2 quick thoughts:

  1. I spoke to a quant investing club at Cal this past week. Lots of seniors in the room so the one bit of advice I wanted to make sure I left them:Optimize for learning when choosing your first job. 2 components to this:

    a) Mind your inputs

    Specifically, surround yourself with the best people you can both in terms of character/courage and ability). Your environment will shape you (tyrannically so — its incentives, values, and culture will be absorbed) so make sure you are deliberate in choosing one.

    b) Get to having real responsibility as fast as possible

    Responsibility = risk and risk accelerates learning. A little more responsibility than you think is appropriate will stretch you — if you want to rise to that you likely will. If you don’t feel stretched, even if you’re making good money, the human capital part of your ledger is being docked. Rest-and-vest attitudes are deceptively expensive in the long run — don’t ever adopt one in your 20s and 30s (and probably not after that either).

  2. Paul Bloom, from his chat with Russ Roberts, on chosen suffering:I think there’s a wise point there, which is: one of the — it may be the major theme of my book — is about the importance of chosen suffering. I have a very different opinion about unchosen suffering, we can talk about that. The importance of choosing suffering as part of a good life is, I think, the projects that make life worth living involve suffering. We often know this ahead of time. And, having kids is such an example. For one thing having kids, at least for me–maybe I’m prone towards anxiety–is really an experiment in feeling mild dread for the rest of my life. Loving such fragile creatures–and they remain fragile even into their 20s — it is like there is a hangman’s noose sitting around your neck all the time. And then they will separate from you. If you do it right, if you are lucky, and if you do it right, these creatures that you love and devoted your life to, will leave you. And, actually, if you do it right they will think a lot less about you than you will think about them, because they’re into their own lives. It’s such a perverse project. And I think it’s a very human one.

    Russ Roberts: Yeah. I agree with that, obviously. What you said reminds me of a quote I heard from Elizabeth Stone. It’s the following: ‘Making the decision to have a child–it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.‘ I thought that captured the kind of anxiety you’re talking about there.

    [Kris — choosing responsibility is a form of chosen suffering. But it’s so obviously a privilege. I am tediously dramatic about this — the kids and I were bringing in the garbage bins to the tune of their whining and I banged them over the head with “you should be happy you get to do this…would you rather not have legs and not be able to be helpful?” I wish I uttered a more sensitive example on the spot but that’s what happened.]

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