Power Of Ideas Throughout History – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

The Power Of Ideas

Over the course of history, great thought leaders have taken a moment to lay out their ideas. Ideas have changed the world.  From Adam Smith and the birth of capitalism to Lenin and the birth of communism, the power of ideas has improved societies and or plunged millions of lives into pain, strife or death.

This blog post is an outline of the thinkers and philosophers that have spoken to me.  I tend to align with the Stoic thinkers that have a belief that we are here to serve and sometimes the struggle makes us stronger.  From Robert Greenleaf to Marcus Aurelius to Aristotle’s ‘Golden Mean’ to  Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ poem, to Jesus, these great ideas have shaped Western culture and my life.

I try to chronical the big thinkers that I can identify with, and share a summary of their life’s work and impact on society.

In the end, you can tie up my philosophical beliefs from the major thinkers that I chronical below.  If you don’t want to read and listen to all the different topics, just watch the reading of Rudyard Kipling’s poem – IF – and you’ll know where I stand;


Aristotle – Golden Mean

Moral behavior is the mean between two extremes – at one end is excess, at the other deficiency. Find a moderate position between those two extremes, and you will be acting morally. If you think about it, Aristotle was thinking about what it means to be a human almost 2000 years ago. Plato, Confucious, Aristotle all lived within 100 years of each other. What was going on during that period whereby people had to time to create some of the biggest thoughts of all times?  My theory is that in times when things are good, people have time to move from ‘how do we eat today’ to why are we here. Other times in history bare out this theory. The Dark Ages that lead to the Rennaissance is one of the times that comes to mind.

Aristotle, and most of the big thinkers I’m drawn to try to define the role of virtues and ethics and how they lead to happiness.

In a nutshell…..this is Aristotle



Marcus Aurelius – Defining Stoic Philosophy:

I’m reading through the mediations of Marcus Aurelius. What I’ve learned is that after 2000 years, men and countries are facing the same issues today as they did several thousands of years ago.  General Mattis’ interview a the Hoover Institute puts it all in perspective. (HERE). Aurelius ruled Rome after Julius Ceaser, which I didn’t know, and during early Christianity.  He came to power in 160 A.D. at the age of 39. He was groomed and trained from birth to rule. He believed in the Stoic Philosophers which was a 450-year-old line of philosophy that was founded by Zeon and honed by Seneca and Epicurious

Way before Marcus, around 380 B.C., Plato wrote of an idea in which the greatest possible form of government is “one in which philosophers rule”. Marcus would eventually become the embodiment of Plato’s idea.

He demanded of himself 3 things:

  1. Noble action
  2. Good thought
  3. Strong character

The above Stoic traits defined Marcus Aurelius and led him to become the beloved and successful Emperor that he is still known as today.

The Stoics impacted history! In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Smith referred to Marcus Aurelius as “the mild, the humane, the benevolent Antoninus,” demonstrating his deep admiration for the Stoic emperor. Marcus Aurelius influenced Adam Smith in three main areas: the idea of an inner conscience; the importance of self-control; and in his famous analogy of the “Invisible Hand.”

Both Marcus Aurelius and Adam Smith believed that the key to understanding morality was through self-scrutiny and sympathy for others.

Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations in the form of a self-reflective dialogue with his inner self. He thought that moral conviction lay within “the very god that is seated in you, bringing your impulses under its control, scrutinizing your thoughts.’’ He interchangeably referred to this inner god as the soul or the helmsman and believed that it is a voice within you that attempts to sway you from immoral doings; we now call this a conscience.

Similarly, Smith emphasized the role of people’s innermost thoughts. A key aspect of Smith’s moral philosophy in The Theory of Moral Sentiments is the impartial spectator. Smith theorized that morality could be understood through the medium of sympathy. He thought that before people acted they ought to look for the approval of an impartial spectator.

“But though man has… been rendered the immediate judge of mankind, he has been rendered so only in the first instance; and an appeal lies from his sentence to a much higher tribunal, to the tribunal of their own consciences, to that of the supposed impartial and well-informed spectator, to that of the man within the breast, the great judge and arbiter of their conduct.”

The Importance Of Self-Control

The Stoics listed four “cardinal virtues” — wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance — for which they held great reverence. These were believed to be expressions and manifestations of a single indivisible virtue. Smith used slightly different names, but he endorsed the same set of virtues and the idea that they were all facets of one indivisible virtue.

Smith and Aurelius had a mutual appreciation for the virtue of self-control. They both believed in an impartial, self-scrutinizing conscience that guided morality: while Aurelius called it the God Within, Smith called it the Impartial Spectator.

Marcus Aurelius said, “You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”The primacy of self-control is intrinsic to the Stoic philosophy. In a similar vein of thought, Smith writes that “self-command is not only itself a great virtue, but from all other virtues seem to derive their principal lustre.” This respect for self-control was encouraged and cultivated by Smith’s Impartial Spectator and Marcus Aurelius’ Inner God.

Marcus reframed his mindset to…..

  • “I’m going to do my best everyday, my effort is always in my control”
  • “If I meet any failure, I’ll know I gave it all I had and get better from it”
  • I will make mistakes. I am just a human, as was every emperor before me”

The First Reading of Marcus Aurelius (AoM)

1. Every Man Has a Primary Battle

Marcus Aurelius was a warrior, emperor, father, and husband. As a child, he lost his father when he was just a few years old, and as was common practice for aristocratic families of that era, Marcus was raised largely by mentors, nurses (nannies), and grandparents. When Aurelius became a father himself, he endured the deaths of eight children. All of that leads to the main themes that can be found in Meditations. You’ll see the same topics come up again and again and again.

Why does Aurelius write so much about death? Because he was surrounded by it — his family, his soldiers, his friends. Why does he write so much about not letting other people’s bad actions and attitudes affect you? As an emperor, he was dealing with greedy politicians day in and day out, as well as naysaying citizens. His Stoicism was a remarkably practical philosophy centered on simply surviving and staying sane in his world.

2. Every Man Should Take Lessons from Everyone Around Him

Our modern culture, however, has forgotten this ancient lesson. A moral failing by a modern business person, celebrity, politician, or even a company sparks internet outrage and calls for boycotts. Behaviors of historical figures now judged to be offensive, even if common to the time in which the men lived, are enough to write off all of their other admirable virtues and worthy accomplishments.

We don’t write ourselves off despite our flaws. Likewise, the wisest of men know that every person is a mosaic of virtue and vice, and that wisdom can be found in everyone, if only you’re willing to look.

3. Fate Plays a Role in Every Man’s Life — You Can Either Fight It or Accept It

“To the gods I am indebted for having good grandfathers, good parents, a good sister, good teachers, good associates, good kinsmen and friends, nearly everything good.”

“For all these [blessings in my life] require the help of the gods and fortune.”

best 25+ marcus aurelius quotes ideas only on pinterest | another on Marcus Aurelius Quotes Happiness – Broxtern Wallpaper and Pictures Collection

4. A Man is Not to Be Consumed by the Actions and Attitudes of Others

“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. . . . none of them can hurt me.”

“Don’t waste the rest of your time here worrying about other people . . . It will keep you from doing anything useful.”

5. Strenuous Action is the Answer

“When thou hast trouble in getting up, say to thyself: I awake to do the work of a man; why then should I grieve for having to do the things for which I was sent into the world? Was I born to remain warmly in bed under my covers? But it is so pleasant. Wert thou born for pleasure, then? Was it not for action, for work?”

“On the occasion of every act ask yourself . . . Will I regret it?”

“Why were you born? For pleasure? See if that answer will stand up to questioning.”

6. A Man Should Think, Do, and Be Good

As Aurelius advises, “inquire of yourself as soon as you wake from sleep.” Start every morning by getting in a mindset where you’re prepared to look for opportunities to serve and be useful. Benjamin Franklin practiced this, asking himself every morning “What good shall I do this day?” Then, at the end of the day, review your actions and inquire of yourself, as he did, “What good have I done today?” By bookending your day with a meditation on goodness, you will orient your soul more and more towards virtue.

Make your art that of being good. Do not simply think on it or talk about it; do good.

Stoic Philosophy

Marcus Aurelius comes from the Stoic line of philosophy. Started by Zeon around 335 BC, there is a few famous practitioners leading up to Aurelius’ time in 165 AD. Here’s some of the quotes that speak to me from three of the better know Stoics.

These will give you a sense of what their philosophy is all about.

Marcus Aurelius
“How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything that happens in life!”
Very little is needed for a happy life, it is within yourself; in your thinking
You have power over your mind, not outside events.  Realize this and you shall have strength
Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.”
Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be, be one.
“Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.”
Each day provides it’s own gifts
“Everything, a horse, a vine, is created for some duty. Man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.”
The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing
Do every act in your life, as if it were your last
The first step: Don’t be anxious. Nature controls it all.
Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions – not outside.
The best answer to anger is silence.
The more we value things outside our control, the less control we have.
You’re subject to sorrow, fear, jealousy, anger and inconsistency. That’s the real reason you should admit that you are not wise.
A man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but he goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again the grapes in season.
Receive without pride, let go without attachment.
Receive wealth or prosperity without arrogance; and be ready to let it go.
Let not your mind run on what you lack as much as on what you have already.
If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.
So I look for the best and am prepared for the opposite.
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.
It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.
Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
No man can escape his destiny, the next inquiry being how he may best live the time that he has to live.

Don’t set your mind on things you don’t possess as if they were yours, but count the blessings you actually possess and think how much you would desire them if they weren’t already yours. – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 7.27

Seneca advises Emperor Nero. Nero and Caligula were two of the harsh rulers of the Roman Empire that went down in history on how not to lead.

It is a rough road that leads to the height of greatness
Wherever there is a human being there is an opportunity for kindness
Luck is preparation meeting opportunity
The most powerful is he who has himself in his own power
The greatest remedy for anger is delay
The first step in a persons salvation is knowing his sin
The less we deserve good fortune, the more we hope for it.
The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling with adversity
For many men, the acquisition of wealth doesn’t end their troubles, it only changes them
The mind that is anxious about the future in miserable
You learn to know a pilot in a storm
Punishment to some, to some a gift, to many a favor
The heart is great, which shows moderation in prosperity
A man is as miserable as he thinks he is
Do everything, as in the eye of another
Cicero (borrowed from and aligned with Stoic philosophy)
Gratitude is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all others
Silence is one of the great arts of conversation
If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk
The wise are instructed by reason, average minds by experience, the stupid by necessity and the brute by instinct
Never go to excess but let moderation be your guide
Before beginning, plan carefully
The greater the difficulty the greater the glory
A man of courage is also full of faith
Rashness belongs to youth, prudence to old age
I never admire another’s fortune, so much that I become dissatisfied with mine
Honor is the reward of virtue
Ability without honor is useless
We forget our pleasures, we remember our  struggles

Morgan Freeman recites ‘Invictus’


Benjamin Franklin

We’ve all learned about Ben Franklin and the kite with the key, but if you put Franklin’s life as a total in perspective you start to see how truly amazing he was.  First, he was an inventor and entrepreneur. A statesman and community leader. The part that jumps at me was his impact on Revolutionary America.  If you look at history, Revolutions are lead and sparked by the young.  Ben was 70, clearly the odd man out.  Sam Adams was 53, George Washington 45,  John Adams 40, William Penn 35,  Thomas Jefferson 33 and Alexander Hamilton was 21.  When Ben joined the revolutionary cause to declare independence from the most powerful nation on earth, England, he had a lot to lose. The lending of his name to the effort was a huge turning point in getting the colonies on board to form a new country.

FEE – Franklin, more than anybody, linked the emerging international movements for liberty. James Madison recalled that he never passed half an hour in his company without hearing some observation or anecdote worth remembering. Franklin dined with Wealth of Nations author Adam Smith. The Scottish philosopher David Hume told Franklin: America has sent us many good things, Gold, Silver, Sugar, Tobacco, Indigo . . . . But you are the first Philosopher, and indeed the first Great Man of Letters for whom we are beholden. Edmund Burke, who had opposed Britain’s war against America, called Franklin the friend of mankind. When the French wit Voltaire met William Temple Franklin, he quipped: God and Liberty! It is the only benediction which can be given to the grandson of Franklin. Laissez-faire economist Anne Robert Jacques Turgot remarked that Franklin snatched the lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants.

Franklin was a late-blooming radical. During his 30s, he brokered the sale of some slaves as a sideline for his general store. He and his wife owned two slaves. In 1758, when he was 52, he suggested establishing Philadelphia’s first school for blacks. He abandoned his support for the British Empire and committed himself to the American Revolution when he was 70. Philadelphia Quakers had launched the abolitionist movement by organizing the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (1775), but its activities ceased during the Revolution; this pioneering society revived in 1787 when Franklin became its president, at 81. Two years later he voiced his support for the ideals of the French Revolution.

Franklin was famous for his charm and tact, which enabled him to get the most out of people, but he had detractors. For instance, John Adams complained that I could never obtain the favour of his Company in a Morning before Breakfast which would have been the most convenient time to read over the Letters and papers. . . . Mr. Franklin kept a horn book always in his Pockett in which he minuted all his invitations to dinner, and Mr. [Arthur] Lee said it was the only thing in which he was punctual . . . and after that went sometimes to the Play, sometimes to the Philosophers but most commonly to visit those Ladies. . . . John Dickinson, head of Pennsylvania’s delegation to Congress, hated Franklin so much that he refused to install a lightning rod on his Philadelphia mansion—and it was struck by lightning.

Practical Wisdom

A person will have all the moral virtues and Sophia, or a grasp of eternal truths.  Have you ever met someone that always seems to have the right answers, or more importantly knows how to ask the right questions at the right moments?  These people are sought out when you need advice.  They seem to know how to read emotions better than others.  A person with practical wisdom knows the rules but knows when and how to bend them when it’s the right thing to do.  The person who has better practical wisdom tends to anticipate the future.

Practical wisdom…..  I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when is see it.


Adam Smith

John Locke

Jonathan Haidt

Jonathan Haidt is looking closely at society and how things evolve. Jonathan David Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Jonathan’s  book, The Righteous Mind, is a fascinating read on the why’s, how’s and what’s of human morality.  Morality you ask? How boring! Well at the root of all things on earth, at the intersection of all events in history, at the rise and fall of all civilizations, in your daily interactions with your family or at work, morality, and how we as people process our world is the root of everything.

Haidt weaves a theory that is well argued that there are 6 pillars which create the human moral compass.  He looks anthropologically to prove the point that humans are social beings, we use our moral tools to get along and thrive in groups.

The Five Foundations 

1. The Care/Harm Foundation

This foundation makes us sensitive to signs of suffering and need. In order to maximize care and minimize harm, we enact laws that protect the vulnerable. We punish people who are cruel and we care for those in suffering.

2. The Fairness/Cheating Foundation

This foundation leads us to seek out people who will be good collaborators in whatever project we are pursuing. It also leads us to punish people who cheat the system. People on both the right and the left believe in fairness, but they apply this foundation in different ways. Haidt explains:

“On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality – people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes” (161).

3. The Loyalty/Betrayal Foundation

All of us, whether on the right or left, are “tribal” in some sense. We love the people on our team, and loyalty makes our team more powerful and less susceptible to our failure. Likewise, we have a corresponding hatred for traitors. Those who betray our “team” for the other side are worse than those who were already on the other side.

Though Haidt sees both left and right as being tribal, he recognizes “the left tends toward universalism and away from nationalism, so it often has trouble connecting to voters who rely on the Loyalty foundation” (164).

4. The Authority/Subversion Foundation

Authority plays a role in our moral considerations because it protects order and fends off chaos. Haidt explains:

“Everyone has a stake in supporting the existing order and in holding people accountable for fulfilling the obligations of their station” (168).

5. The Sanctity/Degradation Foundation

No matter the era, humans have always considered certain things “untouchable” for being dirty and polluted. The flipside is that we want to protect whatever is hallowed and sacred, whether objects, ideals, or institutions.

People on the right talk about the sanctity of life and marriage. People on the left may mock purity rings.

6. The Liberty/Oppression Foundation

This foundation builds on Authority/Subversion because we all recognize there is such a thing as legitimate authority, but we don’t want authoritarians crossing the line into tyranny. Both the left and the right hate oppression and desire liberty, but for different reasons.

The left wants liberty for the underdogs and victims (coinciding with their emphasis on Fairness/Cheating). The right wants liberty from government intrusion.

He digs into great thinkers like Plato and Hume who intuitively put forth arguments as to who’s in control in our minds, the urge driven ego or the rational moral compass.  Haidt, like Gladwell and Duckworth (below), uses research studies and cross discipline analysis to prove, probably the most important point of all, which is  ‘what makes people tick?’ His use of analogies like the real motivations in people are the large elephant and the part that controls our impulses and urges is the nimble rider help illustrate that to changes someone’s mind and belief system, you can’t appeal to the rider, you must get the elephant to WANT to change.  Haidt references my favorite book of all time, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The Righteous Mind is a great read if you want to get to the root of the ‘why’ of human nature.

Haidt sums up his morality as an evolutionary tool theory:



Koch Brothers

Freakonomics – (on history and philosophy of what motivates man)

The power of money and ideas – This interview explains Charles Koch’s move from business to the business of funding of ideas.  Listen to his move from scholarships to professors to think tanks to state and national politics.  This story is about the power of ideas to change the world.  Q: “Why do you care so personally about shaping the history of mankind?” About 24:00 in, Koch explains his motivations.

Part 2

Charles Koch argues that the biggest threats to America these days are special interests, cronyism, and corporate welfare. Which may seem strange if you think of a corporate CEO, like Koch, as a beneficiary of those things. He also argues that our political system has turned into a dumpster fire, with both parties guilty of rent-seeking and putting their thumbs on whatever scales they can find. Which may also strike you as strange, if you consider that what a political network like the Koch Brothers’ network does is — well, puts its thumb on the scale. Because he primarily funds Republicans, and because so much of that funding is “dark,” anonymous money, he is seen by most Democrats as something close to the devil — even though some of his positions, as you’ll hear today, align quite snugly with traditional liberal positions.

My overall impression from speaking with him? Charles Koch believes he’s fighting the good fight based on proven principles — and that the rest of America has been going mad, bit by bit.

On Business:

 EntreLeadership (on business)- HERE



St. Agustine

‘Better than to have loved and lost, than never to have loved before’


Jordan B Peterson – 12 Rules for Life – 


Here’s a few of my favorite Art of Manliness episodes:

Tyler Cowen, one of my favorite economists. The Complacent Class

Honor, Courage and Themos, Plato’s Ideas of Manliness – Angela Hobbs

Make Your Bed Change The World – Navy Seal – Admiral William McCraven  – First saw McCraven at the UT Commencement Address

Ancient Honor – Dr. Barton

What Ancient Greeks and Romans Thought About Manliness – Ted Landen

The Road to Character – David Brooks – I bought the book after this interview.

The Untold Story of Jimmy Stewart in WWII – Robert Matzen – A man at the top of the world …… turns to service. Great story!

The Case for Blue Collar Work – Mike Rowe – HERE

Ben Sasse – on Society and Culture – HERE




Some thought leaders that I really have been intrigued by are Malcolm Gladwell, Angela Duckworth and Tim Ferriss. They’ve made observations and studies of people and society on a micro and macro level. Each of these authors and thinkers has a body of work on how to destruct what makes some people succeed while other people, who seem to have it all, fail.  Here are a few of my favorite lectures by these people:


HERE with Pastor Rick Warren.

Angela Duckworth- GRIT and Perseverance! Ever wonder why friends or family members that have it all, money, looks, smarts and opportunity yet struggle at life?  The missing ingredient needed is GRIT. Duckworth does a deep analysis of the science and psychology behind success.  Get the book and devour it. Freakonomics covered a super bold project that Duckworth is proposing, check out the interview….Could Solving This One Problem Solve All Others?

Tim Ferriss and his first book, 4 Hour Work Week, started out his journey on figuring out the hacks that make great people great. From sports to money to cooking to military figures, Tim interviews and dissects the best of the best.  Start with Tools For Titans and subscribe to his podcast.

THIS article from Inside Business is a great starting point to learn all things, Tim. Here’s what jumped out at me:

1. There are two parts to self-improvement

Oftentimes we see self-improvement merely as goal achievement. However, Tim realized that achievement is only 50% of it. He says, “The other 50% is gratitude and appreciating what you already have, not focusing solely on future accomplishments.” There are so many highly successful people who are never satisfied with what they’ve accomplished and it’s unfortunate.

As Tim mentioned, “They’ve conquered every mountain, slayed every dragon and they’re still not happy”. Don’t be one of those people! If you want to have any sense of well-being, you have to show appreciation for what you already have.

2. Improve two areas of your life at a time

For those of us who are Type A personalities, we tend to be super ambitious and self-critical as we’re always trying to improve our lives. Over the last 10 years Tim realized that “too much optimizing can be self-destructive.” Like with many things in life, things in excess tend to take on the characteristics of their opposites. So in this case, the sole focus on self-improvement can be misguided and can lead to depression and anxiety.

6. Focus on developing skills and relationships

When making important decisions and capping the downside, potential risks or mistakes, Tim focuses on two things: skills and relationships. The question he asks himself is, “Even if this fails, are there skills and relationships that I can develop that will carry over into other things?” Tim’s philosophy is that, “Failure isn’t failure if you can gain new skills and develop relationships for future advancement.”

7. It’s important to diversify your identity

When you’re passionate about your work, it’s easy to have everything vested in your business which can serve you well in most cases. However, Tim says that “100% dedication can lead to a disaster in the sense that you have all of your psychological eggs in one basket.”

10. Fame, power, money and alcohol just make you more of who you already are

Tim knows a lot of successful people who are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. One thing he’s learned is that fame, power, money, and alcohol just make you more of who you already are.

He explained, “So if you’re neurotic, add 100 million to that, you’ll be super neurotic!” If you’re generous, add 100 million to that, you’ll be even more generous. Essentially your characteristic just get exaggerated when you add those things in life. So it’s important that you work on who you want to be before you get those things.

Here’s a long form interview with Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. I remember listening to Tony Robbins cassette tapes in college and graduated to his CD’s. To hear the two together is pretty cool.


Want to dig into Social Psychology? Start with Canadian, Dr. Jordon Peterson – HERE – He weighs in on safe spaces and political correctness. My favorite in #1…be grateful!


Talk Radio Guy Reflects – Sounds Familiar

I got to say that when the latest Krista Tippett podcast interview featuring Glenn Beck came on I immediately thought ….nope, can’t do it.  After listening I have to say his journey and his summation of where we are as a country is a spot on.  Like Beck, I spent years on the air in conservative talk radio. Day in and day out for 7 years I devoured every bit of news, followed the story of the day, spun, entertained and started to see patterns. Like Glenn, the intense journey of a daily radio show can really change a person. The very nature of talk radio is focusing on the negative. I started my media career at the election of Barack Obama. During his entire presidency, I had a ringside seat.  About 6 years in, I started to see these major patterns that really started to paint a dark picture on the future of our society. I compiled the patterns and am in the process of putting the concepts into a book.  The book intro is open to view on this blog – HERE.  In this interview, Beck opens up, sees his role as fear mongering entertainer and the damage he’d done to the country.  Like Beck, after the craft of interviewing is perfected, once you a covered the outrage of the day for the 1000th time after the ego has been built up and the adorations have been logged you start to look at your role as a thought leader. You start to realize that you are now part of the problem and ultimately part of the solution.  I tuned out from Beck because to me he was entertainment and I’m hungry for knowledge and explanations. After this interview, his vulnerability and his realization of his mistakes came across loud and clear. Today I bought one of his recent books and I’m going to start listening again. His journey is my journey and I really really get where he’s coming from. Glenn Beck and Samantha Bee – HERE


This one spoke to me, I included the truths that I identify with but encourage you to read the entire article (HERE):

19 Great Truths My Grandmother Told Me on Her 90th Birthday

19 Great Truths My Grandmother Told Me on Her 90th Birthday

“I have seen and touched and danced and sang and climbed and loved and meditated on a lifetime spent living honestly.  Should it all end tonight, I can positively say there would be no regrets.  I feel fortunate to have walked 90 years in my shoes.  I am truly lucky.  I really have lived 1,000 times over.”

  1. There are thousands of people who live their entire lives on the default settings, never realizing they can customize everything. – Don’t settle for the default settings in life.  Find your loves, your talents, your passions, and embrace them.  Don’t hide behind other people’s decisions.  Don’t let others tell you what you want.  Design YOUR journey every step of the way!  The life you create from doing something that moves you is far better than the life you get from sitting around wishing you were doing it.
  2. The right journey is the ultimate destination. – The most prolific and beneficial experience in life is not in actually achieving something you want, but in seeking it.  It’s the journey towards an endless horizon that matters—goals and dreams that move forward with you as you chase them.  It’s all about meaningful pursuits—the “moving”—and what you learn along the way.  Truly, the most important reason for moving from one place to another is to see what’s in between.  In between is where passions are realized, love is found, strength is gained, and priceless life-long memories are made.
  3. The willingness to do hard things opens great windows of opportunity. – One of the most important abilities you can develop in life is the willingness to accept and grow through times of difficulty and discomfort.  Because the best things are often hard to come by, at least initially.  And if you shy away from difficulty and discomfort, you’ll miss out on them entirely.  Mastering a new skill is hard.  Building a business is hard.  Writing a book is hard.  A marriage is hard.  Parenting is hard.  Staying healthy is hard.  But all are amazing and worth every bit of effort you can muster.  Realize this now.  If you get good at doing hard things, you can do almost anything you put your mind to.
  4. No one wins a game of chess, or the game of life, by only moving forward. – Sometimes you have to move backward to put yourself in a position to win.  Because sometimes, when it feels like you’re running into one dead end after another, it’s actually a sign that you’re not on the right path.  Maybe you were meant to hang a left back when you took a right, and that’s perfectly fine.  Life gradually teaches us that U-turns are allowed.  So turn around when you must!  There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction.
  5. Our character is often most evident at our highs and lows. – Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.  And on particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far.
  6. Life changes from moment to moment, and so can you. – When hard times hit there’s a tendency to extrapolate and assume the future holds more of the same.  For some strange reason, this doesn’t happen as much when things are going well.
  7. You can fight and win the battles of today, only. – No matter what’s happening, you can resourcefully fight the battles of just one day.  It’s only when you add the battles of those two mind-bending eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly difficult and complicated.
  8. Solitude is important, too. – Speaking to someone can help, but in moderation.  Sometimes the moments you feel lonely are the moments you may most need to be by yourself.  This is one of life’s cruelest ironies.  We need solitude because when we’re alone we’re detached from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts and feel what our intuition is telling us.  And the truth is, throughout your life there will be times when the world gets real quiet and the only thing left is the beat of your own heart.  So you’d better learn the sound of it, otherwise, you’ll never understand what it’s telling you.
  9. Beginning each day with love, grace and gratitude always feels better than the alternative.
  10. Most of the time you don’t need more to be happier—you need less. – When things aren’t adding up in your life, begin subtracting.  Life gets a lot simpler and more enjoyable when you clear the emotional and physical clutter that makes it unnecessarily complicated.  (Angel and I guide our readers through this process of simplifying and getting back to happy in our brand new book.)
  11. Who we choose to be around matters immensely. – Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.
  12. It’s during the toughest times of your life that you’ll get to see the true colors of the people who say they care about you. – Notice who sticks around and who doesn’t, and be grateful to those who leave you, for they have given you the room to grow in the space they abandoned, and the awareness to appreciate the people who loved you when you didn’t feel lovable.
  13. New opportunities are always out there waiting for you. – Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, something they need, or something they thought was meant to be.  But it is these very losses that make us stronger and eventually move us toward future opportunities.  Embrace these opportunities.

A book review from University Bookman of the book by Fran O’Rourke Aristotelian Interpretations

Aristotle on Why Things Are;

Aristotle is himself a liberal education. He is the one who best explains to us why we seek to know things “for their own sake,” why we need to know the order of things. No one, even to this day, works his way as carefully through the whole range of reality as carefully and clearly as does Aristotle. And when other thinkers come close, it is usually because they are themselves first readers of Aristotle. To read Aristotle is to begin to know how things are. And to know how and why things are is to be educated liberally.

Self Awareness – Morality – Self Destiny;

I was particularly struck by O’Rourke’s awareness that the drama of existence itself is what is played out in each of our human lives. The existence of millions and billions of human beings on this planet is not actualized in some collective form or ideal. It is actualized in each existing human being.

Though we exist as individual persons, because of our knowledge and our power to act on account of it, we are not deprived of the rest of the world.

Individual First, Fitting Into The World Second;

“We do not have simply a vague desire for the fact of being,” O’Rourke writes. “Our happiness derives from the awareness of our own life as good; each man’s existence is desirable for himself.… Self-awareness is a certainty; it is concomitant self-awareness of ourselves in our knowing the world and as agents within the world” (86). Though we exist as individual persons, because of our knowledge and our power to act on account of it, we are not deprived of the rest of the world. Through knowing, we can become what is not ourselves without changing what is not ourselves. This fact is basically why it is all right to be a single, relatively insignificant human being. We desire our own existence, but this existence opens out onto all that is wherein we self-actualize ourselves in terms of our chosen relation to the good that is there and that we come to know, to accept or reject.

On Politics – The Pinnacle of Man

When politics has come to be what it ought to be, it turns us finally not to the practical life of this world but indirectly to the contemplative life, to our wonder about what it is all about and how to articulate what we can know about the highest things, even if, as Aristotle also said in the last book of the Ethics, it is small in comparison to other, more visible practical things. “There is ambivalence at the heart of wonder. It is not simply the absence of knowledge, but a knowledge that there is something beyond its reach. This finds its explanation in Aristotle’s distinction between what is intelligible in itself and what is evident to us” (32). We realize that we are limited beings with a power of mind that is capax omnium, capable of knowing all that is. Thus we must grant that “the intelligibility of the real far exceeds our understanding.” It is this realization that is no doubt the primary natural reason why something like a divine revelation might just be both possible and even actual.[7] It also explains the “restless hearts” that we so readily associate with Augustine.

Because We Have Minds – We Have Choices

In conclusion, let me return to the two initial citations that are found at the beginning of these reflections. The first concerns the mind that is found in each member our kind. It is because we have minds that we can worry about, wonder about, what is out there, what is not ourselves. And we can not only pay attention to it, but we can see its diversity and its unities. But we know with our mind not only what is not ourselves, but also the possibility that we can change, reshape many things. We even suspect that we can and should use things that are just there through no contribution of our own. Indeed, it suggests that the uninhabited world was in fact meant to be inhabited. It was meant to provide a place for a being that knew and acted. In so doing, it revealed his soul.

The Future – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

The Future

Battery Technology

Major breakthroughs in battery technology will change the world as we know it. From electric cars to your cell phone, the limits of lithium-ion batteries have stalled out the ability to truly move away from the combustible engine. I’m watching closely for a major breakthrough in battery technology. This may be the first step:

It will still be a while before we see “holey” graphene batteries in real-world devices, said Duan, who calls this paper “a critical step, but just a starting point toward commercialization.” Looking ahead, he could easily see niobia-based batteries that charge up to five or 10 times faster than today’s lithium-ion cells. And batteries made with energy-dense materials like silicon could power laptops for 20 or 30 hours on a single charge, and triple the driving range of an electric vehicle.

“I think this really gives us a pathway toward using these high-performance materials in real-world devices,” Duan said.

Here’s one I’m watching –

Fisker patents radical ‘solid state battery’ it claims can power a car for 500 miles and recharge in a MINUTE

According to Fisker, the radical new battery would deliver 2.5 times the energy density of typical lithium ion batteries.  Solid-state batteries are known to have a number of limitations, such as low power and low rate capability as a result of the layered electrode structure, and issues arising from cold temperatures, the firm explains.
But, the new technology attempts to overcome the challenges using a three-dimensional solid-state structure.This allows the electrodes to cover 25 times more surface area than flat thin-film designs.
‘This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new era in solid-state materials and manufacturing technologies,’ said Dr. Fabio Albano, VP of battery systems at Fisker Inc.

The TESLA power wall at $5500 (two needed to power a typical home) is pioneering a concept that over time will change the way we run our homes. I’m looking at an off the grid system that converts solar to home use and the current deep cycle battery technology costs a lot and has a number of sensitive variables that must be managed to make the systems run efficiently. We’ll look back one dat at this video and laugh at how complex it is to run the current systems:

The solar world is seeing prices drop and efficiency of conversion of solar power into usable electrical power. I was critical of the government incentives that were throwing money at consumer grade green energy. On the air, I lamented about foreign manufacturers pumping solar into the market just to absorb up the tax credits. What was the quality of their products? Basically, tax credits created an artificial market. I did qualify my critiques with the statements that this would all be worth it if major technology breakthroughs were created based on all the activity in the solar sector.  It looks like that’s coming to pass. Solar technology is has grown by 20% in the past few years, but it’s the battery technology that is the most promising. TESLA has started the market of consumer-based energy storage but watch for others to come into this space and drive down pricing.

Here’s a few of the technologies being created right now that could change the storage world.  HERE

10 alternatives to lithium-ion batteries

Nuclear Power

The next technology has a lot of history and was once a movement that looked like it could change the way we power the earth…nuclear.  America is way behind the nuclear power curve. With tech advancements and reuse of much of the waste we used to have to store, nuclear has real potential to change the globe. If you haven’t seen Pandora’s Promise you need to.




Inc Magazine 2025 advancements I think we’ll see come to fruition:

1. Dementia Declines
Overall, this particular report places great faith in science’s ability to prevent disease by better understanding the human genome. One of the biggest boons from that improved understanding will be a reduction in degenerative disease such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. So far, researchers have been able to identify specific chromosomes that cause different forms of the dementia. The most oft-cited research since 2011 has been about a chromosome known as 9P, which has been linked to two forms of dementia.
6. The internet of (every)things
We think we live in a connected world. A decade from now, we’ll wonder how we were ever so isolated. “Wireless communications will dominate everything, everywhere,” says the report. “Imagine the day when the entire continent of Africa is completely, digitally connected,” which it predicts will occur in 2025. All this will happen thanks to improved semiconductors, changes in 5G technology, and supercapacitors that will be able to store much more energy for later release than the current generation of capacitors.
8. The cure is no longer worse than the disease
By 2025, says the report, cancer patients will no longer have to choose between living with a fatal disease and enduring treatments that can quickly become intolerable. The pharmaceutical industry has been working toward a goal of personalized medicine, developing drugs that target specific molecules. As medical tools become more targeted, they’ll engage only the molecules necessary to combat the disease, sparing healthy ones and leading to treatments with far fewer negative side effects.

Raw Materials 

Cobalt is a metal that few investors know much about – it is critical to the electric vehicle (EV) revolution because it makes up some 35% of the lithium-ion battery mix.

That’s 30% of batteries that are the backbone of EVs, EVs that are now mainstream. To meet the demand for EVs, billion-dollar battery Giga factories have been built and continue to be built. Consumer electronics are contributing to the demand and resulting shortage of supply.

And, unlike lithium, which is a fairly common commodity… we can’t source enough of cobalt as things stand today – and demand is increasing quickly.

Crypto Currency

I had a good friend try to explain to me what Bitcoin was and how it worked. I didn’t get it…..I get it now.  Central banks are printing money like it’s going out of style. Since we left the gold standard, under Nixon (see above, why he’s my second least favorite President),  there has been no intrinsic value behind the American Dollar.  Basically, printed money gets its value based on confidence in the underlying government. Once the confidence that the government can and will do the right things erodes, so does the value of its currency.  Assets like gold, land, raw materials will be wear value is stored as paper money become worthless.  Crypto Currencies like Bitcoin are another form of wealth storage.  In the hyper-debt environment, we find ourselves in globally a lot of wealth has been created.  If you watch Bitcoin, you’ll see that it’s steadily been climbing as central banks keep printing. The latest run-up has been caused by Chinese investors desperately looking to get capital out of their economy.  The Chinese government has clamped down on outflows to the foreign real estate (London, Toronto, New York, Hawaii have all seen a massive run-up from foreign investors), so Bitcoin is the new store of wealth.

Thorium Nuclear Power and Nuclear Alternatives

As energy becomes more and more expensive look for technological advances to leap the supply of energy forward. I’ve done a lot of research on Thorium Power and I can’t believe it hasn’t become part of our societal discussion. I can’t help but think that the disruptive nature to the economy has kept the technology sidelined.

Thorium Power Is the Safer Future of Nuclear Energy

By David Warmflash | January 16, 2015 10:57 am

nuclear plant

Nuclear power has long been a contentious topic. It generates huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon emissions, and thus is held up as a solution to global energy woes. But it also entails several risks, including weapons development, meltdown, and the hazards of disposing of its waste products.

But those risks and benefits all pertain to a very specific kind of nuclear energy: nuclear fission of uranium or plutonium isotopes. There’s another kind of nuclear energy that’s been waiting in the wings for decades – and it may just demand a re-calibration of our thoughts on nuclear power.

Speaking of alternative energy – still a big fan of nuclear – check out Pandora’s Promise.  This documentary covers an environmental activist and writers mind shift from anti-nuke to pro-nuclear energy.  If we want clean power at a low cost, nuclear is the answer.

Combustible Engine Technology and Self-Driving Cars

The invention from Israeli-based Aquarius Engines is currently being discussed by France’s Peugeot, the firm said. Aquarius says the cost of the engine will be as low as $100 (92 euros). According to the firm, the engine can allow cars to travel more than 1,600 kilometres (990 miles) on a single tank of fuel, more than double current distances.

Such efficiency is vital as countries seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions—a main cause of climate change. Car engines are a major source of CO2 emissions.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-10-israel-firm-super-efficient-power-car.html#jCp

Imagine a form of nuclear energy with greater output and virtually no safety issues.

Such is the promise of liquid fluoride thorium reactors (LFTRs), and we’ve had several past interviews with thorium expert Kirk Sorensen to discuss their potential:

  • Much safer – No risk of environmental radiation contamination or plant explosion (e.g., Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island)
  • Much more efficient at producing energy – Over 90% of the input fuel would be tapped for energy, vs. <1% in today’s reactors
  • Less waste-generating – Most of the radioactive by-products would take days/weeks to degrade to safe levels, vs. decades/centuries
  • Much cheaper – Reactor footprints and infrastructure would be much smaller and could be constructed in modular fashion
  • More plentiful – LFTR reactors do not need to be located next to large water supplies, as current plants do
  • Less controversial – The byproducts of the thorium reaction are pretty useless for weaponization
  • Longer-lived – Thorium
    is much more plentiful than uranium and is treated as valueless today.
    There is virtually no danger of running out of it given LFTR plant

Finally, Thorium is getting it’s day. First major experiment in 45 years on a Thorium reaction is moving forward.

Why is graphene so important?

This unassuming material could change the future of electronics and engineering as we know it. Recent research has unearthed extraordinary properties, including graphene sheets being ten times tougher than steel and exceptionally effective electrical conductors. Amazingly, they are also transparent to visible light – meaning they can be used for conveying information between optical fibres. Although the theoretical study of graphene started in the 1950s, the experimental study of graphene had not been realized until the recent discovery and characterization of exfoliated graphene by Novoselov et al. (2004) and epitaxial graphene by Berger et al. (2004). Because of its fundamental importance in physics as a realization of a relativistic condensed-matter system (i.e. a non-quantum mechanical description of a system of particles), as well as its application potentials in next-generation electronics, research interest in graphene has been rising rapidly. Even though it might take a long time before graphene’s full application potentials can be fully realized, graphene is an incredibly intriguing system with a lot more to be explored.

I loved this break down from John Mauldin – Here’s his blog and the items that jumped out at me:

MAULDIN: 20 Positive Trends That Will Make You Feel Good About the World in 2018


I ran across a great list from the Future Crunch website recently: “99 Reasons 2017 Was a Great Year.”  Here, I’ll list some of the best things that happened this year and add my own comments.

Breakthroughs in Medicine

  1. This year, the World Health Organization unveiled a new vaccine that’s cheap and effective enough to end cholera, one of humanity’s greatest-ever killers. New York Times
  2. Cancer deaths have dropped by 25% in the United States since 1991, saving more than two million lives. Breast cancer deaths have fallen by 39%, saving the lives of 322,600 women. Time
  3. And on November 17, WHOannounced that global deaths from tuberculosis have fallen by 37% since 2000, saving an estimated 53 million lives.

I’m bullish on all kinds of life-extension technologies. I really expect to live well beyond age 100 with all my faculties intact.

One by one, killer diseases like cholera are giving way to humanity’s fast-growing medical knowledge. Some of the greatest threats to human beings will be essentially under control within 10 years: Heart disease, arteriosclerosis, cirrhosis, you name it, will have mainstream cures.

And don’t even get me started on induced tissue regeneration, which has the potential to reverse your body’s aging to the point where you will be—oh, pick an age—let’s say, 25 again, but with all of the experience you have today.

All these developments are wonderful news from a human standpoint, but also economically. Think of all the potential genius and innovation the world never sees because disease robs it from us. By preserving these lives, we enhance everyone’s life.

Up from Poverty

  1. The International Energy Agencyannounced that nearly 1.2 billion people around the world have gained access to electricity in the last 16 years.
  2. In the last three years, the number of people in China living below the poverty line decreased from 99 million to 43.4 million. And since 2010, Chinese income inequality has been falling steadily. Quartz
  3. The United States’ official poverty rate is now 12.7%, the lowest level since the end of the global financial crisis. And the child-poverty rate has reached an all-time low, dropping to 15.6%. The Atlantic

Since the turn of the century some 1.2 billion people have gained access to electricity. That’s one of the first steps out of poverty. All the modern technologies that enrich our lives and wallets need electricity to work.

It may be surprising that 12.7% of Americans live below the poverty line. Of course, we define poverty differently than much of the rest of the world does, but we still leave too many people behind through no fault of their own.

Much remains to be done, but I think we’ve at least noticed the problem now. That’s the first step to fixing it.

The rich are also getting richer. The number of households with a net worth of $1 million (measured in 1995 dollars) grew from 2.4 million in 1983 to 10.8 million in the latest survey in 2017, far outpacing average household income growth.

As a nation, I know we worry a great deal about wealth and income inequality, but in general, we are all getting better.

Endless Energy

  1. The cost of solar and wind power plummeted by more than 25% in 2017, shifting the global clean energy industry on its axis. Think Progress

The cost of solar has been plummeting 20–25% a year for years now. By 2030, at the latest, we will not be building any natural gas power plants, other than in areas that receive very little solar energy. There are many places in the world where this is possible now with our current technology. But with the improvements that are coming down the pike? Oh my.

Better Life

  1. Global deaths from terrorism dropped by 22% from their peak in 2014, thanks to significant declines in four of the five countries most impacted: Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. ReliefWeb

  2. Rates of violent crime and property crime have dropped by around 50% in the United States since 1990, yet a majority of people still believe they have gotten worse. Pew Research


Want to know what the richest man in the world worries about? Sure the one in a million astroid impact or volcano…but with a 50% chance of happening…..that’s something to think about;


Health and Lifestyle – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

Work Life Balance

I grew up on a farm and in a small town in Wisconsin. The life was simple, creative and the work was hard. There is something about working with my back instead of my brain that I miss and that I enjoy.  Lately, I’ve been called back to that life. I’m working hard to bring that experience back to my family…whether they like it or not!  For those of you that haven’t experienced a life on a farm, HERE‘s a great blog that explains the hard work and amazing rewards of farm life.

Slowly but surely I hope to build a barn, small home and raise cattle in Patagonia, Arizona.  The region is called the Sky Islands and it’s rich with birds, wildlife, and ranching.  Our property is full of 100+ year oak trees and it’s nestled in a valley surrounded by red rocks.

On being an authentic man…..

I love what I do and who I work with.  Balancing work life, family life and fun is a constant challenge.  I’ve had a transformation journey that opened my eyes to motivates me and began the journey of discovery as to who I am.   During my soul searching, I learned that I’m responsible for how I show up, ultimate accountability, life-long learning, and faith is my path to peace.  In order for me to be effective as a father, husband and business leader I have to constantly be working on me.  Sadly, many men in society are broken. I believe that is broken and the ability to learn about what makes people tick is a unique part of the human condition.  The scars of life are typically imprinted in our family of origin. As ideal as my family was there was still shadows that I had to wrestle with. Once the shadows become visible, the work can begin.

I believe that there are many ways that we can come to terms with our shadow.  I also believe men, more so than women, are more in need to learn who their true self really is. Broken men focus on status, money, sex, cars, and power.  Many men, I included, spent the first 30 years of my life thinking that these artificial motives meant that I was successful.

Throughout ancient times there are numerous rights of passage from childhood to manhood. These journeys are ceremonial and a part of society evolving leaders. In our day and age, I find broken men that have spent the energy to learn about their motivations fascinating. The men that I respect and am drawn to have gotten in touch with their shadows through, faith (typically born again more so than Catholic), addiction recovery, career military and in particular Marines,  divorces where a man loses everything, business loss or any other event that forced the man to shake their beliefs to their very core.  Through my work in Mankind Project I did the hard work, continue to dig into who I am and I’ve learned that many men are struggling to know who they are. Becoming aware of your ‘shadow’ or that part of you that is deeply buried and shows up to sabotage what is good, true and beautiful is the first step, understanding how the shadow part of our nature shows up in our lives is an ever happening journey.  I’ve invited 8 men to the MKP weekend. All experienced profound awareness.  Here’s what I learned from my journey (thanks to Nigel Stapelton for summarizing it so well).  I am never done learning these lessons.

  1. Emotional Authenticity – As a man I need to share how I feel, in a healthy and clean way. Not bottle things up and shove things down deeper.
  2. Leadership Mastery– I am a leader, a role model and I am enough. I just didn’t realize it, or could not access those parts of me due to the masks, shields, and barriers that I had put up.
  3. Personal Responsibility– I learned the real value of integrity and accountability and that I am 100% responsible for my feelings and I own the impacts – both positive and negative – of my choices and actions.

Quick Tips The Sum It All Up For Me:

1 Intelligence is more than a person’s IQ. Emotional Intelligence has gained momentum recently. I subscribe to the 8 Intelligence described by Harvard’s Howard Gardner. Working on all 8 is a life-long journey. Henry Rollins Letter to Youth.

2. Father Richard Rohr, interviewed by Krista Tippet talks about rowing to and from the shore.  A friend of mine gave me a book that explains the concept very well. The Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute is worth a read.

3. Surviving the Holocaust and losing your fortune to a Ponzi scheme would be devastating to anyone.  Listen to how the author of Night, Elie Wiesel responds to losing his life’s fortune to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Now, this is a man that knows what is important.

Farming and a Simple Life;

Blessed is how I look back on my childhood.  I was born in a small town in Wisconsin at a time when the center of America was the small town and the idyllic life depicted in Norman Rockwell’s portraits of America was my backyard.  Our town had a couple stop lights and is made up of multi-generation German, Norwegian or Irish families.  The wealthiest family owned the John Deere dealership and everyone knew each neighbor and their kids and their grandparents.  One of the chapters in my book on the Decline of America relates to the ramifications surrounding the decline in farming and the rural community and the flight into the cities.  The shift clearly had economic impacts but more importantly, the disruption of families and small-town communities left America worse off.

Our family moved to Tucson when I was in second grade but I traveled back for summers on the farm.  My grandparents started visiting and living with us for 3 then 4 then up to 5 months a year to escape the cold Wisconsin winters.  The ability to spend that much time with Ed and Leonette Cody was a major impact on who I am today.  The Cody’s had a beef farm and a butcher shop outside of town. Durin a time when grocery shopping meant a trip to the baker and then over to the butcher, a visit to Cody’s Meats was an adventure.  Ed and Leonette had 8 kids who went on to have over 50 grandkids.  Family events and gatherings were major productions.  There was always laughter, tons of teasing and always someone to spend time with. We didn’t have organized sports but everyone was in 4H with a show steer.  We worked sun up to sun down cutting, moving and putting hay up in the barn for winter feeding.  We rode in the back of pick up trucks and I’ve got cousins with missing fingers because they were caught in farm implements.  We watched and at times helped calves being born and prepared pigs for cookouts.

Whatever happened in that Cody clan, the number of entrepreneurs that were generated from the aunts and uncles and all the grandkids is astonishing.  Some stayed in the cattle business, others like myself and continued to take the road less traveled.  The confidence and role models and lessons that were taught on that small farm are will with me almost 50 years later.

The life was extremely simple yet amazingly hard. At the end of the day, we really felt like we had achieved something important. To get a sense of what life was like when the small family farm was the backbone of America, I can’t recommend enough watching Trouble Creek – A Midwestern.

One of the chapters in my book in process, Decline of America, I argue that a move from a rural and agrarian society into the cities is changing America, and not for the better.  As the small farm declines so do the small towns surrounding the farmers. As the small towns decline the entire social fabric of many regions changes.  The connection with nature, the stewardship of a farm that may have been passed down from generation to generation.  The rugged independence of a farming society and the focus on values and virtues that needed to be successful are unique to what made America great.  Neighbors helped each other, kids grew up in tight night families that didn’t have iPhones and All-Star Soccer leagues, but instead, kids grew up with chores and hours and hours of creative play. If you have an opportunity to hire a farm boy or girl jump at it, you won’t be sorry.



Health and Family

I’ve struggled with weight all my life.  I started a business and embarked on a two year study of the how’s and why’s of obesity.  HERE‘s a blog post of what I’ve learned.
To get a sense of what I believe, Gary Taubes is a great place to start.
Gary Taubes made the argument that CARBS are the reason for obesity and the rise of diabetes. He brings an anthropological analysis to his argument. I happen to agree with him;



My Kids –

This is a great video made by my daughter that captures the essence of what great kids I have:

Business – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

Business Principals

Every business I go into happens after hundreds of hours of research and on the ground discussions of people already in the business. What I do is the epitome of high risk. Business start-ups are the hardest of the hard. Many people may have a good idea but I’ve been able to build a business from an idea, over and over again.  To then scale up an idea is even harder. To be in business longer than 5 years where 90% fail is even harder. I’ve hit the 5-year mark six times.  God has been blessing me for a long time. He has opened and closed doors to me all with the goal of making me stronger and making my impact on society through my skill set ever bigger.


Bet The Jockey

I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 30 years.  There a number of analogies I use to explain what it’s like to do what I do. Skydiving without a parachute is sometimes what it feels like or Cortes in 1519 that landed in Veracruz and burned the ships to ensure total commitment to his adventure.

For me,  the horse racing industry is an analogy that I particularly like.  So here are the top 10 lessons I’ve learned in entrepreneurship, told through the lens of horse racing;

  1.  You have to understand the horse you picked.  To be a good horse racer, you have to know your horse’s lineage, breeding stock, strengths and weaknesses and positive and negative attributes.  You have to do your homework.  Just because a newborn quarter horse looks like the next Seabiscuit the day it’s born doesn’t mean he’s going to be Seabiscuit.  Do your homework, research, study and chart a course towards the Triple Crown.
  2. In the beginning, get ready to make that horse your life!   Your job as the owner/jockey of this potential winning thoroughbred, is to live, breath and embed yourself with this growing steed. Once you’ve picked your horse, your next 4 years is all about that horse.
  3. You have to anticipate what your horse will need.  There are thousands of tactics that are mainstream and at times way out there, all techniques to build a great racehorse.  Having a talented horse is one thing, knowing how to prepare him to be a winner is your job.  Make sure you are ahead of the curve.
  4. You better understand your ownership team. People buy horses for a lot of reasons. If you have partners you better understand why they are in the racehorse business.  If the ownership has ego driven, rich owners, that want to be in winner circle for the glory be careful. Some owners may be looking for your horse as winning the lottery…..one big score… to set them up in life (perhaps after years of picking the wrong horses).   Is your ownership team going to second guess your every move?  Does one of the owners, maybe the guy that’s been a car dealer all his life, now fancy himself as the worlds greatest trainer?    Pick your owners (partners carefully). Know your ins and outs of the partnership. No matter how great the racehorse, if the owners aren’t aligned you are wasting your time. Time to find a new horse to run.  A greedy owner will want to chase the big purses, even if your horse won’t be ready.  An owner that is in the business for ego purposes will get bored with his investment if the wins stop coming.
  5. Carefully pick your races. There will always be pressure to enter new races (markets). Be patient, know your horse, know your end goals and don’t peak too early. Watch carefully number 4 …(ownership)…if your owners want to move to quick because of greed or pride, you could blow your one shot at glory.
  6. A great horse won’t win, without a great team. You may have a triple crown winner on your hands but without properly trainers, veterinarians, back office business staff, transportation companies and jockey’s your never going to perform at his peak potential.  If you look at the top 10 jockey’s of all time you can see that they get really good at picking the right horse….and the right team.  From the stable hand that may water your horse too much before a big race to the hotshot jockey that ensures a win, every detail is critical. You may have heard of legendary jockey Billy Shoemaker with $123m in lifetime purses. Pat Day and Jerry Bailey have lifetime wins just shy of $300m. What separates these jockeys form the heard? They know their horses and ownership teams pick them because they know how to win.
  7. Learn Your Horse and Learn HIS Strategy. Every horse has a personality and strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve raised your horse, you know where he performs the best. Don’t be afraid to pass on a ‘sure thing’ or stretch into a ‘long shot’ if you know your horse. Naysayers will constantly cherp in your ear what they think best. You know your horse and you need to have the inner fortitude to make the hard calls.
  8. Keep entering the races as long you’re having fun and finishing respectfully.  There comes a point where every good horse has run their last race. Know when to give up and go out to pasture. In my business world, I’ve had over a dozen different startups and turnarounds. Each one had a moment where I knew it was time. Early in my career, I waited too long. Emotions and ego got in the way and it cost me money and embarrassed my ‘horse’ because it couldn’t compete anymore.  Here are a few of my businesses and the moment that I knew it was time to give it up;
    1. Tiburon Diagnostic Lab – when insurance companies excluded us on key account – Result; laid off 34 staff members. This one was my hardest to work out by far.
    2. Talking Trash Waste Removal – when the ability to buy new trucks and fuel peaked at $4 per gallon – I sold the company to a competitor
    3. QMed Weight Loss Clinic – Cash Medical Care –  the passage of Obamacare locked down entrepreneurial opportunities in the healthcare market.
    4. Gotta Go Wireless – as cell phones became commodities, I sold the stores to my managers and kept the top end revenue.
    5. Sports Buzz Haircuts – I realized that scaling from 9 to my goal of 50 would be difficult given the top line revenue and the caliber of the staff
    6. Big Time Balloon Advertising – when I watched a balloon turn off power on a Black Friday shopping day for an entire block of retail stores, I knew the liability was too great to continue.
    7. Silverbell Pavilion – an investment that looked great in 2007 turned into an albatross that could have taken me down during the recession of 2008.  The options were limited and I did my best to do the right thing for the bank and my partners.
  9. Winning is as much luck and timing as it is skill and talent.  No doubt it takes practice and talent to win the big races. But luck and timing are just as important.  How many triple crown opportunities were dashed because of the rainy conditions at the Belmont that didn’t match the talents of the horse that already won the Preakness and Kentucky Derby?  Making the rounds is a study by Cornell Economists that argue that you have to have luck to really hit it big. Of course, you can argue that the harder you work the luckier you are.  People like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were of course at the right place at the right time. Contrast them with a Jeff Bezos or a Warren Buffet who made their fortunes over decades and you can see the debate that could be had over luck/talent.

As the essayist E.B. White once wrote, “Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.” Some people are of course quick to acknowledge the good fortune they’ve enjoyed along their paths to the top.  But White was surely correct that such people are in the minority. More commonly, successful people overestimate their responsibility for whatever successes they achieve.

  1. No matter how amazing your racehorse is, know when to find another. In the end, after you’ve done your best, sometimes you have to realize that it’s time to find a new horse.  Remember, you’re a great jockey. Jockey will have a
  2.  30-year career and horses start at 2 years of age, peak at 4.5 years and decline for the next 3 to five years after that.  Based on all I’ve detailed above, it’s hard not get emotionally involved in your racehorse.  You’ve raised each other, you’ve learned from each other.  you invested your time and energy into creating the perfect thoroughbred. You’ve had ups and downs and lived to race another day. It’s not easy to give it up and find another.  But that’s exactly what has to be done when things are no longer working.  If you’re lucky and smart about it, that horse can go out to pasture and have a long life. Who knows, you could develop another Tapit and pull in $35m a year without setting foot on another track.   In the business world, what this looks like is realizing that you have an entity that no longer can compete and grow but still can provide ample revenue as it declines. I’ve had those type of entities and watched them slowly die out over time.  I’ve also been in business that have their core revenue stream interrupted but because of what I’ve learned, I see new opportunities that I can branch into.  I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned and reconstitute the team and start training a new horse.  In the end always BET THE JOCKEY!

God And Economists Agree On One Thing (A Guide To Betting The Jockey)

(This article refers to investing in gold mining but the ideas apply on …Bet The Jockey). Here is what you should look for:

1. Have they done it before?

In his book “Principles” Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio writes that when hiring someone he checks to see if they’ve done the job at least 3 times before.

This controls for luck. Anyone can get lucky once, the blessed twice… but it’s hard to do so a third time. Anyone who has pulled off three wins is more likely to be competent.

2. Do they know how to fail?

One of the reason that David Lowell has made more discoveries than anyone else is that he knows when to kill a project. If a target isn’t shaping up the way he expects, he kills it quickly and moves on to the next. He doesn’t spend 5 years (and millions of dollars) praying the nex

t drill hole is the one that proves the theory – he moves on to something better.

Does management waste time on projects with no future? Have they killed projects in the past instead of wasting investors’ money? Did their first project just happen to be a big win?

These are things to look out for.

3. Do they only have one shot?

Things will go wrong. Definitely.

There will be delays. There will be cost overruns. There will be social issues. I’ve never heard of a project coming together without a complication. There are simply too many unknown unknowns in a mining project. Will the team be able to manage problems when they occur?

Do they have the budget to weather delays and setbacks? Do they have the faith of their backers and ability to raise more money when they need it? Or are they banking on everything going according to plan.

Because it won’t.

4. Do their incentives align with yours?

People do what they’re incentivized to do. Period.

This means that a management teams’ incentives need to match yours. They must be meaningful shareholders, and their salaries should be good but not cushy. They need to win if, and only if, shareholders win.

If they have the opportunity to slowly dwindle away the cash in a plush office on $300k a year regardless of what happens to the project… you’re screwed.

5. Give credit where credit is due

For every successful project there are a dozen people who claim responsibility and leverage it for the remainder of their career; or in the words of JFK “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan”.

Don’t be fooled. Most big wins come down to the ability or the effort of one or two key people who get it over the line; everyone else is just helping. Just because someone is a good addition to a winning team does not mean that they can repeat the process on their own. From every successful team you’ll get half a dozen spin outs who try and do it themselves. Do your homework and be sure to give credit where credit is due.

The Best of The Best Business Interviews

I’ve been drawn to Seth Godin and his philosophy around education, the future and what society needs in the future. Are you an artist? Give this a listen and start growing your inner artist!


One of my favorite podcast is Entreleadership. It’s part of the Dave Ramsay network.  This interview with the CEO of Ace Hardware nails what it means to run a successful business. Listen closely, this interview:

As a CEO and having done turnarounds, the key to fixing and growing a company is building out a great team and focusing on building a great culture. I stumbled upon 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni and loved the way he uses the story to teach a lesson. His new book points out how to be humble and hungry.

I’m not a real sports fan. The only sport I’ve really ever gotten into is college football. I’m a big Notre Dame fan and have been to South Bend on a number of occasions and actually stayed in one of Knute Rockne’s homes. Notre Dame football is something special I share with my Dad and brother in law. I enjoy college football because it is fraught with errors and mistakes. I enjoy the drama built around recovering from those mistakes. I find the NFL too produced and frankly too perfect.  Sports, in general, is the one place in society that where you get ahead on pure talent. Your education, your family upbringing or what neighborhood you grew up in means nothing. Talent is everything. That’s why I like it.

I enjoy and understand the ranking system found in College football. The ranking allows a novice to pick up a game and immediately understand the drama between the teams. I love the age long rivalries and in state matches.  Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, USC all have dominant systems but each has stumbled and had to rebuild. Those long dynastic dramas playing out are amazing to watch.

So with all of the above explanations, there is no one bigger to me in football than Lou Holtz.  Here’s one his better interviews:

Want to know what the future of the world is going to look like? Check out the analysis by Elmor of Generation Z. They are still in elementary school but they will eventually rule the world.


I grew up in the 1980’s.  Grandson of a Butcher, the son of a Butcher, a transplant to Arizona via Wisconsin. Our entire family and community where JFK Democrats. From an early age, I identified with the Republican philosophies and with a huge streak to chart my own course as an entrepreneur.  I grew up on Reagan and American exceptionalism.  Check out the CNN 80’s series to get a sense of the time that formed who I am.

Watch it HERE




I listen to and learn a lot from Entreleadership podcast. I have researched a number of personality assessment systems and have implemented 16 Personalities . This is a powerful tool for any family or business.  Ian Morgan Cron did a large study of CEO’s and found that the highest predictor success is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. Give a listen HERE.

Goals, Persistence, Business

The story of the Wright Brothers as told by David McCullough ties in classical education, work ethic, midwestern values, and tenacity.  For a great lecture on what is possible spend an hour HERE.


Power, Who Has It, How Do You Use It and What It Looks Like

I read Robert Greene’s book, 48 Laws of Power and got a lot out of it. After listening to his life story, I want to dig into his new Mastery.  I’ve referenced Malcolm Gladwell and his books about what separates common from great, it sounds like Mastery will be right up my. ally! This is a great interview that explains, once again, my theory that without understanding your own emotional motivations you will be short lived as a leader.  Give it a listen.

Robert Greene is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, The 33 Strategies of War, and The 50th Law. His highly anticipated fifth book, Mastery, examines the lives of great historical figures such as Charles Darwin, Mozart, Paul Graham and Henry Ford and distills the traits and universal ingredients that made them masters. In addition to having a strong following within the business world and a deep following in Washington, DC, Greene’s books are hailed by everyone from war historians to the biggest musicians in the industry (including Jay-Z and 50 Cent). Greene attended U.C. Berkeley and the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received a degree in classical studies. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Here’s The Learning Leader page.  And from the show notes, below is the takeaways for me:

  • Sustained Excellence:
    • Self Mastery
    • Self Control — “We are emotional animals, governed by emotions. It can get you in trouble.”
    • Self Discipline
    • Flexibility — Ability to adapt
  • Why was Napoleon successful? He had a front line obsession
  • Law 4 – Always say less than necessary. “Do not speak unless you can improve upon the silence.”
    • Learn the power of being quiet
    • If you’re upset about an email, do not respond emotionally. Wait 24 hours and then respond with a level head
  • Law 9 – Win Through Your Actions, Never Through Argument. “Demonstrate, do not explicate.”
    • “Show them. Don’t talk.”
  • Law 10 – Infection: Avoid The Unhappy and Unlucky
    • You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with
    • “We absorb the energy of other people.”
    • Look to “level up” your peer group at all time”
  • How to deal with a person in a power position who you do not like or respect?
    • Do not let them see you upset. Do not show them emotion (when they try to rile you up)
  • “The human brain does not learn unless it is excited”
  • Cesar Rodriguez — “Trust The Process” — You must get reps, reps, reps in order to achieve any level of excellence
    • Think long term and put in the necessary work to be great
  • Advice: “You were born with a purpose. Tap into what makes you different and unique. There is tremendous pressure to fit in. You will have success if you dig deep, be adventurous, try things out. Respect your unique-ness, something great will happen.”


Former Fed Chairman – Richard C. Koo

I stumbled upon this interview with former Fed Chairman Richard C. Koo, Chief Economist, Nomura Research Institute.  The title of the talk is Surviving in the Intellectually Bankrupt Monetary Policy Environment. It’s long and sort of wonky but very enlightening. Koo ties in what Japan tried to do following their massive debt bubble that exploded in the late 1980’s.  After our 2008 bubble, the US Fed is following the same footprint that ballooned Japan’s debt to GDP to more than 200%. Our economics is based on the assumption of profit maximization. However, what happens, when this assumption is no longer

Our economics is based on the assumption of profit maximization. However, what happens, when this assumption is no longer valid when companies pay down debt at zero interest rates? This is when the economy has entered a balance sheet recession. In such a situation, monetary policy becomes a largely useless weapon. After years of monetary policy with limited effectiveness, Richard C. Koo is asking: How can we escape from the QE-Trap? I can’t speak for anyone else but after the pain of the 2008 recession, even after 10 years, I’m much more cautious and careful in how I manage my businesses. As an entrepreneur, we are out flying without a net. A mistake can mean total loss of everything I’ve built up.  I’ve been there and certainly don’t want to do that again.  Multiply my experiences times all the enterprises in American and you get the gist of Koo’s hypothesis.  I’m SLOWLY writing a 12 chapter book called The Decline of America.  Each chapter argues another point that focuses on major fundamental flaws in the American society that, when taken all together, paint a pretty bleak picture.  My chapter on DEMOGRAPHICS is DESTINY helps explain Japan’s problem. All in all, you’re up to Tr$30.  The low birth rate issue is plaguing most Western societies.  If you ain’t growing, you’re dying.

The official US debt is listed at $20 trillion. By adding the Tr$3.2 state/local debt to the total, as well as contingent liabilities such as Fannie, Freddie, and Ginnie: All in all you’re up to Tr$30. This number doesn’t include promises made by the US Government to its citizens (Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are the biggest at an estimated $200T) It all works fine until it doesn’t. We are witnessing the biggest confidence game ever played in history.

It all works fine until it doesn’t. We are witnessing the biggest confidence game ever played in history. These numbers are so large, we are uncharted territory.  When the world loses confidence in Japan, or Spain or Portugal or the US, the sucking sound of capital will be very loud. If history is a guide, expect a war of distraction, an exertion of States rights that could mean a civil war or long period of deflationary events.


What Makes A Good CEO?

A new book I’m reading and recommend on the role of understanding yourself as a leader.  Check out The Accidental CEO

on February 25, 2008 (Review from Amazon)
Format: Paperback

 Jim Roger and Doug Casey – Contrarians That Invest In ‘The Opposite”

If you haven’t stumbled across Doug Casey, I highly recommend that you dig in. Casey owns Casey Research and wrote a book called International Man back in the 70’s. His theory was that as an entrepreneur we need to find markets. Sometimes, those markets aren’t in your country, aren’t very well known and aren’t where the heard is.  He is able to use history and politics to predict future markets and he is extremely matter of fact about his analysis.  Read his book, Politically Incorrect, which is an interview-style discussion with Nick Giambruno and you’ll get what I mean.  Rogers is a bit more of a fear monger but his book Investment Biker is a classic.  You could throw Warren Buffet into these guys strategy in that he tries to read trends and go opposite the investor heard.  Buffet buys management teams, great industries and holds forever. These guys are more aggressive, but similar mentalities. I went to a 16-week options trading course with a friend and the first 4 weeks were all about emotions, greed and fear.  Now I get it.

A couple other investment thought leaders that I subscribe to are Jim Richards (Currency Wars), and Harry Dent (Demographic Cliff) and Rober Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Prophecy). Dent and Kiyosaki theorize that Demographics is Destiny and the Baby Boom spike and prosperity will end as they move into retirement. I read Rich Dad back in 2002. Kiyosaki was spot on. What he didn’t predict, was how is theory would be pushed out a few years based on unprecedented government intervention in the 2008 market Great Recession. I’m working on a book with 12 arguments (chapters) as to why America is on the decline.  I devoted a full chapter to changing demographics (password protected). The Mr. Koo lecture explains how demographics changed Japan and how advanced countries are in for some rocky times.

Nick Giambruno: How does an investor deal with being accurate but early?

Jim Rogers: Oh, that’s the story of my life. I’ve always been accurate but early.

If I’m convinced something is going to happen or if I should make an investment, I have learned that I should wait for awhile, because maybe it is too early. And it usually is too early.

I try to discipline myself to wait longer or to put in orders below the market and let the market come to me. But even then, sometimes I’m still too early.

Nick Giambruno: How did studying history help you in investing?

Jim Rogers: Well, the main thing it taught me was that everything is always changing.

If you go back and look at before the First World War, nobody could ever have conceived in 1910 that Germany and Britain would be slaughtering millions of people four years later. Yet it happened.

No matter what we think today, no matter what it is, it is not going to be true in 15 years. I assure you. You pick any year in history, and look at what everybody was convinced was correct and then look 15 years later, and you’d be shocked and astonished. Look at 1920, 15 years later. Look at 1930, 15 years later. Any year you want to pick – 1900, 1990, 2000. Pick any year and I assure you, 15 years later everything is going to be different. I guess that’s the first thing I learned from the study of history.

Nick Giambruno: What mistakes do empires always make?

Jim Rogers: They get overextended. They think they’re smarter than everybody else. They think they cannot make mistakes, and even if they are making mistakes they are so powerful they think that they can correct the mistakes. And then they become overextended. Usually they become overextended financially, militarily, geopolitically, in every way.

Nick Giambruno: Is the US repeating those same mistakes?

Jim Rogers: Well, the US is the largest debtor nation in the history of the world now, and the debts are going higher and higher. The people in the US think it doesn’t matter that we’ve got all these debts and there’s no problem. People in the US don’t think that it’s a problem that we’ve got troops in over 100 countries around the world. I mean, when Rome got overextended militarily, it paid the price. Spain and many other countries have had this problem. Maybe it’s not a problem. Maybe America can have troops in 200 countries around the world and it won’t matter, but America has certainly gotten itself overextended in many ways.

Nick Giambruno: Do you think wealth and power will continue to move East?

Jim Rogers: Wealth and power are moving East now, and that is going to continue. That’s because of historic reasons. There’s little doubt in my mind that China is going to be the next great country in the world. Most people are still skeptical of that. Most people know something is happening in China. They don’t really quite understand the full historic significance of what is happening in China including many Chinese.



If you made it this far into my business post here’s an interesting prediction done in October of 2017 on what the next financial downturn will look like.  History is showing that it takes more and more fuel to the fire to turn around these recessions because of the massive amounts of leverage which is created after each downturn.  The student loan debt, corporate leveraging, intervention by the Fed are going to be the housing bubble of 2008. Trump’s tax plan will boost some adrenaline into the economy but normal business cycles of highs and lows occur, on average every 7 years. We are on year 9 since the 2008 downturn.  This is a bit wonky but check out the bullet points;

What Will the Next Crisis Look Like?

By Marko Kolanovic, PhD, and Bram Kaplan
October 3, 2017

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008 and also the 50thanniversary of the 1968 global protests against political elites. Currently, there are financial and social parallels to both of these events. Leading into the 2008 GFC, some financial institutions underwrote products with excessive leverage in real estate investments. The collapse of liquidity in these products impaired balance sheets, and governments backstopped the crisis. Soon enough governments themselves were propped by extraordinary monetary stimulus from central banks. Central banks purchased ~$15T of financial assets, mostly government obligations. This accommodation is now expected to reverse, starting meaningfully in 2018. Such outflows (or lack of new inflows) could lead to asset declines and liquidity disruptions, and potentially cause a financial crisis. We will call this hypothetical crisis the “Great Liquidity Crisis” (GLC). The timing will largely be determined by the pace of central bank normalization, business cycle dynamics and various idiosyncratic events, and hence cannot be known accurately. This is similar to the 2008 GFC, when those that accurately predicted the nature of the GFC started doing so around 2006. We think the main attribute of the next crisis will be severe liquidity disruptions resulting from market developments since the last crisis:

  • Decreased AUM of strategies that buy Value Assets: The shift from active to passive assets, and specifically the decline of active value investors, reduces the ability of the market to prevent and recover from large drawdowns. The ~$2T rotation from active and value to passive and momentum strategies since the last crisis eliminated a large pool of assets that would be standing ready to buy cheap public securities and backstop a market disruption.
  • Tail Risk of Private Assets: Outflows from active value investors may be related to an increase in Private Assets (Private Equity, Real Estate and Illiquid Credit holdings). Over the past two decades, pension fund allocations to public equity decreased by ~10%, and holdings of Private Assets increased by ~20%. Similar to public value assets, private assets draw performance from valuation discounts and liquidity risk premia. Private assets reduce day-to-day volatility of a portfolio, but add liquidity-driven tail risk. Unlike the market for public value assets, liquidity in private assets may be disrupted for much longer during a crisis.
  • Increased AUM of strategies that sell on ‘Autopilot’: Over the past decade there was strong growth in Passive and Systematic strategies that rely on momentum and asset volatility to determine the level of risk taking (e.g., volatility targeting, risk parity, trend following, option hedging, etc.). A market shock would prompt these strategies to programmatically sell into weakness. For example, we estimate that futures-based strategies grew by ~$1T over the past decade, and options-based hedging strategies increased their potential selling impact from ~3 days of average futures volume to ~7 days of average volume.
  • Trends in liquidity provision: The model of liquidity provision changed in a close analogy to the shift from active/value to passive/momentum. In market making, this has been a shift from human market makers that are slower and often rely on valuations (reversion), to programmatic liquidity that is faster and relies on volatility-based VAR to quickly adjust the amount of risk taking (liquidity provision). This trend strengthens momentum and reduces day-to-day volatility, but increases the risk of disruptions such as the ones we saw on a smaller scale in May 2010, October 2014 and August 2015.
  • Miscalculation of portfolio risk: Over the past 2 decades, most risk models were (correctly) counting on bonds to offset equity risk. At the turning point of monetary accommodation, this assumption will most likely fail. This increases tail risk for multi-asset portfolios. An analogy is with the 2008 failure of endowment models that assumed Emerging Markets, Commodities, Real Estate, and other asset classes are not highly correlated to DM Equities. In the next crisis, Bonds likely will not be able to offset equity losses (due to low rates and already large CB balance sheets). Another risk miscalculation is related to the use of volatility as the only measure of portfolio risk. Very expensive assets often have very low volatility, and despite downside risk are deemed perfectly safe by these models.
  • Valuation Excesses: Given the extended period of monetary accommodation, most of assets are at their high end of historical valuations. This is particularly true in sectors most directly comparable to bonds (e.g., credit, low volatility stocks), as well as technology- and internet-related stocks. Sign of excesses include multi-billion dollar valuations for smartphone apps or for ‘initial crypto- coin offerings’ that in many cases have very questionable value.

We believe that the next financial crisis (GLC) will involve many of the features above, and addressing them on a portfolio level may mitigate the impact of next financial crises. What will governments and central banks do in the scenario of a great liquidity crisis? If the standard rate cutting and bond purchases don’t suffice, central banks may more explicitly target asset prices (e.g., equities). This may be controversial in light of the potential impact of central bank actions in driving inequality between asset owners and labor (e.g., see here). Other ‘out of the box’ solutions could include a negative income tax (one can call this ‘QE for labor’), progressive corporate tax, universal income and others. To address growing pressure on labor from AI, new taxes or settlements may be levied on Technology companies (for instance, they may be required to pick up the social tab for labor destruction brought by artificial intelligence, in an analogy to industrial companies addressing environmental impacts). While we think unlikely, a tail risk could be a backlash against central banks that prompts significant changes in the monetary system. In many possible outcomes, inflation is likely to pick up.

The next crisis is also likely to result in social tensions similar to those witnessed 50 years ago in 1968. In 1968, TV and investigative journalism provided a generation of baby boomers access to unfiltered information on social developments such as Vietnam and other proxy wars, Civil rights movements, income inequality, etc. Similar to 1968, the internet today (social media, leaked documents, etc.) provides millennials with unrestricted access to information on a surprisingly similar range of issues. In addition to information, the internet provides a platform for various social groups to become more self-aware, united and organized. Groups span various social dimensions based on differences in income/wealth, race, generation, political party affiliations, and independent stripes ranging from alt-left to alt-right movements. In fact, many recent developments such as the US presidential election, Brexit, independence movements in Europe, etc., already illustrate social tensions that are likely to be amplified in the next financial crisis. How did markets evolve in the aftermath of 1968? Monetary systems were completely revamped (Bretton Woods), inflation rapidly increased, and equities produced zero returns for a decade. The decade ended with a famously wrong Businessweek article ‘the death of equities’ in 1979.

Want A Great Culture? This Bundles It Up.

I’ve been a part of a number of great teams and lead a few. When the group comes together and the safety is there, amazing cultures can be built. I’m leading a group just like that right now.

Episode 242: Daniel Coyle – The Secret Of Highly Successful Groups (The Culture Code)

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence = “They’re over themselves” – They do not have an ego. They figure out the big truths, get over feelings, have clarity, vision. Great communicators – Like an athlete, they can be obsessed.  Keenly aware, active listeners, intentional with actions.
  • “As leaders, we need to create the conditions for excellence”
    • The 3 Skills — 1) Build Safety 2) Share Vulnerability 3) Establish Purpose
  • Build Safety – Why do a group of kindergartners do better than a group of CEOs?  The kindergartners have now agenda or care about credit.  They focus on doing the best work.  CEOs (in the study) were worried about who got credit and tearing each other down.
  • Safety is the single most important piece of foundation needed for great culture
  • A painstaking hiring process – The single most important decision is “who’s in and who’s out.”
  • You should script the entire first few days of a new employees time at a company — Pixar example (20 minute mark) — “At Pixar, we hired you because we need you to help us make our movies better.”
  • John Wooden would routinely walk the locker room and pick up trash
  • Share Vulnerability – Functional notion that’s so important
  • “Sharing a weakness is the best way to be strong” — Navy SEALs example: The AAR (After Action Review)
  • The most important 4 words a leader can say, “Anybody have any ideas?”
    • Also, “I screwed up”
    • How to be a great listener
      • “Your goal as a listener should be to add energy.” Ask questions, don’t just sit there and nod.  Listen and absorb.  Help them leave higher than when you arrived.  Follow up to go deeper.  Being a great listener is a heroic skill.
      • Have “empathy and energy” as a listener — dig in to assumptions (unearth)
  • Great teams are made up of players who don’t want to let their teammates down.
  • Build a wall between performance review and professional development — When you combine the two, you get neither.  Toggle, create safety so you can be more open and honest.
  • Establish Purpose
  • Value statements aren’t super useful — “fill the windshield with a story.”
  • Clear narratives guide attention
  • Name and rank your priorities

Here’s Why I Don’t Play The Stock Market

This Conversations With Tyler interview of Cliff Asness is why I don’t invest in the stock market. People like Cliff are waiting for idiots like me to learn some fancy new trading scheme so they can clean my clock.  This clip is wonkie and worth the watch. Here’s why I don’t invest in or believe in the Stock Market, guys like Cliff Asness are hyper-focused on taking rookies like me for a ride..  Guys like these are way-way better than I’ll ever pretend to be. I took a course in options trading of the SPX and learned a fun system. I played with fake money and did great. A bunch of friends played with REAL money and did absolutely amazing…for a while.  That’s why my philosophy in business is to go slow in and get out quick if things aren’t working.


America is Synonymous With Business – Entrepreneurs Make America!

One of my favorite documentaries on a business visionary is Slingshot the story of Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway.  The story chronicles his quest to cure the biggest problem facing the third world…clean water. Please watch this documentary and realize that it takes Dean Kamen’s to take the road less traveled.  The entrepreneur, inventor and business pioneers from the past and from today will make society a better place to live.

Research on CEO Effectiveness

If you haven’t subscribed to Harvard Business Ideas podcast you are missing out. The interviews are short and always covering the cutting edge issues happening in American business.

HERE’s the Interview from Elena Botelho, partner at leadership advisory firm ghSmart, talks about the disconnect between the stereotype of the CEO and what research shows actually leads to high performance at that level. She says the image of the charismatic, tall male with a top university degree who’s a strategic visionary and makes great decisions under pressure is a pervasive one. However, research shows that four behaviors more consistently lead to high performance in the corner office: 1) deciding with speed and conviction 2) engaging for impact 3) adapting proactively 4) delivering reliably. Botelho is the co-author of the article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart” in the May-June 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review. 



Money – What’s Your Relationship with Money?

I’ve had my stage of more is better.  The cars, the bling and all the hallow rewards that money parts of my past.  I live a life of abundance, but that doesn’t happen to mean the size of my bank account.  You’ve heard the stories about great grandparents that lived through the depression and have forever been changed. Since they’ve lived through the scarcity of a prolonged time of strife, Great Depression survivors carried that attitude for the rest of their life.  Having lived through the 2008 to 2016, Great Recession, I learned some valuable lessons about the power of money as a scorecard for success. I believe I will forever be changed.

Lynne Twist: “What You Appreciate Appreciates” | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

Questions to Bring More Gratitude into Your Life | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

Lynne Twist: “What You Appreciate Appreciates” | SuperSoul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network

Freedom from the money culture | Lynne Twist | TEDxBerkeley



History – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition


Does history repeat itself?  Kitty Werthmann has an amazing story about her early life in Nazi Germany.

I’ve been really keying in on the Revolutionary War in America. The characters, the stories and the events that lead up to the Declaration of Independence are fascinating to study.  The balance of power, the upper and lower chambers, the role of States rights in a federalist system are all derived from the study of civilizations of the past. The Roman and Greek influences on the Founders of the USA are evident throughout the founding of America. Some of the books I’d recommend on the revolution and the founding of America include  A Leap into the Dark by John Ferling,  Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, and any number of the David McCullough stories.  Here’s a great video that encapsulates how amazing the idea of America really is historical;

Speaking of Founding Fathers, one of my go to podcasts, Mises Weekend covered the genius of Thomas Jefferson with historian Kevin Gutzman:

To go way back, Victor Davis Hanson put events of today into perspective by understanding the events of the past. This Book TV is long but really important to watch and tie back to events of today.


and here:

And a lecture on the Greeks that lead to the American Founders and 3000 years of Western Thought:





An amazing archive interview from Diane Rheem with Tim Russert.  This book and Tim’s explanation of his Dad is powerful.  Big Russ grew up in the Depression and is from the silent generation.  Here’s Tim explaining his Dad, Big Russ.  So for my Dad, my Granddads and to hopefully be the Dad in that models the Big Russ life.
 Tim Russert on Big Russ – HERE
To get a sense of the humility of the silent generation, watch the documentary on the Airborne Rangers that HBO’s Band of Brothers was based on. The body language, the unspoken, the selflessness of every one of these men is truly inspiring. – HERE


Victor Davis Hanson is a professor with a strong Classical Education background. His grasp of ancient history and how it relates to today is very enlightening. This lecture series was recorded back in 2008 so there is a lot of references to the Gulf Wars. The ideas and topics are timeless.

Part 2 – HERE

Part 3 – HERE

Part 4 – HERE



Guns, Germs and Steel  by Jerrod Diamond – HERE

Diamond’s deep dive into why one society rises and another doesn’t during the same time period is well thought out and argued.  The book won a Pulitzer for a reason.

The Greatest Generation and the Great War – A History Lesson

Again with the Victor David Hanson! His new book on WW2 sounds like a great read. Here is he speaking from the Hoover Insitute on the nuances of the Axis vs the Allied strategies that lead to World War 2.

and Part 2 of this interview – HERE



Economics – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition


I love economics and how economic theories have advanced and declined over the generations. Perhaps one of my favorite communicators on an economic theory I subscribe to is Milton Friedman.  Friedman’s 10 part series that that played a few decades ago.  In the series, he weaves stories and is faced by a panel of peers that agree and disagree with his beliefs. He’s famous for many analogies but the pencil manufacturer is probably one of his most famous.

Friedman’s appearances on Phil Donahue, the Oprah of his time brought economics to the masses. His debates with Phil are very telling in Donahue’s leanings and how amazing Milton was as the art of debate:

Friedman’s 10 part series on PBS featured great stories, Milton’s philosophy and a debate panel of economic experts that are for and against his theories.

Friedman on the Road To Serfdom – HERE and Friedman vs Bernie – HERE

Where Friedman was at his best was during a college campus Q&A session. Here’s one of my favorites:

And Milton on what is America:



The debate of the last 100 years has been John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hyack regarding their boom and bust cycles and the roll of government intervention in markets through interest rate manipulations. These two economic rap videos make it fun to learn the philosophies. Sadly, Keynes has dominated and $20 trillion later what do we have to show for it?

and part 2

Here’s a deeper dive into Keynes and Hayek.

I’m pretty contrarian on where we are as a county. The role of central banking in the last 45 years will be looked on as having major manipulations of markets. Between debt loads, crony capitalism, and easy money policies, we are so far removed from reality it scares me. This will not end well, the markets always correct itself.

Want to know how bad the problem really is? You can point to Detroit (probably one of my top 5 interviews), or Illinois, or New Jersey but nothing compares to what’s going on in Puerto Rico.  This AEI panel discussion is long, about 2 hours, but the math surrounding the obligations of the tiny island will shock you.  Whomever green light lending these kinds of dollars to this Country should get the haircut they deserve. Sadly, over promised public pensions and crippling debt may leave Puerto Rico with the only option of going hat and hand to Congress.

Government Helping

Speaking of government warping markets. I’m not talking about health care or affordable housing, let’s take a look at higher education:

Spent the weekend up in Phoenix and all over the radio, on billboards and in print magazines I saw ads for the UofA MBA program……why? Hint, it’s where people can afford and can benefit from a Masters in Business.

In the past few years, tuition has increased, we’ve built a new stadium, a student gym/pool, hired two deans for diversity and inclusion, a social justice advocate (story picked up nationally as a snitch position).

Then from today’s Tucson paper:

The UA also opened a site in Cambodia last year and plans to launch 11 more as follows:

UA Amman at Princess Sumaya University of Technology, Jordan
UA Bandung at Telkom University, Indonesia
UA Beirut at Lebanese International University, Lebanon
UA Hanoi at Vietnam National University
UA Hualien City at Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
UA Manila at De La Salle University, Philippines
UA Puebla at Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla, Mexico
UA Shanghai at Shanghai University of Politics and Law, China
UA Sharjah at the University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
UA Shenzhen at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China
UA Taipei at Soochow University, Taiwan
Tucson students with the means to travel would be able to take UA classes at any of the international sites.

It is the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, which led to the establishment of public land-grant institutions including the UA.

I wonder if the UofA is sort of losing their mission to the scholars of Arizona. It’s an interesting debate but as ITT Tech and Univ of Phoenix get their hands slapped for being for profit, how is the UofA’s use of public/private funds to do all of the above a good thing?

Cant Escape The Market Forces

Some of the thought leaders that I seem to be agreeing with more and more include Richard Duncan. Here’s an interview he did with Gordon T Long:

Another contrarian that has actually been a major player in the Reagan administration that I follow is David Stockman.

Jeromy Grantham is the co-founder of GMO capital. His quarterly newsletter is a must read. Here he is with Charlie Rose:

Speaking of Contrarian

Give a listen to Econo Talk’s interview with CATO’s David Boaz, and columnist/authors P.J. O’Rourke and George Will.  Will make an interesting point about since the Great Depression there have been very small moments in time where liberals actually had control and a ‘mandate’ to govern. Those times started with FDR and a two year period where he attempted to pack the Supreme Court.  LBJ and a two year period where the War on Poverty, Social Security, and Medicare came into existence and the 2008-2010 period under Barack Obama. During these brief two-year periods, major shifts to the left occur, the voters shift back to a center-right government and the laws enacted during those periods are extremely difficult to undo.  Think Obamacare.  Jump to 46:00 where Will takes down Academia.  The panel talks about ‘Dictator for the Day Legislation’ and they weigh in on how to fix America. The ideas and suggestions include;

1. Get government totally out of K12.

2. End tax withholding.  Make people write out their payroll withholding payment. By the way who is FICA?

3. Term limits or incumbents can’t stand for re-election if the government is in a deficit of more than 1% of GDP.

4. On all government deficits – all the taxpayers would be assessed on their tax form.

5. End of 1040 has tax payers fill in where they want their money to go…and have a line for ‘send my money back to me’.

6. I particularly like the idea of a balanced budget amendment passed by the States.  I also like electing Senators from State Legislatures instead of by popular vote. Both of these ideas bring power back to the States.

Why are Libertarian ideas not taking root in the world? The answer is at the end of the podcast. Basically, it’s hard for people to accept that work, thrift and delayed gratification is good for you. That’s a tough political platform in this day of instant gratification.

This episode of EconTalk is being recorded in front of a live audience in Washington, D.C. in honor of the 40th Anniversary of the Cato Institute. Our topic is the past, present, and future of liberty. And to talk about it we have three special guests, David Boaz…, P. J. O’Rourke…, and George Will…. So, I want to start with the state of liberty in America. Is the glass half full or half empty? David, why don’t you lead us off?

Russ Roberts: I’m going to pile on. And I’ll let David and P.J. react accordingly if they wish. So, David, you pointed out marginal tax rates have come down, but government hasn’t gotten any smaller. Government continues to get larger. The nanny state continues to be more intrusive. Economics gets, as you say, the welfare state and various regulations–some have gone away. The cost of this is that everything that is bad about the current system is blamed on markets, even though it’s not a market process. So, the fact that United once dragged a passenger off a plane with Federal agents is an indictment of deregulation now. I’ve actually read things like that. Or that airline travel is so horrible because it’s just cheap. Or, the health care system proves that markets don’t work–when of course we’ve managed to remove almost every bit of market process that could be there to start with. So, on the facts I think it’s a tough argument that the glass is half full. Do you want to push back against that?

The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith

I’m going to reference economic theories that I subscribe to, I would be remiss if I didn’t dig into the ideas of Adam Smith.


Economic Documentaries Worth A Watch

Here are some thought-provoking documentaries that line up on both sides of the political aisle. The common theme is the intersection of government, banking, and business

The common theme is the intersection of government, banking and business isn’t good for the economy and our future.  I can take issue with individual arguments but the overarching themes are important to digest.

The Four Horseman

Overdose: The Next Financial Crisis

The One Percent

Requiem for the American Dream

EconoTalk with Russ Roberts

Another podcast I enjoy is EconoTalk with Russ Roberts. He and Tyler Cowen (to some degree Malcolm Gladwell and the team at Freakonomics) help take complex subjects, package them in palatable terms and deliver them to us listeners.  This week, Russ interviewed Phillip Auerswald

Give it a listen HERE

About 5 years into my 7-year radio career, after the 2012 election, I started noticing patterns that didn’t point in a positive direction with respect to the future of our Country.From 25 topics I’ve winnowed the list down to 12.  I’m working on the outline of a book with a working title of the Dozen Trends that Spell the End of a Great Civilization.   Philip Auerswald, hit chapters  3 (flight to the cities), 9 (demographics is destiny) and 11 (polarized political parties).

There is a lot of trade-offs with the 50-year migration from an agrarian and rural economy into the city, but there are also social ramifications that are right now being played out.

(Exert from my book) -The Decline of Rural America and Rise of The Blue Wave

As America moved from a rural, agricultural population and economy to what’s now densely populated urban megalopolises the entire fabric of America has changed. The small town I grew up in 40 miles east of Minneapolis is a perfect example of what’s happening all across America. New Richmond Wisconsin was once dominated by small dairy and beef farms. With a population of under 5,000, the area was settled by Irish and Norwegian immigrants. Large families, one stop light towns, a strong faith-centered community was the way I remembered my upbringing.  My grandparents had a small farm with a butcher shop just outside of town. People would make the rounds to the baker, the butcher and spend an hour talking about the happenings of their families and their community. Our small town is now a bedroom community to the Twin Cities. The farmland has given way to housing tracts. In search of cheap housing and fueled by expanded interstates, the 40-minute drive to the jobs of Minneapolis is now a daily occurrence for thousands of workers. With the conversion of small family farms to master-planned neighborhoods, something is lost. The intimate understanding of your community and the ‘we are all in this together’ attitude that built America has given way to gated neighborhoods and walled off subdivisions.

Through the 1800’s cities like New York and Chicago were exemplified by immigrant neighborhoods, political machine politics, corruption, and exploitation. With the growth of megalopolis cities now almost in every state the same political machines have become much more sophisticated.  The community I live in, Tucson Arizona and Pima County has been dominated by democratic machine politics for over 25 years.  Once the machine is in place, they draw favorable electoral maps, they count and understand who votes and where. Patronage to favored developers, road contractors who in turn fund and underwrite political campaigns is the norm. The public sector unions understand that electing the right council or board of supervisors is good in the short run towards pay incentives and pension payouts.  While property taxes, sales taxes, impact fees and regulations increase to pay for the bloated promises, the business class, job creators find the community unfriendly and difficult to do business in.  Tucson has been compared to the Detroit of the Desert with flourishing suburbs and a decaying city core. There is always a push for revitalization or tax credits for favored industries in the name of spurring a resurgence to the inner city but these giveaways never see to last. Without a true level playing field with predictable rules and regulations my city, like hundreds around America have seen their tax base dwindle and their opportunities dissipate.

Political Machines

Political machines create an army of loyal professional bureaucrats. The bureaucracy knows to toe the party line. The politics of ‘no growth’ or ‘environmental activism’ or just plain old patronage takes root and it’s even harder to dislodge the culture of patronage once it’s established.  At their worst, they just become a kleptocracy, too entrenched and handing out too many benefits to be uprooted. And the cost of maintaining the patronage system does real harm to the services the government should be providing.

This is not a victimless crime. Look at New York, where public unionized employees can make close to $100K a year + generous pension for jobs that would pay half that in the private sector.  Great for those who have the jobs, but it means the city can’t fill the potholes or paint the subway stations. It’s not a handshake with a wad of cash, its unions getting cush contracts in return for mobilizing their workers at the ballot box. People should be paid fairly, with benefits, for work done, not given free money just for being part of a system.



I stumbled upon the ideas of (Han)  Wisate based on a comment on an article. The comment leads to his web page Hanomy. Wisate’s synopsis of where we are and his insight of where the US and the rest of the world is heading was eerily similar to what I was seeing. His arguments are articulate and his analysis is rooted in history and economic theories.  His solutions diverge from what I believe, but I am so encouraged that there are others out there putting the well thought out work into dissecting such a big topic as the deteriorating state of the world.

Wisate put out a post the other day on his Facebook that is worth highlighting. The realignment of the BRICS, in particular, the Russian and Chinese move away from the dollar for all oil purchases is a systemic shift in a system put together by Nixon and Kissinger.  Here are some articles that back up Wisate’s theory (RUSSIA Gold, Russia/China GoldEconomic Times)

MARCH 26, 2018 … PetroDollar is beginning its journey back home. It is time to buy PHYSICAL GOLD & SILVER … hold it yourself. If you don’t hold it in your hands, it’s not yours.

Why is this date so important?

– China to FORMALLY announce Gold-backed Yuan and to use for oil/energy trading

– Russia is expected to leave SWIFT system completely as the alternative settlement system (away from the Western banking system) is now in place and tested. No more sanction/stealing money from countries by freezing their accounts. No more financial bully tactics can be imposed unfairly on countries. It is expected that up to 12 countries will switch to the new system within days. They now have the license to operate in UK and in Europe and Canada. Commodity exchanges around the world have also prepared for trading Yuan as well. As inflation in the US rises and the US dollar heads south, UK and its 2.4 billion subjects around the world will start dealing with PetroYuan instead. Inflation in the US will go up fast as all those printed PetroDollar comes back home.

Data shows that during the US great depression between 1929 and 1932, those who invested in the stock market at its peak lost 90% of their investment in 1932. Two thirds of people lost their jobs and those who still had their homes were living with high stress. The private construction industry in cities had a collapse rate over 80%. Many landlords saw their rental income drain away and went bankrupt. Suicide, sickness, hunger, murder (for money) spread throughout society. It is estimated that nearly 6% of the US population (7 million out of 123 million) died from malnutrition and nearly 2% from suicide.

* This will start slowly then once the trust in the new system is established, oil producing countries will start moving to PetroYuan since it is backed by gold. This is unlike PetroDollar which is backed by faith, weapons of war, and threats of destructions.
* The US has to sell about $250 billion in treasury in 1 month and new treasury of near $1.5 trillion this year. If no one wants USD in mass, no external buyers = more QE money printing (can’t really do it now neither if people are moving to Yuan because new QE will flood the market with more dollar in another attempt to keep interest low (buy more time) but this will result in even less buyer of the new US debt —> interest will have to go up to attract buyers… hint price of things will go up prior to the collapse which will take place once people lose trust in the currency OR no QE and let interest moves up …. as PetroDolar comes back home. T

Every 1% in interest moves up = $200 billion more per year to service debts (now that we have near $21 trillion in public debt). It is also expected that the home buying rate will be reduced by 10% for each 1% increased in rate. As the economic condition deteriorates = people and companies alike are to face difficulties and liquidate = price of real estate will start coming down = recession to depression. If the US defaults on debts then we will have hyperinflation => good for debtors (inflate your way out of debts) and pay off the debts with worthless money. This could bring the US to the Weimar Republic (currently Germany) situation real fast.

Together with more gold-backed Yuan becomes more preferred currency, things can go south real quick here in the US within few years. This process can happen quickly but I believe that within 3 years, things will look very different in the world finance than that of today. The western banking system is now in trapped in a sandbox. They did this to themselves by printing money (kicked the can down the road) instead of fixing the issue in 2008. For those who do not know, the level of debts (corporate and personal) has increased at the fastest rate since 2008. Thanks, but no thanks, to the world central banker: Feder the al Reserve for increasing its ledger by 4 times. Again, those who do not know, the current average reserve is not less than 5% (weight average of deposit, and money market and interbank lending which is also drying out worldwide now too and is a huge problem). What this means is the leverage of credit (create from the low reserve) is at least 20 times. In common term, we have created credit out of nothing in tune of near $80 trillions out of additional QEs of $4 trillion. Let say when the debts increase about 3 to 4 times faster than productivity during the same period, we have a big problem. Hint, corporations use cheap money (acquire more debts) and buyback its own stock, the price of the stock moves up. This is what we are seeing today in the stock market. P/E ratio of 12 to 14 used to be the norm for evaluation. Now the average P/E is 30 ….. Amazon, NetFlix and many high profile companies have P/E in hundreds. It is to note that when financial companies went south in 2008, the leverage ratio was around 40. That means 1 part equity and 39 parts in debt. Today the leverage ratio is around 70. Thanks to newly create cheap debts. But that is about to change once PetroYuan which is backed by gold gains traction.

What I expect to happen before then, is a lot of war speaking/threats/trade wars – high trariff or scrap previously made trade agreements around China/Russia area and political/small-scale wars around countries that are within China/Russia’s orbit, and countries with a lot of resources (oil, and minerals — North Korea and Afghanistan have trillions of UNMINED mineral as well, look it up). This is done to provoke war, world war. Many of grand-scale wars in the past took place at this junction, as it is the last move in the playbook to hold on to the influence by an impire. However, we now have an alternative. No war is needed. Life adjustment will be at the minimal worldwide. Every countries can come out a winner but most, people around the world can all prosper together. Countries with a lot of debts will still grow but counries with less debts will have more room to grow faster. But that commerce (technology and knowledge) will flow from first world nations (heavy debts) to less developed nations (usually very low debt per capita). Hanomy Manifesto, free download at Hanomy.com, has a sounded solution for most of the problem we are facing (worldwide scale) in politic, social, and financial. A lots of “life normalcy” will be adjusted but at minimal going into Hanomy system. Numbers work, need the word to spread out to all the mass around the world. This is very exciting time to be alive, indeed.

Highlights of Hanomy:

• Fundamental human needs met throughout life’s existence
• Basic human rights observed everywhere
• Sovereign debts worldwide are settled and eliminated
• Upheld liberty and freedom
• Financial contributions drawn from a portion of idle/unutilized money
• No taxes on income, profit or spending
• Interest charges and usury practices abolished
• Power of money creation where it belongs – the people
• An end to the fractional reserve system
• Upheld free market principles (true capitalism but with social responsibility)
• Decreased or dissolved inflation and hyperinflation
• Reduced income inequality
• An end to corporate welfare
• Advanced technology benefiting humanity
• Freedom of time for quality of life and caregiving
• Prohibited conditions for authoritarianism
• Preserved sovereignty and respected borders
• An end to “modern day slavery” (this includes you)
• Improved care of the environment and world resources
• A world we’re proud to claim and pass along


Demise of cCapitalism (Theory)  – Joseph Schumpeters

I’m hoping this guys theories aren’t a predictor of the future.

Wiki – Schumpeter’s most popular book in English is probably Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. While he agrees with Karl Marx that capitalism will collapse and be replaced by socialism, Schumpeter predicts a different way this will come about. While Marx predicted that capitalism would be overthrown by a violent proletarian revolution, which actually occurred in the least capitalist countries, Schumpeter believed that capitalism would gradually weaken by itself and eventually collapse. Specifically, the success of capitalism would lead to corporatism and to values hostile to capitalism, especially among intellectuals. “Intellectuals” are a social class in a position to critique societal matters for which they are not directly responsible and to stand up for the interests of other classes. Intellectuals tend to have a negative outlook of capitalism, even while relying on it for prestige, because their professions rely on antagonism toward it. The growing number of people with higher education is a great advantage of capitalism, according to Schumpeter. Yet, unemployment and a lack of fulfilling work will cause intellectual critique, discontent and protests. Parliaments will increasingly elect social democratic parties, and democratic majorities will vote for restrictions on entrepreneurship. Increasing workers’ self-managementindustrial democracy and regulatory institutions would evolve non-politically into “liberal capitalism”. Thus, the intellectual and social climate needed for thriving entrepreneurship will be replaced by some form of “laborism”. This will exacerbate “creative destruction” (a borrowed phrase to denote an endogenous replacement of old ways of doing things by new ways), which will ultimately undermine and destroy the capitalist structure.

Schumpeter emphasizes throughout this book that he is analyzing trends, not engaging in political advocacy.[32]


Schumpeter identified innovation as the critical dimension of economic change.[39] He argued that economic change revolves around innovation, entrepreneurial activities, and market power. He sought to prove that innovation-originated market power can provide better results than the invisible hand and price competition. He argued that technological innovation often creates temporary monopolies, allowing abnormal profits that would soon be competed away by rivals and imitators. These temporary monopolies were necessary to provide the incentive for firms to develop new products and processes.[39]

Tyler Cowin – Marginal Revolution (one of my favorite contemporary economists -Blog – HERE – Open Courses – HERE –  Podcast HERE)  covers Schumpeter – HERE


The Trees – Getty Lee

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
And they’re quite convinced they’re right
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade?
There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘oppression!’
And the oaks, just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
And saw

Yale Open Courses

The study of economics fascinates me because it wraps up the core of human nature and sprinkles in how societies organize (sociology) and how societies chose to govern themselves (politics).  This lecture series on Schumpeter and Marx by Yale’s Professor Rae is worth a watch.  Technology and innovation has shown to change markets and societies for generations.  America is based on this creative destruction idea, and just when you think we are at our darkest moment (Civil War, Great Depression, Cuban Missle Crisis, Watergate) we find a way to pull a rabbit out of the hat and re-tool our economy and society.  I’m crafting 12 arguments that point to a demise of the American experience.  Can we creatively destroy and rebuild? Marx has been proven wrong and Schumpter’s theories on intellectuals and the interests of the corporation have bent our country but not broken it.

PLSC 270: Capitalism: Success, Crisis, and Reform -Lecture 4 – Karl Marx, Joseph Schumpeter, and an Economic System Incapable of Coming to Rest

Professor Rae relates Marxist theories of monopoly capitalism to Schumpeter’s theory of creative destruction. Both Marx and Schumpeter agree that capitalism is a system that is “incapable of standing still,” and is always revising (or revolutionizing) itself. Professor Rae critiques Marxist determinism and other features of Marx’s theories. To highlight Schumpeterian creative destruction, Professor Rae uses examples from technological revolutions in energy production since water-powered mills. Marx’s labor theory of value is discussed. Professor Rae highlights aspects overlooked by Marx, including supply and demand for labor, labor quality, and the role of capital in economic growth. Professor Rae also notes problems with Marx’s predictions, including the prediction that the revolution will occur in the most advanced capitalist economies. Professor Rae also discusses Marx’s theory of the universal class, the end of exploitation, and the withering away of the state. – Lecture 5 is continued HERE.

Faith and Spirituality – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

Faith and Spirituality

First, an amazing podcast series from Krista Tippett, On Being:

Click Here – Living in Deep Time

Men of all ages say Richard Rohr has given them a new way into spiritual depth and religious thought — through his writing and retreats. This conversation with the Franciscan spiritual teacher delves into the expansive scope of his ideas: male formation and what he calls “father hunger”; why contemplation is as magnetic to people now, including millennials, as it’s ever been; and how to set about taking the first half of life — the drive to “successful survival” — all the way to meaning.

White Evangelical Christians helped secure the election of President Trump. Many said that his views on abortion were decisive, overriding concerns they had on other matters. But to be Evangelical is not one thing, even on abortion. This conversation about Christianity and politics with three generations of Evangelical leaders — Shane Claiborne, Greg Boyd, and the late Chuck Colson — feels more relevant in the wake of the 2016 election than it did when we first recorded it. We offer this searching dialogue, which is alive anew, to a changed political landscape.

Paul Harvey – If I Where The Devil 1965

We’ve played this on air and it sparked a great discussion. The radio legend, Paul Harvey broadcast this commentary in 1965. It’s titled, if  If I Were The Devil. Sort of spooky.

Bishop Fulton.J.Sheen was an early adaptor of preaching on TV. He started in the 1950’s and with a chalk board and a dry wit. Bishop Sheen informed Americans about how faith should work in your life. Almost 60 years later, his message is still fun and informative. You can bet he was Classically educated.

Salpointe Graduation homily from Fr. Bill Harry – HERE

That is what the last four years have been about: learning how you can participate in building the Kingdom of God! You have changed an awful lot in the last four years—perhaps more than you will change in any other four-year period of your life. And all of the energy of Salpointe—its staff, its teachers, its administration— has been focused on making sure that you are prepared and passionate about getting out there and doing your part in building the Kingdom.

You might be saying: “That is what I was preparing for these last 4 years? Are you kidding me? I was focused on getting into a good college. I was focused on making the team.” True. You were. Those are important as well. But behind that we were focused on getting you prepared to go out into the world and to make a genuine difference. Not to take your place in that world. But to create your place in our world using your God given talents.

We need more people in our world who are willing to listen to other peoples’ stories, to get to know the life experiences of others and then respond with their whole hearts. Don’t just give lip service to your faith in God. Allow your faith to transform you. Grow to love the people you inhabit this planet with— they might think differently than you do, they might look different than you, they might speak a language you cannot understand, they might even wish you harm— but each human being on this planet is created in the image and likeness of God and each one is a child of God. And when you come to realize that and believe it and live your life in accordance with what you believe, everything will be different. Although society may be saying you need to conform, you will know exactly what you need to do to stay true to who you are!

I think your teachers would agree that if you walk out of here today conscious of who you are and what you stand for, with a passion for living justly and peacefully, then you and we have done our jobs. But if you can only recite mathematical formulas or the dates of major world events, or only know how to play a sport, but have no empathy for those around you, then someone has not done their job successfully.

The Class of 2017. Sitting in front of me this morning are not only future doctors but, I hope and I pray, doctors who are going to help care for all, especially those who can least afford it. In front of me are not only future economist but, I hope and I pray, economists who will work to build a economic structure that is fair to all. In front of me are not only future creators of new tools for communication but creators who will renew our ability to communicate the Truth. In front of me are not only future teachers but teachers who will teach to enable young people to reach their dreams. In front of me are some who will live their faith commitment radically— so that our world really does have a chance of transforming back into the loving and just world that God first created. Whatever your career you choose, choose that career  because it will allow you to live intentionally, witnessing to God’s presence within yourself.

This is what it means to be a truly loving human being. And that knowledge of how and that commitment to do good is the enduring gift that I hope you take away from Salpointe Catholic! As _______ proclaimed to us from the beautiful reading from Ecclesiastes— there is a time for everything. Now is your time!

Congratulations to each of you and to your families. May God continue to bless you each day of your life—as you seek to do God’s will in our world.        Amen.

Conversations with Tyler – Learn about Judaism – HERE

Conversations with Tyler is another one of my favorite thinkers. His long form podcast takes eclectic thinkers at the top of their particular field and shoots all sorts of questions on their familiar topic and many others. This is one that made me understand the Jewish faith a lot better.

This interview on Econotalk is Tyler explaining how the creative aspects that once fuel America is not as dynamic – HERE


Interesting lecture. Not verified but there are some interesting historic components.   Fall of Western Civilization.

This lecture by Bill Federer on his book is more historic – Part 1Part 2Part 3

Does God exist?

The debate between  Dennis Prager (Author & Radio Host) and Michael Shermer (Publisher, Skeptic Magazine) is well worth a listen. Host, Dave Rubin discusses why the guests believe or don’t believe, atheism vs agnosticism, morality and God, the individual vs the collective, the founding fathers and their view on religion and God, and much more. Great discussion that probably won’t change your mind, but it helped me see both sides.

Another good one from Prager – HERE

 A Historic Analysis of Jesus.

Dr Bart Ehrman is a professor of religious studies that have written many books on the interpretation of the New Testament.  Some of his arguments are a bit out there but his theory about Jesus as a spiritual leader that was grounded in Jewish tradition who referenced and embraced the Old Testament over and over.  His analysis of what Jesus’ motives that ultimately lead ot his crucifixion is worth a listen.  After this lecture,  the proof of Jesus as a man, as a spiritual leader and Son of God is clear on many levels.

Challenging Science – Berlinski

I’m placing this in the Faith category for no other reason than I’m not sure where this debate should actually go.  David Berlinski: Rebelious Intellectual Defies Darwinism is a thoughtful discussion on challenging strongly held scientific beliefs. Darwinism and evolutionary theory is a widely held belief.  I’m not into this topic enough to denounce the Intelligent Design Theory or the Darwinian Theory of Design.  Berlinski puts out some great arguments that challenge the Darwinian theory.  Towards the end of this interview, Berlinski talks about the role of science not challenging itself. Groupthink and money play a large role in scientific communities.  From global warming causes to evolution, I believe it’s healthy to challenge and question the underlining science OF EVERYTHING.

‘Yes scientists do agree that the Darwinian Theory explains the origin of life BUT, here are some points you should consider in adopting this theory:

  1. The theory doesn’t have any substance to it.
  2.  It’s proposperous
  3.  It’s not supported by the evidence
  4.  The fact that all the biologists are in agreement on the theory could be explained by some solid Marxist interpretation that they are all concerned about their economic interest. “

Intersection of Science and Faith from Dr. Stephen Barr

I love how Barr sums this up. It’s the ‘can you see the forest through the trees argument’. Of course, physics and chemistry and biology have their place. Of course, the laws of these disciplines can be observed and quantified.  But how did those laws mysteriously line up? Who created the natural laws?

In 2016, Professor Barr helped found the Society of Catholic Scientists, an “international lay organization” intended to “foster fellowship among Catholic scientists and to witness to the harmony of faith and reason.”

BQO – Today, science and religion are often thought of as irreconcilable — by many secularists and believers alike — even though, historically, there was a tight and often fruitful connection between them (as St. Albert illustrates). How do you understand the role of Catholicism in today’s secular world of science?

That science and religion are considered irreconcilable by many people today would have surprised the great figures of the Scientific Revolution, including Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Boyle, and Newton, all of whom were devoutly religious. Kepler announced one of his great discoveries with a prayer: “I thank thee, Lord God our Creator, that thou allowest me to see the beauty in thy work of creation.” That continued to be the attitude of most scientists up to and including Faraday and Maxwell, the two greatest physicists of the nineteenth century. They did not see their work as opposed to faith, but rather as revealing the splendor of God’s creation. We in SCS have the same view, expressed in our motto: “speculatio cum devotione, investigatio cum admiratione” (knowledge with devotion, research with wonder). That is what we as Catholic scientists can bring to our work.

Science, however, is for everyone, whether religious and non-religious, because it is based on reason and a desire for truth, which are given to all human beings as creatures made in the image of God. One of the glories of science has been that people of very different backgrounds and beliefs work side by side, united by their love of science. Science has always been “secular” in that sense. But the idea that science should be the exclusive preserve of “secularists” is a recent and narrow-minded idea.


In modern science, all natural explanations are based ultimately on the laws of physics. But if you ask why the universe should have laws, especially laws of such mathematical beauty, depth, and richness, absolute naturalism has no answer. If you think that behind those laws there must be a Lawgiver, and behind that subtle mathematics there must be a Mind, then you are drawn to go beyond pure naturalism.

A common mistake is to think that God and Nature are in competition, so that something eitherhas a natural explanation or is caused by God. That is like saying that an event in a play is either caused by other events in the play or is caused by the play’s author. It is as silly as being forced to decide whether Polonius died because he was stabbed by Hamlet or because Shakespeare wrote the play that way. God is the Author of nature and nature’s laws are his laws. So natural explanations really lead to God, not away.

Stoic’s Come Through Again

‘other vices affect our judgment, anger affects our sanity: others come in mild attacks and grow unnoticed, but men’s minds plunge abruptly into anger. … Its intensity is in no way regulated by its origin: for it rises to the greatest heights from the most trivial beginnings.’

So, here is my modern Stoic guide to anger management, inspired by Seneca’s advice:

Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.
Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.
Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.
Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.
Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an effect on our moods.
Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.
Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.
Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.
Practise cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.
Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.

From Anger Is Temporary Madness – by Massimo Pigliucci


I caught an interview on the Eric Metaxis show with Dr. Mary Neal, an Orthopedic spine surgeon, and UCLA medical and USC medical residency.  Dr. Neal was underwater for 30 minutes. Dr. Neal died and went to heaven…literally.  Her story changed Faith to Reality for Dr. Neal and her message from God was to return to earth and tell this story. She had four young children and a great life on earth. She recounts her journey to heaven and how we wanted to stay. Her job now is to tell this story to the world. Longer interview/lecture – HERE  and HERE and Oprah Own and  Oprah  and long version HERE




Privileged Species?

Yep, take a listen to Michael Denton on the complexities of life on earth. Random? I think not…

Man’s Search For Meaning – Victor Frankl

“Don’t aim at success— the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run— in the long run, I say!— success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”


A 2005 address championing the liberal arts might be the best graduation speech of all time


America’s colleges have already selected impressive graduation speakers this year, landing leaders in business, entertainment, and politics.

But historically, one speech repeatedly makes various “Best Commencement Speeches” lists: one from late novelist David Foster Wallace, given at Kenyon College in 2005.

Wallace — a graduate of the elite liberal arts college Amherst — told students that a liberal-arts education teaches them how to be self-aware and how to think.

A liberal arts education, Wallace said, teaches you “to be just a little less arrogant. To have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties.”

“Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out,” he added, “totally wrong and deluded.”

Harking back to his original assertion that their education taught them how t o think, Wallace said, “The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it. This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.” – Full 22 minute commencement – HERE


I have to sprinkle in a little Jordon Peterson.  Here Peterson explains the story of the Buddha.  This ties in with so many themes I continue to be drawn to;



Political Thought – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

Political Thought

Nixon, My Second LEAST Favorite President

Blind ambition, narcissism, a man grabbed and consumed by power, you name it, Nixon suffered from it.  From early in 1968 where he was behind extending the Vietnam war to make Johnson look bad;

There was no doubt, said Johnson, that Nixon’s campaign team was trying to scupper peace talks aimed at ending the Vietnam War. They were afraid that peace in Vietnam would help Nixon’s Democratic rival, Hubert Humphrey, to clinch the election.

Johnson threatened to go public with his information. The election was just days away.

But Johnson never did go public. He received an emphatic denial from Nixon in person the next day. And perhaps more importantly, Johnson never had the definitive evidence he needed tying Nixon himself to the efforts being made by his campaign team.

A new discovery by historian John Farrell might well be the smoking gun that Johnson needed. It’s published in The New York Times.

The peace process in 1968 was real. The Soviet Union had persuaded North Vietnam to come to the table, the US just needed to deliver South Vietnam. At the beginning of November, both sides made goodwill gestures to prepare for the talks. The Communists stopped shelling cities and halted attacks across the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam. Johnson ordered a halt to the massive US aerial bombing campaign. “We’ve had 24 hours of relative peace,” he said in that Nov. 2 call to Nixon’s friend, Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Ill.). “If Nixon keeps the South Vietnamese away from the conference, well, that’s going to be his responsibility. Up to this point, that’s why they’re not there.”

To starting of the EPA, OSHA, enacted price and wage controls and probably the most devastating short term move any President could make was that he took the US off the gold standard and cut a deal to make sure the Petro-Dollar was adopted by all oil producing nations.  Frustrated by a slow economy going into the 1972 elections (the Watergate election), Nixon removed America from the gold standard and forever put the central bankers and the federal reserve in charge of running up the largest deficits in history.  With Kissinger at his side, securing the Dollars place as the primary currency for the trade of oil gave America a 40 year run of prosperity. Prosperity at a cost.  The constant battles and interventions in the middle east are always in the name of protecting American interests….the petrodollar.

“Can you imagine what this man would have been like if somebody would have loved him?” —Henry Kissinger

Here’s one of the biggest decisions made that Nixon made. It was an election year, we were leading into the Watergate scandal and Nixon knew he’s get a temporary bump from leaving the gold standard. Fast forward 40 years and we can see what the fiat money system has morphed into.  My favorite line ‘the many responsible lenders of the International banking community’.

Big Thinkers, Great Political Debators

Mark Steyn is probably one of the best communicators I’ve ever watched. His ability to pull together topics and deliver them in a fun and impactful way is second to none. I find Peggy Noonan’s ability to communicate in writing similar to Steyn’s ability to communicate verbally. They paint a picture with their words. It’s an amazing skill.

William S Buckley – Firing Line

Dig into Firing Line with William S. Buckley, the use of language and the art of DEBATE is absolutely beautiful to watch. To think that Buckley had this platform for so many years tells me how deep society was and how much of a hunger there still is a good and civilized debate.  In an arena where Bill Moyers and Charlie Rose had similar formats,  Buckley was in a class of his own. His ability to go deep and give an opponent a biting backhand with a smile. This particular exchange between Christopher Hitchings and Buckley is legendary.  Jump in about 15 minutes to really geek out.
More classic Buckley – HERE –

The Vidal v Buckley debates are legendary, there is actually a pretty good documentary about their life long dance.

Buckley v Alinsky – HERE. 

His show Firing Line was un-produced and simple. Not cuts, a doorbell meant it was time for a commercial. The show was just Buckley asking pointed questions with thought leaders of the day. Buckley’s interview with Billy Graham in 1969 about the role of Christianity in society and it’s decline is fascinating….especially since these same discussions are happening almost 50 years later.

Two giants dance.


Politics and Business – Rent Seeking and the Decay of Markets

One of my favorite series to learn from is the PBS Frontline. Here’s a great one on the DEBT BOMB (the first chapter in my book), and crony capitalism THE WARNING (the 5th chapter in my book), and LOSING IRAQ and RUMSFELD’s WAR (the 8th chapter in my book on our role as police force for the world) and TOP SECRET AMERICA (the 4th chapter in my book on bureaucracy gone wild). Perhaps the most important Frontline episodes were the inside connection between Wall Street and Washington DC. The players are in and out of Goldman Sachs and the highest levels of government.  The episode, INSIDE THE MELTDOWN is probably the scariest and most troubling episode of them all. It’s troubling because it lays bare how government policy (everyone needs to own a home) and human greed collided and almost took the entire world back to the Great Depression era.  Pay close attention to the role of Moral Hazard.  Suffice to say, Moral Hazard is still an issue and the inflated markets are much much bigger than they were in 2008/2009.

I’m really enjoying the large discussions and topics covered in The Art of Manliness

AoM is a blog about growing up well, aimed at men and their unique challenges and interests. We explore all things manly — from the serious and philosophical to the practical and fun. We seek to uncover how to live with grandpa’s swagger, virtue, and know-how in the present age by wedding the best of the past to the best of the present. The end goal is to create a synergy of tradition and modernity that offers men a way forward and signposts on how to live an excellent, flourishing life.

Ultimately, the Art of Manliness aims to encourage our readers to be better husbands, fathers, brothers, citizens — a new generation of great men..


Here’s a few of my favorite episodes:

Tyler Cowen, one of my favorite economists. The Complacent Class

Honor, Courage and Themos, Plato’s Ideas of Manliness – Angela Hobbs

Make Your Bed Change The World – Navy Seal – Admiral William McCraven  – First saw McCraven at the UT Commencement Address

Ancient Honor – Dr. Barton

What Ancient Greeks and Romans Thought About Manliness – Ted Landen

The Road to Character – David Brooks – I bought the book after this interview.

The Untold Story of Jimmy Stewart in WWII – Robert Matzen – A man at the top of the world …… turns to service. Great story!


Justice: Free To Choose

Highly recommend Harvard’s hugely popular series by Professor Michael Sandel. His lectures are sold out, his ideas behind morality, markets, and choice really make you think. Here’s a sample, I highly recommend if you like what you hear you keep listening to his larger body of work. Here are a few other interesting lectures from Sandel -Lecture on Adam Smith (jump in about 15 min for the free form and Q&A) – HERE – A great sampling of Prof Sandel – HERE  and the lost art of political debate – HERE

Meet Senator Ben Sasse

Thank goodness we have Senators like this elected. Stumbled upon him and want to read his book :

The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis 

He’s sitting is Daniel Patrick Monyihan’s desk. He is a history guy, turn around pro and former President of a University. Born in 1972, a new US Senator from Nebraska and he’s talking about Tocqueville, the meaning of work, and the inability to for leaders to solve the big problems.  He calls out parents for not transmitting work ethic to the kids. He calls American’s in perpetual adolescents because of our tremendous affluence. We’ve forgotten how to grow up. Look at the college experience, student loans and you can see his ideas in reality.


Here’s another deep dive from Sen. Sasse….the topics on work, raising kids and the future are exceptional:


 Freakonomics Radio – Dig In And Think

Freakonomics Radio is one of the more fun and informative franchises (podcast, book, video) that I enjoy listening to. They dig deep into topics that are odd and quirky but put together paint an important picture of the big ideas. They start with a big question and then visit thought leaders and answer that question.  I am particularly intrigued by their new Earth 2.0. The hypothetical question is; ‘What would you do differently if you could reboot society?’

Earth 2.0: What Would Our Economy Look Like?

If we could reboot the planet and create new systems and institutions from scratch, would they be any better than what we’ve blundered our way into through trial and error? This is the first of a series of episodes that we’ll release over several months. Today we start with — what else? — economics. You’ll hear from Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, the poverty-fighting superhero Jeff Sachs; and many others.

Earth 2.0: Is Income Inequality Inevitable?

In pursuit of a more perfect economy, we discuss the future of work; the toxic remnants of colonization; and whether giving everyone a basic income would be genius — or maybe the worst idea ever. Tyler Cowen makes an appearance.

Here’s some of my other favorite episodes – Duckworth and GRIT – HERE and Why is Life So Hard – HERE – Could Resolving This One Problem Solve All Others? – HERE

HERE‘s how I think ex-Presidents should act when out of office.  Want to know why our politics is so divided. It culminated with eight years of THIS sort of rhetoric.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Since the confirmation hearings of Judge Bork, the tit for tat battles has been ratcheting up in America. Sprinkle in redistricting that makes Congressional seats lifetime jobs, huge money from Unions and Corporations flooding politics, the decay of States Rights, fractured and biased news bubbles and an electorate that will un-elect anyone who tells them ‘no’ and is it any wonder we are at this point in American politics?

Weighing in on the Trump Phenomenon. +

Seven years on the air, covering the play by play of American politics I consider myself more up on current events than most.  I predicted a Romney win in 2012 and predicted a Trump loss in 2016. So much for a career as a political prognosticator. Here’s the most important reason for a Trump presidency…HERE.  What we’ve seen over the past 20 years is an abdication of power by the Congress and a concentration of power in the White House. We’ve witnessed an erosion of States rights and a runaway entitlement system fueling huge deficit spending. Voters ping-pong back and forth looking for the new Hope and Change. We are looking for the next emperor to Make America Great Again.  Sadly the power grabs by the Presidency has gone way beyond the visions of the Founders of America. The one remaining check to an imperial Presidency is the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the ultimate referee and the Constitution is the playing field. Is the foundation of what our government a living breathing document or should it be taken literally as written over 240 years ago. That decision happens at the Supreme Court. Look no further than the Affordable Care Act decision that compels every American to buy a product. Talk about commerce clause overreach. Roberts had to bend and contort the intent of the Congress and reclassify the bill as a Tax just to keep the law intact.  There will be other Presidents that push for a Patriot Act or attempt to spy on their citizens. There will be more Obama’s and Trumps that get elected by angry mobs. The Supreme Court is our last best hope to call a strike a strike and a ball a ball.

John Cass – Chicago Tribune

Now America is reaping what the elites have sown.

Months and months before the presidential election, I began thinking of Trump not as a cause of American disruption but a symptom of it. And as much as I don’t like quoting myself, here is something from March 2016:

“It’s obvious the American political system is breaking down. It’s been crumbling for some time now, and the establishment elite know it and they’re properly frightened. Donald Trump, the vulgarian at their gates, is a symptom, not a cause. Hillary Clinton and husband Bill are both cause and effect.”

The establishment pushed the wars and free trade and their partners in the corporate-government matrix agreed to the sending off of capital (and jobs) to foreign lands.

For all the talk of partisanship, Democrats and Republicans were the two horns on the head of the goat.

And Trump voters? They were forgotten, left behind, mocked as deplorable.

Would Trump the barbarian have been elected president of the United States even 10 or 20 years ago?

No. He seems determined to prove he is socially unfit for the office. His rude personal style ruffles the feathers of many who see him as a pretender or a huckster. But he’s not dumb.

And neither are the almost 63 million people who voted for him. They’ve long been dismissed as stupid or unlettered or unsophisticated. They’d been written off as pathologically angry by the media that cleave to the establishment and see distrust in government as some kind of mental disorder.

I grew up with these people. They don’t deserve the shaming that comes their way.

They were betrayed. And all they want, really, is meaningful work and to not be told they’re idiotic or hateful simply because they dare support traditional values, and that a nation should shape its culture by controlling its own borders.

They knew Trump was loud, they knew he was vulgar, they knew he was trouble. And they voted for him because they wanted him to make trouble.

They wanted him to punch the Washington elites in the mouth, to kick them and stomp on them as they had been kicked and stomped on. They detest the ruling elites in the modern Versailles so much that they installed a character like Trump.

Fixating on Trump doesn’t really address this.

And you might want to ask yourselves, what happens 10 years from now, with the next Trump, from the right or from the left?

Because things aren’t going back to normal, are they?

Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast, previewing the 2017 Printer’s Row Lit Fest with Elizabeth Taylor, the Chicago Tribune’s literary editor: http://wgnradio.com/category/wgn-plus/thechicagoway/


The author of Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Tales is on Bloomberg trying to explain the Donald Trump phenomenon. It’s worth a listen.


Education – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition


Education and How To Fix America;
1990 Teacher of The Year Acceptance Speech

Check out John Taylor Gato’s speech in 1990 as he was accepting the New York State Teacher of the Year Award. Almost 30 years ago Gato was bringing out the role of parenting and critical thinking in American education. Some of his ideas are a bit much but it shows the power of the public education system forming our country. (Read it all HERE).  Some of the excerpts that jumped out at me include:

Our school crisis is a reflection of this greater social crisis. We seem to have lost our identity. Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent – nobody talks to them anymore and without children and old people mixing in daily life a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name “community” hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that. In some strange way school is a major actor in this tragedy just as it is a major actor in the widening guilt among social classes.

The hunger for community is very pronounced in society today. The community used to take place in churches, in neighborhoods and in civic club and events. As our churches emptied and security concerns keep kids indoors and the role of service fades in our busy society we are seeing a rise in anit-depressants, loneliness, and opioid drug abuse.  As humans, we evolved to be social and adapt in groups others to survive.  One of my favorite books by Jonathan Haidt, Righteous Mind, explains from an evolutionary point of view why we developed morality.

Here is another curiosity to think about. The homeschooling movement has quietly grown to a size where one and a half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents. Last month the education press reported the amazing news that children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers in their ability to think.

And if you take the references of Televisions and shift them to ‘screen time’ to encompass the games and phones in a child’s life, this quote, again from 30 years ago, starts getting really scary;

Two institutions at present control our children’s lives – television and schooling, in that order. Both of these reduce the real world of wisdom, fortitude, temperance, and justice to a never-ending, non-stopping abstraction. In centuries past the time of a child and adolescent would be occupied in real work, real charity, real adventures, and the realistic search for mentors who might teach what you really wanted to learn. A great deal of time was spent in community pursuits, practicing affection, meeting and studying every level of the community, learning how to make a home, and dozens of other tasks necessary to become a whole man or woman.

But here is the calculus of time the children I teach must deal with:

Out of the 168 hours in each week, my children sleep 56. That leaves them 112 hours a week out of which to fashion a self.

My children watch 55 hours of television a week according to recent reports. That leaves them 57 hours a week in which to grow up.

My children attend school 30 hours a week, use about 6 hours getting ready, going and coming home, and spend an average of 7 hours a week in homework – a total of 45 hours. During that time, they are under constant surveillance, have no private time or private space, and are disciplined if they try to assert individuality in the use of time or space. That leaves 12 hours a week out of which to create a unique consciousness. Of course, my kids eat, and that takes some time – not much, because they’ve lost the tradition of family dining, but if we allot 3 hours a week to evening meals, we arrive at a net amount of private time for each child of 9 hours.

It’s not enough. It’s not enough, is it? The richer the kid, or course, the less television he watches but the rich kid’s time is just as narrowly proscribed by a somewhat broader catalog of commercial entertainments and his inevitable assignment to a series of private lessons in areas seldom of his actual choice.

And these things are oddly enough just a more cosmetic way to create dependent human beings, unable to fill their own hours, unable to initiate lines of meaning to give substance and pleasure to their existence. It’s a national disease, this dependency and aimlessness, and I think schooling and television and lessons – the entire Chautauqua idea – has a lot to do with it.

Think of the things that are killing us as a nation – narcotic drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all – lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy – all of them are addictions of dependent personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce.

And what do we do to correct the problem:

It’s high time we looked backwards to regain an educational philosophy that works. One I like particularly well has been a favorite of the ruling classes of Europe for thousands of years. I use as much of it as I can manage in my own teaching, as much, that is, as I can get away with given the present institution of compulsory schooling. I think it works just as well for poor children as for rich ones.

At the core of this elite system of education is the belief that self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge. Everywhere in this system, at every age, you will find arrangements to place the child alone in an unguided setting with a problem to solve. Sometimes the problem is fraught with great risks, such as the problem of galloping a horse or making it jump, but that, of course, is a problem successfully solved by thousands of elite children before the age of ten. Can you imagine anyone who had mastered such a challenge ever lacking confidence in his ability to do anything? Sometimes the problem is the problem of mastering solitude, as Thoreau did at Walden Pond, or Einstein did in the Swiss customs house.

Independent study, community service, adventures in experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships, the one day variety or longer – these are all powerful, cheap and effective ways to start a real reform of schooling. But no large-scale reform is ever going to work to repair our damaged children and our damaged society until we force the idea of “school” open – to include family as the main engine of education.

There you have it.  Family, experience, time to think, apprenticeship, a study of history…and on and on. All pretty basic and pretty cheap stuff to fix our nation.

For more on the state of education and our countries future, I caught an interview done by AEI with a panel of military retired Generals and Admirals. (Military Readiness and Early Childhood; What’s The Link?)

Gatto has similar beliefs in the future of work and the skills needed for a future society as Seth Godin in his book Linchpin.  When I read it my ideas of what children need to prepare themselves for the future shifted. It’s not the value of writing a five paragraph essay or understanding the Pythagorean theorem, instead, the skills needed for tomorrow have to do with critical thinking, values and virtues and a heavy dose of Grit (Angela Duckworth -Grit)



(Ethos3) For years there has been only two teams in the workforce: management and labor. Godin proposes that a third team now exists: the linchpin.

A linchpin does not need a map to follow. A linchpin creates opportunity and vision without a manual.

The linchpin brings humanity, connection and art to work everyday.

Every person has the potential to bring his or her humanity and artistry to work, and become a linchpin.

Godin proposes that part of the human brain, the amygdala, resists anything that seems risky or dangerous, including being bold in business. The amygdala is the reason that there are not more linchpins.

Godin’s list of what makes a linchpin indispensable:

  1. Providing a unique interface between members of the organization
  2. Delivering unique creativity
  3. Managing a situation of great complexity
  4. Leading customers
  5. Inspiring staff
  6. Providing deep domain knowledge
  7. Possessing a unique talent

The role of the Liberal Arts in Education.

Epstein and Ferguson explain how a well-rounded education. In this day and age of transition, I believe our education system needs to adapt to focusing on generalist, critical thinkers.


Dear Tech World, STEMism is Hurting Us

In a blistering assault on the value of the liberal arts many months ago, former Sun Microsystem CEO Vinod Khoshla offered anything but nuance in his opening indictment: “Little of the material taught in Liberal Arts programs today is relevant to the future.”

The rest of his article is a tirade against majoring in the liberal arts.

However, Khoshla’s own field, tech, is full of people who’ve devoted their university days to the liberal arts:

    • Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube) majored in history
    • Reid Hoffman (founder of Linkedin) majored in philosophy
    • Stewart Butterfield (CEO of Slack) majored in philosophy
    • Alexa Hirschfeld (cofounder of Paperless Post) majored in Classics
    • Parker Harris (cofounder of Salesforce) majored in English Literature
  • Jack Ma (cofounder of Alibaba) majored in English….

Steve Jobs understood the advantage of incorporating fields that focus on pushing the boundaries of human knowledge. His obsession with beautiful fonts stemmed from a course on calligraphy at Reed College. As he once said, “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”

Our world overflows with talented minds that have achieved entrepreneurial success aided by a value for visual aesthetics and trained in literature, history, and philosophy. This is not news for the business and tech world. Yet whenever STEM evangelists in tech preach the gospel of STEM, they inevitably trash the “soft disciplines.”…

A company comprised of people with HEAT backgrounds will produce diversity of thought — the yeast of innovative thinking. Training in psychology, anthropology, art, literature, history, philosophy, Classics, and journalism are skills that will advance innovative and creative thinking in an organization.

Scott Hartley articulates not just the value of the humanities in the tech world but the vital role the liberal arts will play in its future:

“When we talk about ‘software eating the world,’ there’s a flipside to that. Software is touching every aspect of our lives, which in turn means that we require more diversity of thought, passion, and methodology to apply that tech meaningfully to the biggest problems we face. Code is necessary, but not sufficient. Lost in the drumbeat of STEM is the human context.”

Thomas Sowell – Vulgar Pride of Intellectuals

The Value of Work – Blue Collar America

 In America, there’s an assumption that the most meaningful careers are found in office buildings, among those taking part in the information economy rather than in the nitty gritty of blue collar trades. To be eligible for these desirable white collar jobs, you need to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans so you can go to college for 4 years to get a degree. The sacrifice is always worth it though, or so we’re told.

Dismantling America – Thomas Sowell

For the person who lives a virtuous life, of steadfastness and good judgment, happiness is always within reach

Massimo Pigliucci

Seneca wrote a number of tragedies that directly inspired William Shakespeare, but was also one of the main exponents of the Stoic school of philosophy, which has made a surprising comeback in recent years. Stoicism teaches us that the highest good in life is the pursuit of the four cardinal virtues of practical wisdom, temperance, justice and courage – because they are the only things that always do us good and can never be used for ill. It also tells us that the key to a serene life is the realization that some things are under our control and others are not: under our control are our values, our judgments, and the actions we choose to perform. Everything else lies outside of our control, and we should focus our attention and efforts only on the first category.

Yep. Teach, study and learn the above and good things will happen.

School Choice

Listen to this discussion by Eva Moskowitz, the CEO and leader of Success Academy Charter Schools. I knew of the NY charter network and their high results but after listening to Moskowitz’ journey to believe that school choice was the solution to failing schools I have a deeper appreciation for her work.  Eva started out as a NY City Councilperson and made it her mission to improve outcomes in public schools. After run-ins with the teacher’s unions, she embarked on building out the Success Academy network. A dozen years later, her system has 40+ schools with thousands of kids receiving a top-notch education.  Give the lecture a listen;


What’s The Cost-Benefit Of  A College Degree Today?

A friend of mine, Frank Antenori weigh in;


Elitists, crybabies and junky degrees

A Trump supporter explains rising conservative anger at American universities.

Washington Post – November 25, 2017

Antenori said many young people would be better off attending more affordable two-year community colleges that teach useful skills and turn out firefighters, electricians and others. Obama promoted that same idea, launching new efforts to boost community college and workplace training. But Antenori said he believes Obama pushed young people too hard toward four-year degrees.

“The establishment has created this thing that if you don’t go to college, you’re somehow not equal to someone else who did,” Antenori said, sitting with his wife, Lesley, at the dining room table in their modest one-story ranch house.

Antenori said when he was in high school in the 1980s, students were directed toward college or vocational training depending on their abilities.

“The mind-set now is that everybody is going to be a doctor,” he said. “Instead of telling a kid whose art sucks, ‘You’re a crappy artist,’ they say, ‘Go follow your dream.’ ”

The Antenoris did not steer their two sons, 23 and 22, toward college, and neither went. One helps at home on the ranch, and the other is enlisted in the Army.

Antenori is just as happy his sons aren’t hanging out with the “weirdos” he reads about on Campus Reform, a conservative website with a network of college reporters whose stated mission is to expose “liberal bias and abuse on America’s campuses.”

In a sign of the intensely partisan climate on campus, its recent headlines include: “Prof wants ‘body size’ added to diversity curricula,” “Students cover free speech wall with vulgar anti-Trump graffiti” and “College Dems leader resigns after declaring hatred of white men.”

The federal government spends $30 billion a year on Pell grants, which help lower-income students, including a large number of minorities, attend college. But studies show that half of Pell grant recipients drop out before earning a degree.

The overall college dropout rate is also high. Only 59 percent of students who start at four-year institutions graduate within six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That leaves millions with debt but no degree.

More than 44 million Americans are paying off student loans, including a growing number of people over 60, according to the Federal Reserve. The average student loan debt of a 2016 college graduate was $37,000. At $1.4 trillion, U.S. student loan debt is now larger than credit card debt.

Antenori said taxpayers should help pay only for degrees, such as those in engineering, medicine or law, that lead directly to jobs. If a student wants to study art or get a “junky” degree in “diversity studies or culture studies,” they should go to a private school, he said.

And he said dropouts who have received government aid should pay it back: “That would be awesome,” he said, flashing a big smile.

“You want to create someone who’s going to be a contributor, not a moocher,” Antenori said. “Go out and generate revenue; that’s what it’s all about.”

David McCullough is one of the best storytellers of all time.  (60 Minutes – Journey Through History) Jump up to about 30:00 to this lecture to hear about the power of education and the type of education I believe in.

I work in a Classical school. The foundation of the curriculum and the pedagogy is history told through great literature.  Why do I think this is one of the best ways to learn about life is capsulated in this clip.

‘This is how the world is….this is how you should behave in it.’  The power of story, the power of literature.


The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.

Society – Deep Thoughts on the ‘WHY?’ of the Human Condition

How Society is Evolving

Abundance leads to apathy. This documentary breaks down the philosophy that Strauss and Howe coined and studied a theory known as the 4th Turning. In a nutshell the 4th Turning is a study of how generations rise and fall in an 80-year cycle. The pair studied history and put forth a fairly important argument. Below is a documentary by Steve Bannon, yep that Steve Bannon that holds a very important seat in the Trump White House.  Al Gore, while Vice President bought copies and sent the books to all the members of Congress in the late 1990’s. So the idea is bipartisan! Below is Neil Howe explaining the theory of the 4th Turning and generational archetypes.


 “Worldwide, people are losing trust in institutions,” he said. “Trust in the military, small business, and police is still there. But trust in democracies, media, and politicians is dropping.”

“When was the last time we saw these changes and the rise of right-wing populism?” he asked. “The 1930s.”

Howe’s statement is borne out of a June 2016 Gallup poll. When poll takers were asked how much confidence they had in institutions in American society, the results were troubling.

Just 15% said they had a “great deal” of confidence in the US Supreme Court. Banks trailed behind at 11%, followed by the criminal justice system (9%), newspapers (8%), and big business (6%).

Meanwhile, just 16% expressed a “great deal” of confidence in the presidency, with that number plummeting to 3% for Congress.

In his keynote, Howe shared his forecasting logic:

“My method is to step back and realize one thing: There is something we know about the world in 20 years’ time. The people who live there will be all of us, 20 years older and playing a different role. I call this ‘looking along the generational diagonal.’”

The critical thing to remember about the current crisis period is that what comes next will be an era in which there is a new order.

According to the Strauss-Howe generational theory, as this new order takes root, individualism declines and institutions are strengthened.

“History is seasonal, and winter is coming,” Howe has said. But after winter, comes spring.

As the American Revolution was followed by calm, as the Civil War was followed by reconstruction and a gilded age, and as the Great Depression and World War II were followed by an age of peace and prosperity, so too will this crisis period be followed by a calm, stable era.

It’s simply a matter of time.

“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:

  • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation)
  • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities
  • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders
  • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction” 

 The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe


Jonathan Haidt is looking closely at society and how things evolve. Jonathan David Haidt is an American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business. His academic specialization is the psychology of morality and the moral emotions. Jonathan’s  book, The Righteous Mind, is a fascinating read on the why’s, how’s and what’s of human morality.  Morality you ask? How boring! Well at the root of all things on earth, at the intersection of all events in history, at the rise and fall of all civilizations, in your daily interactions with your family or at work, morality, and how we as people process our world is the root of everything.

Haidt weaves a theory that is well argued that there are 6 pillars which create the human moral compass.  He looks anthropologically to prove the point that humans are social beings, we use our moral tools to get along and thrive in groups.

The Five Foundations 

1. The Care/Harm Foundation

This foundation makes us sensitive to signs of suffering and need. In order to maximize care and minimize harm, we enact laws that protect the vulnerable. We punish people who are cruel and we care for those in suffering.

2. The Fairness/Cheating Foundation

This foundation leads us to seek out people who will be good collaborators in whatever project we are pursuing. It also leads us to punish people who cheat the system. People on both the right and the left believe in fairness, but they apply this foundation in different ways. Haidt explains:

“On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality – people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes” (161).

3. The Loyalty/Betrayal Foundation

All of us, whether on the right or left, are “tribal” in some sense. We love the people on our team, and loyalty makes our team more powerful and less susceptible to our failure. Likewise, we have a corresponding hatred for traitors. Those who betray our “team” for the other side are worse than those who were already on the other side.

Though Haidt sees both left and right as being tribal, he recognizes “the left tends toward universalism and away from nationalism, so it often has trouble connecting to voters who rely on the Loyalty foundation” (164).

4. The Authority/Subversion Foundation

Authority plays a role in our moral considerations because it protects order and fends off chaos. Haidt explains:

“Everyone has a stake in supporting the existing order and in holding people accountable for fulfilling the obligations of their station” (168).

5. The Sanctity/Degradation Foundation

No matter the era, humans have always considered certain things “untouchable” for being dirty and polluted. The flipside is that we want to protect whatever is hallowed and sacred, whether objects, ideals, or institutions.

People on the right talk about the sanctity of life and marriage. People on the left may mock purity rings.

6. The Liberty/Oppression Foundation

This foundation builds on Authority/Subversion because we all recognize there is such a thing as legitimate authority, but we don’t want authoritarians crossing the line into tyranny. Both the left and the right hate oppression and desire liberty, but for different reasons.

The left wants liberty for the underdogs and victims (coinciding with their emphasis on Fairness/Cheating). The right wants liberty from government intrusion.

He digs into great thinkers like Plato and Hume who intuitively put forth arguments as to who’s in control in our minds, the urge driven ego or the rational moral compass.  Haidt, like Gladwell and Duckworth (below), uses research studies and cross discipline analysis to prove, probably the most important point of all, which is  ‘what makes people tick?’ His use of analogies like the real motivations in people are the large elephant and the part that controls our impulses and urges is the nimble rider help illustrate that to changes someone’s mind and belief system, you can’t appeal to the rider, you must get the elephant to WANT to change.  Haidt references my favorite book of all time, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The Righteous Mind is a great read if you want to get to the root of the ‘why’ of human nature.

Haidt sums up his morality as an evolutionary tool theory:

Dr. Joseph Henrich on Society and how we evolved. Henrich comes from an anthropological view point. His examples are fascinating. Henrich focuses anthropologically and sets up many of the arguments Haidt takes on using both how we evolved and where we are today.

(Cambridge, MA – September 15, 2008) Moral Reasoning 22: Justice, taught by Professor Michael Sandel inside Sanders Theatre at Harvard University. Staff Photo Justin Ide/Harvard News Office

I stumbled on Prof. Michael Sandel from his podcast feed that hasn’t published since 2009. Dr. Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard to a standing room only class or auditorium (here’s his Harvard site). What I liked about the format was that he would take the big issue of the day and take the audience on a journey to explore all sides. His ability to powerful question and to make us students look at our deeply held perceptions in a new way is truly his gift.

Sandel’s ability to formulate a point and weave together history, economics, sociology, and politics to explain our current political situation is exceptional.

Listen to Sandel from a London School of Economic lecture series.  It aired in March of 2017.  Lots of ideas to ponder on where we are as a society – HERE

Here’s The Thing – Alec Baldwin – WNYC

I spent a whole day listening to Baldwin interview leaders in the entertainment industry. First, I know about Alec’s life from a distance and his battles with addictions, anger and how he’s grown as a man. He proves my theory that most men are broken and their journey to be fixed makes them a deeper spirit and someone I am drawn to. Second, his knowledge of his industry, his credentials, and his interview style makes these long form interviews really interesting to watch. He reads his guest, he’s patient, his ability to build rapport and get guests to open up is truly world class.  If you can imagine, celebrities get interviewed for a living.  I’ve never really enjoyed listening to a typical mega star interview. I find them superficial. Not on this show.  Alec is a respected peer and he’s honed his interview skills to a point where he gets big stars to open up, share stories, get to the root of who they are and what makes them tick. I  recommend you dig into HERE’s THE THING. I particularly liked the Jimmy Fallon interview, it’s a great start.

The Jerry Seinfeld interview is pretty special. Funny men through history have typically been some of the highest paid celebrities of their generations. Think Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope, Bill Cosby.  Jerry breaks down his past, dissects the art of stand-up comedy and why he’s found his sweet spot. His conversations about the entertainment industry and his philosophy of doing what you love is pretty inspiring. Jerry exhibits the Grit Philosophy and obviously has the talent. He very clearly explains that the secret of success is tenacity.


Victor Davis Hanson on Great Literature

Victor Davis Hanson explains how the great works of literature, found in Classical Education, is more relevant today than ever.  Of course, I happen to be building out an educational network that focuses on the Classics. The deeper I dig the more I like it. Give it a listen – HERE



Victor Davis Hanson – Book Discussion on Wars from the past and today: HERE

Black Mirror Looks At Society

For a little flashback to the old Twighlight Zone days, the Black Mirror series on Netflix is great. My favorite episode speaks to the world we now live if with likes and selfies and a constant obsession with social media.  All the episodes have a deep meaning but this one is so chilling.


Former Facebook exec says social media is ripping apart society

‘No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth.’

Another former Facebook executive has spoken out about the harm the social network is doing to civil society around the world. Chamath Palihapitiya, who joined Facebook in 2007 and became its vice president for user growth, said he feels “tremendous guilt” about the company he helped make. “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.

Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”



Art of Manliness: Jordon Peterson on Exploring Archetypes – Show Highlights

Why do societies across the world and across time share some of the same archetypes?  Author Jordon Peterson digs into the phenomenon and does his best to explains the patterns and how are time is much like other times. History does repeat itself.

  • How Jordan’s interest in myths percolated

  • A quick primer on Carl Jung’s philosophy

  • How stories and myths give meaning and order to life

  • The Darwinian nature of myths that have been passed down thousands of years

  • How myths — like creation stories, worldwide floods, and apocalyptic events — relate to everyday life

  • The big archetypes found throughout world history and cultures

  • How meta-narratives instruct us and set the pattern for action and behavior

  • Why accepting and even welcoming struggle is important for a flourishing life

  • Why ideologies are dangerous

  • Nietzsche and the death of God

  • Making the case for mythology in a post-secular world

  • Why Jordan’s work attracts far more men than women

  • Why men should forego the pursuit of power and instead seek competence

Once again, Peterson is on with The Art of Manliness.  The theme…Life is hard, set a course, get uncomfortable and do the work.  PLEASE listen to this one, you’ll know exactly where I’m coming from and how I approach this crazy journey;


Charles Murray – AEI Events – Sounds Super Familiar!

I’ve heard of Murray and a couple of his books, in particular, Bell Curve.  This interview (I cued it up to when it really gets good), raps up his life’s work of researching and writing about culture, politics and social science. A few themes that jumped out at me include his education outside of traditional education. While writing Human Character, Murray spent 6 years digging into the arts and music aspects of humanity. His 6 years of research mirror my work in building out the curriculum of a classical model school. The effort was the largest undertaking I’ve ever experienced. It took me forever to research and build out 9 grades and 8 subjects per grade all focused on the great ideas of Western Philosophy.  The experienced made me look at society through the lens of over 5000 years of civilization. The rise and fall of civilizations follow a few distinct patterns.  Murray’s comments about retiring because he’s, basically moving to a spot of hopelessness about the future prospects of America. He comments about wanting to make way for a new brand of Libertarian/Conservative thinkers that aren’t so jaded.  I feel like I’ve been on a similar journey as Murray but I’m about 25 years younger. I relate to his feeling of hopelessness. After years on the radio, waking up and complaining and researching all the nuances of the day, I got to the point where I felt like our country can’t pull out of the tailspin we are in.  I have the fortune to know this and also be given a path to be in a position to impact the bleak future through my current career.

I relate to his belief that community, work purpose, family and faith are critical to happiness. Give this a listen;

Murray then reflects on how politics and policy have changed over the past few decades, and he closed with advice to all those who still hold libertarian or conservative principles: Character is destiny.

A few more Charles Murray interviews:

Author Charles Murray on Bubbles, Marriage and ‘Coming Apart

Charles Murray on Education Myths

Charles Murray on the Stossel show.


Love Mike Rowe

The outrageous costs of getting a 4-year degree is no longer the ticket to a better life.  Society pushes student debt and ballooning University costs as the way to the good life. Education is one thing but good old fashion GRIT will get you a long way as well.  Mike nails it in this interview:


Income Inequality – Haves and Have Nots

Despite spending $15 trillion since LBJ enacted the Great Society legislation, poverty in America still hovers at around 10% of the population.  The why’s and how’s of poverty have been studied by at length. One of the causes that I’ve watched is the use of restrictive land planning enacted by local communities to keep poverty out of their back yard.  I’ve covered the impact of restrictive zoning (in the name of no-growth and environmental preservation) in Pima County and I’ve seen first hand how these policies have driven up the poverty rate.  The green belt surrounding Boulder is another area that I’ve watched make housing less affordable and force the lower rung workers to have to commute 45 minutes plus to get to a low wage job.  This interview by  Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Richard Reeves discusses his book “Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do About It.” The book argues that the top 20 percent of income earners in America are increasingly passing their status to their children, reducing overall social mobility for the bottom 80 percent.  AEI Banter interviews Reeves. In particular notice, the discussion on heavily Democratic run cities that practice their politics as long as it doesn’t impede upon their home values.

Full AEI interview – HERE


You’re seeing economists on the left, right, and center talk a lot about housing now. Could you get into that?

The more I look into housing and the combination of local zoning ordinances, federal tax subsidies in the form of the $70 billion a year mortgage interest and local property deduction, housing wealth, neighborhood schools, and so on, the more I have come to believe that regulation of land is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in the US. The US used to be a big country, it’s getting to be a smaller country in the sense that the areas of economic prosperity and growth are smaller. We’re also getting really expensive. Why? Because of land use regulation. You look at places like LA, which used to be zoned for 10 million people, now 4.6. It didn’t get any smaller. What happened was all these zoning ordinances came around in single family dwellings. And then, it’s totally in my self interest as an upper middle class person to resist any encroachment on that.

I don’t in any way underestimate the political problems here. It does seem to me if we’re willing to say “Look, these people are always going to be self-interested in everything they do and everything they vote for,” there’s no chance of making any kind of progress, so let’s just walk away. Either let’s live with the consequences of a fractured and unfair society or become really egalitarian and move towards very strong redistribution. Because if we’re going to give up on the idea of mobility, well in that case, we better start compensating the losers much more handsomely. I don’t really want to go either of those ways. Because neither of those ways seem to be particularly American. To give up on the idea of mobility and fluidity and meritocracy in the proper sense or to just say, “Look, let’s just accept the fact we’re going to have to take lots of money from these people and give it to the poor people who can’t possibly keep up with them.” Both of those are un-American solutions, so let’s at least try. (Reeve’s Lego YouTube)


Guns and Mass Shootings;

We must own up to the fact that laws and regulations alone cannot produce a civilized society. Morality is society’s first line of defense against uncivilized behavior. Moral standards of conduct have been under siege in our country for over a half a century.

Moral absolutes have been abandoned as guiding principles. We’ve been taught not to be judgmental, that one lifestyle or set of values is just as good as another. We no longer hold people accountable for their behavior and we accept excuse-making. Problems of murder, mayhem, and other forms of anti-social behavior will continue until we regain our moral footing.