Everything should be made as simple as possible

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Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations by Garr Reynolds

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business intelligence, business process, cloud computing, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Hans Rosling, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra

They are able to see both the big picture and the details of the world around them. Humans are natural pattern seekers, so be mindful of this aptitude in yourself and in others. Design is a “whole brain” process. You are creative, practical, rational, analytic, empathetic, and passionate. Foster these skills in yourself and in others. 12. Simplify as much as you can—but no more. It was Albert Einstein who said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Simplicity is our guiding principle. Simplicity means many things to many people. Scores of books have been written on the subject. For our purposes, simplicity means embracing most of the concepts discussed here to avoid the extraneous. It means making the conscious decision to cut unnecessary information and design elements. If you can do it with less, then do it with less.


pages: 226 words: 59,080

Economics Rules: The Rights and Wrongs of the Dismal Science by Dani Rodrik

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airline deregulation, Albert Einstein, bank run, barriers to entry, Bretton Woods, butterfly effect, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, distributed generation, Donald Davies, Edward Glaeser, endogenous growth, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, floating exchange rates, fudge factor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, liquidity trap, loss aversion, low skilled workers, market design, market fundamentalism, minimum wage unemployment, oil shock, open economy, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, rent control, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, South Sea Bubble, spectrum auction, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, trade route, ultimatum game, University of East Anglia, unorthodox policies, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, white flight

Every explanation, hypothesis, causal account is necessarily an idealization; it leaves many things out so that it can focus on the essence. The term “analysis” itself has its roots in Greek, where it signifies the breaking of complex things into simpler elements. It is the antonym of “synthesis,” which refers to combining things. Neither analysis nor synthesis is possible without these simpler components. Simple need not mean simplistic, of course. As Einstein is supposed to have said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” When causal mechanisms interact strongly with each other and cannot be studied in isolation, models do need to include those interactions. If a coffee blight, say, both raises costs of production and disrupts a price-fixing agreement among principal coffee exporters, we cannot analyze the effects of each—the supply shock and the reduced cartelization—separately.


pages: 187 words: 62,861

The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs Over Self-Interest by Yochai Benkler

business process, California gold rush, citizen journalism, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, East Village, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental economics, experimental subject, framing effect, informal economy, invisible hand, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, peer-to-peer, prediction markets, Richard Stallman, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, Toyota Production System, ultimatum game, Washington Consensus, zero-sum game, Zipcar

Some work on cognitive psychology anchors this in “cognitive fluency”—our tendency to remember and hold on to things that are simple to understand and remember. We seem to have a strong preference for, and tend to easily accept, simple explanations that allow for simple solutions (for example, if the crops failed, God must be angry). Even in scientific theory, Einstein famously said: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” A straightforward, uncomplicated theory of human nature that reduces our actions as simple, predictable responses to punishments and incentives and helps us explain away confusing and even disturbing behaviors is incredibly appealing and attractive to the human mind. Our actual lived experience is much more complex. As the influential social scientist Michael Polanyi put it, “we know more than we can tell.”


pages: 300 words: 79,315

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Everything should be made as simple as possible, George Santayana, index card, knowledge worker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex

If you have only twenty or thirty of these, it may be fine to keep them all on one list labeled “Next Actions,” which you’ll review whenever you have any free time. For most of us, however, the number is more likely to be fifty to 150. In that case it makes sense to subdivide your “Next Actions” list into categories, such as “Calls” to make when you’re at a phone or “Project Head Questions” to be asked at your weekly briefing. Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. —Albert Einstein Nonactionable Items You need well-organized, discrete systems to handle the items that require no action as well as the ones that do. No-action systems fall into three categories: trash, incubation, and reference. Trash Trash should be self-evident. Throw away anything that has no potential future action or reference value. If you leave this stuff mixed in with other categories, it will seriously undermine the system.

The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey Into the Dark Side of the Brain by James Fallon

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Bernie Madoff, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, meta analysis, meta-analysis, personalized medicine, phenotype, Rubik’s Cube, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, theory of mind

I am a splitter, and I like having thousands of specific parts to study. But for the sake of simplicity, especially when teaching or writing a paper, I like to organize the brain into a 3×3×3 “Rubik’s Cube” pattern. This twenty-seven-part brain is as simple as I’m willing to go and still be able to sleep at night without violating Einstein’s first law of simplicity in science: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Everyone is familiar with the idea that we have a left brain and a right brain. But this conception is woefully lacking in some important ways. On the next page is a drawing of the side of the brain at the top left, a view of the top of the brain looking down from above, and a view of the medial portion of the brain that you would see if you sliced the brain down the middle.


pages: 242 words: 68,019

Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, From Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo

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Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, assortative mating, Claude Shannon: information theory, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, income per capita, industrial cluster, information asymmetry, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, New Economic Geography, Norbert Wiener, p-value, Paul Samuelson, phenotype, price mechanism, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, total factor productivity, transaction costs, working-age population

An introduction to the literature is also available in Howard A. Shelanski, and Peter G. Klein. “Empirical Research in Transaction Cost Economics: A Review and Assessment,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 11, no. 2 (1995): 335–361. 5. This story comes from Ronald Coase, “The Institutional Structure of Production,” American Economic Review 82, no. 4 (1992): 713–719. 6. For those who are not familiar with the quote, it is “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Details on the history of this quote, including the debate about whether it was actually voiced by Einstein, can be found at http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/05/13/einstein-simple. 7. It is also reasonable to consider simpler theories that limit the size of firms. For instance, a relational view of the hiring process would limit the size of the firm by its revenue, by assuming that people hire other people as long as they can afford to. 8.


pages: 262 words: 80,257

The Eureka Factor by John Kounios

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active measures, Albert Einstein, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, deliberate practice, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flynn Effect, functional fixedness, Google Hangouts, impulse control, invention of the telephone, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, theory of mind, US Airways Flight 1549, Wall-E, William of Occam

However, if insight really were sudden, then this would mean that it’s fundamentally different from analytic thought. Of course, it’s convenient when things are simple. Two kinds of thought are more complicated to explain than one type. However, it’s useful to keep in mind an extension of Occam’s razor that is usually attributed to Albert Einstein and is sometimes known as “Einstein’s razor”: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” AND THE WINNER IS … * * * During the early 1990s, there was not yet a consensus among cognitive psychologists that insight was a unique mode of thought, so it was important to demonstrate that insight differs from analysis. Roderick Smith and John tackled this problem with a behavioral study. The key feature that seems to make insight distinctive is its suddenness.


pages: 240 words: 65,363

Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

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Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, Barry Marshall: ulcers, call centre, Cass Sunstein, colonial rule, Edward Glaeser, Everything should be made as simple as possible, food miles, Gary Taubes, income inequality, Internet Archive, Isaac Newton, medical residency, Metcalfe’s law, microbiome, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, transatlantic slave trade, éminence grise

If you are willing to confront the obvious, you will end up asking a lot of questions that others don’t. Why does that fourth-grader seem plenty smart in conversation but can’t answer a single question when it’s written on the blackboard? Sure, driving drunk is dangerous, but what about drunk walking? If an ulcer is caused by stress and spicy foods, why do some people with low stress and bland diets still get ulcers? As Albert Einstein liked to say, everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. This is a beautiful way to address the frictions that bedevil modern society: as grateful as we are for the complex processes that have produced so much technology and progress, we are also dizzied by their sprawl. It is easy to get seduced by complexity; but there is virtue in simplicity too. Let’s return briefly to Barry Marshall, our bacteria-gulping Aussie hero who cracked the ulcer code.


pages: 335 words: 104,850

Conscious Capitalism, With a New Preface by the Authors: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey, Rajendra Sisodia, Bill George

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Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, business process, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, Flynn Effect, income per capita, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, Occupy movement, profit maximization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, shareholder value, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

We should try to measure what we can in a reasonable way, allowing the people who generate the results to have a strong say in how that is done. But some of the most critical elements of culture, such as love and authenticity, do not lend themselves to hard measures. It is confusing for managers to be told to optimize stakeholder interests. They need a simple, transparent goal, like maximizing shareholder value. A principle dubbed Einstein’s razor says, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” It can be difficult for some people to understand the larger business system of interdependent stakeholders. As we have discussed, they need a high degree of systems intelligence, and sadly, many people just don’t have that yet. However, people who have integrative minds capable of seeing the interdependencies of the larger business system realize that business is not a math problem to be solved.


pages: 502 words: 107,657

Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, backtesting, Black Swan, book scanning, bounce rate, business intelligence, business process, call centre, commoditize, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, dark matter, data is the new oil, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Google Glasses, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lifelogging, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mass immigration, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, personalized medicine, placebo effect, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steven Levy, text mining, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Decision Tree Lift on the Training Set Lift on the Test Set 638 segments 3.8 2.4 (overlearning) The test data guides learning, showing when it has worked and when it has gone too far. Carving Out a Work of Art In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it. —Michelangelo Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. —Albert Einstein (as paraphrased by Roger Sessions) The decision tree fails unless we tame its wild growth. This presents a tough balance to strike. Like a parent, we strive to structure our progeny’s growth and development so they’re not out of control, and yet we cannot bear to quell creativity. Where exactly to draw the line? When they first gained serious attention in the early 1960s, decision trees failed miserably, laughed out of court for their propensity to overlearn.


pages: 360 words: 85,321

The Perfect Bet: How Science and Math Are Taking the Luck Out of Gambling by Adam Kucharski

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, butterfly effect, call centre, Chance favours the prepared mind, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, locking in a profit, Louis Pasteur, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, p-value, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, statistical model, The Design of Experiments, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero-sum game

With each image, Picasso carved further, keeping only the crucial contours, until he reached the eleventh lithograph. Almost every detail had gone, with nothing left but a handful of lines. Yet the shape was still recognizable as a bull. In those few strokes, Picasso had captured the essence of the animal, creating an image that was abstract, but not ambiguous. As Albert Einstein once said of scientific models, it was a case of “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Abstraction is not limited to the worlds of art and science. It is common in other areas of life, too. Take money. Whenever we pay with a credit card, we are replacing physical cash with an abstract representation. The numbers remain the same, but superfluous details—the texture, the color, the smell—have been removed. Maps are another example of abstraction: if a detail is unnecessary, it isn’t shown.


Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (And What We Can Do About It) by William Poundstone

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Debian, desegregation, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, global village, guest worker program, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, invisible hand, jimmy wales, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, manufacturing employment, Nash equilibrium, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, the map is not the territory, Thomas Bayes, transcontinental railway, Unsafe at Any Speed, Y2K

Some like the psychic satisfaction of casting a negative vote for Wintergreen. eBay lets online buyers and sellers rate one another after each transaction. The three allowed choices are called positive, negative, and neutral. (This is not quite evaluative voting, as eBay ignores the neutral votes in computing the ratings. It's really approval voting with an option to abstain.) Smith quotes Albert Einstein: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler:' The choices we make in every election are important. They deserve a little extra effort, if that's what it takes. You may now have noticed something extremely odd. It took Nobel Prize-level work to devise the impossibility theorem. Yet James Hong and Jim Young (re)invented range voting while tossing back a few drinks. Range voting is an omnipresent part of pop culture, as familiar as perfect tens and five-star restaurants.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Complexity is a reasonably close fit to the concept of order that I am describing. After all, the designs created by the evolution of life-forms on Earth appear to have become more complex over time. However, complexity is not a perfect fit, either. Sometimes, a deeper order—a better fit to a purpose—is achieved through simplification rather than further increases in complexity. As Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” For example, a new theory that ties together apparently disparate ideas into one broader, more coherent theory reduces complexity but nonetheless may increase the “order for a purpose” that I am describing. Evolution has shown, however, that the general trend toward greater order does generally result in greater complexity.22 Thus improving a solution to a problem—which may increase or decrease complexity—increases order.


pages: 467 words: 154,960

Trend Following: How Great Traders Make Millions in Up or Down Markets by Michael W. Covel

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, backtesting, beat the dealer, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Clayton Christensen, commodity trading advisor, computerized trading, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Elliott wave, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, fiat currency, fixed income, game design, hindsight bias, housing crisis, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, money market fund, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Nick Leeson, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, South Sea Bubble, Stephen Hawking, survivorship bias, systematic trading, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility arbitrage, William of Occam, zero-sum game

It might feel like there should be something more exciting, more glamorous, more fun to do in which case you might consider a trip to Las Vegas. If you want to win, you execute the signal as prescribed. That means you trade at price level 20, and you throw the curve ball when called for by the coach. What do you want? Fun, excitement and glamour? Or do you want to execute correctly and possibly win? Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Albert Einstein 218 Trend Following (Updated Edition): Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets Process Versus Outcome The Greek philosopher Archilochus tells us, the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing. The fox— artful, sly and astute— represents the financial institution that knows many things about complex markets and sophisticated marketing.


pages: 349 words: 134,041

Traders, Guns & Money: Knowns and Unknowns in the Dazzling World of Derivatives by Satyajit Das

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Brownian motion, business process, buy low sell high, call centre, capital asset pricing model, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, complexity theory, computerized trading, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Everything should be made as simple as possible, financial innovation, fixed income, Haight Ashbury, high net worth, implied volatility, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, John Meriwether, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass affluent, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, new economy, New Journalism, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, oil shock, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, technology bubble, the medium is the message, the new new thing, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, volatility smile, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-coupon bond

Occam was a fourteenth century logician and Franciscan friar in the English county of Surrey. The principle states that: ‘Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.’ Quants usually use the Latin to give it an air of authenticity: ‘Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate.’ The principle is used to justify a variety of things including the non-existence of God, an essential element of derivatives. The principle is also used to state that everything should be made as simple as possible to explain the matter in question. Creating a yield curve is akin to joining dots. You have some known interest rates and you have to draw a line between them to estimate rates on the dates when there are none observable. You now see the problem. You could make up any interest rate between two known points and no one could prove you wrong – the problem of ‘verifiability’. So we need an interpolation model.


pages: 555 words: 119,733

Autotools by John Calcote

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Albert Einstein, card file, Debian, delayed gratification, don't repeat yourself, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, place-making, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Valgrind

I began this book with the statement that people often start out hating the Autotools because they don't understand the purpose of the Autotools. By now, you should have a fairly well developed sense of this purpose. If you were disinclined to use the Autotools before, then I hope I've given you reason to reconsider. Recall the famously misquoted line from Albert Einstein, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler."[161] Not all things can be made so simple that anyone can master them with little training. This is especially true when it comes to processes that are designed to make life simpler for others. The Autotools offer the ability for experts—programmers and software engineers—to make open source software more accessible to end users. Let's face it—this process is less than trivial, but the Autotools attempts to make it as simple as possible


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

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3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

The middle of the bell has to be able to outspend the rich tip. As the familiar quote usually attributed to Supreme Court justice Louis D. Brandeis goes, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”* *I have been unable to find an original attribution for this quote, so am not certain it is authentic. Once I cited a quote of Einstein’s (“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”) and was informed by an Einstein biographer that there was no evidence he had said it. Then I met a woman who had known Einstein and heard him say it! In this case, I have no idea, but it’s a super quote, whoever said it. Even for those who might dispute the primacy of either markets or democracy, the same principle will hold. A strong middle class does more to make a country stable and successful than anything else.


pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

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Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

The charity request card in Figure 1.2 seems rather ordinary except for the odd sequencing of the donation request amounts. Explain why, according to the contrast principle, placing the smallest donation figure between two larger figures is an effective tactic to prompt more and larger donations. What points do the following quotes make about the dangers of click-whirr responding? “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are sometimes right.” Winston Churchill How does the photograph that opens this chapter reflect the topic of the chapter? * * * Figure 1.2 Charity Request Appeal * * * Chapter 2 Reciprocation The Old Give and Take . . .and Take Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill.


pages: 406 words: 115,719

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes

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Albert Einstein, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, epigenetics, Everything should be made as simple as possible, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, selection bias, the new new thing, the scientific method, Works Progress Administration

They would only embrace the possibility that there were multiple perpetrators when the single-suspect hypothesis was proved insufficient to explain all the evidence. Scientists know this essential concept as Occam’s Razor. When Isaac Newton said, “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances,” he was saying the same thing that Albert Einstein, three centuries later, said (or was paraphrased as saying): “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” We should begin with the simplest possible hypothesis, and only if that can’t explain what we observe should we consider more complicated explanations—in this case, multiple causes. This is not, however, how medical researchers and public-health authorities have come to think about these disorders. Despite their faith in the notion that obesity causes or accelerates diabetes and that therefore (in what I will argue is a mistaken assumption) both are diseases of overconsumption and sedentary behavior, they will also defend their failure to curb the ongoing epidemics of these diseases on the basis that these are “multifactorial, complex disorders” or “multidimensional diseases.”


pages: 936 words: 252,313

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes

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Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

The remaining 30 percent will raise LDL cholesterol but will also raise HDL cholesterol and will have an insignificant effect, if any, on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL. All of this suggests that eating a porterhouse steak in lieu of bread or potatoes would actually reduce heart-disease risk, although virtually no nutritional authority will say so publicly. The same is true for lard and bacon. “Everything should be made as simple as possible,” Albert Einstein once supposedly said, “but no simpler.” Our understanding of the nutritional causes of heart disease started with Keys’s original oversimplification that heart disease is caused by the effect of all dietary fat on total serum cholesterol. Total cholesterol gave way to HDL and LDL cholesterol and even triglycerides. All fat gave way to animal and vegetable fat, which gave way to saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat, and then polyunsaturated fats branched into omega-three and omega-six polyunsaturated fats.