action movie star" and all the cliches that go with it without being overdone like many of the parody movies you see these days.

Under-rated? How? He's a huge star in four or five different fields.

Many times the praise is qualified

- Body Building "for dumb people"

- Acting "just in dumb movies"

- Governor " Just because he's an action star. He won for because of the lols"

I'm not a megafan, but the more I think about him, the more I'm surprised I completed discounted how he completely dominated 3 fields. I sometimes wonder whether it's because of his accent. So many subconsciously connect strong accents with stupidity.

> connect strong accents with stupidity

That's too generalized. To an American, a British accent conveys prestige and sophistication. This has been studied, not just my opinion, though I can't immediately find a citation.

Also, to me, certain foreign accents sound very charming. Arnold's voice sounds authoritative, but it's probably more to do with the deep pitch than the accent.

To an American, a British accent conveys prestige and sophistication.

Not all British accents carry that stereotype.

And not all Americans hold that same stereotype in their minds.

You're right. Thinking about this more, I think perhaps there's an association between verbal communication difficulty and intelligence.

I've personally experienced situations where people seem to think I cannot understand some simple concept when I am not a native speaker. Just an an anecdote, though

I've caught myself on the giving end of that. I'd think "Oh, they don't speak clear English, therefore they can't be smart." But that is obviously completely wrong. I don't know why my brain goes that direction, or what I can do to stop it.

It happens to everyone, and the best you can do is to try to be aware of it.

It happened to me often when interacting with Chinese CS professors during college. I'd constantly have to remind myself that they were much more knowledgeable than I was despite having subpar communication skills.

> To an American, a British accent conveys prestige and sophistication.

Which British accent? It's unlikely that you associate prestige and sophistication with scouse, cockney, geordie, scots, west country, so on and so forth. These are generally played up as being working class or not smart in movies and other media.

>To an American, a British accent conveys prestige and sophistication.

Oi boyz, we gotz errselves a posh git roight 'ere.

> That's too generalized. To an American, a British accent conveys prestige and sophistication.

'Respectable businessman' Badger from the Firefly universe probably wishes that were true for all 'British' accents!

In Europe, most people don't know / remember he was a Governor. You say Arnold - they think Terminator.


For some reason, not remembered as a bodybuilder or Conan.

You can't be successful in so many areas with just sheer luck. I think people have to realize that Arnold is far from being just a stupid bodybuilder, even though he started his career like that.

You can, that's how sheer luck works. It sometimes clumps.

That said, being a bodybuilder, an actor and a politician has some skills and talent in common.

I understand some of it. He did enjoy many aspects of "meathead" culture. Though "smart" people considering him dumb because he didn't signal intelligence properly is... well, probably an unexamined position.

Not to mention he was also a millionaire via real estate before he even started acting. He's extremely hard working.

>> Governor " Just because he's an action star. He won for because of the lols"

Actually a story had been circulating for years about him and Jesse Ventura. I guess they've always had a very healthy competition and close friendship. Jesse said they had both talked about going into politics for years, and after Jesse became governor in Minnesota, Jesse said he called him and boasted that he had beat him to the punch.

Sure enough, right after Jesse was elected, they had the recall in California and Arnold jumped in and won the recall election. I've heard in several interviews Jesse stating the only reason that Arnold got into politics was because of him.

would underestimated be a better word?

His book, Total Recall, was a fascinating read. I found it a lot more interesting than I expected to.

He's also somewhat active in the fitness groups on Reddit, passing on tips and advice.

I also found that book incredibly interesting. I kept thinking that it must be full of lies and self-aggrandising hyperbole. If it is, at least it's very good lies and self-aggrandising hyperbole. Emotionally, I couldn't help but liking him after reading his book. I know he's had some questionable sexual conduct or worse, some of which he acknowledges in his book. I just hope it doesn't come up later that he has a string of silent rape victims like other once-loved celebrities.

My guess is that, any serious skeletons in his closet would have been at least partially exposed when he ran for governor.

+1 I was even quite a big fan of him before reading it - but wasn't expecting much from the book, or expecting it to be somewhat bland. But I really liked it and will absolutely read it again.

have to agree here. Arnold is far from the guy he just pretends to be in movies.

He's also an extremely weasely manipulator and an egomaniac.

In the documentary "Pumping Iron" he manipulates an entire family, who trusted him as a friend. Oh, and he also boasts about this in front of the camera.

I would consider his autobiography to be a brilliant marketing piece (with the positive and negative connotations of the "marketing" concept), although of course this is personal opinion, and I doubt this will be ever fact-checked to dis/prove it.

edit: of course, I don't imply he is devoid of good/inspiring traits.

FYI a lot of it was staged/planned [1][2]. 'Pumping Iron' was almost like a proto-reality show. Arnold "played" the role of a villain.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumping_Iron


Agree. Pumping Iron was the marketing piece that launched an industry. The "better than sex" quote still comes to mind, and I haven't seen the movie in decades.


nit: Austria is not what we generally refer to as eastern Europe

How does the bill burr joke go?

Move to a country where you can barely speak their language, become a millionaire, win their bodybuilding competitions for 5 years, become the biggest movie star, marry into their royalty, and then become governor of their largest state.

That's what Arnold did

That's some meticulously planned marketing by Tim Ferriss, right before his new book launch: "This essay was my foreword for the new book by Tim Ferris, Tools of Titans." Nice work!

Doesn't mean it is not sincere

Doesn't mean it is not marketing.

but it's well done marketing, it's not in your face advertising the product, the title/article were not clickbaity, it's only until you read the footnote that you'll see it's part of tim's book. i think this is an excellent example of how guest blog marketing should be done.

Just to note the book was launched earlier this week (the 6th I think). I'm about half way through it and would recommend it.

Tim Ferris of BrainQUICKEN fame? The "I'll show you shortcuts so you don't have to work hard!" guy? Seems like an odd fit for Schwarzenegger.

Tim Ferris has done a lot since BrainQUICKEN, including coming out with a number best selling books and putting out a great podcast. Arnold was an interviewee on the podcast, alongside tons of other greats.

Best selling books on the back of fake reviews and gaming the amazon process, no? His whole model is cheating and abusing the goodwill of others, and half the "business advice" in his books is "here's this blatantly unethical technique, and here's a sophist argument as to how it's actually fine" (e.g. "there's no official definition of expert, so just study the subject for an hour, call up a local university and offer to give a free talk, and then you can call yourself an expert who's talked on that subject at $university")

Excellent way to illustrate an important concept.

Keep in mind that what he is effectively saying is that not one person on this planet is self-made.

Anyone who lives to an age to be able to express such sentiment is already indebted to their parents. They are indebted to anyone who has lent a help raising them. They are indebted to the society that provided the infrastructure that got them to where they are.

People need to take the cards that they are dealt. You can't change the past. You must be humble and thankful and not let your ego get the best of you.

That being said, the term "self-made" does have a meaning. It does not literally mean that someone is responsible for every piece of success. There is literally not one such person. Unfortunately, some people do take it to mean that. Pity and educate them.

The meaning it has is that they worked hard to take them from where they started to where they are. It describes the relative effort they exerted to advance. There is always help and luck involved along the way. Most of the time though, external help and luck will not be enough to arrive at success. Hard work is required.

Arnold is a self-made man. He did work hard to get where he is. I am happy he wrote this article to express gratitude for all those that helped him get there. The world would be a better place if more successful people realized that.

According to wikipedia, a "self-made man" is a person who was born poor or otherwise disadvantaged, but who achieved success thanks to their own hard work and ingenuity rather than because of any inherited fortune, family connections, or other privileges

In his article, he credited the huge influence that his parents had on him. He credits the role that athletics played in his success, and clearly, he was endowed with greater athletic ability than the vast majority. He credits the role that coaches, sponsors and other well-wishers had played in giving him opportunities; opportunities that other less charismatic individuals were likely denied.

Clearly Arnold lived life enjoying some privileges. Was he as privileged than someone like George W Bush or Donald Trump? Definitely not. Was he more privileged than a kid who grew up in a slum, in a broken home? Definitely. And compared to the 1-2 billion people who grew up in a developing nation without access to good schooling/nutrition, he's positively a trust fund baby.

Perhaps it's time we let go of binary classifications such as "self-made" and "privileged". Everyone in the world enjoys certain amounts of privilege, and the precise amount varies on a sliding scale. Whether or not someone is "self-made" can only be determined in comparison to someone else, and never as an absolute fact.

One huge thing the 'self-made' vs. 'privileged' classification misses is pure and simple luck.

Two equally competent candidates apply for the same highly selective position, but one of them gets the job and the other doesn't. Two people try their hand at the stock market, but one person buys in right before a recession, and the other buys right before a boom. You can claim that over a lifetime, luck evens out, but I don't think that's really the case -- there are key junctures in every person's life where luck plays a huge factor in their eventual path.

It's supremely hard to disentangle luck from all the other factors, because for every random factor you can always come up with an ex-post rationalization that gives yourself all the credit ('I built a better rapport with the interviewer', etc.), and successful people I've noticed tend to be unusually good at assigning themselves credit.

A classic paper that looks at how wealth is distributed if every time two people randomly interact, the richer one is slightly more likely to gain money [1]. Everything else about individuals is identical. The rich always get richer.

[1] http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s100510050249

Despite being a fairly rational person, I have come to believe that there is some wisdom to the phrase "you make your own luck".

The experience is purely anecdotal, but you see it manifest in all walks of life, granted you would expect luck to be streaky or not evenly distributed on the local level, but there seems to be an observable relationship between "lucky outcome" and confidence - think sports, business decisions etc.

If I had to offer an explanation for it, I would go with the fact that our brains are complex machines that have developed heuristics that are better than we realise at predicting outcomes and when we give ourselves to it (through confidence) we end up with outcomes working out positively more often than negatively.

The obvious counter argument would be selection bias - when you're up on your luck and your confidence is high, the losses don't seem to matter so much (and vice versa).

>One huge thing the 'self-made' vs. 'privileged' classification misses is pure and simple luck.

I thought the whole point of that classification was to point out the role of luck.

The accidents of birth are luck in a certain sense, but it's probably worth drawing a distinction between the luck of inheriting wealth and the luck of winning it on the slots.

In fact winning in slots is less lucky... You have to play the slots. Having random advantage also takes some capitalising on it, but then, a lot of it is our of your control, especially early in life.

Even winning in slots can be smartly capitalised upon.

Privilege is a form of luck, but not all forms of luck are privilege.

Isn't the main thing that if a person derives wealth it's because they created it and took a fair share? My main beef is between people adding real value and people using the system to appropriate value added by others.

I think if we fixed the above most of the inequality of opportunity would melt away. It's the rentiers who are the problem.

That rentier activity could be being a large-scale landlord and extracting labour due to a monopoly on housing. It could be by being a banker and having the state build a system where if you win you win and if you lose everyone else pays (and let you build a system for the landlords). It could be by making an incremental improvement to a technology and then claiming a monopoly via patents over all knowledge since Faraday.

Let the rich kid who became a dentist and works for 50 years fixing people's teeth do his thing. Rentier activity is what is hurting poor people.

The problem is that wealth is socially generated, e.g. when people work in a factory, profit is created because it's more efficient for people to work in a factory than in their own homes. The fair division of that profit is a deeply political question.

One could argue that the workers generated the value, because without them the factory would not run. One could also argue that the owners generated the value, because they paid to have that factory built.

In practice though, all the generated value goes to the party with the most bargaining power, which usually happens to be the owners of capital, because wealth and power beget wealth and power.

Just look at all the rhetoric of the campaign and the right wing -- corporations and the wealthy are 'job creators' and so they deserve all the credit for people having jobs, even though capitalists need labor in order to exist.

> The problem is that wealth is socially generated...

You seem to have missed out society in your answer, having only mentioned the capitalist and the worker.

There's a legal system that helps people trust each other when forming a contract, there's infrastructure like roads, sewers, and schools. There's cultural institutions like marriage, membership of various societies, and so on that enable work to be apportioned in novel ways.

Wasn't that what was meant by "socially generated"? That there's a load of people other than the main characters doing things of value?

The land should be what breaks this loop. Land is required, nobody created the land, it is the common wealth.

If we taxed land we would see living costs suppressed and a return back to the days when we could choose if we wanted to work rather than being a wage slave, forced to work by high rent costs due to land speculation and infinitely elastic fiat money supply. We've seen what happens when we near-double labour supply (women working), bankers extend twice the credit and house prices double, allowing them to cream off the labour of both parents where before women's value was not available for seizure by the bankers.

The current system forces labourers to sell the one thing they have: themselves. And they are bidding into an oversupplied market.

It's a complete disaster that begins at the door of the goverbankment. If we don't have reform the west is going down. We can surely see that from the precipitous drop in real living standards over the past 30 years. Now we have both parents slaving all hours for the banks.

Think of the yawning gap between wages and value produced, which has widened. This is because labour has less power to push back. Traditionally this was unions, but I'd like to see that power distributed to the bottom level: the worker. By being able to refuse to work like a dog and handed back subsistence wages.

We need land value tax to fund universal basic income. Companies need to be forced to hand over most of the value labour adds, so there is an equilibrium. And by forced I don't mean by the state I mean because workers have a choice and won't work for peanuts. Right now the decks are stacked against the worker and banks are extending credit / selling off the country to keep the plates spinning.

Taxing land only works if the distribution of land is equitable, except that value-generating uses of land (factories, cities, and farms) aren't distributed uniformly throughout the country.

If you wanted to make that equitable, then you'd need small slices of land to be uniformly distributed to people, but that becomes more or less equivalent to just redistributing equity in companies. And then you'd have to redistribute the equity from time to time, or else you'd need to prevent people from buying and selling equity. Otherwise, the rich will just buy up all the equity again.

No, taxing land would cause redistribution. If you're sitting on land that suddenly costs you money, you will try to sell it. The guy who buys it will be someone with an idea of how to use it to generate enough wealth to pay the tax.

Exactly. When land is taxed correctly you can no longer sit on it and demand rent from others for access. Unlike our current insane system.

What would prevent you from building a skyscraper then renting it out? Tax is still suppressed.

And only rich can afford such an investment.

You build the skyscraper and capture the value you add. You made efficient use of land therefore you win. That's the point.

It's about stopping people doing no work and deriving economic value. It's not about stopping economic progress, nor is it about stopping people retaining the value they add. Quite the opposite.

That's right, and economically efficient.

Interesting question though. What about land that is reclaimed from the sea, or land that requires investment in order to not fall into the sea?

Such land cannot be said to exist independent of someone's efforts, and we could not make such arguments.

Land reclaimed by the sea? Hardly a pressing question. I'll pass, thanks.

> Taxing land only works if the distribution of land is equitable

Why? I don't see why land value tax cannot exist within the modern world we have of "capitalism" (it's corpratism right now!). Nor do many, many economists.

Never ever heard anyone say this before. The whole point of LVT is to stop unproductive hoarding and to capture the rentier aspect for the common wealth. Have a read up.

But let's be clear, exceptionally hard work is neither necessary nor sufficient. Many people achieve success without working particularly hard. Maybe they worked "smart" instead. Or maybe the path was cleared for them and they were competent enough not to totally blow it.

Conversely, there are countless people who work harder than many of us will ever dream, and will never sniff success on a level that most of us take for granted.

Of course, as an individual, you've only really got control over your mindset and actions. So, from that perspective, hard work is good advice. I just think that culturally, we often go beyond advising, to the point of making moral judgments of a person's work ethic based on their career outcome. If you weren't particularly successful, you just must not have been "self-made".

what are some examples of people that achieved success without working hard?

I think of myself a pretty successful. Certainly I am by any global standard. But I'm not known for being the world's hardest worker. I make up for that with savvy. I know when to push really, really hard, but that's not the gear I live most of my life in.

I've spent significant time with people that run the gamut of the socioeconomic spectrum. In my anecdotal observation, hard work and success are only loosely correlated. But I guess that depends on how you define success.

One place where the hard work vs. success dilemma really plays out is in athletics. What's more evidence of success than winning a championship in sports or being in the Hall of Fame? And yet, even amongst elite players in a given sport, you'll hear about vastly different reputations for hard work and discipline. Take the tennis rivals Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras, for example.

I've met people who I would say are 100-1000x better at doing and understanding technical problems than others I've met. They can and do achieve in a decade what would take the others a lifetime, if at all. These gifted people have a much easier time when it comes to survival because they are able to accomplish things that society values. (Happiness, personal meaning, feeling of community, etc is another ball game).

Furthermore, the grandparent was pointing out too that even gifted-ness aside, what family / community one comes from also has a huge impact on what possibilities are afforded them. The odds may be stacked against / for oneself before they even lift a finger.

Anyone born into a royal family. They get a lot of positive attention, they don't have to work, and they can do things most people cannot afford.

Whether they're succesful is also judged on a different scale to everyone else.

Same goes for people born into very wealthy families.

Nonetheless "self-made" as obvious as it sounds put "self" first, thus any term associated with "self" is harmful IMHO. Self should be always secondary and we should really think first of the entire foundation that helped us to get where we are. It puts Gratitude first. There's a mindset change between using "self-made" and not using it. Actually I wanted to say the inverse term of self-made that hasn't self in the term, but I don't know what it is.

You make an interesting point. It would be great if we could snap our fingers and introduce a term which means the same thing as "self-made" but without the word "self". Unfortunately, that's not the case.

The second best thing we can do is spread the message about what self-made really means and what it definitely does not mean.

I don't think all terms with the word "self" are bad. Self-defense and self-aware come to mind :)

> I don't think all terms with the word "self" are bad. Self-defense and self-aware come to mind :)

Indeed, but I was referring to a word that contains the meaning of "self-made" when it should be something like "together-made". The other words as you said is fine. Thanks for replying.

It's interesting you say that because one of the normative positions in ethics is Ethical Egoism which is explicitly putting oneself first and it has had a number of proponents over the years.

However, part of it assumes that it is against one's own interest to treat someone else in a way that could backfire and hurt you and it can often be in one's self interest to help others without expecting anything in immediate return.

> The meaning it has is that they worked hard to take them from where they started to where they are. It describes the relative effort they exerted to advance. There is always help and luck involved along the way. Most of the time though, external help and luck will not be enough to arrive at success. Hard work is required.

This is a good description, and I agree with the paragraph below.

The issue is how you compare with people who had the same opportunities (and which in the case of Arnold, were few, but he made the best he could of them, also had a lot of luck).

Arnold did go to ballet classes, his competitors did not. Legend says he also did some unethical things to his competitors (like leading them to dead-ends, things like that - some of it might have been in jest)

Legend says he also did some unethical things to his competitors

He himself mentions some of this on Tim Ferriss' podcast:


By the time I came to America and started competing over here, it was very clear when I said to someone, “Let me ask you something, do you have any knee injuries or something like that?” Then they would look at me and say, “No, why? No. I have no knee injury at all. No, my knees feel great.” And they say, “Why are you asking?” I said, “Well because your thighs look a little slimmer to me. I thought maybe you can’t squat or maybe there’s some problem with leg extension.”


People are vulnerable about those things. Naturally now when you have a competition, you use all this.


It throws people off in an unbelievable way.

Tim: And they get defensive.

Arnold: They walk away like this didn’t bother them at all, but then you can see, you watch them as they walk around the pump up room, and when you warm up for the competition, and you can see them kind of thinking to themselves, kind of them going to the mirror and checking it out secretly and all that stuff.

I think the problem is in judging people who didn't get to the very top. Why didn't every Austrian in his position become a movie star and a millionaire? They must not have worked as hard, clearly they're just lazy and could have had success if they worked like Arnold did.

Arnold: I am not a self made man. Don't call me that. Nobody is.

You: Good article. Arnold is a self made man.


As a child of the very early 80's besides my father Arnold was one of my role models growing up.

Given that I'm not at all a bodybuilder and prefer academic things I have generally avoided admitting that but the 80s were a different time.

In college I tried explaining my liking for Arnold and so many superficial things would come up that I would quickly dismiss the topic.

Many individuals are truly impressive if you take a deep holistic perspective of their accomplishment and who they are as person even with faults (on the other hand there are many that probably deserve less praise).

Yeah Arnold has been a sexist and I don't agree on his political stances but many of the greats I'm sure have some serious character flaws (e.g. Isaac Newton, Edison and Jobs were not exactly saints).

Calling a man who repeatedly groped and humiliated women publicly just a "sexist" is the reason the behavior still exists.

What would you like me to call it or him?

Believe me I know his behavior was most likely inappropriate I'm just not sure what label should be applied.

If you think I misrepresented the labeling of him I might agree with it some more research (which is difficult).

If I offended you by not taking a more severe label I apologize. I'm not often very descriptive.

Most of the founding fathers of the country were exceptionally devious (rapeist and extremely sexist) but we rarely apply labels to them. We probably should.

To me, this is just being humble and I don't get the negative reactions of other comments.

Haters gonna hate.

Using the topic, how is it that Tim Ferriss has such a huge following / impact? To me he lives in a fairy tale world, his pieces of advice are usually laughable and unrealistic. Basically, all he seems to do is so disconnected from real life.

Or am I missing something?

No, I've consumed most of his stuff, and the 'lightness/fakeness' of his approach really hit me when I started learning Spanish.

learning a language is an investment in time and effort. You can't do it in 4 hours no matter how clever this new trick is. And trust me I spent far too long trying to decipher his many blog posts on the issue, until I realised I was the sucker.

That being said, as a complete non cook, I was able to apply quite a lot from the 4 hour chef and it got me kickstarted into cooking.

If you liked The 4-Hour Chef, you might find the O'Reilly cooking book interesting - Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Cooks, and Good Food [1].

[1] http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920041207.do

Base ability matters a lot when learning any skill.

Apparently you do not have any special ability for languages, but you do for cooking. (e.g. being meticulous, having physics and chemistry training and so on)

"To me he lives in a fairy tale world"

That's exactly why he's so popular. He's selling a dream: you, too, can live in the fairytale world if you buy my book and do X, Y, Z. It's a classic escapism/wish-fulfillment narrative. Nevermind that 99% of Ferris's readers will never put his ideas into practice the way Ferris espouses they should; the mere act of reading his books provides some emotional support.

It's made up advice that doesn't sound quite as fake as the other made up advice and he talks like a not quite perfect human unlike most of the other self help people out there (who might as well be replaced with a company chatbot for as authentic as they sound), so he can be successful and wow, if he's successful from doing what he says, maybe I can too!

Nevermind the way he gets a 4 hour workweek he espouses is by giving self-help advice, not working for a corporate office that demands your butt in a chair 40+ hours a week.

I do actually like the guy myself, despite me saying this, but I haven't found too much of his advice practical for my situation.

Ever since 4 Hour Chef I’d describe the content he’s making as more “humbler” than what you may have read in the books and blog posts. Now it’s largely him repurposing the information he gathered from interviewing people from his podcast into different formats (the podcasts, tv show, and now this new book).

Less about this one weird trick Tim knows that could make you successful, more about what others have done that probably lead to their success.

I'm a fan of his interviews, especially once I filter out the advice-heavy (usually athletic) ones. Good example:


His core audience is well off (100K+ a year) 20-30 year old white males/females in America. He sells a dream that seems incredibly obtainable (almost even owed) to that audience.

I'm saying this as someone who owns the TF books and listens to the podcast and falls into his target audience.

Selling fantasy is very effective. Why do you think people buy lottery tickets? Go to Las Vegas? etc

Arnold comes across as a genuine sort of person. You'd have to know him personally to know if that's true, but it's certainly the way he appears.

As far as my experience tells me, it is hard to become truly successful in life. Where the history books will take note of what you became and what you accomplished. It boggles my mind that even with such great odds there are so many who actively work to prevent it, or work to cripple the ecosystems that are supposed to exist to enable people to become what they want to become and accomplish what they want to accomplish.

A subset of the "self-made" myth is that of the "self-taught". There are very few people (like the great lost mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan) who discover the things they know off of first principles, intuition, and curiosity.

Doesn't self-taught normally mean you didn't attend classes at some institution?

Yes, which is an equally stupid false dichotomy. All of the best programmers are I know are both self-taught programmers (in the sense that they learned how to program prior to attending any classes about programming), and also college-educated computer scientists.

Arnold is quite the curiosity to me; in some ways he helped establish the myth vs. reality of "Work hard, eat your protein, lift weights, and you can be the muscle man too!" which isn't to be ignored, nor should the role of anabolic steroids in enabling the outcome seen on screen. He's grown a little more vocal recently about how massive the bodybuilding guys are now and rather distorted (possible ex: Seth Feroce), but it was his generation that helped bring in the modern era. I don't think Arnold has shied away from his past in this regard (hard to when having heart surgery more than likely linked to anabolic use), which, I guess I find refreshing.

> it was his generation that helped bring in the modern era

I'd argue that Dorian Yates et al ushered in the "mass monster" era we're currently in.

Steroid use in Arnold's generation was mild (a little bit of Dianabol, no PCT) and most of those guys didn't start using until they were already at an elite level.

Yeah Dorian for sure, his interviews have been really interesting as well. Dorian said basically though he was just using larger doses of Test, nothing fancy. It's not that Arnold wasn't gifted or hard working, but it's also important to keep in mind "a little bit of Dianabol" goes a long way with even basic attention to training and diet, both of which I do agree Arnold already was working with.

> "a little bit of Dianabol" goes a long way

Oh yeah, for sure.

"[Mike Mentzer] told us that his entire physique morphed after he started using Dianabol and Deca for the first time."

From this great interview, if anyone is interested:



Personally I think some traditional PEDs are fantastic and would love for them to be more accessible. Not necessarily OTC but a lot closer. Thanks for the articles, I know Mike's name and will definitely dig in! I did the whole "get educated" before putting anything in my body, and frankly, have enjoyed what many things have done (several now banned in the US ugh).

I'm kind of talking around it, but what bothers me is guys who obviously are on great designer gear - The Rock, Hugh Jackman, Marky Mark - but claim otherwise, or minimize what role actually pushing their genetic envelope via PEDs helped them pull off. Pretending otherwise doesn't sit well with me.

One guy who owns it, is Stallone.

However, that may have been the reason why Australia busted him with HGH - even though probably every fit celebrity over age forty travels with it.

Slightly off the main topic - has Tim Ferriss actually created something of value that didn't exist before? It seems everything he is about is telling about how other people create value.

What other single book has everything the four hour workweek has?

His original business was a supplement product called brainquicken. He doesn't talk much about the specifics of that product. But, in the four hour workweek, most of his examples were from the backend of that business.

That book was literally a lifechanger for me, and led to me leaving law school to create an automated business in the style of the ones he wrote about.

His current venture, podcasts, is mostly about showing how others have created value. But that in itself is a thing of value - it's not that easy to get a bunch of influential people to talk candidly to the public.

I learned about many things from Tim Ferris, so he created value for me.

My math teacher didn't invent any theories. He didn't write any books. Yet, I learned math from him. Can we say he didn't create anything of value?

In 2008, his book "The Four Hour Workweek" helped me change absolutely everything in my life, and really to start living at all.

Even if most of its contents could be found elsewhere, the book is something of value that didn't exist before.

I've since moved on from where that book is coming from (as has he, from the sounds of things), but I still listen to the audio from time to time for inspiration and to reconnect with my 2008-self.

Is a well-curated collection of useful knowledge from other valuable people not valuable in of itself?

That's the literal definition of "media worker", I guess.

i'm usually cynical about things like this, but there is a value in the aggregation itself imo.

I don't especially like his values when it comes to "bigger is better".

Don't get me wrong, it's good to be healthy and have muscle mass, but extreme bodybuilding is like burning rubber on a parking lot and never going anywhere with it.

Fuel and food is quite precious, at least on the scale of our spaceship earth.

All this love on here for Arnold, but whenever I think of him, I can't get out of my head his debates and interviews during his campaign for Governor. He refused to let other candidates speak their turn, constantly interrupting with lots of bombast. He was rude and inconsiderate, and then I saw him on Ellen with his wife, and she had to physically cover his mouth with her hand because of the awful stuff he was saying. His wife eventually left him.

So while this is a great little article, it is just that: a crafted, written piece, well-edited and promoted. Perhaps it is sincere, but it is not the whole picture. And "humble" is not the word I'd have ever used to describe Arnold.

I've read just yesterday about interrupting others (while looking for missed IRQ's :) and the thing is this: It is expected of politicians and high profile figures to talk over others or they will be percieved weak. Their setup is not on polite debate but on putting up a convincing show.

As Jim Rohn used to say: you must understand how things are even if you don't like the way they are.

Seems like if you understand how things are, you also enable how they are.

You could have written something about how Arnold's behavior in interviews/debates is bad because of $reasons. You could have explained that while it's what's expected of high-ranking personalities/candidates, the outcomes of such debates are poor compared to $something.

But you decided to call the person you're replying to a coward and conformist. Yeah...

If that's what you wanted written, you could write it yourself. I deemed this more important.

I didn't call the person I replied to any of these things.

It's not about conformism, but about how much a person is driven by the system they accepted, or the perception of the system. A lot of things get propagated because they have always been this way, and often it's not even necessary, but nobody questions it. Then someone does and it falls apart. Most people who understand the system stay within it, it's essentially admitting defeat.

To understand a system is to give it credit, to accept it, to make it valid. Poor systems should not be made valid, they should be rejected as the nonsense that they are. I expect more from people who claim they are extremely hard working and successful.

I don't feel like understanding a system automatically makes one part of it. Why not see it as giving power to over-through it?

Because the system is not a given in the first place. The error is made so early that it's quickly skipped over and unnoticed. Once you are in the state of understanding a system, it's already too late: the system has already won, because it convinced you of the existence of rules that don't actually exist.

How the social system is isn't a given. It's not a solid framework of hard rules like the laws of physics. It's rather amorphous, and, in large part, it's driven by what people believe it to be. We can favor the loud. We could have just as much chosen the quiet. It's a bit more complex than this but the statements aren't false. There's a path to both.

One doesn't have the capacity to look at a system and claim they understand it, because the internal system is always affected more by the larger external system, which has not been understood. Understanding it would imply to fully know all the effects. Yet people claim to understand systems all the time, and then the system is swept under by a new wave that didn't care about your understanding. Really, the system wasn't truly understood, and it's too big to be understood, which seems obvious: if we really understood these systems all that well, we'd be free to guide them where we want, and we'd make perfect predictions, and the waves wouldn't surprise us. In reality, we don't understand the system; time and time again I see people treat a system as a bastion of stability and then it falls apart.

What we're doing, really, when we say that we understand the system, is that we piggyback on what someone else has claimed to be true of the system, which tends to be heuristical. Someone who is, interestingly enough, known to be experienced in navigating the very rules they state to be true.

It's like a metagame. The metagame always seems true when you look at it, and moving away from it is very painful. People who know the metagame are often very good at it. But it's often that the metagame is a shallow assessment, that gives the fastest results with the least amount of time spent, and little else. The metagame often doesn't actually give the absolute best result, but rather the most simple to reach good enough result, especially for those for whom rediscovering is difficult and takes too much time. Little surprise that metagames are unstable, fickle, and easily disrupted. Someone who truly understands the game will beat the metagame and will often not reveal their results and keep opponents in the dark for a long, long time. The opponents are then unable to find the new metagame since they're loyal to the old one. But there was never a hard rule, never a promise that the metagame was true. The metagame never replaces true understanding.

So when someone looks at a system that has obvious bad effects, and says: "I will function within this system and its bad effects, because that's just how it is", they're doing the worst thing: feeding the system and giving it the very thing it draws its power from. The more influential a person does this, the worse, for who can oppose the political system if even the great Arnold had to stoop down to such a low level? Of course, the real answer is that Arnold probably never understood the system and just adapted the metagame that was available to him to play it safe.

In that, he did harmful things, and that is how it should be analyzed. It doesn't, ultimately, matter why he did them, because then we'd play into the rules of the system that don't exist. It is only the end effects that we can analyze. Arnold losing in a political system because he was not hostile enough is going to be impossible to prove. He could as well have been more effective if he did something unusual and did it right. But him having a negative influence, and reinforcing an already bad system, are very visible effects, and those are the ones we should look at.

Anything else is Machiavellianism and the claim that doing harmful things is OK, as long as they make YOU personally more powerful because you think you will have enough agency and forward-thinking and power to change the world for the better while obviously making it worse for the people you touch. I think we can find a more effective way to function as a society than promoting Illidans.

I think I know what you mean.

But all I can do is infer from your words. That is "understand" you. Now I can "understand" you and still disagree and fight you with all my might, guile, wisdom etc.

And I don't feel that I need to become one with you to understand you. Because I can't. You and I are two different people. I would need exactly your experiences from exactly your perspective: to be you - exactly you. But I am different and all I can do is infer an approximation of these experiences. Are these proxy experiences "enough" to understand you? I don't know.


What are your choices? Admit defeat? Not functioning within a defective system at all? Go live in the woods or in the desert? Put your head in the sand and refuse to understand a system because of _fear_ of corruption?

There is a middle ground though. Why not understand enough of its potential for good and enough to avoid its weaknesses and maybe (_maybe_) have a chance to fix them?

> What are your choices? Admit defeat? Not functioning within a defective system at all? Go live in the woods or in the desert? Put your head in the sand and refuse to understand a system because of _fear_ of corruption?

I think you missed the point a bit. You're still giving credence to the system when you frame other options as admitting defeat or sticking the head in the sand. I'm saying there isn't actually a solid system that we're trying to give all this credence to. It's artificially simulated to drive people to accept it so that they don't go outside the imaginary bubble the system tries to create. If anything, staying within it is keeping one's head in the sand because it's saying the true system is far too complex, let's not try to comprehend it and buy the simple one we were given.

It's similar to how a lot of scientific beliefs used to be. It may have been believed and claimed that the Earth was flat. But how could someone possibly know such a thing? And now imagine various things were built around this idea, and decisions were made with this idea in mind. And maybe if you said the Earth wasn't flat, you'd get shot. But if you are aware that the Earth isn't flat, or even that there's no evidence that it is, you should never believe that it's flat. Once you believe it's flat, it's already too late, you have now limited yourself by made up physical laws.

A person saying: "Only X kind of people can do this or win here, only Y kind of things work in this system" is limiting themselves by made up laws. Often these are said with nearly 0 evidence, except that a lot of people believe it. Most people believe it, so success is usually achieved by ones holding such belief, as well, simple statistics. Such claims are completely preposterous and the amount of times I've seen them fall apart and also watch people cling to them and defend them with all their might is insane. But people only seem to notice when it happens in a culture they don't like, yet it's a regular pattern pretty much everywhere. Sports, gaming, political propaganda, philosophies, religions, you name it. Football player of height X is not viable. You can't win games unless certain positions on your team are a certain type. This weapon is complete garbage and nobody should use it. This system will totally work/fail because all people are lazy/hardworking. And the one we all started out with, long ago: might makes right and there's no reason to share.

And it will often take someone new, someone who perhaps hasn't even heard the lie before, and someone who has no prior investment in the old system, to suggest that maybe earth is round, maybe that weapon does work, maybe you can run a football game with a player at a certain position under a certain height, maybe you can sum up baseball stats. Because whether or not the Earth is flat is not determined by how many people think it's flat, yet people may bully you over this, and they may design whole systems that make you think you can't leave because the Earth is flat, and do all sorts of things, but as soon as you realize it's round, you can do things that are not possible if you thought it was flat. Like end up on a continent on its other side by looping around.

You can break the rules, because the rules you need to break are not real. Real rules hold, forever and always, and in all places. If a proclaimed most awesome human being since sliced bread can't do it, or is too afraid to do it, and instead does negative, harmful things and then tries to hide behind unverified false beliefs to justify his actions, perhaps we should reevaluate what our usage of such terms even means.

Yes. I agree with not hearing the lie. It's like breaking the 4 minute mile. I've heard that after the first record break, tens other followed in the first year. I am sure this was so because of a new mindset and had nothing to do with groundbreaking new physical abilities.


But now I've heard the lie. I can't 'unhear' it. That horse is out of the barn. This is my position. What are my options considering I hear these lies all the time?

The best thing I've got is asking myself and others 'why is this so?'. I'm doing this enough times and find a lot of BS and made up 'laws'. Mind you, it aggravates people when they realize their firm beliefs are on quicksand. And they project this onto you. One has to be careful.

Yes, maybe I do give credit to a system. But just enough to get ammo against it if necessary. Going meta, I just gave you some credit, enough to deflect/defuse your argument.

How about what you say may be a lie? That is, the thing about having no chance of doing anything once you hear the 'lie'. That you always need a fresh/uncorrupted approach to find that the earth is in fact round.

What if you don't need to believe it? What if all you need is changing it slightly and questioning its veracity?

The best answer I've got about this is this: "if it helps you - go on and accept/do/etc it".

Jim also said to be smart about what things you want to change.

I'm pretty sure most of us come across better in writing, I know I do. Personally I would argue that's a better reflection of the person than the first thing that pops into their head when they're trying to entertain on TV.

I disagree. Writing is a product of time. Give enough time or influence from others and your writing can be whatever you want it be, and it can be far removed from who you actually are.

The same can be said about speech. There's an entire industry on how to be a good speaker. It is very much an acquired skill, perhaps more difficult to master, but very similar to being well written.

So what I'm reading here is that he played to win, and he won?

If that's all you read, then I didn't express myself well.

I was interpreting his behaviour during the campaign (as distasteful as it would be in normal interpersonal interaction) as nevertheless being something which gave him an advantage in his campaign. I'm not saying he's always a great human being but he always strikes me as acting in a fairly optimal manner with respect to his goals.

Yup, no doubt he was acting approximately optimally for someone whose only goal was to gain power and who didn't have other goals like "don't be obnoxious". Most of us, most of the time, don't consider that a reasonable set of goals.

In the same way, someone who robs a bank is (perhaps) acting optimally for someone whose goal is "get money" and who doesn't have other goals like "don't break the law" and "don't take stuff that isn't yours".

And if someone sleeps with your spouse and then kills you lest you take revenge, then (provided they do it carefully enough) they may be acting optimally for someone whose goal is "sleep with that person I fancy" and who doesn't have other goals like "don't encourage people to cheat on their spouses" and "don't commit murder".

If someone says "X acted obnoxiously" or "X acted immorally" then pointing out that there's some unpleasant/immoral set of goals X may have had that for which their behaviour was optimal misses the point of the criticism, which is to say "their goals apparently don't include being a decent person". hellofunk wasn't saying that Schwarzenegger was ineffective but that he was a bad person.

If you end up in prison (or have a likelihood of being ending up in prison), then you did not act "optimally". Your examples are strawmen.

Not everyone who robs a bank ends up in prison. That parenthesis about being careful enough was not an accident.

But by all means let's replace those examples with others where it's less surprising for the actions in question to be optimal. A politician voting in ways that they know aren't best for the country, because they know it will help them walk into a nice job after they leave office: optimal for the goal of getting a comfortable life. This makes no difference to the point, which is that "It was effective for his goals" is no defence against a complaint that's about values rather than effectiveness. hellofunk was not accusing Schwarzenegger of acting ineffectively, but of acting immorally and unpleasantly, and "it was the most effective way to get power" is simply not responsive to that criticism.

He's also a serial molester of women who reformed in order to have a career in politics. The media doesn't look too hard at this because he makes movies that people like, and the Republicans propped him up and wrote off all accusations as political smears. He's lucky not to have had the Bill Cosby moment that he deserves.

Almost everyone who achieves far beyond the average is "flawed" in some way, or in quite a few ways.

Another example: Steve Jobs was an amazing man who achieved far beyond most mortals, but he was also a deeply flawed man.

Steve Jobs was indeed a horrible man and sociopath. I don't think he did any good to the world, and I think it is bad for the world that he is admired by so many people. I read his biography, which is written by a biographer he explicitly chose to make him look good, and he still looks bad.

He is basically Cartman in real life, but worse. He is all what is wrong with capitalism. He is responsible for directly and indirectly making a lot of people's life a hell. That he had a minor hand (he likes to take responsibility for good things that other people have done, and deny responsibility for bad things he has done) in making some ridiculously overpriced gadgets[1] is no reason to admire him.

Someone who should be admired a lot more by the general public, in my opinion, is Steve Wozniak. He actively tries to make the world a better place, he loves teaching, uses his money to make the world a better place, and has respect for people. Also, he's the real Steve that made Apple great.

[1] http://wccftech.com/iphone-6s-costs-apple-234-manufacture/

Regarding the reference you linked, there's a tiny part of the phone that they did not include in the bill of materials: software. That might add a few bucks to the final price.

> Almost everyone who achieves far beyond the average is "flawed" in some way, or in quite a few ways.

Another way to look at it is that everyone is "flawed" in some way, or in quite a few ways, but some also manage to achieve far beyond the average.


Arnold might not be a self-made man, but he took what he was given, and did a million times more with it than I would have. And that counts for something.

Great message, but "self-made" never meant someone who became successful with no outside help. One is self-made if their fortune wasn't inherited, that's it.

The words "self-made" have an implication that you did it all yourself.

Only if you take everything literally.

To those down-voting me: Firstly, I would invite you to consult a good dictionary. Secondly, I'd invite you to undertake a moment's reflection, which I believe should make readily apparent the utter uselessness of a word that describes not a single person that ever lived.

Hi there, I'm sure everyone reading this knows what 'self-made' usually refers to.

But they also know that Arnold is using artistic licence in pursuit of his objective, which is to convey the importance of having humility and gratitude as you seek to achieve success.

The people downvoting you, I'm quite sure, are doing so because you've perhaps come over as unnecessarily pedantic, given the spirit of this message.

I don't think so. Benjamin Franklin is probably the prototypical self-made man. And you would never claim that "he did it all himself." He wouldn't have claimed that either. It's clear from his Autobiography that there were many people who helped him along his path to success, but that doesn't change the fact that he was a self-made man.

Whatever you think the "official" definition is, when someone says they're "self-made" they are most often using it in a sense closer to the first than the second. It's not strictly with "no" outside help, but they tend to mean that help was minimal and rarely or never for free.

Some people think of it in the first way.

That was the traditional meaning very much like holding up a gold medal winner as an individual achiever. Everyone knows that person had help along the way, but should realize they used that help and their own talent to get the result where others did not.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" --Isaac Newton

You know what's funny about that quote? It was actually intended as a clever dig about Robert Hooke's height[0]. Newton and Hooke had a longstanding feud and this was another shot in that war. The quote itself is much older with the oldest known attribution from John of Salisbury, but it's possibly older still.

[0] http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/q0162b.shtml

Tim Ferris, the master marketer.

Nobody is.

"To make apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

Ayn Rand would be intrigued to read this article.

She wouldn't object to any part of it.

Arnold said he's got help from lots of people and it's very likely that most of them didn't get anything in return. Were these people adept of ethical egoism, none of them would've helped him.

That's a common belief about Ayn Rand, but it's not correct. As long as they enjoyed helping him, or at least wanted to help him, she would not have objected in the slightest.

Agreed. First paragraph here captures her viewpoint.


Calling it an essay is a bit far fetched.

As opposed to Peter Thiel ...

So, this guy from Austria says Nelson Mandela is one of his idols?!

Freedom, Peace, Humanity....

Let's quote Wikipedia:

" On December 13, 2005, Williams was executed by lethal injection after clemency and a four-week stay of execution were both rejected by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, amid debate over the death penalty. Williams was the second inmate in California to be executed in 2005. "


Usually, we call this Hypocrisy.

That seems a strange place to identify hypocrisy. Nelson Mandela wasn't afraid of killing people in the pursuit of perceived justice. Neither, it seems, was Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Ah, the greater good! It's always good to kill people if it's for the greater good.

So can you identify no situation in which killing someone is appropriate?

If you're asking if I think the death penalty is appropriate for a system of criminal justice, then no. I do not think there is ever a situation where that is appropriate. It is immoral.

There are other situations where I think using deadly force is justified. Defending a country under military attack is one of these situations.

The reason I posted that is that I don't think belief in the greater good is enough. Believing in the greater good brought us the holocaust, for example. It is simply not enough of a reason to kill people.

> Believing in the greater good brought us the holocaust, for example.

Please do more historical research. The Holocaust was not caused by seeking the greater good, but instead the greater evil. It was caused when massive numbers of people decided that rule by terror was not worth resisting as long as it did not touch them.

I do not agree with the death penalty either, but your logic seems flawed to me. I don't have to share ALL the morals/ethics/worldviews that my heroes have.

Now if he came out against death penalty at some point and then reversed his stance, your accusation of hypocrisy would be accurate.

Edit: I was wrong about what hypocrisy meant - please see humanrebar's reply below.

> Now if he came out against death penalty at some point and then reversed his stance, your accusation of hypocrisy would be accurate.

No, changing your mind isn't hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is saying the rules don't apply to you somehow. If he executed someone with no trial and said it didn't count because it was somehow for the greater good, he would be a hypocrite.

If we don't leave people room to change their minds, we don't leave them room to grow. I'd rather be in a world where people learn lessons.

I stand corrected.

Well, executing a human being shrinks "the room for improvement". Permanently.

Yep. That's why they have due process and fair trials in California. At least according to the CA and US high courts. Some people say that any execution is immoral, and there's a good argument there as well.

A trial that could lead to a death penalty can never be "fair" because this kind of punishment leaves no room for re-socialization of the convict. There are certain rights that no punishment could ever take away from a human being. At least we have them here, in the EU.

Would that not be changing his mind about something, rather than hypocrisy, which is saying one thing but doing another.

Agreed, humanrebar explained it well!

Come on man, the whole piece is about having humility.

The Wikipedia article says this guy was one of the leaders of the Westside Crips; I don't feel sorry for him and can see why he wasn't granted clemency. I don't agree with the death penalty but it doesn't invalidate the sentiment in the article.

I don't know the details of the case, but I do know that politicians have to make a lot of difficult decisions based on more than their own personal opinions.

You need to read on Mandela's :)

People are flawed - it's OK to admire certain qualities and scoff at other idiotic opinions they have.

What's Austria got to do with it? Beethoven was Austrian, too.

Whoops, so he was; he died in Vienna but wasn't born there. What I get for commenting before coffee; thanks for the catch.

Probably Mozart was meant.


We've already asked you to please comment civilly and substantively, and to avoid making unfair generalizations about the Hacker News community, so we've banned this account.

Of course He is not a self-made man, he will be make by Skynet and travel back in time.

If this was marketing, it was a very good one.


Read the text in italics at the bottom.

Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), Narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), Psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), Sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others);

Some good friends and advisors, incredible hard work, Primobolan, Deca Durabolin, and Dianabol, and you're all set.

Common misconception from people who don't work out. Steroids will only allow you to work even harder to achieve the result you are gunning for.

You don't go through a cycle and immediately become swole.

Sitting on your butt shooting test is twice as effective (over 10 weeks) than not shooting test and exercising for 10 weeks:


"Fat-free mass did not change significantly in the group assigned to placebo but no exercise (Table 4 and Figure 1Figure 1Changes from Base Line in Mean (±SE) Fat-free Mass, Triceps and Quadriceps Cross-Sectional Areas, and Muscle Strength in the Bench-Press and Squatting Exercises over the 10 Weeks of Treatment.). The men treated with testosterone but no exercise had an increase of 3.2 kg in fat-free mass, and those in the placebo-plus-exercise group had an increase of 1.9 kg. The increase in the testosterone-plus-exercise group was substantially greater (averaging 6.1 kg). The percentage of body fat did not change significantly in any group (data not shown)."

Its fun to google and paste links to studies. But you also need to do some work if you want people to think that its relevant.

Could you detail how you established that this is a study whose results have been replicated or otherwise accepted into the general body of knowledge as applicable for the general population? If not, what if any are the contingent factors that would preclude its applicability for people not represented in the sample that was chosen for the study?

How did the guy to whom I replied validate his broscience? I'm not going to write a PhD thesis in a HN comment box. At least I cited a source. If you don't feel that my comment is relevant you're free to ignore it and move on with your life.

Citing something doesn't mean you're any closer to the truth than the 'broscience' crowd. A lot of broscience people are buff and they think their success validates their ideas.

>If you don't feel that my comment is relevant you're free to ignore it and move on with your life.

Thanks for the advice.

I always think it's worth pointing out the BS inherent in the "I take steroids but I actually work harder than non-steroid users".

(ps. I hav nothing against steroids/PEDs; I just hate the moral equivocating around them)

Steroids/PEDs in general allow you to get bigger than your genetic/physical limits should allow, in a much shorter period of time, and/or spend more time exercising in a given period than a natty equivalent.

So, if I'm natty, and I do a heavy workout on my arms, I need to wait 2 days or 3 days or whatever until I recover before I can hammer them again. If I'm on the juice, then I wait a day, or less. Plus my recovery will be enhanced, so instead of growing 1-2lbs of total muscle a month, I might grow 5-6lbs.

So, because steroid users can exercise heavily every day, and make outrageous gains that means they're pulling heavy weights pretty quickly, or ridiculous rep counts, they say they're working harder.

I question this - non-steroid users are working just as hard, but their work is spaced out over a longer period, with less visible gains and improvements. At least to me, this isn't "working harder" - it's 100% attributable to the drugs, and not to some other exterior, alternative mental factor or higher degree of commitment from the athlete.

So, because steroid users can exercise heavily every day, and make outrageous gains that means they're pulling heavy weights pretty quickly, or ridiculous rep counts, they say they're working harder.

This is exactly the same argument as startup founders becoming millionaires by compressing a lifetime's work into a few years.

what do you mean it's the "same argument"? are you making an analogy that VC money is exogenous -- like steroids?

So is it: CLAIM: "yeah-I-take-steroids-BUT" I work hard and it pays off. Fact: the steroids do most of the heavy lifting

CLAIM: "yeah-I-take-VC-money-at-a-$1.7M-valuation-and-then-$10M-and-then-$100M-because-I'm-in-a-very-special-club-BUT" I work hard and become a millionaire by compressing a lifetime of work into a few years. Fact: the VC money does most of the heavy lifting.

Something like that? The reason I'm asking is that you don't go ahead and spell it out, I could be the one reading this into what you've written.

Without this, though, I don't see where the argument is 'exactly the same'; where is the analogy for the steroids?

The reason I don't like my interpretation of what you've written is that taking VC money isn't usually considered cheating (or anything like it)... I feel like I'm putting words in your mouth and that it would be better for you to write more clearly, what you mean...

>So, because steroid users can exercise heavily every day, and make outrageous gains that means they're pulling heavy weights pretty quickly, or ridiculous rep counts, they say they're working harder.

I hear this option often enough but could anyone point out what those supposed outrageous gains are? IMO Bodybuilding (like many physical sports) in general self-selects for the physically 'gifted' person - good bone structure, proportions, muscle insertions, etc. e.g. You're pretty much stuck with a certain ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch fibers (I know, its a simplification), you can train with steroids all you want, but you ain't running 100m in under 10 seconds.

I'd like to see what is the currently accepted science on what an average Joe would stand to gain from taking steroids.

Where to start?!

Firstly, Google has plenty of sources on how steroids benefit you. An entertaining place to start is also https://m.reddit.com/r/nattyorjuice/

The bottom lines are:

* Steroids allow you to put on muscle way, way quicker than your natural limits allow. It means you can achieve your physical goals much more quickly (ie. movie stars like Hugh Jackman or Chris Evans who get massive for a role in 3 months are all on the juice) * They allow you to exceed your genetic limits. A natural human being just shouldn't be able to reach Arnies peak size/muscle. Just not possible. Sure you get 250lb guys, but they should be fairly fat too. * Steroids and other PEDs mean you recover from workouts quicker, so you can train more. So if you're an MMA star, which is physically demanding AND highly technical, you can be in the gym 6 days out of 7 going hard at it.

That's a simplistic run down. The main benefit for athletes is being able to train hard every day, and being big AND ripped.

For an average Joe, I think it allows you to achieve your goals with significantly less effort and investment. E.g. if you want to get a ripped, muscled body, you'll get that with steroids in a few months vs. maybe 1-2 years without. If you hit the gym 3 times a week, you'll quickly pull ahead of guys doing the same routines without juice. If you're 40 and want to put on significant muscle, it's near impossible without roids.

Incidentally, the Tim Ferriss blog has a long post talking about MMA star Georges St Pierre and how he put on 12lbs of muscle in 6 weeks with his diet. It's physically impossible to do that without juice.

Thanks for the reply but it doesn't address my comment at all.

This is an odd definition of "working just as hard".

I wouldn't recommend explaining to your boss that way:

"Yes, I'm only working in the morning and then playing computer games the rest of the day. But I'm working just as hard as the rest of the team, just spread out over more days."

Maybe a better way of saying it is that whatever your fitness/sports goals, generally speaking steroids/PEDs will allow you to achieve them in less time and with less effort than non-users. I.e. if you and I starting from a similar base decide we want to achieve 20 pull-ups, and we will go to the gym for 1hr a day, 3 and a week doing roughly the same routine, if I use steroids, I'll start pulling away from you extremely quickly.

The steroid-user 'hard work' implication is often: "steroids aren't a massive advantage to me, the critical factor in my success is my hard work". I'm just saying that the critical factor is and always will he the steroids. Non-steroid users work just as hard, and in some ways harder because they need more patience, commitment and resolve over a longer period of time with more incremental gains to achieve the same result.

Your definition is wrong no matter how you spin it. Steroid users are working harder because they are working more frequently.

You could say both groups are pursuing their optimal strategy. Thats the only useful definition of hard work imo. Everything else is a waste of time.

A funny car running nitro pulls harder than the same car just running methanol fuel. I think you could pretty fairly argue that it's "working harder". You wouldn't give it more credit for determination, though.

I work out. That hard work is required as well is not a secret, which is why I mentioned it.

Arnold is actually a somewhat inspiring figure. But clicking on the article and looking at that comical photo of him in a bath robe prompted the comment. He left out a few of the secrets of his success in the story, so I mentioned them by name.

Steroids are not a magical solution

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