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Life and How to Survive It (2008) (mrwangsaysso.blogspot.com)
200 points by djshah on Oct 31, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

"And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument."

I am absolutely in love with this speech. The message is so clear and succinct, while he also manages to inject relevant, yet not terribly offensive humor into it and still stay on topic.

I also love that he can cover so many different points without making any one point take priority over others. Meanwhile the quantity of topics covered also doesn't dilute the strength of each. I find that really remarkable.

He sums it up so nicely right in the middle:

"I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated."

I clicked, expecting it to be an audio/video clip that I'd maybe, possibly get around to listening to/watching. Pleasantly surprised to find it was a transcript of the speech instead.

I still put it into Instapaper, though.

It feels awesome to know of insights by people who think on the flip side of the coin. This article made me think, Yes this is so true, whatever I see at my workplace... It mirrors like 99% of the things mentioned in the article.

No, read it now.

Great line from the article: "So, I became a litigator...If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction"

"... probably a sports journalist."

This speech is the perfect blend of humor and sound advice:

"I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average."

I actually take issue with this line. Unless given evidence to the contrary, don't you have to expect being average at any particular thing?

Of course I'm nitpicking though. His point is that you shouldn't aspire to averageness, and overall it's a great speech.

"Be Hated."

I always thought being liked by everyone should be my goal. After reading this, I realized that being hated is is even better.

My interpretation of him saying be hated is to speak and do the things you believe in even if they dont quite resemble with the audience you are in. So I think it's not in searching of people to hate you but in having the guts to speak your mind and do the things you believe in no matter what others think of it. And hatred of other people because of you doing it and them not having guts to do it sometimes comes along with it.

"Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence."

Very true.

Mark Twain wrote about a guy (can't remember the name of the short story) who got a doppelganger to take his place in tedious social situations. The doppelganger was sent to town-hall meetings with instructions to always vote in the minority, and soon the man had a reputation as prudent and wise in matters of politics :-)

Fantastic ... there is also the "minority game" in which in each round each participant decides (at the same time) "up" or "down" and those who guessed the minority opinion get a point, the majority lose one. People have tried to model the stock market with this repeated game.

Yes. Being hated is so much better. And, so is "falling in love," which I thought made for a good balance.

The ability to be able to say this, and mock so many of his surrounding people and disciplines, probably highlights best the fact that he practices what he preaches.

A refreshing read indeed.

Is a "litigation lawyer" kind of like a "balancing tightrope walker?"

"Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway."

Always loved a similar quote by Thoreau:

"This spending of the best part of one's life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up the garret at once."

How about using 7 years for a life of not needing to work? Seems fair to me...

If you would succeed that is. The question is what happens if you dont? Try another seven years of doing sth only for the monies?

Except that you may die tomorrow.

Well, you can use that excuse never to do anything slightly unpleasant. Why do the dishes?

Because not doing the dishes is even more unpleasant.

Fantastic read. One sample:

" It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable."

(The Anna Karenina principle, in other words.)

Just for completeness, in case someone doesn't know about it, the Anna Karenina principle (first time I've heard it called this) refers to the first line of the Tolstoy book of that same name:


'All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Karenina_principle:

The Anna Karenina principle was popularized by Jared Diamond in his book Guns, Germs and Steel to describe an endeavor in which a deficiency in any one of a number of factors dooms it to failure. Consequently, a successful endeavor (subject to this principle) is one in which every last one of the possible deficiencies has been avoided.

Thanks for this! I actually read the book, I should really have remembered this...

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