delayed gratification

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pages: 324 words: 92,805

The Impulse Society: America in the Age of Instant Gratification by Paul Roberts


2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, accounting loophole / creative accounting, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, asset allocation, business process, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, factory automation, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, game design, greed is good, If something cannot go on forever, it will stop, impulse control, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge worker, late fees, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, low skilled workers, new economy, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, performance metric, postindustrial economy, profit maximization, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, reshoring, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

In modern economic terms, we “discount” the future—so steeply, in fact, that a reward that requires some waiting must be quite large before we’ll voluntarily choose it over something available right now. In studies, subjects who are offered even comparatively large delayed rewards (say, an Amazon gift certificate to be delivered several weeks later) will consistently reject those rewards in favor of a much smaller immediate reward. In the Princeton brain scan study, most subjects wouldn’t defer gratification even when doing so would have netted them a “return” equivalent to 5 percent a week, or 250 percent a year. “It was ridiculous,” Sam McClure, the Princeton study’s lead author, told me. “If you were making even one percent a week on your bank account, you’d be rich.” Yet this “ridiculous” discount is, in effect, built into our heads, and this helps explain why we constantly make extraordinary intertemporal errors.

“You don’t come with your [extended] family. You don’t know your neighbors. You don’t have the strong sense of community . . . of someone overseeing what it is you’re doing and saying, ‘Hey, don’t be such a chump.’ ”24 Sigmund Freud, when he was describing the process of emotional development nearly a century ago, coined the term reality principle to describe how the healthy individual must learn to defer gratification. To fail to submit to reality—to remain guided instead by the “pleasure principle”—Freud argued, was to lock oneself in an infantile, stunted stage, forever unfulfilled and unsociable. For Freud, the forces of reality were mainly social, such as family and institutional authority. But he could just as well have been talking about market forces, since, generally speaking, a person or organization unable to defer economic gratification is soon ostracized by the efficient market.

In such a venture, writes Yale University’s Allen Wood, individual success came not through “cultivating or indulging arbitrariness, personal peculiarity and idiosyncrasy, but in developing a character which values itself for what it has in common with other people.”22 Today, by contrast, it is precisely arbitrariness, personal peculiarity, and idiosyncrasy that we cultivate, in part because these “qualities” are seen as the only way to get ahead. There are depressingly few contemporary examples of celebrated, socially productive men and women working quietly toward the greater good. The very concept of work itself has been degraded. Not so long ago, we told our children that personal success required sustained effort, a willingness to delay gratification, and the capacity to control impulses. But today our children look around, and that’s not what they see. They see their parents and grandparents working hard and being patient and keeping their passions in check and still being tossed aside like an old couch—while investment bankers and reality TV stars appear to make huge, easy dollars. Little wonder cheating is now endemic in high school and college.


pages: 193 words: 56,895

The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, Robert M. Pressman


delayed gratification, Donald Trump, equal pay for equal work, impulse control

It is not very scary; after all, we all lack skills in some areas. One of the authors of this book is an abominable speller but, fortunately, has a word processor that can check spelling. The other cannot understand how electricity works ("You mean, it isn't magic?") but can hire an electrician. There are some skills, however, that we need to learn to have a productive life. Task completion (and the ability it implies to defer gratification) is one of them. To the patient, we say, "You didn't learn it then, but you can now. Now you are a grownup, and you have choices and options." We emphasize that good decision making involves looking at every possible alternate to any situation, and then making the decision based on what will be the best option for oneself. One needs to have goals (where I want to be) and then be able to measure options against those goals (will this help me get closer to where I want to be?).

In an age of thirty-second television solutions, unrealistic body images, real-life random violence (even at elementary schools), no meaningful gun control, media and entertainment industry preoccupations with sex and violence, nuclear accidents, institutionalized discrimination, police forces out of control, and the decline of both organized religion and the nuclear family, the quick fix is not only encouraged-it looks pretty good. This is especially true for adults from narcissistic homes; those individuals we have treated all have problems with delaying gratification, and all have problems with at least one of the "big three": alcohol and drugs, food, and overspending. After all, in a chaotic and frightening universe, one counts on what one can most easily control. Even in the early 1900s, Jung was writing about his concerns with the direction in which society was moving: away from spiritual grounding and toward self-destructive behaviors. All ages before us have believed in gods in some form or other.

Bill was it. My God! If I'd ever thought ... to be able to get a job and an apartment, I'd have jumped at the chance! I was so stupid ... no, I wasn't stupid. You're right. I never thought of it, because it wasn't an option. Not in my family. My God, I wasn't so stupid. It just wasn't an option." Conclusion Patients respond well to the premise that decision making or longrange planning, delaying gratification, project completion-whatever you want to call it-is a learned skill. In this context we use a nonjudgmental, nonblaming approach. It is not that their parents were necessarily bad, but they were unable to teach important skills in this area; we are not talking about a moral failure but about an educational deficit. Most patients can relate to this. It is not very scary; after all, we all lack skills in some areas.


pages: 193 words: 98,671

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum by Alan Cooper


Albert Einstein, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Menlo Park, natural language processing, new economy,, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, urban planning

The saving grace with respect to abuse is that the computer also has the power to audit all of the user's actions easily, recording them in detail for any outside observer. The principle is a simple one: Let the user do whatever he wants, but keep very detailed records of those actions so that full accountability is easy. Polite Software Gives Instant Gratification Computer programming is all about deferred gratification. Computers do nothing until you've put enormous effort into first writing a program. Software engineers slowly internalize this principle of deferred gratification, and they tend to write programs that behave in the same way. Programs make users enter all possible information before they do even the tiniest bit of work. If another human behaved that way, you'd actively dislike him. We can make our software significantly more polite by ensuring that it works for, and provides information to, the user without demanding a lot of up-front effort.

This makes it attractive because it seems so inexpensive, but real programming gives you a reliable program, and prototyping gives you a shaky foundation. Prototypes are experiments made to be thrown out, but few of them ever are. Managers look at the running prototype and ask, "Why can't we just use this?" The answer is too technically complex and too fraught with uncertainty to have sufficient force to dissuade the manager who sees what looks like a way to avoid months of expensive effort. The essence of good programming is deferred gratification. You put in all of the work up front, and then you reap the rewards later. There are very few tasks that aren't cheaper to do manually. Once written, however, programs can be run a million times with no extra cost. The most expensive program is one that runs once. The cheapest program is the one that runs ten billion times. However, any inappropriate behavior will also be magnified ten billion times.

As long as his games weren't hidden away somewhere, he'd be happy. Throughout the entire design project, Clevis was our touchstone. His image became our battle standard. We knew that to make Clevis happy would mean that we would make any and every airplane customer happy. He was our primary persona, and we designed the system for him and him alone. Designing for Clevis Clevis had no experience with computers and no patience for the typical attitude of delayed gratification that most programs have. The solution to Clevis's navigation problem was simple: He could not and would not "navigate," so there could be only one screen. The solution to Clevis's reluctance to explore the interface meant that the product had to be very generous with information. We were parsimonious with choices but copious with information. We turned the screen into a horizontally scrolling panoply of movie posters and album covers.


pages: 344 words: 94,332

The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton, Andrew Scott


3D printing, Airbnb, carbon footprint, Clayton Christensen, collapse of Lehman Brothers, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, diversification, Downton Abbey, Erik Brynjolfsson, falling living standards, financial independence, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, Lyft, Network effects, New Economic Geography, pattern recognition, pension reform, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, women in the workforce, young professional

Perhaps ‘self-sharing’ is a better way of thinking about this challenge. There is evidence that people differ in their capacity to exercise self-control and these differences manifest themselves from an early age. For example, studies of young children show that even by the age of three, some are more able to exercise self-control and defer gratification than others – in this case, to hold back eating a marshmallow now with the promise of two marshmallows in 30 minutes.6 Being able to defer gratification can be important in mastery, since acquiring a skill often entails deferring short-term pleasure (watching the next episode of a mini-series) for long-term gain (being able to speak Italian). However, there is also evidence that this self-control is a learned behaviour and that people can be taught to defer immediate gratification in order to achieve personal mastery.

., Old Age is Another Country (Crossing Press, 1995). Agenda for Change 1Parfit, D., Reasons and Persons (Clarendon Press, 1984). 2Archer, M., The Reflexive Imperative (Cambridge University Press, 2012). 3Kahneman, D., Thinking Fast and Slow (Penguin, 2011). 4Heffernan, M., Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril (Simon & Schuster, 2011). 5Eliot, T. S., Four Quartets (Harcourt, 1943). 6The original experiments on delayed gratification took place at Stanford in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Mischel, W., The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control (Bantam Press, 2014). 7Dweck, C., Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Random House, 2006). 8Zhenghao, C., Alcorn, B., Christensen, C., Eriksson, N., Koller, D. and Emanuel, E. J., ‘Who’s Benefiting from MOOCs, and Why’, Harvard Business Review (September 2015). 9Sebastian Thun, a former Stanford University professor, vice president of Google and founder of online educational company Udacity, puts it well: ‘The education system is based on a framework from the 17th and 18th century that says we should play for the first five years of life, then learn, then work, then rest and then die.


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter,, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

Then one asks the question: What is the one quality that predicted their success in marriage, careers, wealth, etc.? When one compensates for socioeconomic factors, one finds that one characteristic sometimes stands out from all the others: the ability to delay gratification. According to the long-term studies of Walter Mischel of Columbia University, and many others, children who were able to refrain from immediate gratification (e.g., eating a marshmallow given to them) and held out for greater long-term rewards (getting two marshmallows instead of one) consistently scored higher on almost every measure of future success, in SATs, life, love, and career. But being able to defer gratification also refers to a higher level of awareness and consciousness. These children were able to simulate the future and realize that future rewards were greater. So being able to see the future consequences of our actions requires a higher level of awareness.

Clausewitz, Carl von Cloning, 3.­1, 3.­2 Cloud computing, 1.­1, 7.­1 Cochlear implants Code breaking Collins, Francis Comets Common sense, 2.­1, 2.­2, 2.­3, 7.­1, 7.­2 Computers animations created by augmented reality bioinformatics brain simulations carbon nanotubes and cloud computing, 1.­1, 7.­1 digital divide DNA computers driverless cars exponential growth of computer power (Moore’s law), 1.­1, 1.­2, 1.­3, 4.­1 fairy tale life and far future (2070) four stages of technology and Internet glasses and contact lenses, 1.­1, 1.­2 medicine and midcentury (2030) mind control of molecular and atomic transistors nanotechnology and near future (present to 2030) optical computers parallel processing physics of computer revolution quantum computers quantum dot computers quantum theory and, 1.­1, 4.­1, 4.­2, 4.­3 scrap computers self-­assembly and silicon chips, limitations of, 1.­1, 1.­2, 4.­1 telekinesis with 3-­D technology universal translators virtual reality wall screens See also Mind reading; Robotics/­AI Condorcet, Marquis de Conscious robots, 2.­1, 2.­2 Constellation Program COROT satellite, 6.­1, 8.­1 Crick, Francis Criminology Crutzen, Paul Culture in Type I civilization Customization of products Cybertourism, itr.­1, itr.­2 CYC project Damasio, Antonio Dating in 2100, 9.­1, 9.­2, 9.­3, 9.­4 Davies, Stephen Da Vinci robotic system Dawkins, Richard, 3.­1, 3.­2, 3.­3 Dawn computer Dean, Thomas Decoherence problem Deep Blue computer, 2.­1, 2.­2, 2.­3 Delayed gratification DEMO fusion reactor Depression treatments Designer children, 3.­1, 3.­2, 3.­3 Developing nations, 7.­1, 7.­2 Diamandis, Peter Dictatorships Digital divide Dinosaur resurrection Disease, elimination of, 3.­1, 8.­1 DNA chips DNA computers Dog breeds Donoghue, John, 1.­1, 1.­2 Dreams, photographing of Drexler, Eric Driverless cars Duell, Charles H.­ Dyson, Freeman, 5.­1, 6.­1, 6.­2, 7.­1, 8.­1 Dyson sphere Ebola virus Economics bubbles and crashes entertainment industry, 7.­1, 7.­2 far future (2070) four stages of technology and fundamental forces of the universe and job market, 7.­1, 7.­2 midcentury (2030) near future (present to 2030) science and technology as engines of prosperity Type I civilization and See also Intellectual capitalism Edison, Thomas, 5.­1, 7.­1, 7.­2, 7.­3 Education, itr.­1, itr.­2, 1.­1, 7.­1, 7.­2, 8.­1 EEG (electroencephalogram), 1.­1, 1.­2 Einstein, Albert, itr.­1, itr.­2, 4.­1, 5.­1, 6.­1, 8.­1 Eisenhower, Dwight Ekenstam, Robin Elbon, John Electric cars Electricity as utility Electromagnetic force, itr.­1, 7.­1, 7.­2 Emergent phenomena Emotional robots Energy carbon nanotubes and electric cars far future (2070) life’­s origins and magnetic energy, 5.­1, 9.­1 midcentury (2030) for molecular machines near future (present to 2030) nuclear fission nuclear weapons, dangers of oil Planck energy solar/­hydrogen economy solar power space solar power volcano vents as source of wind power See also Global warming; Nuclear fusion English as lingua franca Entertainment, human need for, itr.­1, itr.­2, itr.­3 Entertainment industry, 7.­1, 7.­2 Entropy civilizations and longevity and Environmental threats, 8.­1.


pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone


availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village,, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, payday loans, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

There is no agreed-upon economic theory that would answer these questions.” The chart on the previous page shows the history of the price-to-earnings ratio of the stocks in the S&P Index. The S&P is a broad index computed from 500 companies presently accounting for about three-quarters of American’s total investment in domestic stocks. Like the price for a black box, the P/E ratio represents a capacity to defer gratification. You might think that this capacity would be a constant of human nature or else a slowly changing variable of American consumer culture. The chart tells a different story. The jittery line is the P/E ratio (using average earnings of the previous ten years, a measure Shiller uses). For reference, the thick gray line shows the historical average P/E ratio of about 16. In the past century, the S&P’s P/E ratio has varied from less than 5 (in 1920) to over 44 (in 1999).

You’ll recoup that the first year, and then afterward it will all be gravy. You might also reason that the box is worth less than your current life expectancy in dollars, since that limits how many dollar bills you can collect. (For the record, the box keeps working after the original owner’s death, and you’re allowed to bequeath it to anyone you like.) Your price for the box should have something to do with your capacity for delayed gratification. That is, you’re giving up some of your hard-earned money now, in the form of the purchase price, to enjoy a stream of earnings later. Someone who is focused on the present moment—the guy who’s always maxing out his credit cards—might not be interested in the box at all. Someone who looks at the long term might be willing to pay a relatively high price. One thing is clear. There is no indisputable right price.


pages: 695 words: 194,693

Money Changes Everything: How Finance Made Civilization Possible by William N. Goetzmann


Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, colonial exploitation, compound rate of return, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, delayed gratification, Detroit bankruptcy, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley,, equity premium, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, frictionless, frictionless market, full employment, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invention of the steam engine, invention of writing, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, passive investing, Paul Lévy, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, spice trade, stochastic process, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, time value of money, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, wage slave

Throughout history, people have come up with various forms of contracts that allow for broader participation in productive enterprise. We will explore some of these in detail in this book. INVESTMENT Consumption and production use current capital; investment provides that capital. It is the basic technology for saving for the future. That is why pension funds hold stocks and bonds and other financial assets. Investing money rather than spending it requires delaying gratification. No one likes to delay gratification without a good reason. For investors, a key incentive is the expectation of higher future consumption. In the simplest form of a financial contract—a loan—the lender expects to get back the money lent plus some extra amount: interest. The longer the loan is made for, the longer the investor delays personal consumption and thus, typically, the more interest is promised in compensation.

In fact, it was precisely the inequality of the distribution of wealth which made possible those vast accumulations of fixed wealth and of capital improvements which distinguished that age from all others. Herein lay, in fact, the main justification of the Capitalist System.1 To Keynes, the “double bluff” of the capitalist system was inherently unstable. His biggest complaint was the stinginess of the ruling class—their psychological fixation on saving up money. Keynes’s antagonism toward deferred gratification—toward moving economic value from the present into the future—is what made him acutely critical of the peace treaty. He saw the war as a turning point toward a new financial order. It showed the working classes just what they were missing, and it made the capitalist class realize their savings were worthless when facing an extremely uncertain future. He argued that the psychology of both classes would turn toward consumption and quality of life in the here and now.

See also hyperinflation infrastructure projects: corporations for, after American Revolution, 393–94; limited partnerships for, in eighteenth century, 380–81; of nineteenth- and twentieth-century China, 423, 428, 430, 431; Russian stock market and, 445 Inikori, Joseph, 336 insurance: derivatives and, 276, 285; Scholastic thinker on justification of, 236 insurance companies: bubbles of 1720 in shares of, 370–72; launched in Chinese treaty ports, 429; launched in Hamburg in 1720, 375; in London, 363, 366, 368–69; in Rotterdam, 363, 365–68, 370, 374; socially useful corporate model for, 375. See also maritime insurance intellectual property rights, 197; in seventeenth-century England, 328. See also patents interest: in ancient Chinese mathematical treatise, 164; based on 360-day year, 29; charged by seventh-century Chinese pawnshop, 179; compound, 16, 35–37; Fibonacci’s calculation of, 240, 242–43; for the lender’s delayed gratification, 6; on loans in Roman grain trade, 117; paid in labor, 42; as return on investment, 6–7; Roman law and, 235; on some census contracts, 216; Sumerian idea of, 44; Templars’ compensation instead of, 213–14; urbanism giving rise to, 40–41; on Venetian public debt, 230–31. See also investment; loans; usury interest rates: capped in Rome of third century CE, 132; in China, 164, 200; in Code of Hammurabi, 46; Keynes on, 461, 462, 466; in Law’s financial plan, 353–54, 355; in second-millennium Ur, 51 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 457–58, 459.


pages: 354 words: 91,875

The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Doto Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal


banking crisis, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, cognitive bias, delayed gratification, game design, impulse control, loss aversion, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, Richard Thaler, Wall-E, Walter Mischel

Most of the four-year-olds took what you and I would now recognize as the least effective strategy for delaying gratification: staring at the reward and imagining how it would taste. These kids folded in a matter of seconds. The four-year-olds who waited successfully tended to get their eyeballs off the promise of reward. There is delightful video footage of the kids struggling to wait, and watching it is a surprisingly good lesson in self-control. One girl covers her face with her hair so she can’t see the treats; one boy keeps an eye on the treats but moves the bell far away so he can’t reach it; another boy decides to compromise by licking the treats without actually eating them, portending an excellent future in politics. Although the study taught the researchers a lot about how four-year-olds delay gratification, it also provided a shockingly good way to predict a child’s future.

When you think about a larger, future reward first and consider trading it in for a smaller, immediate reward, it registers as a loss. But when you start with the immediate reward (the $50 check in your hand) and consider the benefits of delaying gratification for a larger reward, it also feels like a loss. Economists have found that you will come up with more reasons to justify choosing whichever reward you think about first. People who start by asking themselves, “Why should I take the check for $50?” will think of more reasons to support immediate gratification (“I can really use the money,” “Who knows if the $100 check will even be good in ninety days?”). People who start by asking themselves, “Why should I take the check for $100?” will think of more reasons to support delaying gratification (“That will buy twice as many groceries,” “I’m going to need money just as much in ninety days as I do now”). Future-reward discounting drops dramatically when people think about the future reward first.

WILLPOWER EXPERIMENT: MEET YOUR FUTURE SELF You can help yourself make wiser choices by sending yourself to the future (DeLorean not required 27). Below are three ideas for making the future feel real, and for getting to know your future self. Pick one that appeals to you and try it out this week. 1. Create a Future Memory. Neuroscientists at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany have shown that imagining the future helps people delay gratification. You don’t even need to think about the future rewards of delaying gratification—just thinking about the future seems to work. For example, if you’re trying to decide between starting a project now or putting it off, imagine yourself grocery shopping next week, or at a meeting you have scheduled. When you picture the future, the brain begins to think more concretely and immediately about the consequences of your present choices.


pages: 342 words: 94,762

Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy


algorithmic trading, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, High speed trading, impulse control, income inequality, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, Menlo Park, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nick Leeson, paper trading, Paul Graham, payday loans, Ralph Nader, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, six sigma, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, statistical model, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, upwardly mobile, Walter Mischel

Blogs such as Raising CEO Kids and Growing Rich Kids advise how to teach children about the pecuniary blessings of delayed gratification. Some parents have taken to rewarding good behavior not with immediate praise or presents but with tickets that are redeemable only at a later date. Yet concluding that children are better off delaying gratification doesn’t tell us why waiting is so much easier for some than others. The marshmallow tests might be widely known, but their results are not well understood. Although we have some understanding of the brain regions that are triggered by these kinds of tests, we don’t really know whether some four-year-olds are naturally able to wait fifteen minutes to get a second marshmallow and therefore do better in life, or whether we can save impatient children by training them to delay gratification for a few extra minutes. This is a new version of the old debate about nature versus nurture.

And finally, thanks to my family: my wife, Laura Adams, for trying to keep me in line; our kids, Natasha and Zachary, for inspiring me, helping me explain some difficult passages, and repeatedly asking how many pages I had written; and Fletch, for lying patiently at my feet throughout the writing of this book. NOTES Introduction 1. Rebecca J. Leonardi, Sarah-Jane Vick, and Valérie Dufour, “Waiting for More: The Performance of Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) on Exchange Tasks,” Animal Cognition 15(1, 2012): 107–120. If you are interested in a literature survey of experiments on delayed gratification in animals, Leonardi, Vick, and Dufour’s article is a go-to source. 2. Some other animals, especially primates, are also very good at delaying gratification. Chimpanzees will wait up to eighteen minutes for their favorite food. Theodore A. Evans and Michael J. Beran, “Chimpanzees Use Self-Distraction to Cope with Impulsivity,” Biology Letters 3(2007): 599–602. 3. The recent popular books I have in mind when I refer to what many psychologists call systems 1 (automatic/intuitive) and 2 (deliberative/analytical) and to behavioral economists’ claims that our biases are predictable are Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), and Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (Harper Perennial, 2010).

Zentall, “Mental Time Travel in Animals: A Challenging Question,” Behavioral Process 72(2, 2006): 173–183. 8. Sterck and Dufour, “First Test,” p. 334. 9. In 2011 scientists published a study of bonobos that replicated experiments with young children from the 1950s: both groups learned to delay gratification for similar periods of time when the source of the reward was more reliable. Jeffrey R. Stevens, Alexandra G. Rosati, Sarah R. Heilbronner, and Nelly Mühlhoff, “Waiting for Grapes: Expectancy and Delayed Gratification in Bonobos,” International Journal of Comparative Psychology 24(2011): 99–111. The bonobos that delayed longer probably wouldn’t later score well on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, though. 10. Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness (Knopf, 2006), p. 16. 11. Robert Browning, “A Grammarian’s Funeral” (1896), available at: 12.


pages: 440 words: 108,137

The Meritocracy Myth by Stephen J. McNamee


affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, collective bargaining, computer age, conceptual framework, corporate governance, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, deskilling, equal pay for equal work, estate planning, failed state, fixed income, gender pay gap, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, job automation, joint-stock company, labor-force participation, low-wage service sector, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, occupational segregation, pink-collar, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, prediction markets, profit motive, race to the bottom, random walk, school choice, Scientific racism, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, We are the 99%, white flight, young professional

Having the Right Attitude Beyond cognitive skills such as intelligence, various attitudes and behavioral traits are often presumed to be associated with economic success. In more familiar terms, these attitudes and traits are summarized by the phrase “having the right attitude.” Having the right attitude is associated with qualities like ambition, energy, motivation, and trustworthiness. It may also involve subtler traits like good judgment, sense of personal responsibility, willingness to defer gratification, persistence in the face of adversity, willingness to take risks, getting along with others, assertiveness, independence, and the like. Conversely, a lack of proper attitudes, as evidenced by laziness, shiftlessness, indolence, deficient self-discipline, unreliability, disruptiveness, and so on, is associated with the failure to achieve. It would seem that these represent two sides of the same coin.

It is one thing, for instance, to say that the poor have a “present time orientation” because they are hedonistic thrill seekers who live for the moment. However, it is another thing altogether to say that, regardless of one’s personal value system, one is forced to focus on the present if one is not sure where one’s next meal might come from. The middle and upper classes have the luxury of being able to plan ahead and defer gratification (for instance, going to college instead of accepting a low-paid service job) precisely because their present is secure. Similarly, the poor may have modest ambitions not because they are unmotivated but because they make a realistic assessment of limited life chances. In this formulation, exhibited behaviors and perceptions associated with a “culture of poverty” reflect the effects of poverty, not the causes.

., 1 , 2 Matthew effect, 1 , 2 matrix of domination, 1.1-1.2 Medicare, 1 , 2.1-2.2 mentors, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 meritocracy affirmative action and, 1 American promotion of merit, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 , 5 , 6 coping strategies, 1 , 2 credentials, lack of as a barrier, 1.1-1.2 as a desired outcome, 1 discrimination as the antithesis of merit, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7.1-7.2 , 8 , 9.1-9.2 , 10 , 11 education as a merit filter, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 employment opportunities, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 entrepreneurial success, 1 fairness of the system, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5 folklore of, 1 government spending and, 1.1-1.2 , 2 in the hiring process, 1.1-1.2 , 2 human capital factors, 1 , 2 , 3 income based on merit, 1 inheritance as a nonmerit factor, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 , 6 , 7.1-7.2 , 8 , 9 , 10 , 11 , 12 , 13.1-13.2 intergenerational wealth transfers, 1.1-1.2 legacy preferences as nonmerit based, 1.1-1.2 , 2 luck as a nonmerit factor, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 market trends, 1.1-1.2 meritocratic aristocracy, 1.1-1.2 nepotism as nonmeritorious, 1.1-1.2 the new elite as extra-meritorious, 1 noblesse oblige increasing potential for, 1 nonmerit factors suppressing merit, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 Barack Obama as example of, 1.1-1.2 , 2 the past, reverence for, 1 physical attractiveness as a nonmerit factor, 1 , 2 pure merit system, 1.1-1.2 reform movements and, 1 , 2 self-employment as an expression of, 1 social and cultural capital as nonmerit factors, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 , 5.1-5.2 , 6 , 7 , 8.1-8.2 , 9 , 10 , 11 structural mobility and, 1.1-1.2 talents and abilities of the merit formula, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 taxes and nonmerit advantages, 1.1-1.2 Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 Microsoft, 1.1-1.2 middle class America as not middle class, 1 asset building, 1 cultural capital, 1.1-1.2 deferment of gratification, 1 education and, 1 , 2 , 3 Great Recession affecting, 1 home ownership, 1 inner cities, flight from, 1 , 2 Barack Obama, background of, 1.1-1.2 old class vs. new, 1.1-1.2 precarious status of, 1.1-1.2 sports choices of, 1 upper-middle class, 1 , 2 T The Millionaire Mind (Stanley), 1 M millionaires, 1 , 2 , 3 minority groups affirmative action, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 asset accumulation, 1.1-1.2 core employment, underrepresentation in, 1 disadvantages of, 1 discrimination experiences, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 , 5 , 6.1-6.2 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 education issues, 1.1-1.2 as inner city dwellers, 1 opportunities expanding, 1 , 2 , 3 self-employment and, 1 social capital, lack of, 1 , 2 , 3 moral character, 1.1-1.2 , 2 Mormons, 1 Murray, Charles, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 Muslims, 1.1-1.2 N National College Athletic Association (NCAA), 1 nepotism, 1.1-1.2 , 2 net worth affirmative action and, 1 defined, 1 by income group, 1 of minority groups, 1 of Barack Obama family, 1 of one percenters, 1 , 2 , 3 of Walton heirs, 1.1-1.2 wealth scale, 1.1-1.2 new elite, 1 , 2.1-2.2 noblesse oblige, 1.1-1.2 O Obama, Barack, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 Obama, Michelle, 1.1-1.2 occupations attitude as a factor, 1 , 2 blue-collar jobs, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 CEO salaries, 1.1-1.2 , 2 changes in opportunities, 1.1-1.2 , 2 cultural capital and, 1.1-1.2 , 2 the disabled and employment difficulties, 1 discrimination, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 downsizing, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 education linked to, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4.1-4.2 , 5 , 6.1-6.2 , 7.1-7.2 , 8 , 9.1-9.2 , 10.1-10.2 , 11 , 12.1-12.2 , 13 , 14.1-14.2 fastest growing jobs, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 health hazards, 1 nepotism and, 1 , 2 occupational mobility, 1.1-1.2 , 2 occupational segregation, 1 , 2.1-2.2 outsourcing, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 physical attraction and occupational success, 1 self-employment and, 1 self-made men, 1.1-1.2 social capital and occupational opportunities, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 wages, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 , 6.1-6.2 , 7.1-7.2 , 8 white-collar jobs, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 Occupy Wall Street (OWS), 1 old boy networks, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 old money, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 Outliers: The Story of Success (Gladwell), 1 , 2 outsourcing, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 ownership class, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 P Paterson, Tim, 1 Peale, Norman Vincent, 1.1-1.2 pensions, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 pink-collar ghetto, 1.1-1.2 poverty children affected by, 1 , 2 culture-of-poverty theory, 1.1-1.2 , 2 full-time work below poverty level, 1 as a matter of attitude, 1 meritocracy and, 1 , 2 minority rates of, 1 , 2 poverty threshold, 1 regional variations in poverty rates, 1.1-1.2 , 2 senior citizens and poverty rates, 1 U.S. poverty rates, 1 T The Power of Positive Thinking (Peale), 1.1-1.2 P Protestants and the Protestant ethic, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 Puritan values, 1.1-1.2 R racism and racial issues affirmative action, 1.1-1.2 athletes and, 1 crime and the legal system, 1.1-1.2 disabilities, disproportionate experience of, 1 discrimination and, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 , 6 , 7 , 8 in education, 1.1-1.2 employment, affecting, 1 Great Recession worsening racial equality, 1 home ownership, 1 ideologies of inequality, as part of, 1 income gaps, 1 language skills and, 1 Obama, election of, 1 , 2 scientific racism, 1.1-1.2 segregation, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 social capital and, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 white flight, 1 , 2 random-walk hypothesis, 1 recession See Great Recession references, 1 , 2 , 3 retirement as part of the American Dream, 1 , 2 delayment as a coping strategy, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 home ownership and funding of, 1 as jeopardized, 1 , 2.1-2.2 proposed supplementation, 1 self-employment and, 1 , 2 , 3 right attitude, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 T The Rise of Meritocracy, 1870–2033:An Essay on Education and Equality (Young), 1 , 2 R Rivera, Lauren, 1 Rosenau, Pauline Vaillancourt, 1.1-1.2 S Schmitt, John, 1.1-1.2 schools See education segregation educational, 1 , 2 , 3 occupational, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 racial, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5 residential, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 of the wealthy, 1.1-1.2 white flight, 1 See also discrimination self-employment American Dream, as exemplifying, 1 franchises, 1 freelancing, 1 , 2 income, 1.1-1.2 irregular economy and, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 petty bourgeoisie and, 1 psychological characteristics, 1 rates of, diminished, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 , 5 , 6 , 7.1-7.2 , 8 risk, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 subcontractors, 1 taxes, 1.1-1.2 , 2 women and minorities, 1.1-1.2 self-help books, 1 , 2 self-made individuals, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 , 5 , 6 sexual harassment, 1.1-1.2 Shapiro, Thomas, 1 , 2.1-2.2 slaves and slavery, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 small businesses, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 , 6 , 7.1-7.2 , 8 , 9 Smith, Adam, 1 social capital benefits of, 1.1-1.2 , 2 defined, 1 , 2 , 3 discrimination and, 1 , 2 economic opportunities, having access to, 1 , 2 , 3 education and, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10 mentorship as a form of, 1 nepotism and, 1.1-1.2 , 2 racism and lack of, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 restricted access, effects of, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 social climbing, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 of U.S. presidents, 1.1-1.2 weak ties, 1.1-1.2 social climbing, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 social clubs, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 social mobility athletic and artistic abilities, associated with, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 cultural capital as a factor in, 1 education link, 1 , 2 , 3 hard work as a factor, 1 individual merit, 1 integrity hindering, 1.1-1.2 marrying for money, 1 reduction of opportunities, 1 , 2 during Republican administrations, 1 role of government, 1 , 2 social climbing, 1.1-1.2 , 2 status attainment, 1 through self-employment, 1 social reform movements, 1.1-1.2 Social Register, 1 social reproduction theory, 1.1-1.2 , 2 Social Security, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 Something for Nothing: Luck in America (Lears), 1.1-1.2 T the South, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 , 5 S Stanley, Thomas, 1 status-attainment theory, 1.1-1.2 Stevens, Mitchell, 1 stock market, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 student loans, 1 , 2.1-2.2 success athletic success, 1 , 2.1-2.2 attitudes associated with, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 birth timing and, 1.1-1.2 , 2 cultural capital, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 discrimination, achieving success through, 1 education, as a factor in, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 entrepreneurial success, 1 , 2 , 3 God’s grace, success as sign of, 1 , 2 hard work and, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 , 5 human capital factors, 1 individualism as key to, 1 intelligence as a determinant, 1 luck as important, 1 meritocracy myth and, 1 mind-power ethic as success formula, 1.1-1.2 moral character and, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 parental involvement, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 the right stuff, being made of as key, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 small businesses and, 1 social capital increasing likelihood of, 1 , 2 , 3 suburban living as marker of, 1 10,000 hour rule, 1 women and, 1 , 2 supply side, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6.1-6.2 Survival of the Prettiest (Etcoff), 1.1-1.2 Swift, Adam, 1.1-1.2 T talent and abilities American aristocracy, 1 American Dream, leading to, 1 of athletes and celebrities, 1 education enhancing, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 functional theory of inequality, 1 jobs matched to talent, 1 success achieved through, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 talent-use gap, 1 upward mobility and, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3.1-3.2 taxes capital gains, 1.1-1.2 estate taxes, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 government policies linked with, 1 , 2 incentives and credits, 1.1-1.2 income taxes, lowered by Republicans, 1 irregular economy, avoiding, 1.1-1.2 progressive taxation, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 property taxes and school funding, 1.1-1.2 self-employment and, 1.1-1.2 , 2 Social Security affected by, 1 , 2 the South and lower taxes, 1 tax breaks for the wealthy, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 of urban areas, 1 , 2 Thurow, Lester, 1 , 2.1-2.2 Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1.1-1.2 , 2 tracking, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 , 4 Turner, Frederick Jackson, 1.1-1.2 U Unequal Childhoods (Lareau), 1 upper class charitable giving and, 1 cultural capital, holders of, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4.1-4.2 , 5 deferred gratification, capability of, 1 distinctive lifestyle, 1.1-1.2 , 2 education, 1 , 2 endogamy, tendency towards, 1.1-1.2 as exclusive, 1.1-1.2 , 2 as isolated, 1.1-1.2 one percenters as members, 1 Plymouth Puritans as wellspring, 1 political power, 1.1-1.2 social clubs, frequenting, 1.1-1.2 virtues found in, 1 WASP background of, 1 women of, 1 , 2 , 3 upward mobility attitudes as affecting, 1 barriers to, 1 through college education, 1 credentialism and, 1 downward mobility, vs., 1 through entrepreneurialism, 1 glass ceiling as limiting, 1 integrity as suppressing, 1.1-1.2 irregular economy, as avenue, 1 marriage as a means of, 1.1-1.2 Michelle Obama as example, 1 slowing rates of, 1 See also social climbing See also social mobility V Vedder, Richard, 1 , 2 virtue, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 W Walmart, 1 Walton, Sam, 1 , 2 , 3 wealth accumulation gaps, 1 , 2 , 3 advantages of wealth inheritance, 1 , 2.1-2.2 capital investments, 1 charitable giving and the wealthy, 1 , 2.1-2.2 culture of, 1 , 2 discrimination and, 1 , 2 distribution as skewed, 1.1-1.2 Forbes magazine listings, 1.1-1.2 gambling, attainment through, 1 government intervention, 1.1-1.2 , 2 Great Recession affecting, 1 guilt feelings, 1.1-1.2 hard work as negligible, 1 inequalities of, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 lottery, wealth attainment through, 1 luck as a factor, 1 , 2.1-2.2 , 3 marriage rates, affecting, 1 nepotism aiding in transference of, 1 old money, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 one percenters, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ostentatious displays of, 1 political power, 1.1-1.2 property ownership producing, 1 , 2 pursuit of as a moral issue, 1.1-1.2 , 2 race affecting, 1 social and cultural capital, converted to, 1 , 2 the superwealthy, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4.1-4.2 tax breaks for the wealthy, 1 taxes on, 1.1-1.2 transfers of, 1.1-1.2 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 women and, 1 See also inheritance See also self-employment Weber, Max, 1.1-1.2 welfare, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 white Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs), 1.1-1.2 , 2 white-collar crime, 1.1-1.2 , 2 Wilson, William Julius, 1 , 2 Winfrey, Oprah, 1.1-1.2 Wisconsin school, 1.1-1.2 women attractiveness as a success factor, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 discrimination against, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5.1-5.2 , 6.1-6.2 , 7.1-7.2 , 8.1-8.2 , 9.1-9.2 , 10 economic disparities, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 educational attainment, 1.1-1.2 , 2 family concerns, 1.1-1.2 , 2.1-2.2 , 3.1-3.2 glass ceiling, experiencing, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4 inferiority, feelings of, 1.1-1.2 labor force participation, increasing, 1.1-1.2 , 2 mentorships, access to, 1 , 2.1-2.2 occupational disparities, 1 , 2 , 3.1-3.2 , 4.1-4.2 , 5.1-5.2 political underrepresentation, 1.1-1.2 self-employment and, 1.1-1.2 as trailing partners, 1 of the upper class, 1 , 2 , 3 working class American Dream and, 1 cultural capital, lack of, 1.1-1.2 , 2 economic instability, 1.1-1.2 education issues, 1 , 2 , 3 hard work and, 1 health risks, 1 home ownership, 1 lower class value stretch, 1 nepotism, effect of, 1 the new lower class, 1 women and incomes, 1 work See hard work See occupations Y Young, Michael, 1 , 2 About the Authors Stephen J.


pages: 330 words: 88,445

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler


Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Clayton Christensen, data acquisition, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Google Earth, haute couture, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, life extension, Maui Hawaii, pattern recognition, Ray Kurzweil, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Walter Mischel, X Prize

He taught at both Yale and Stanford and was at the latter institution when Walter Mischel performed his famed marshmallow experiment. The results caught Zimbardo’s attention, but not because he was interested in delayed gratification. Rather, because they seemed to confirm his childhood suspicions about time. Zimbardo noticed two competing “time perspectives” at work in Mischel’s experiment. A time perspective is the technical name for the “permanent filter” Zimbardo described. It’s essentially our attitude toward time. For example, in Mischel’s experiment, the kids who ate the marshmallow immediately were present hedonists. They lived for the now and not the later. It wasn’t that they were unable to delay gratification, it’s that not delaying gratification—the downstream result of being a present hedonist—was their strategy for living. And this strategy has an upside. As individuals, Presents are creative, spontaneous, open-minded, high-energy risk takers who play sports, have hobbies, make friends easily, and find lovers often.

This may not sound like that much, but, as fellow Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo explains: “[That] is as large as the average difference recorded between the abilities of economically advantaged and disadvantaged children. It is larger than the difference between the abilities of children from families who parents have graduate degrees and children whose parents did not finish high school. The ability to delay gratification at four is twice as good a predictor of later SAT scores as IQ. Poor impulse control is also a better predictor of juvenile delinquency than IQ.” But there’s another issue. According to psychologists, by definition, action and adventure athletes are “sensation seekers.” They’re impulsive pleasure junkies. Delayed gratification is not their game. Hell, in a 2009 Outside magazine profile of Shane McConkey, journalist Tim Sohn wrote: “Riding in a backpack as his mother skied, a three-year-old McConkey would shake the pack’s support bars while making known what he wanted: ‘Pow, Mommy, pow,’ or ‘Bump, Mommy, bump.”

In broader terms, deliberate practice is also how we train genius these days. It’s factory athletics. It’s Kumon math tutoring, Baby Einstein, Suzuki violin, et al. But it’s also the world McConkey walked away from that naked day at Vail. He turned his back on the factory, yet somehow still went on to become Superman. Finally, the trouble with marshmallows. In 1972, Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel performed a fairly straightforward study in delayed gratification: he offered four-year-old children a marshmallow. Either the kids could eat it immediately or, if they waited for him to return from running a short errand, they would get two marshmallows as a reward. Most kids couldn’t wait. They ate the marshmallow the moment Mischel left the room. Yet a small percentage could resist temptation and, over time, this turned out to a big deal. When interviewed fourteen years later, the kids who could wait were more self-confident, hard-working, and self-reliant.


pages: 441 words: 136,954

That Used to Be Us by Thomas L. Friedman, Michael Mandelbaum


3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andy Kessler, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, Climatic Research Unit, cloud computing, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, full employment, Google Earth, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, job automation, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, obamacare, oil shock, pension reform, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, WikiLeaks

Kennedy in New York for this distinction. LAX’s dingy, cramped United Airlines domestic terminal feels like a faded 1970s movie star who once was considered hip but has had one too many face-lifts and simply can’t hide the wrinkles anymore. But in many ways, LAX, JFK, and Penn Station are us. We are the United States of Deferred Maintenance. (China, by contrast, is the People’s Republic of Deferred Gratification.) In the Terrible Twos, our roads got more crowded, our bridges got creakier, our water systems got leakier, and the lines in our airports got longer. In 2009, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) issued a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, and gave America an overall grade of D. The report also gave individual grades to fifteen infrastructure categories. None got higher than C+.

A well-functioning political system must be rooted in something deeper than itself: a culture, which is most vividly expressed through certain values. We believe that as the boomer generation has assumed a dominant place in American society, the country has strayed from three of the core values on which American greatness depended in the past. The first of these changes involves a shift from long-term investment and delayed gratification, which were characteristic of the Greatest Generation, to short-term gratification and get-it-now-while-you-can thinking, which alas is typical of the baby boom generation. The second change is the loss of confidence in our institutions and in the authority of their leaders across the society. Related to this is a shift in how this society sees people in authority, whether politicians or scientific experts—a shift from healthy skepticism to cynical suspicion of everything and everyone.


pages: 69 words: 18,758

Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work by Steven Pressfield


barriers to entry, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, fear of failure, Guggenheim Bilbao

Never train your horse to exhaustion. Leave him wanting more. THE PROFESSIONAL LIVES IN THE PRESENT The amateur spends his time in the past and the future. He permits himself to fear and to hope. The professional has taught himself to banish these distractions. When Stephen Sondheim makes a hat, he is thinking of nothing else. He is immersed. He loses himself in the work and in the moment. THE PROFESSIONAL DEFERS GRATIFICATION I’m guilty of checking my e-mail. Are you? We’re crazy. What do we imagine we’re going to find in our Inbox? The children who were able to sit for three minutes with a marshmallow on the table in front of them without eating it were rewarded with two marshmallows when the experimenter returned. But that’s as crazy as inbox-watching. Krishna said we have the right to our labor, but not to the fruits of our labor.


pages: 383 words: 108,266

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely


air freight, Al Roth, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, endowment effect, financial innovation, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, invisible hand, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, market bubble, Murray Gell-Mann, payday loans, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Thaler, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Skype, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

It seems that the best course might be to give people an opportunity to commit up front to their preferred path of action. This approach might not be as effective as the dictatorial treatment, but it can help push us in the right direction (perhaps even more so if we train people to do it, and give them experience in setting their own deadlines). What’s the bottom line? We have problems with self-control, related to immediate and delayed gratification—no doubt there. But each of the problems we face has potential self-control mechanisms, as well. If we can’t save from our paycheck, we can take advantage of our employer’s automatic deduction option; if we don’t have the will to exercise regularly alone, we can make an appointment to exercise in the company of our friends. These are the tools that we can commit to in advance, and they may help us be the kind of people we want to be.

Then I would lie down in the big hammock—the only interesting piece of furniture in my loft-like student apartment—from which I had a perfect view of the television. I kept a bucket within reach to catch the vomit that would inevitably come up, after which the fever, shivering, and headache would begin. At some point I would fall asleep and wake up aching with flulike symptoms. By noon I would be more or less OK and would go back to work. The difficulty that I, and the rest of the patients, had with the interferon was the basic problem of delayed gratification and self-control. On every injection day I was faced with a trade-off between giving myself an injection and feeling sick for the next 16 hours (a negative immediate effect), and the hope that the treatment would cure me in the long term (a positive long-term effect). At the end of the six-month trial the doctors told me that I was the only patient in the protocol who had followed the regimen in the way they designed it.

Not only had I been offered a job, but the combination treatment had eliminated the hepatitis from my liver. I’ve been hepatitis-free ever since. THE LESSON I took away from my interferon treatment is a general one: if a particular desired behavior results in an immediate negative outcome (punishment), this behavior will be very difficult to promote, even if the ultimate outcome (in my case, improved health) is highly desirable. After all, that’s what the problem of delayed gratification is all about. Certainly, we know that exercising regularly and eating more vegetables will help us be healthier, even if we don’t live to be as old as the Delany sisters; but because it is very hard to hold a vivid image of our future health in our mind’s eye, we can’t keep from reaching for the doughnuts. In order to overcome many types of human fallibility, I believe it’s useful to look for tricks that match immediate, powerful, and positive reinforcements with the not-so-pleasant steps we have to take toward our long-term objectives.


pages: 189 words: 64,571

The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means by Jeff Yeager


asset allocation, carbon footprint, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, index card, job satisfaction, late fees, mortgage debt, new economy, payday loans, Skype, upwardly mobile, Zipcar

I’ve heard a lot of cheapskate slogans that would make great bumper stickers for my Cheap Pride Movement, but that one from Miser Adviser Lucy Feller is the undisputed winner, combining the two major pillars of cheapskate life: delayed gratification and Crock-Pot cooking. Lucy was speaking specifically about teaching children the importance of being patient, particularly when it comes to wanting things like the latest designer fashions or newest techno-gadget. Not only does she have three kids of her own, but she’s been an elementary school teacher ever since her own children started attending school, so Lucy’s had plenty of discussions about the virtues of delayed gratification. The oxygen mask approach to raising children is, in large part, an exercise in saying “no” to your kids. No, we can’t afford it. No, you can’t have it. No, you don’t need it.

While the cheapskate next door is all in favor of rooting out true bargains, the thought process they put into it—what I call “premeditated shopping”—and the fact that they don’t really enjoy shopping, overrides the impulse to buy stuff they don’t need just because it’s being sold at a good price. When we cheapskates shop, we shop deliberately. Premeditated shopping has two tenets: prior planning and delayed gratification. Whether we’re shopping for groceries, clothing, or just about anything else, we always make a shopping list before we leave home. And that shopping list isn’t just dictated off the top of our head as we head for the store. It’s usually been composed on an ongoing basis and takes into account things we already have on hand, to avoid buying things unnecessarily. Many cheapskates talk about the importance of doing a “pre-inventory” before they shop.

About nine out of ten of cheapskates polled say that they routinely research and comparison shop for items that cost $20 or more, most often relying on the Internet and Consumer Reports to facilitate that process. But even once the cheapskate has researched and targeted an item to be purchased, he’s usually in no hurry to rush out and buy it, unless it’s on sale or it’s a true necessity. The cheapskate next door thrives on delayed gratification, or “spending procrastination,” as I call it: Put off buying today what you can always buy tomorrow. Many cheapskates practice what I called in my first book a “mandatory waiting period”: waiting at least a week or two between the time you see a (discretionary) item in the store, and when you go back to buy it. Very often you’ll never go back to buy it, and that’s a big reason why the cheapskate next door rarely suffers from buyer’s remorse. 9.


pages: 376 words: 109,092

Paper Promises by Philip Coggan


accounting loophole / creative accounting, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, carried interest, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, floating exchange rates, full employment, German hyperinflation, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market clearing, Martin Wolf, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, paradox of thrift, peak oil, pension reform, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, principal–agent problem, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, time value of money, too big to fail, trade route, tulip mania, value at risk, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

And a lender who is willing to break the law may be unscrupulous in other ways; borrowers could find that, however much they paid in terms of interest, the debt was never discharged. As with illegal drugs today, or Prohibition in the 1920s, criminals are the main beneficiaries when governments ban things that people desperately want. However, the moralists would not have worried that usury laws restricted the options of borrowers, as well as lenders. They argued that an avoidance of debt was good for the soul. Having to defer gratification was a way of instilling self-discipline. Debt was the road to ruin: ‘He who goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing,’ as Benjamin Franklin wrote. The distinction between productive and unproductive loans is hard to make absolute. Many people might make a loan to a friend or family member without being paid back; they might also make loans to strangers as an act of charity. But if the loan is made for business, not charity, the rate is surely a matter of negotiation between borrower and lender.

IGNORING POLONIUS 1 James Macdonald, A Free Nation Deep in Debt: The Financial Roots of Democracy, Princeton, 2003. 2 Sidney Homer and Richard Sylla, A History of Interest Rates, 4th edn, New York, 2005. 3 Macdonald, A Free Nation. 4 Charles Kindleberger, A Financial History of Western Europe, London, 1984. 5 Virginia Cowles, The Great Swindle: The Story of the South Sea Bubble, London, 1960. 6 Hilaire Belloc, Usury, London, 1931. 7 Homer and Sylla, Interest Rates. 8 Ibid. 9 Plutarch, Life of Lucullus. 10 Homer and Sylla, Interest Rates. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 13 Ian Mortimer, The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, the Father of the English Nation, London, 2006. 14 Macdonald, A Free Nation. 15 Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, This Time Is Different, Princeton, 2009. 16 All quotes from Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, London, 2004. 17 From ibid. 18 Homer and Sylla, Interest Rates. 19 One might raise the objection that the debtor is making no such rational calculation, that he or she is unable to wait to get his or her hands on the desired goods. This is a problem of deferred gratification. But the creditor has to be sure that the debtor will be able to repay, so the system still depends on the prospect of growth. 20 Lendol Calder, Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit, Princeton, 1999. 21 Ibid. 22 Some economists think that Keynes was wrong about this, on the grounds that saving must always equal investment. So businesses would be able to go on an investment spree, if savings boom.


pages: 121 words: 24,298

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield


delayed gratification, edge city, fear of failure, telemarketer

Marketing departments did. Drug companies did. Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance. When we drug ourselves to blot out our soul’s call, we are being good Americans and exemplary consumers. We’re doing exactly what TV commercials and pop materialist culture have been brainwashing us to do from birth. Instead of applying self-knowledge, self-discipline, delayed gratification and hard work, we simply consume a product. Many pedestrians have been maimed or killed at the intersection of Resistance and Commerce. RESISTANCE AND VICTIMHOOD * * * Doctors estimate that seventy to eighty percent of their business is non-health-related. People aren’t sick, they’re self-dramatizing. Sometimes the hardest part of a medical job is keeping a straight face.

A PROFESSIONAL IS PATIENT * * * Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book: It uses his own enthusiasm against him. Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion. It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity. We will hit the wall. We will crash. The professional, on the other hand, understands delayed gratification. He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare. Have you heard the legend of Sylvester Stallone staying up three nights straight to churn out the screenplay for Rocky? I don’t know, it may even be true. But it’s the most pernicious species of myth to set before the awakening writer, because it seduces him into believing he can pull off the big score without pain and without persistence.


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain


8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

And the single most important aspect of personality—the “north and south of temperament,” as one scientist puts it—is where we fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Our place on this continuum influences our choice of friends and mates, and how we make conversation, resolve differences, and show love. It affects the careers we choose and whether or not we succeed at them. It governs how likely we are to exercise, commit adultery, function well without sleep, learn from our mistakes, place big bets in the stock market, delay gratification, be a good leader, and ask “what if.”* It’s reflected in our brain pathways, neurotransmitters, and remote corners of our nervous systems. Today introversion and extroversion are two of the most exhaustively researched subjects in personality psychology, arousing the curiosity of hundreds of scientists. These researchers have made exciting discoveries aided by the latest technology, but they’re part of a long and storied tradition.

I can vouch personally for the life-transforming effects of this outlook. Remember that first client I told you about, the one I called Laura in order to protect her identity? That was a story about me. I was my own first client. * Answer key: exercise: extroverts; commit adultery: extroverts; function well without sleep: introverts; learn from our mistakes: introverts; place big bets: extroverts; delay gratification: introverts; be a good leader: in some cases introverts, in other cases extroverts, depending on the type of leadership called for; ask “what if”: introverts. * Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, W. B. Yeats, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Proust, J. M. Barrie, George Orwell, Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), Charles Schulz, Steven Spielberg, Larry Page, J. K. Rowling. * This is an informal quiz, not a scientifically validated personality test.

“The time and effort they invest will actually make a difference. Instead of seeing these kids as vulnerable to adversity, parents should see them as malleable—for worse, but also for better.” He describes eloquently a high-reactive child’s ideal parent: someone who “can read your cues and respect your individuality; is warm and firm in placing demands on you without being harsh or hostile; promotes curiosity, academic achievement, delayed gratification, and self-control; and is not harsh, neglectful, or inconsistent.” This advice is terrific for all parents, of course, but it’s crucial for raising a high-reactive child. (If you think your child might be high-reactive, you’re probably already asking yourself what else you can do to cultivate your son or daughter. Chapter 11 has some answers.) But even orchid children can withstand some adversity, Belsky says.


pages: 685 words: 203,949

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin


airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Anton Chekhov, big-box store, business process, call centre, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump,, epigenetics, Eratosthenes, Exxon Valdez, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, haute cuisine, impulse control, index card, indoor plumbing, information retrieval, invention of writing, iterative process, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, life extension, meta analysis, meta-analysis, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, placebo effect, pre–internet, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Skype, Snapchat, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing test, ultimatum game

In fact, most of the prefrontal cortex’s connections to other brain regions are not excitatory; they’re the opposite: inhibitory. That’s because one of the great achievements of the human prefrontal cortex is that it provides us with impulse control and, consequently, the ability to delay gratification, something that most animals lack. Try dangling a string in front of a cat or throwing a ball in front of a retriever and see if they can sit still. Because the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop in humans until after age twenty, impulse control isn’t fully developed in adolescents (as many parents of teenagers have observed). It’s also why children and adolescents are not especially good at planning or delaying gratification. When the prefrontal cortex becomes damaged (such as from disease, injury, or a tumor), it leads to a specific medical condition called dysexecutive syndrome. The condition is recognized by the kinds of planning and time coordination deficits that Ruth the homemaker, Ernie the accountant, and Peter the architect suffered from.

Some of us procrastinate in order to pursue restful activities—spending time in bed, watching TV—while others of us procrastinate certain difficult or unpleasant tasks in favor of those that are more fun or that yield an immediate reward. In this respect, the two types differ in activity level: The rest-seeking procrastinators would generally rather not be exerting themselves at all, while the fun-task procrastinators enjoy being busy and active all the time but just have a hard time starting things that are not so fun. An additional factor has to do with delayed gratification, and individual differences in how people tolerate that. Many people work on projects that have a long event horizon—for example, academics, businesspeople, engineers, writers, housing contractors, and artists. That is, the thing they’re working on can take weeks or months (or even years) to complete, and after completion, there can be a very long period of time before they get any reward, praise, or gratification.

Our limbic system and the parts of the brain that are seeking immediate rewards come into conflict with our prefrontal cortex, which all too well understands the consequences of falling behind. Both regions run on dopamine, but the dopamine has different actions in each. Dopamine in the prefrontal cortex causes us to focus and stay on task; dopamine in the limbic system, along with the brain’s own endogenous opioids, causes us to feel pleasure. We put things off whenever the desire for immediate pleasure wins out over our ability to delay gratification, depending on which dopamine system is in control. Steel identifies what he calls two faulty beliefs: first, that life should be easy, and second, that our self-worth is dependent on our success. He goes further, to build an equation that quantifies the likelihood that we’ll procrastinate. If our self-confidence and the value of completing the task are both high, we’re less likely to procrastinate.


pages: 375 words: 105,067

Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry by Helaine Olen


asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, Cass Sunstein, Credit Default Swap, David Brooks, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Elliott wave,, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, game design, greed is good, high net worth, impulse control, income inequality, index fund, London Whale, Mark Zuckerberg, mortgage debt, oil shock, payday loans, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, too big to fail, transaction costs, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vanguard fund, wage slave, women in the workforce, working poor, éminence grise

An “average” ball. Eventually over the course of the sixteen-minute segment, the beloved Muppet earns and saves up enough money to purchase the “fantastic” ball. Other segments in For Me, For You feature personal finance guru Beth Kobliner, talking to Elmo about setting up jars with money divided into saving, spending, and charity categories. The segments are all about the benefits of planning and delayed gratification. This is one of the other newest ideas in the world of financial literacy and it is based, at least in part, on the infamous marshmallow experiment. Way back in the 1970s, a researcher at Stanford University decided to test the willpower of a bunch of preschoolers. He recruited several hundred four- to six-year-olds (or, more likely, their parents) and, one by one, put them in a room with a marshmallow, cookie, or pretzel.

See financial therapy Coates, John, 169 commission fees on annuities, 111, 114, 115 fee-only advisers, 104–5 fiduciary standard, 105, 107, 110–11 fixed fees, 104 on 401(k) plans, 85–87, 91–92, 234 on options trading, 131 recommended products and, 105–6 Community Reinvestment Act (1977), 203 compounded interest, 96–97 Courage to Be Rich, The (Orman), 30, 35, 53 Covey, Stephen, 34 Cramer, Jim, 143–44, 145–47 credit, access to, 22, 175, 231–32 credit score, 41, 42 Critser, Greg, 231 Cronqvist, Henrik, 212 Cruz, Humberto, 119 Curtis, Kelly, 38 Danko, William D., 54, 69 Dave Ramsey Show, 61, 71. See also Ramsey, Dave Davidson, Liz, 168–69 day trading, 130–32 Deal, Nathan, 56 delayed gratification, 211–12 Delott, Steve, 125–26 De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel, 212 Dent, Harry, Jr., 140–42 Descano, Linda, 156, 157–58 DeWall, C. Nathan, 228 Difference, The (Chatzky), 54–55 dinner seminars, 102–3, 118–26 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, 110, 198, 218 Dominus, Susan, 27 Donoghue, Bill, 21 doomsday scenarios, 138–43 Drew, Ina, 170 Drucker, Peter, 225 Duckworth, Angela, 212 education.

See commission fees Ferguson, Karen, 82, 234 Fidelity Investments on average 401(k) balance, 78 investor incentives, 131 political influence, 87 target-date funds, 89, 90, 91 fiduciary standard, 105, 107, 110–11 finance. See personal finance; specific issues Finance Park theme park, 203–4 financial education. See also seminars as academic field, 198 banks’ education requirement, 203 Capital One programs, 196–97, 198, 199, 203–4 consumer lack of interest in, 210 creation of brand loyalty, 204–7 criticism of, 215–18 delayed gratification, 211–12 by financial services sector, 196–97, 198, 199, 202–7, 214, 217–18 government initiatives, 197–98 ineffectiveness of, 199, 207–9 Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy, 200–202, 206–7 literacy versus capability, 209 Money Island game, 205–6 origin of financial education movement, 196, 200–202 Sesame Workshop, 211–15 Spent role-playing game, 229 timing of sessions, 209–10 for wealthy consumers, 203 financial services industry.


pages: 327 words: 88,121

The Vanishing Neighbor: The Transformation of American Community by Marc J. Dunkelman


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blue-collar work, Bretton Woods, Broken windows theory, call centre, clean water, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, David Brooks, delayed gratification, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global village, helicopter parent, if you build it, they will come, impulse control, income inequality, invention of movable type, Jane Jacobs, Khyber Pass, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, McMansion, Nate Silver, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, Richard Florida, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban decay, urban planning, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

However, if the child waited for the researcher to return without sounding the bell, the child would be given a second treat along with permission to eat both.2 What Mischel was bent on measuring was how capable any individual child was of stifling his or her impulse to indulge immediately—and the results spanned the gamut. Some kids rang the bell the moment the researcher left the room. Others held out. The strategies the strong-willed kids employed to resist temptation were remarkable. Some covered the marshmallow up with a napkin, while others sang songs. What was on display, Mischel concluded, were the various strategies that humans of all ages use to delay gratification—strategies that, among adults, tend to be masked by other behaviors.3 Even more illuminating was what happened next. Curious about how early childhood self-control corresponded to an individual’s behavior in adolescence, Mischel contacted the same kids who had taken the first marshmallow tests roughly a decade later. What he found was that those who had been able to withstand the impulse to eat the first marshmallow were, by most measures, more successful than those who had gobbled it down.4 Those who had given in to temptation had “lower S.A.T. scores, higher body mass indexes, problems with drugs and trouble paying attention.”5 As Mischel and his fellow researchers later argued, “The seconds of time preschool children were willing to delay for a preferred outcome predicted their cognitive and social competence and coping as adolescents.”6 That result suggested something else: the attribute measured by the marshmallow test is, as psychologist Joachim de Posada once told a TED conference, “the most important factor for success.”7 Reams of subsequent studies, often ignored in the midst of our polarized debate over education policy, have supported that supposition.

This is not a situation where, as in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, [they] will come.”18 Figuring out a way to augment American grit will not magically reconstitute the middle-ring-rich communities of generations past. Nevertheless a grittier America would, at least, make it more likely that we’d each connect with a wider range of neighbors. We’d have greater wherewithal to maintain the dynamism of previous eras. And so we have to ask: What can be done to imbue future generations with the propensity to delay gratification? What might we do to compel our children not to forsake the sort of relationships that, for decades, fueled American ingenuity, collaboration, and mutual concern? Late in the fall of 1993, my high school biology teacher presented a lesson on the complicated molecular process by which cells generate energy. It’s not that I remember the Krebs cycle because it was riveting—my eyes had glazed over well before our forty-five-minute period had come to an end.

There’s real value in the educational techniques gleaned over the decades. But we have to wonder whether there are things that could be included more proactively in our school curricula to prompt a grittier America. And fortunately, we’re in the midst of an educational revolution that sheds light on that very challenge. Galvanized by the research derived from the marshmallow test, a field of research has emerged more recently on the causes and effects of delayed gratification. Some scholars have come to wonder whether impulse control might offer insights into why certain individuals are able to escape dysfunction while others are mired in counterproductive patterns. At the vanguard of the campaign to instill more grit in students are widely acclaimed efforts like Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), and charter-school organizations led by the likes of the “Knowledge Is Power Program” (KIPP) in cities throughout the United States.


Affluenza: When Too Much Is Never Enough by Clive Hamilton, Richard Denniss


call centre, delayed gratification, experimental subject, full employment, impulse control, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, Naomi Klein, Own Your Own Home, Post-materialism, post-materialism, purchasing power parity, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, wage slave

Households in the lowest income group (less than $20 000 a year) have the fewest debts and are much more likely than higher income households to have no debts at all.7 Households with incomes of $40 000 to $60 000 are most likely to run up credit card debts,8 which have been growing at an astonishing 20 per cent annually in recent years.9 In the 1950s and 1960s it was sometimes said that middleclass people saved because they embodied the values of thrift and prudence, while the working class was unable to delay gratification and spent as if there was no tomorrow. Whether that was true or not, the middle class today is no longer delaying gratification. They seem to want it all now and are willing to go into debt to get it. Lowincome households, on the other hand, are less likely to carry large credit card debts. In part, this is because banks are less willing to extend them credit, but it is also because low-income earners tend to be more aware of the consequences of poor budgeting.


pages: 420 words: 124,202

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen


Albert Einstein, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, computer age, Copley Medal, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, delayed gratification, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, fudge factor, full employment, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, iterative process, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, moral hazard, Network effects, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, éminence grise

Throughout the period 1540–1640, preindustrial Britain exhibited a fair bit6 of both upward and downward mobility, largely due to primogeniture, which obliged a prosperous landowner to leave his land to only one of his sons—and the typical landowner had up to eight. Since all but one of those sons would have to find his own niche in the economy, “craftsman’s sons became laborers,7 merchant’s sons petty laborers, large landowner’s sons smallholders” carrying with them the habits of hard work, deferred gratification, literacy, and a disposition to settle disputes peacefully, all of which showed a decided increase during the eighteenth century. As upper-class habits trickled throughout society, so did economic growth. This theory explains fairly well why the son of a country squire might find himself learning the craft of a carpenter, and it may explain some critical aspects of historical growth in national wealth, particularly in Britain.

Aficionados of dramatic coincidences could, however, take some comfort in the name of the man who paid for Richard Trevithick’s ticket home. He was Robert Stephenson, of Newcastle, and along with his father, George, is Trevithick’s only serious competitor for the title of “father of railways.” THE DEPICTION OF GEORGE STEPHENSON by Samuel Smiles, the prolific biographer and self-help author* who did more than anyone else to establish the heroic archetype for British inventors, is a textbook example of self-discipline and deferred gratification. His first job was as a picker: a laborer whose entire job was separating coal from the stones that accompanied it from mineshaft to colliery. Soon enough he was working as an assistant fireman, then as the “plugman” operating a set of valves on the steam-driven pump at another collier’s. When he turned twenty, he was appointed as the brakeman, responsible for maintaining the winding mechanism that pulled the coal-filled buckets from the work area of the mine.


pages: 147 words: 45,890

Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich


Berlin Wall, declining real wages, delayed gratification, Doha Development Round, endowment effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, job automation, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mortgage debt, new economy, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, sovereign wealth fund, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, World Values Survey

The harder we worked to buy these things, the less time and energy we had to enjoy what we bought. American culture sent an increasingly mixed message: Work like mad but enjoy life to the fullest. Doing both proved impossible. Sociologist Daniel Bell identified this cultural contradiction years ago, but it became more pronounced in the years preceding the Great Recession. The Protestant virtues of hard work and deferred gratification were at increasing odds with a market that instructed us to fulfill our dreams instantly and indulge our every want. As those wants continuously ratcheted upward—fueled by our anxieties over aging, relative status, and personal attractiveness—we worked even harder. The argument on behalf of hard work has always been premised on something of a lie. People are led to believe that one day they will find satisfaction, if not in the work itself, when they finally have worked hard enough to afford and accumulate what they desire.


pages: 494 words: 116,739

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology by Kentaro Toyama


Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, blood diamonds, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser,, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, global village, Hans Rosling, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, microcredit, mobile money, Nicholas Carr, North Sea oil, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, post-industrial society, randomized controlled trial, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, school vouchers, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, War on Poverty, winner-take-all economy, World Values Survey, Y2K

I don’t blame David for his poor showing in geometry, or even for his lackluster heart, mind, and will. Nor should anyone else. His birth family might have been cursed with drug abuse, alcoholism, homelessness, illiteracy, insolvency, emotional turmoil, or just garden-variety bad luck or bad judgment. You can’t blame a child for not developing good study habits under constant distress. Yet Walter Mischel’s famous “marshmallow study” showed that the capacity to delay gratification – a kind of self-control – expressed at ages four to six is among the strongest predictors of achievement and social adjustment in young adults.2 It doesn’t make much sense to hold six-year-olds accountable for their personalities – it’s obviously not up to them. But what Mischel’s research further implies is that the responsibility for an adult’s degree of self-control isn’t black or white, either.3 A person’s intrinsic growth is never wholly of his own making.

“Practical wisdom” as defined by Schwartz and Sharpe (2010) is very close to the concept of discernment that I am defining in this chapter. 15.With regard to individuals, there is a rich line of research in the psychology of self-control (explored under various names, such as executive function, self-discipline, self-regulation, delay of gratification, and willpower), as well as in its pathological absence (such as akrasia, the breakdown of will, self-defeating behavior, and, in an extreme form, addiction). Academic experts sometimes make fine distinctions between these terms, but the concepts are closely related. Among those who champion the primacy of willpower are Walter Mischel, George Ainslie, and Roy Baumeister. Mischel is best known for his “marshmallow experiment” which demonstrated that young children who were able to delay gratification by giving up an immediate reward for a larger reward later grew up to be more successful in school and life than their peers who were not. See Shoda et al. (1990) and Mischel and Shoda (1995). Baumeister and his colleagues confirm that self-control is a predictor for better health, education, and employment, and further find that greater amounts of it as a character trait appear to confer a consistent advantage in life.

See also Group intrinsic growth Socioeconomic status Ashesi student success, 127 compassionate class, 188–191 creative class, 186–187 digital divide, ix, 47–49, 234(n24) Maslovian growth, 270(n43) microcredit beneficiaries, 61 obesity and, 235(n32) Shanti Bhavan student success, 141 two-tiered education system, 94 See also Economics; Education and training; Inequality; Social change Soronko, 151–152, 154, 157 South Africa: microcredit programs, 59–60 Space programs, 177–178, 266(n9) Spandana organization, 236–237(n14) Spinoza, Baruch, 96 Sreenivasa, Tara, 139–141, 147–149, 254(n32) Standardized tests, 13, 94–95, 117, 229(n29), 240(n8), 248(n23) Star Trek, 21, 22, 24, 33 Stereotype threat, 264–265(n1), 271(n7) Stiglitz, Joseph, 98 Stree Jagruti Samiti (Society for Women’s Empowerment), 17–18 Student achievement delayed gratification and, 173 digital technology enhancing, 15–16 digital technology failing to improve, 8–13 Hole-in-the-Wall project, 228(n24) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), 13, 117, 229(n29), 248(n23) randomized controlled trials, 8, 12, 31, 77–82 parents’ education and, 251(n13) teachers’ commitment to education, 78–80 video games, 228(n20) See also Children; Education and training Subprime home mortgages, 61 Suicide bombings, 50–51 Surveillance, digital, 52 Sustainability education, 146–149 environmental, 134, 207, 215–216 health care, 137–138 intrinsic growth and, 214 nonprofits, 86–87 public sector programs, 86–87 social enterprise, 82–87 See also Scale Swaminathan, M.W., 104 Syria: Arab Spring, 33–34 Systematic corruption, 266(n10).


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier


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, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism,, 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, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, 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

Watch a child playing games on a tablet and then watch someone keeping up with social media, or trading stocks online. We become obsessively engaged in interactions with approximately, but not fully predictable, results. The intrinsic challenge of computation—and of economics in the information age—is finding a way to not be overly drawn into dazzlingly designed forms of cognitive waste. The naïve experience of simulation is the opposite of delayed gratification. Competence depends on delayed gratification. This book has proposed an approach to an information economy based more on the craft of usability than on the thrill of gaming, though it doesn’t reject that thrill. Know Your Poison To paraphrase what Einstein might or might not have said, user interface should be made as easy as possible, but not easier. Dealing with our personal contribution of data to the cloud will sometimes be difficult or annoying in any advanced information economy, but it is the price we will have to pay.

In all cases, there has to be some way for a particular Siren Server to gain enough initial momentum to become the beneficiary of network effects. Therefore, the primary enemy of a fresh server is not competing wannabe servers, but rather “friction.” Friction is what it feels like to be on the bad side of a network effect. Even the slightest expense or risk might slow the initial growth spurt, so every possible effort is made to pretend there are no costs, risks, or even delayed gratifications. This can never really be true. Yet it feels true as you sign up for a social network or an app store for the first time. Since You Asked Here’s typical advice I’d give to someone who wants to try the Silicon Valley startup game: Obviously you have to get someone else to do something on your server. This can start out as a petty activity. eBay started out as a trading site for people who collected Pez candy dispensers.


pages: 523 words: 143,139

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths


4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, constrained optimization, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, diversification, double helix, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, first-price auction, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Henri Poincaré, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, Lao Tzu, linear programming, martingale, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, prediction markets, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert X Cringely, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, urban planning, Vickrey auction, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator

This has a number of important implications. Our judgments betray our expectations, and our expectations betray our experience. What we project about the future reveals a lot—about the world we live in, and about our own past. What Our Predictions Tell Us About Ourselves When Walter Mischel ran his famous “marshmallow test” in the early 1970s, he was trying to understand how the ability to delay gratification develops with age. At a nursery school on the Stanford campus, a series of three-, four-, and five-year-olds had their willpower tested. Each child would be shown a delicious treat, such as a marshmallow, and told that the adult running the experiment was about to leave the room for a while. If they wanted to, they could eat the treat right away. But if they waited until the experimenter came back, they would get two treats.

., “Bayes and Blickets”; Xu and Tenenbaum, “Word Learning as Bayesian Inference.” famous “marshmallow test”: Mischel, Ebbesen, and Raskoff Zeiss, “Cognitive and Attentional Mechanisms in Delay of Gratification.” all depends on what kind of situation: McGuire and Kable, “Decision Makers Calibrate Behavioral Persistence on the Basis of Time-Interval Experience,” and McGuire and Kable, “Rational Temporal Predictions Can Underlie Apparent Failures to Delay Gratification.” grew into young adults who were more successful: Mischel, Shoda, and Rodriguez, “Delay of Gratification in Children.” how prior experiences might affect behavior: Kidd, Palmeri, and Aslin, “Rational Snacking.” Carnegie Hall even half full: According to figures from the Aviation Safety Network (personal correspondence), the number of fatalities “on board US-owned aircraft that are capable of carrying 12+ passengers, also including corporate jets and military transport planes” during the period 2000–2014 was 1,369, and adding the 2014 figure again to estimate deaths in 2015 yields a total estimate of 1,393 through the end of 2015.

The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes’ Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, & Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011. McGuire, Joseph T., and Joseph W. Kable. “Decision Makers Calibrate Behavioral Persistence on the Basis of Time-Interval Experience.” Cognition 124, no. 2 (2012): 216–226. ______. “Rational Temporal Predictions Can Underlie Apparent Failures to Delay Gratification.” Psychological Review 120, no. 2 (2013): 395. Megiddo, Nimrod, and Dharmendra S. Modha. “Outperforming LRU with an Adaptive Replacement Cache Algorithm.” Computer 37, no. 4 (2004): 58–65. Mellen, Andrew. Unstuff Your Life! Kick the Clutter Habit and Completely Organize Your Life for Good. New York: Avery, 2010. Menezes, Alfred J., Paul C. Van Oorschot, and Scott A Vanstone. Handbook of Applied Cryptography.


pages: 212 words: 80,393

Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain by Lisa McKenzie


British Empire, call centre, credit crunch, delayed gratification, falling living standards, full employment, income inequality, low skilled workers, New Urbanism, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, unpaid internship, urban renewal, working poor

(Lewis, 1961, pp 26-7) Lewis understood the actual living conditions of the poor, along with their everyday practices, as a ‘culture of poverty’. He also noted that violence and abandonment of women and children were common and, as a result, mother-centred families and communities that had greater knowledge and ties to maternal relatives became the ‘norm’. Lewis also argued that, within the ‘culture of poverty’, other traits developed: … a strong present time orientation with relatively little ability to defer gratification and plan for the future, a sense of resignation and fatalism based upon the realities of their difficult life situation, a belief in male superiority which reaches its crystallization in machismo or the cult of masculinity, a corresponding martyr complex among women, and finally, a high tolerance for psychological pathology of all sorts. (Lewis, 1961, pp 27-9) These traits then become the everyday practices of the community, and therefore the ‘norm’, passed on to each generation.


pages: 271 words: 82,159

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell


affirmative action, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, RAND corporation, school choice, Silicon Valley

He was ten years old. By the age of eleven, he had six hundred dollars in the bank, all earned by himself. This was in the 1950s. That would be the equivalent today of five thousand dollars. “I didn’t have money for where I wanted to go,” he said with a shrug, as if it was obvious that an eleven-year-old would have a sense of where he wanted to go. “Any fool can spend money. But to earn it and save it and defer gratification—then you learn to value it differently.” His family lived in what people euphemistically called a “mixed neighborhood.” He went to public schools and wore hand-me-downs. His father was a product of the Depression, and talked plainly about money. The man from Hollywood said that if he wanted something—a new pair of running shoes, say, or a bicycle—his father would tell him he had to pay half.


pages: 330 words: 77,729

Big Three in Economics: Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes by Mark Skousen


Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, experimental economics, financial independence, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, means of production, microcredit, minimum wage unemployment, open economy, paradox of thrift, price stability, pushing on a string, rent control, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, secular stagnation, Simon Kuznets, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, unorthodox policies

Smith favored self-restraint. Indeed, he firmly asserted that a free commercial society functioning within the legal restraints he outlined would moderate the passions and prevent a descent into a Hobbesian jungle, a theme he inherits from Montesquieu (see pages 40-41) and later Senior Nassau.10 He taught that commerce encourages people to become educated, industrious, and self-disciplined, and to defer gratification. It is the fe^r of losing customers "which restrains his [the seller's] frauds and corrects his negligence" (1965 [1776], 129). All legitimate exchanges must benefit both the buyer and the seller, not one at the expense of the other. Smith's invisible hand only works if businessmen have an enlightened long-term view of competition, where they recognize the value of reputation and repeat business.


pages: 214 words: 71,585

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids by Meghan Daum


delayed gratification, demographic transition, Donald Trump, financial independence, happiness index / gross national happiness, index card, Mason jar, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, risk tolerance, Skype, women in the workforce

But she scoffed when I reminded her. She also knew what Hugh Laurie’s character had said in nearly every episode of House: “Everybody lies.” And addicts lie the most. Some people are energized by risk. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. But in a relationship, the risk tolerance of partners should match. To draw upon the wisdom of Aesop, ants should not marry grasshoppers. I am an unglamorous ant—deferring gratification, socking away money religiously and investing it prudently. My partner was a grasshopper—seeking what she wants when she wants it, unconcerned by the threat of a rainy day. I suspect that when she flew from Los Angeles to meet the pregnant woman, she was fueled as much by risk as by her urge to be a mother. Back home in my loft, I felt unheard and abandoned—because I was. I did not even log on to read e-mail.


pages: 246 words: 81,843

David and Goliath: The Triumph of the Underdog by Malcolm Gladwell


affirmative action, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, RAND corporation, school choice, Silicon Valley

He was ten years old. By the age of eleven, he had six hundred dollars in the bank, all earned by himself. This was in the 1950s. That would be the equivalent today of five thousand dollars. “I didn’t have money for where I wanted to go,” he said with a shrug, as if it was obvious that an eleven-year-old would have a sense of where he wanted to go. “Any fool can spend money. But to earn it and save it and defer gratification—then you learn to value it differently.” His family lived in what people euphemistically called a “mixed neighborhood.” He went to public schools and wore hand-me-downs. His father was a product of the Depression, and talked plainly about money. The man from Hollywood said that if he wanted something—a new pair of running shoes, say, or a bicycle—his father would tell him he had to pay half.


pages: 347 words: 88,114

The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less by Amy Korst


airport security, business climate, carbon footprint, delayed gratification, if you build it, they will come, Mason jar, Parkinson's law

Her children were accustomed to eating when they were hungry—so much so that her son would scream throughout the preparation of instant oatmeal. This became much worse when she stopped buying instant oatmeal and started preparing it on the stove top. The screaming worsened while she cooked and tried to explain that we don’t always get what we want when we want it. Eventually April wore him down, and she taught her son the value of delayed gratification. Now he plays with his toys while she prepares meals, and she’s proud of the lesson he’s learned. The First “R”: Reduce Prior to the Green Garbage Project, Adam and I considered ourselves conscientious consumers, but we were consumers nonetheless. Our shopping habits never centered around reduction of purchasing, but rather around an attempt to purchase products claiming to be environmentally friendly.

Although it would be nearly impossible to shield children from all forms of advertising—not to mention it would be naïve to expect to be able to—it is fair to say that the more advertising kids take in, the more they desire to participate in our consumer culture, regardless of family values like thrift, conservation, and contentment with what we already have. Instead, try to limit the amount of advertising children are exposed to. When your kids do see something on TV they “have to have,” this becomes a teachable moment. I find that one trait high schoolers totally lack is the ability to delay gratification. Our kids are truly a “gotta have it now” generation. Although there’s arguably nothing wrong with getting your children the latest, greatest toy on the market, there’s also nothing wrong with talking to them about the environmental impact of the toy they want. Finally, when acquiring new items, help children anticipate the eventual disposal of that product. Teach them to ask, “How do I responsibly dispose of this toy when it breaks?”


pages: 346 words: 102,625

Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker


8-hour work day, active transport: walking or cycling, barriers to entry, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, diversification, don't be evil, dumpster diving, financial independence, game design, index fund, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, loose coupling, market bubble, McMansion, passive income, peak oil, place-making, Ponzi scheme, psychological pricing, the scientific method, time value of money, transaction costs, wage slave, working poor

Communities like the Shakers and the Quakers have thought about this and decided on some ground rules of what complexities to avoid. In general, the avoided complexities are the tightly coupled complexities.42 They will gladly borrow those, but they won't own them. To wit, they use a modularity strategy with loose couplings to avoid many problems. Slowness can be achieved through delayed gratification. In a world of scarcity, instant gratification is the optimal strategy. In a world of abundance, delayed gratification is the optimal strategy. Genetically, there's a preference for the former, which means that a mature person with a measure of self-control has an advantage, being able to wait for bargains. It also means if you have patience and don't depend on speed, there are fewer costs to be paid for the additional power that speed otherwise requires.


pages: 416 words: 106,582

This Will Make You Smarter: 150 New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking by John Brockman


23andMe, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, banking crisis, Barry Marshall: ulcers, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, biofilm, Black Swan, butterfly effect, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, data acquisition, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Exxon Valdez, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, hive mind, impulse control, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, mandelbrot fractal, market design, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, microbiome, Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Carr, open economy, place-making, placebo effect, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, random walk, randomized controlled trial, rent control, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, Schrödinger's Cat, security theater, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, Thorstein Veblen, Turing complete, Turing machine, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Catalog

He invited the kids into a tiny room containing a desk and a chair and asked them to pick a treat from a tray of marshmallows, cookies, and pretzel sticks. Mischel then made the four-year-olds an offer: They could either eat one treat right away or, if they were willing to wait while he stepped out for a few minutes, they could have two treats when he returned. Not surprisingly, nearly every kid chose to wait. At the time, psychologists assumed that the ability to delay gratification in order to get that second marshmallow or cookie depended on willpower. Some people simply had more willpower than others, which allowed them to resist tempting sweets and save money for retirement. However, after watching hundreds of kids participate in the marshmallow experiment, Mischel concluded that this standard model was wrong. He came to realize that willpower was inherently weak and that children who tried to postpone the treat—gritting their teeth in the face of temptation—soon lost the battle, often within thirty seconds.

., 61 climate change, 51, 53, 99, 178, 201–2, 204, 268, 309, 315, 335, 386, 390 CO2 levels and, 202, 207, 217, 262 cultural differences in view of, 387–88 global economy and, 238–39 procrastination in dealing with, 209, 210 clinical trials, 26, 44, 56 cloning, 56, 165 coastlines, xxvi, 246 Cochran, Gregory, 360–62 coffee, 140, 152, 351 cognition, 172 perception and, 133–34 cognitive humility, 39–40 cognitive load, 116–17 cognitive toolkit, 333 Cohen, Daniel, 254 Cohen, Joel, 65 Cohen, Steven, 307–8 cold fusion, 243, 244 Coleman, Ornette, 254, 255 collective intelligence, 257–58 Colombia, 345 color, 150–51 color-blindness, 144 Coltrane, John, 254–55 communication, 250, 358, 372 depth in, 227 temperament and, 231 companionship, 328–29 comparative advantage, law of, 100 comparison, 201 competition, 98 complexity, 184–85, 226–27, 326, 327 emergent, 275 computation, 227, 372 computers, 74, 103–4, 146–47, 172 cloud and, 74 graphical desktops on, 135 memory in, 39–40 open standards and, 86–87 computer software, 80, 246 concept formation, 276 conduction, 297 confabulation, 349–52 confirmation bias, 40, 134 Conner, Alana, 367–70 Conrad, Klaus, 394 conscientiousness, 232 consciousness, 217 conservatism, 347, 351 consistency, 128 conspicuous consumption, 228, 308 constraint satisfaction, 167–69 consumers, keystone, 174–76 context, sensitivity to, 40 continental drift, 244–45 conversation, 268 Conway, John Horton, 275, 277 cooperation, 98–99 Copernicanism, 3 Copernican Principle, 11–12, 25 Copernicus, Nicolaus, 11, 294 correlation, and causation, 215–17, 219 creationism, 268–69 creativity, 152, 395 constraint satisfaction and, 167–69 failure and, 79, 225 negative capability and, 225 serendipity and, 101–2 Crick, Francis, 165, 244 criminal justice, 26, 274 Croak, James, 271–72 crude look at the whole (CLAW), 388 Crutzen, Paul, 208 CT scans, 259–60 cultural anthropologists, 361 cultural attractors, 180–83 culture, 154, 156, 395 change and, 373 globalization and, see globalization culture cycle, 367–70 cumulative error, 177–79 curating, 118–19 currency, central, 41 Cushman, Fiery, 349–52 cycles, 170–73 Dalrymple, David, 218–20 DALYs (disability-adjusted life years), 206 danger, proving, 281 Darwin, Charles, 2, 44, 89, 98, 109, 156, 165, 258, 294, 359 Das, Satyajit, 307–9 data, 303, 394 personal, 303–4, 305–6 security of, 76 signal detection theory and, 389–93 Dawkins, Richard, 17–18, 180, 183 daydreaming, 235–36 DDT, 125 De Bono, Edward, 240 dece(i)bo effect, 381–85 deception, 321–23 decision making, 52, 305, 393 constraint satisfaction and, 167–69 controlled experiments and, 25–27 risk and, 56–57, 68–71 skeptical empiricism and, 85 deduction, 113 defeasibility, 336–37 De Grey, Aubrey, 55–57 delaying gratification, 46 democracy, 157–58, 237 Democritus, 9 Demon-Haunted World, The (Sagan), 273 Dennett, Daniel C., 170–73, 212, 275 depth, 226–28 Derman, Emanuel, 115 Descent of Man, The (Darwin), 156 design: mind and, 250–53 recursive structures in, 246–49 determinism, 103 Devlin, Keith, 264–65 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), 233–34 “Dial F for Frankenstein” (Clarke), 61 Diesel, Rudolf, 170 diseases, 93, 128, 174 causes of, 59, 303–4 distributed systems, 74–77 DNA, 89, 165, 223, 244, 260, 292, 303, 306 Huntington’s disease and, 59 sequencing of, 15 see also genes dopamine, 230 doughnuts, 68–69, 70 drug trade, 345 dualities, 296–98, 299–300 wave-particle, 28, 296–98 dual view of ourselves, 32 dynamics, 276 Eagleman, David, 143–45 Earth, 294, 360 climate change on, see climate change distance between sun and, 53–54 life on, 3–5, 10, 15 earthquakes, 387 ecology, 294–95 economics, 100, 186, 208, 339 economy(ies), 157, 158, 159 global, 163–64, 238–39 Pareto distributions in, 198, 199, 200 and thinking outside of time, 223 ecosystems, 312–14 Edge, xxv, xxvi, xxix–xxx education, 50, 274 applying to real-world situations, 40 as income determinant, 49 policies on, controlled experiments in, 26 scientific lifestyle and, 20–21 efficiency, 182 ego: ARISE and, 235–36 see also self 80/20 rule, 198, 199 Einstein, Albert, 28, 55, 169, 301, 335, 342 on entanglement, 330 general relativity theory of, 25, 64, 72, 234, 297 memory law of, 252 on simplicity, 326–27 Einstellung effect, 343–44 electrons, 296–97 Elliott, Andrew, 150 Eliot, T.


pages: 134 words: 39,353

The Bridge: The Building of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge by Gay Talese, Bruce Davidson


delayed gratification, fixed income, New Journalism, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, transcontinental railway

Margaret and Gerard had been classmates in parochial school and had dated during and after their years in high school, although "dating" in those days in that neighborhood hardly connoted sexual permissiveness. Had Gerard not fallen off the bridge, Margaret would have been his virgin bride, perhaps among the last women of her generation in Red Hook to be so determinedly inclined regarding premarital chastity; and yet along with her firmly held opinions on delayed gratification and the sanctity of marriage, and her feelings of appreciation and tenderness toward Gerard for supporting and respecting her views, she doubted that she would have been very happy as Gerard's wife. She told me this during an interview in her home seven weeks after Gerard's funeral, which had been attended by hundreds of fellow bridge workers. These men were the only individuals that Gerard looked up to, she said; they mattered more to him than any girlfriend or wife ever would.


pages: 299 words: 83,854

Shortchanged: Life and Debt in the Fringe Economy by Howard Karger


big-box store, blue-collar work, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, delayed gratification, financial deregulation, illegal immigration, labor-force participation, late fees, London Interbank Offered Rate, low skilled workers, microcredit, mortgage debt, New Journalism, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, payday loans, predatory finance, race to the bottom, Silicon Valley, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, underbanked, working poor

Second, credit card companies and other financial institutions have helped redefine the concept of acceptable debt. As such, zero balances on credit cards are becoming increasingly rare as consumers rack up credit card purchases and play a shell game of shifting balances from one card to another. Although stagnant wages coupled with increases in the cost of necessities drives the fringe economy, it is also driven by overconsumption, conspicuous consumption, status consumption, the inability to defer gratification, and impulse buying. Hence, it’s not surprising that in surveys of children age 10 to 13, Juliet Schor found that their overriding goal was to get rich. In response to the statement, “I want to make a lot of money when I grow up,” 63% agreed, and only 7% disagreed.29 But even if most don’t get rich, the fringe economy still allows them to live as if they were, albeit temporarily. The driving vision of fringe economy entrepreneurs is to develop a fully formed subeconomy capable of meeting the financial needs of the poor, people with lower and moderate incomes, and the functionally poor middle class.


pages: 320 words: 97,509

Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician by Sandeep Jauhar


Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, delayed gratification, illegal immigration, income inequality, medical malpractice, moral hazard, obamacare, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, stem cell, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Yogi Berra

Burnout is associated with excessive workload, difficulty balancing one’s personal and professional lives, and loss of work control, autonomy, and meaning. It has been described as “an erosion of the soul caused by a deterioration of one’s values, dignity, spirit and will.” The practice of medicine today almost seems to promote burnout. Doctors are working harder and harder, and many continue to demand perfection of themselves. We defer gratification, sometimes for many years. We no longer feel in charge of our professional destiny. A physician recently wrote online: “The reason we are feeling ‘burnout’ is that there does not seem to be any hope for things to get better.” Another said, speaking for many in private practice who stand to lose the most from policy proposals to restrict fee-for-service and encourage greater use of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to do what was formerly doctors’ work, “We look forward to a future of a fully implemented Obamacare where physicians are but meaningless pawns in the hands of those who are pushing this absurd social experiment.”


pages: 351 words: 100,791

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction by Matthew B. Crawford


airport security, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, collateralized debt obligation, David Brooks, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, digital Maoism, Google Glasses, hive mind, index card, informal economy, Jaron Lanier, large denomination, new economy, new new economy, online collectivism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Richard Thaler, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, the built environment, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Walter Mischel, winner-take-all economy

And reciprocally, the ability to control oneself in the face of some temptation is greatly enhanced by, indeed seems simply to be, the ability to direct one’s attention toward something else. In a classic psychology experiment, Walter Mischel and E. B. Ebbesen gave children the option of having one marshmallow immediately or, if they were able to wait fifteen minutes, two marshmallows.10 Left alone with the marshmallow at hand, some broke down and gobbled it immediately, others after a brief struggle. But about a third of the children succeeded in deferring gratification and getting the bigger payoff. Those who did so were those who distracted themselves from the marshmallow by playing games under the table, singing songs, or imagining the marshmallow as a cloud, for example. In a follow-up study of the same children a dozen years later, their initial performance on the self-regulation task was more predictive of life success than any other measure, including IQ and socioeconomic status.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms


Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling,, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, land reform, loss aversion, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

To be scientific, economics needed to reduce itself to hard measures, to WHY DID AN APPARENTLY POOR PACIFIC ISLAND HIT THE TOP? 35 reduce itself in turn to econometrics, to formulae and graphs. The difficulty was that, actually, this undermined its ability to describe the world, and the behaviour of human beings, very accurately. It assumed that people always maximize their broad wealth in any given situation – which is, almost by definition, true (though there is some room for argument about deferred gratification). But economics then defined wealth so narrowly, as little more than money, when everyone knows – at least outside the economics lecture room – that this is nonsense. Human beings constantly accept something that is both less and more than money, from quiet or calmness or good relationships, to any other aspect of life that brings them fulfilment and excitement. Any economics that fails to recognize this blinds itself to the way the world is, so that it finds it hard to understand decisions to downshift or to pay more for an ethical choice, and is – only now – struggling to come to terms with the obvious.


pages: 407 words: 109,653

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman


Asperger Syndrome, Berlin Wall, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Edward Glaeser, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, game design, Jean Tirole, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Steve Jobs

Adaptive competitiveness is characterized by perseverance and determination to rise to the challenge, but it’s bounded by an abiding respect for the rules. It’s the ability to feel genuine satisfaction at having put in a worthy effort, even if you lose. People with adaptive competitiveness don’t have to be the best at everything—they only strive to be the best in the domain they train for. They might be perfectionists at work, but they don’t care if they’re the worst at tennis and shuffleboard. They are able to defer gratification, meaning they accept that it can take a long time to improve. Healthy competitiveness is marked by constant striving for excellence, but not desperate concerns over rank. It’s adaptive competitiveness that leads to the great, heroic performances that inspire us all. The maladaptive variety is what gives competitiveness its bad name. Maladaptive competitiveness is characterized by psychological insecurity and displaced urges.


Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood


British Empire, delayed gratification, European colonialism, neurotypical, urban sprawl, wage slave

In short, there had been errors, false directions taken, but they were getting very close to a solution. Needless to say, Crake continued, the thing would become a huge money-spinner. It would be the must-have pill, in every country, in every society in the world. Of course the crank religions wouldn’t like it, in view of the fact that their raison d’être was based on misery, indefinitely deferred gratification, and sexual frustration, but they wouldn’t be able to hold out long. The tide of human desire, the desire for more and better, would overwhelm them. It would take control and drive events, as it had in every large change throughout history. Jimmy said the thing sounded very interesting. Provided its shortcomings could be remedied, that is. Good name, too – BlyssPluss. A whispering, seductive sound.


pages: 327 words: 97,720

Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection by John T. Cacioppo


Alfred Russel Wallace, biofilm, butterfly effect, Celebration, Florida, corporate governance, delayed gratification, experimental subject, impulse control, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, Rodney Brooks, Ted Kaczynski, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, theory of mind, urban planning, urban renewal, Walter Mischel

Combined with ever more sophisticated mental capacities—the ability to maintain the image of a prey animal when it is no longer in sight, the ability to continue to focus persistently on a certain goal for days or even years—running allowed us to move from scavenging on the savannahs to becoming competent hunters.2 With the expansion of our brain and our field of vision came an even wider expansion—not just of our range of habitation, but of our range in terms of the global and temporal nature of our concerns. It is this expansion that lies at the heart of the Third Adaptation. We became creatures not just of the moment, but of the future and the past. We could internalize lessons from experience, learn from our mistakes, and also plan ahead. We could defer gratification and we could keep mental accounts of treachery and of kindness extending back for generations, even centuries. With highly sophisticated and fully functional executive control, we could much more precisely sort out what served our own interests, while also taking into consideration our membership in various wider communities of interest, extending all over the world and into the future our great-grandchildren will inhabit.


pages: 448 words: 142,946

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition by Charles Eisenstein


Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, bank run, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Bretton Woods, capital controls, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, disintermediation, diversification, fiat currency, financial independence, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, global supply chain, happiness index / gross national happiness, hydraulic fracturing, informal economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, Lao Tzu, liquidity trap, lump of labour, McMansion, means of production, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Scramble for Africa, special drawing rights, spinning jenny, technoutopianism, the built environment, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail

We have many needs that we prefer to fulfill now rather than in the future. If we are starving, we would rather have one meal today than a hundred a year from now. The Austrian School of economics especially, but more generally neoclassical economics as well, extrapolates from such examples to claim that it is human nature to want to consume as much as possible right now. In their view, interest is a kind of compensation for deferring consumption, a reward for delayed gratification. In other words, you, dear reader, would love to maximize your utility by spending all your money right now, but are induced not to because you know that you’ll be able to have even more later, thanks to interest. This is known in economics as the time preference postulate. Time preference—our supposed preference for immediate consumption—is crucial to the discounted utility model developed by Paul Samuelson in the 1930s that lies at the foundation of most mainstream economic theory today.

We would not have ascended into a separate and better human realm, removed from nature. Karl Marx put it thus: The cult of money has its asceticism, its self-denial, its self-sacrifice—economy and frugality, contempt for mundane, temporal, and fleeting pleasures; the chase after the eternal treasure. Hence the connection between English Puritanism, or also Dutch Protestantism, and money-making.39 This mentality pervades our culture. You must delay gratification. You must restrain your desires with the thought of future rewards. Pain now is gain later. Do your homework for the grade. Go to work for the salary. Do the workout to be healthy. Go on a diet to be thin. Devote your life to something that pays well, even if it isn’t your passion, so that you can have an enjoyable retirement. In all of these things we apply a regime of threat and incentive designed to overcome our laziness, our selfishness.


pages: 405 words: 130,840

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt


crack epidemic, delayed gratification, feminist movement, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, the scientific method, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel

T h e n you ring the bell. Now let's j u m p ahead to 1985. Mischel has mailed your parents a questionnaire asking them to report on your personality, your ability to delay gratification and deal with frustration, and your performance on your college entrance exams (the Scholastic Aptitude Test). Your parents return the questionnaire. Mischel discovers that the number of s e c o n d s you waited to ring the bell in 1970 predicts not only what your parents say about you as a teenager but also the likelihood that you were admitted to a top university. Children who were able to overcome stimulus control and delay gratification for a few extra minutes in 1970 were better able to resist temptation as teenagers, to focus on their studies, and to control themselves when things didn't go the way they wanted.27 What was their secret?


Trend Commandments: Trading for Exceptional Returns by Michael W. Covel


Albert Einstein, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio,, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, family office, full employment, Lao Tzu, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market microstructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nick Leeson, oil shock, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Sharpe ratio, systematic trading, the scientific method, transaction costs, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, Y2K

Biological impulses are drivers of our emotions. There is no way to escape that fact, but you can learn to self-regulate your feelings and, in so doing, manage situations where emotions can interfere with sound decision-making—like in the markets. Self-regulation is the ongoing inner conversation that emotionally intelligent people engage in to not be a prisoner to their feelings.6 The ability to delay gratification, stifle impulsiveness, and shake off the inevitable setbacks and upsets is critical. Without emotional intelligence, you can have superior trend following training and systems, using an incisive and analytical mind with infinite creativity, and still fail.7 How can you start down that right path? The path to accepting the emotional part of your consciousness means focusing on improving your happiness: • Do not equate happiness with money.


pages: 250 words: 9,029

Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Popular Culture Is Making Us Smarter by Steven Johnson


Columbine, complexity theory, corporate governance, delayed gratification, edge city, Flynn Effect, game design, Marshall McLuhan, pattern recognition, profit motive, race to the bottom, Steve Jobs, the market place

If you practically have to lock kids in their room to get them to do their math homework, and threaten to ground them to get them to take out the trash, then why are they willing to spend six months smithing i n Ultima ? You ' l l often hear video games included on the list of the debased instant gratifications that abound in our culture, right up there with raunchy music videos and fast food. But compa red to most forms of popular e ntertai nment, games turn out to be all about delayed gratification-sometimes so long delayed that you wo nder if the gratification is ever going to show. The clearest measure of the cognitive challenges posed by modern games is the sheer size of the cottage industry de­ voted to publishing game guides, sometimes called walk­ throughs, that give you detailed , step-by-step explanations of how to complete the game that is currently torturing you. During my twenties , I 'd wager that I spent somewhere shockingly close to a thousand dollars buying assorted cheat sheets, maps, help books, and phone support to assist my usually futile attempt to complete a video game.


Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth by Margaret Atwood


carbon footprint, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, epigenetics, financial independence, illegal immigration, Jane Jacobs, Plutocrats, plutocrats, trickle-down economics, wage slave

Is it simply that we’re programmed to snatch the low-hanging fruit and gobble down as much of it as we can, without thinking ahead to the fruitless days that may then lie ahead of us? Well, partly: seventy-two hours without fluids or two weeks without food and you’re most likely dead, so if you don’t eat some of that lowhanging fruit right now you aren’t going to be around six months later to congratulate yourself on your capacity for self-restraint and delayed gratification. In that respect, credit cards are almost guaranteed to make money for the lender, since “grab it now” may be a variant of a behaviour selected for in hunter-gatherer days, long before anyone ever thought about saving up for their retirement. A bird in the hand really was worth two in the bush then, and a bird crammed into your mouth was worth even more. But is it just a case of short-term gain followed by long-term pain?


pages: 225 words: 55,458

Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Education by Mike Rose


blue-collar work, centre right, delayed gratification, income inequality, new economy, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the built environment, urban renewal, War on Poverty

If a student quits a program before complet52 A D U LT E D U C AT I O N A N D T H E L A N D S C A P E O F O P P O RT U N I T Y ing a certificate or degree, he or she is tallied up as a negative for the program. Yet what I’ve seen with some frequency is that people will leave once they develop sufficient skill to get a job. This has a positive economic impact, but in many analyses would register as a program failure. One more thing: This behavior— going for the short-term payoff—is often cited as an illustration of poor people’s inability to delay gratification and form long-term goals. That’s possible—people in all income brackets have problems with long-term goals—but in my experience, most of the people taking those immediate jobs do so because the rent is due, children need to be fed, members of the family are sick. They are quite aware of the trade-off and say they want to return to finish the program, for they could improve their long-term job prospects with more education.


pages: 177 words: 54,421

Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday


Airbnb, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, delayed gratification, Google Glasses, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Paul Graham, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, side project, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Upton Sinclair

When it is difficult to tell a real producer from an adept self-promoter, of course some people will roll the dice and manage to play the confidence game. Make it so you don’t have to fake it—that’s they key. Can you imagine a doctor trying to get by with anything less? Or a quarterback, or a bull rider? More to the point, would you want them to? So why would you try otherwise? Every time you sit down to work, remind yourself: I am delaying gratification by doing this. I am passing the marshmallow test. I am earning what my ambition burns for. I am making an investment in myself instead of in my ego. Give yourself a little credit for this choice, but not so much, because you’ve got to get back to the task at hand: practicing, working, improving. Work is finding yourself alone at the track when the weather kept everyone else indoors.


pages: 235 words: 65,885

Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines by Richard Heinberg, James Howard (frw) Kunstler


anti-communist, back-to-the-land, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demographic transition, ending welfare as we know it, energy transition, Fractional reserve banking, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, land reform, means of production, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, urban planning

And so here we are today, in a human world dominated by money, news, sports, entertainment, employment, and investment — a world in which nature appears as something peripheral and mostly unnecessary. Nature is merely a pile of resources, a segment of the economy, at best something to be preserved for aesthetic or sentimental reasons. But in domesticating plants and animals we also domesticated ourselves. Certain personalities were selected for, others discouraged. The abilities to conform and to delay gratification were selected for (at least among the producing and middle classes); the insistence on autonomy and freedom was discouraged. Meanwhile we domesticated other animals with similar objectives in mind: we wanted docile pets or willing field workers. Again: we are like caged birds — except that our captors are others like ourselves. In effect, we have built our own cages. When Bittner occasionally comes across a parrot that he knows was hand-raised, he notices the difference between it and its wild cousins.


pages: 296 words: 78,227

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch


Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business process, delayed gratification, fear of failure, income inequality, inventory management, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, knowledge worker, profit maximization, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, wage slave

We can change the way that we think about external events, even where we cannot change them. And we can do something more. We can intelligently change our exposure to events that make us either happy or unhappy. MAKING OURSELVES HAPPY BY STRENGTHENING EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE Daniel Goleman and other writers have contrasted academic intelligence or IQ with emotional intelligence: “abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and to keep distress from swamping the ability to think; to empathize and to hope.”5 Emotional intelligence is more crucial for happiness than intellectual intelligence, yet our society places little emphasis on the development of emotional intelligence. As Goleman aptly remarks: Even though a high IQ is no guarantee of prosperity, prestige, or happiness in life, our schools and our culture fixate on academic abilities, ignoring emotional intelligence, a set of traits—some might call it character—that also matters immensely for our personal destiny.6 The good news is that emotional intelligence can be cultivated and learned: certainly as a child, but also at any stage in life.


pages: 220 words: 74,713

Primates of Park Avenue: A Memoir by Wednesday Martin Ph.d.


delayed gratification, haute couture, McMansion, stem cell

I will never forget the “playdate” where there was a single desirable toy—a brightly colored play oven with knobs and lights and buttons—surrounded by a few other, lesser toys. It was the center of a game of musical chairs rigged by admissions people who wanted to see how a bunch of tired toddlers would respond to the stress of confronting exactly what they were incapable of handling at that point in their development—the need to take turns and delay gratification and manage their own frustration under unusual circumstances. With no reward. After waiting and waiting, my son grew visibly upset. Other kids were shoving each other, and him. The “playdate” was devolving into chaos. I was disgusted and angry, and as my son burst into tears, I got up from my spot on the floor to comfort him (they never told you where to sit or how to be at these idiotic “playdates,” because watching you wonder and try to figure it out was part of their “assessment”).


pages: 280 words: 75,820

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher


Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Build a better mousetrap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, fundamental attribution error, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, music of the spheres, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Walter Mischel

Temperance and its habits of modesty, prudence, and avoidance of excess are difficult to develop because they counter stubborn flaws in human nature. As Peterson says, “We’re temperate because we’re tempted not to be. Are you in control of yourself or are you out of control? It’s all about ‘self-regulation,’ which is a trendy subject in psychology these days. And you become self-regulating by being self-regulating, by forgoing or delaying gratification.” Because temperance is difficult to develop and requires your deliberate action, he says, “attention plays a particularly important role. We need to concentrate on acquiring a trait such as modesty, because we all want to brag about ourselves.” Most parents draw their kids’ attention to the importance of developing honesty, fairness, and other virtues, but fewer follow through on the principle that actions speak louder than words.


pages: 288 words: 73,297

The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease by Marc Lewis Phd


delayed gratification, helicopter parent, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Walter Mischel

It is characterized by changes in specific brain systems, especially those that process rewards (i.e., valued outcomes). Brain systems responsible for anticipating rewards, motivating us to go after them, and evaluating and reevaluating the worth of those rewards are reshaped by the repeated use of drugs, including alcohol. Researchers have found additional brain changes in systems underlying cognitive control, delayed gratification, and abstract skills like comparing and predicting outcomes and selecting best choices. According to the disease model, all these changes are caused by exposure to drugs of abuse, and they are difficult if not impossible to reverse. Of course the disease model builds on a biological framework, and it does a good job of explaining why some individuals are more vulnerable to addiction than others, based on genetic differences and other dispositional factors.


pages: 898 words: 266,274

The Irrational Bundle by Dan Ariely


accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Burning Man, business process, cashless society, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, endowment effect, Exxon Valdez, first-price auction, Frederick Winslow Taylor, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, Jean Tirole, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lake wobegon effect, late fees, loss aversion, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Schrödinger's Cat, second-price auction, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, ultimatum game, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, young professional

It seems that the best course might be to give people an opportunity to commit up front to their preferred path of action. This approach might not be as effective as the dictatorial treatment, but it can help push us in the right direction (perhaps even more so if we train people to do it, and give them experience in setting their own deadlines). What’s the bottom line? We have problems with self-control, related to immediate and delayed gratification—no doubt there. But each of the problems we face has potential self-control mechanisms, as well. If we can’t save from our paycheck, we can take advantage of our employer’s automatic deduction option; if we don’t have the will to exercise regularly alone, we can make an appointment to exercise in the company of our friends. These are the tools that we can commit to in advance, and they may help us be the kind of people we want to be.

Then I would lie down in the big hammock—the only interesting piece of furniture in my loftlike student apartment—from which I had a perfect view of the television. I kept a bucket within reach to catch the vomit that would inevitably come up, after which the fever, shivering, and headache would begin. At some point I would fall asleep and wake up aching with flulike symptoms. By noon I would be more or less OK and would go back to work. The difficulty that I, and the rest of the patients, had with the interferon was the basic problem of delayed gratification and self-control. On every injection day I was faced with a trade-off between giving myself an injection and feeling sick for the next 16 hours (a negative immediate effect), and the hope that the treatment would cure me in the long term (a positive long-term effect). At the end of the six-month trial the doctors told me that I was the only patient in the protocol who had followed the regimen in the way they designed it.

Not only had I been offered a job, but the combination treatment had eliminated the hepatitis from my liver. I’ve been hepatitis-free ever since. THE LESSON I took away from my interferon treatment is a general one: if a particular desired behavior results in an immediate negative outcome (punishment), this behavior will be very difficult to promote, even if the ultimate outcome (in my case, improved health) is highly desirable. After all, that’s what the problem of delayed gratification is all about. Certainly, we know that exercising regularly and eating more vegetables will help us be healthier, even if we don’t live to be as old as the Delany sisters; but because it is very hard to hold a vivid image of our future health in our mind’s eye, we can’t keep from reaching for the doughnuts. In order to overcome many types of human fallibility, I believe it’s useful to look for tricks that match immediate, powerful, and positive reinforcements with the not-so-pleasant steps we have to take toward our long-term objectives.


pages: 790 words: 150,875

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson


Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost has been displaced by God the Analyst, the Agony Uncle and the Personal Trainer. With more than two-fifths of white Americans changing religion at some point in their lives, faith has become paradoxically fickle.48 The only problem with turning religion into just another leisure pursuit is that it means Americans have drifted a very long way from Max Weber’s version of the Protestant ethic, in which deferred gratification was the corollary of capital accumulation. In his words: Protestant asceticism works with all its force against the uninhibited enjoyment of possessions; it discourages consumption … And if that restraint on consumption is combined with the freedom to strive for profit, the result produced will inevitably be the creation of capital through the ascetic compulsion to save.49 By contrast, we have just lived through an experiment: capitalism without saving.


pages: 574 words: 164,509

Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom


agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, anti-communist, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, brain emulation, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, cosmological constant, dark matter, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, delayed gratification, demographic transition, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Elon Musk,, epigenetics, fear of failure, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, interchangeable parts, iterative process, job automation, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Netflix Prize, new economy, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, phenotype, prediction markets, price stability, principal–agent problem, race to the bottom, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, reversible computing, social graph, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, Turing machine, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, World Values Survey

However, the dawning prospect of an intelligence explosion shines a new light on this ancient quest for wisdom. The outlook now suggests that philosophic progress can be maximized via an indirect path rather than by immediate philosophizing. One of the many tasks on which superintelligence (or even just moderately enhanced human intelligence) would outperform the current cast of thinkers is in answering fundamental questions in science and philosophy. This reflection suggests a strategy of deferred gratification. We could postpone work on some of the eternal questions for a little while, delegating that task to our hopefully more competent successors—in order to focus our own attention on a more pressing challenge: increasing the chance that we will actually have competent successors. This would be high-impact philosophy and high-impact mathematics.2 What is to be done? We thus want to focus on problems that are not only important but urgent in the sense that their solutions are needed prior to the intelligence explosion.


pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer


accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich,, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Plutocrats, plutocrats, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War

The supply of new shares is limited because companies are wary of triggering a fall in share prices. And ‘investors’ want to buy shares that are expected to rise in price, so the stock market is radically different from ordinary product markets. An early lesson: the Matthew principle When I was a boy I saved up most of my pocket money in the hope of being able to afford to buy a car when I got to 17. (Growing up in the 1950s and having parents from Yorkshire, thrift and deferred gratification were instilled into me.) By the time I reached my early teens, which was also the time when I learnt how to calculate interest in mathematics at school, I came to realise that I had no chance of achieving my goal. My Post Office savings account would never grow fast enough at the low rates of interest it offered, or even if I got more money by delivering newspapers before school. I started to wonder how some people became rich and how their wealth could exceed even what high salaries could provide on their own.


pages: 624 words: 127,987

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume by Josh Kaufman


Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Hofstadter,, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, hindsight bias, index card, inventory management, iterative process, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, loss aversion, market bubble, Network effects, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, place-making, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, side project, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, subscription business, telemarketer, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, Yogi Berra

Here’s what happened: some kids would gobble up the marshmallow seconds after the researcher left. Others made heroic efforts to distract themselves from temptation, forcing themselves to pay attention to something other than the marshmallow in an agonizing attempt to hold out long enough to get the bigger reward. Dr. Mischel found a correlation between Willpower and success: kids with a greater ability to “defer gratification” were more successful in school, as well as later on in life. Overriding our instincts can often make it possible to collect larger rewards later—spending is easy, but saving is not, even if the latter is more beneficial over time. Willpower can be thought of as instinctual override—it’s a way to interrupt our automatic processing in order to do something else. Whenever we experience a situation in which it’s useful to inhibit our natural inclinations, Willpower is required to keep us from responding.


pages: 687 words: 189,243

A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy by Joel Mokyr


Andrei Shleifer, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, clockwork universe, cognitive dissonance, Copley Medal, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, Deng Xiaoping, Edmond Halley, epigenetics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, framing effect, germ theory of disease, Haber-Bosch Process, hindsight bias, income inequality, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land tenure, law of one price, Menlo Park, moveable type in China, new economy, phenotype, price stability, principal–agent problem, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, the market place, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, ultimatum game, World Values Survey, Wunderkammern

At the same time, it has become abundantly clear that scientists learned a great deal from craftsmen and practitioners and clearly realized it, as Hooke’s proposed catalog of all artisanal practices illustrates. In addition to cultural beliefs about cooperation and relations with the physical environment, what matters to economic growth are personal preferences. Individuals are not hard-wired with a particular rate of time preference, that is to say, a degree of patience and willingness-to-delay-gratification, or other attitudes toward time, and it is easy to document that these differ a great deal across societies.33 Such preferences are important, because they help determine not only the rate of savings and thus physical capital accumulation, but also of investment in human capital and skills. Doepke and Zilibotti (2008) argue that such preferences are learned behavior and term it “patience capital.”

But the education also often included a set of specific skills that allowed individuals to produce goods and services more efficiently and encouraged them to look constantly for more productive ways of doing so by applying useful knowledge. By way of comparison, an upper class that believes in human capital but teaches its youngsters fencing, poetry, hunting, and classical languages will create a different (if not necessarily “smaller”) stock of human capital than one that teaches accounting, chemistry, woodworking, and mechanics as well as a high valuation of patience capital, that is, the willingness to delay gratification and invest in one’s future (Doepke and Zilibotti, 2008). How much of the subsequent economic development in England may be attributed to the kind of phenomena that the Merton thesis is concerned with? Did it prompt a program of research in natural philosophy that led to important technological advances? The evidence, as many of Merton’s critics noted, is at times ambiguous and in some ways biased.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell


barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, cognitive dissonance, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management

The nucleus accumbens plays a central role in the brain’s reward pathways by regulating the ebb and flow of two well-known neurotransmitters: dopamine, which promotes desire, and serotonin, which promotes satiety and inhibition. The thrill of most pleasurable human experiences—getting high on psychoactive drugs or luxuriating in a great cigar—has at its core the nucleus accumbens. Within that nucleus the dopamine system motivates us to eat, drink, and have sex while we can. Evolution created the dopamine system for a very good reason: Given the short, brutish lives of our early human ancestors, delaying gratification raised the probability that there would be no gratification at all. When confronted with matters that were dangerous, edible, or sexual, primitive man knew instinctively that it was safer to act now and think later. Today, those of us more genetically inclined than others to react impulsively are likely to have particularly sensitive dopamine pathways: The more impulsive we are, the more we are driven to action by a danger or incentive—or perhaps more accurately, by the prospect of a danger or incentive.


pages: 358 words: 95,115

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman


affirmative action, Columbine, delayed gratification, desegregation, impulse control, index card, job satisfaction, lake wobegon effect, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, theory of mind

I suppose my hesitation was that the mindset Dweck wants students to have—a firm belief that the way to bounce back from failure is to work harder—sounds awfully clichéd: try, try again. But it turns out that the ability to repeatedly respond to failure by exerting more effort—instead of simply giving up—is a trait well studied in psychology. People with this trait, persistence, rebound well and can sustain their motivation through long periods of delayed gratification. Delving into this research, I learned that persistence turns out to be more than a conscious act of will; it’s also an unconscious response, governed by a circuit in the brain. Dr. Robert Cloninger at Washington University in St. Louis located this neural network running through the prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum. This circuit monitors the reward center of the brain, and like a switch, it intervenes when there’s a lack of immediate reward.


pages: 350 words: 103,270

The Devil's Derivatives: The Untold Story of the Slick Traders and Hapless Regulators Who Almost Blew Up Wall Street . . . And Are Ready to Do It Again by Nicholas Dunbar


asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, bonus culture, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, diversification, Edmond Halley, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, implied volatility, index fund, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, statistical model, The Chicago School, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve

“You do a tailor-made portfolio for which the correlation is unobservable, and you are sitting on an enormous risk that no one can put a price on.” For the derivatives salespeople and traders who had already bought imaginary Porsches and Notting Hill houses with correlation booty wrapped up in a model-based PV number, EITF 02-03 was maddening. They didn’t want to be told that the synthetic CDO profit they were convinced was rightfully theirs would stay locked away for a decade or more. And this delayed gratification also grated on the nerves of the senior management of investment banks that had poured money into the expensive infrastructure needed to trade the new products. How would they explain to analysts that their growth projections needed to be revised downward, because accountants had locked away those revenues and virtually thrown away the key? Well, where there’s a $100 million or two to be made, there’s a way.


pages: 313 words: 92,907

Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are Thekeys to Sustainability by David Owen


A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, congestion charging, delayed gratification, distributed generation, drive until you qualify, East Village, food miles, garden city movement, hydrogen economy, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, linear programming, McMansion, Murano, Venice glass, Negawatt, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, placebo effect, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thomas L Friedman, unemployed young men, urban planning, urban sprawl, walkable city

The fact that the main likely beneficiaries have yet to be born makes it difficult not only to reckon the present value of actions taken in their behalf but also to assess the ultimate effectiveness of whatever actions might actually be taken, and it leads to the public-policy equivalent of playground arguments—“My father’s carbon footprint is smaller than your father’s”—and to politics-driven initiatives of questionable value. Actually, there’s a potentially productive way to think about carbon dioxide and climate change which doesn’t depend solely on civilization’s willingness to engage in global-scale delayed gratification, and doesn’t depend even on achieving a worldwide consensus about causes and effects. Almost all human activities with large carbon footprints are going to become increasingly expensive and untenable for reasons that have nothing to do with their likely impact on the earth’s climate fifty or a hundred years from now and can therefore be addressed with tools that don’t depend solely on hypothetical arguments about the future, or on moralizing by environmentalists.


pages: 270 words: 85,450

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande


Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, clean water, delayed gratification, Skype, stem cell

Fifteen years later, when she was a scholar, the experience led her to formulate a hypothesis: how we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive ourselves to have. When you are young and healthy, you believe you will live forever. You do not worry about losing any of your capabilities. People tell you “the world is your oyster,” “the sky is the limit,” and so on. And you are willing to delay gratification—to invest years, for example, in gaining skills and resources for a brighter future. You seek to plug into bigger streams of knowledge and information. You widen your networks of friends and connections, instead of hanging out with your mother. When horizons are measured in decades, which might as well be infinity to human beings, you most desire all that stuff at the top of Maslow’s pyramid—achievement, creativity, and other attributes of “self-actualization.”


pages: 305 words: 89,103

Scarcity: The True Cost of Not Having Enough by Sendhil Mullainathan


American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrei Shleifer, Cass Sunstein, clean water, computer vision, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, happiness index / gross national happiness, impulse control, indoor plumbing, inventory management, knowledge worker, late fees, linear programming, mental accounting, microcredit, p-value, payday loans, purchasing power parity, randomized controlled trial, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Richard Thaler, Saturday Night Live, Walter Mischel, Yogi Berra

maize farmers in Kenya: E. Duflo, M. Kremer, and J. Robinson, Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya (No. w15131, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009). researchers created a simple and clever intervention: Ibid. cash and bandwidth rich: The researchers interpret this in the context of a hyperbolic discounting model, as a solution to our generic challenge of delaying gratification. Our data on bandwidth increasing around harvest suggest that more might be going on here, that the very act of making the decisions at the time when farmers have greatest bandwidth could also improve the quality of decisions. low-income high school graduates: K. Haycock, “Promise Abandoned: How Policy Choices and Institutional Practices Restrict College Opportunities” (Washington, D.C.: Education Trust, 2006).


pages: 320 words: 96,006

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin


affirmative action, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, edge city, facts on the ground, financial independence, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, job satisfaction, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, Results Only Work Environment, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, union organizing, upwardly mobile, women in the workforce, young professional

And these days the temptations that can siphon off effort are much greater. Boys and girls both fritter away time on technology, but studies show that boys tend to do it in much longer blocks, spending hours after school playing video games. In fact, a consensus is forming that the qualities most predictive of academic success are the ones that have always made up the good girl stereotype: self-discipline and the ability to delay gratification. In other words, the ability to spend two hours doing your homework before you take out the PlayStation. Of course, it’s possible that girls have always had the raw material to make better students, that they’ve always been more studious, organized, self-disciplined, and eager to please, but, because of limited opportunities, what did it matter? In George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, published in 1860, it’s clear that Maggie is much better suited to higher education than her brother Tom.


pages: 295 words: 89,280

The Narcissist Next Door by Jeffrey Kluger


Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bernie Madoff, Columbine, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, impulse control, Jony Ive, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Walter Mischel

As an adult—even as a college student after my camp years had ended—I came to appreciate the genius of Colonel Plaine. He affected a muttering brusqueness most of the time, but if you spotted him in an unguarded moment, speaking only to other adults, he had a winning smile and an easy way about him. He maintained order in a Lord of the Flies group of 250 boys living in cabins far away from their parents, and even the drilling—the cursed drilling—taught us a thing or two about teamwork, self-control, delayed gratification and the simple business of sucking it up and tolerating a little discomfort. And on two occasions—and only two occasions—I learned to love the otherwise pointless business. First, of course, were those rare days on which the girls would come by. On the same mountain as our all-boys camp—though separated by a lake and a ravine—was an all-girls camp of roughly the same size. I didn’t give much thought to the girls during my first few summers, when I was nine and ten and eleven.


pages: 344 words: 93,858

The Post-American World: Release 2.0 by Fareed Zakaria


affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, airport security, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, currency manipulation / currency intervention, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, double entry bookkeeping, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, global reserve currency, global supply chain, illegal immigration, interest rate derivative, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, mutually assured destruction, new economy, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, postindustrial economy, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South China Sea, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Washington Consensus, working-age population, young professional

As Pietra Rivoli, professor of international business at Georgetown University, told the New York Times, “the value goes to where the knowledge is.” America’s Best Industry “Ah yes,” say those who are more worried, “but you’re looking at a snapshot of today. America’s advantages are rapidly eroding as the country loses its scientific and technological base.” For some, the decline of science is symptomatic of a larger cultural decay. A country that once adhered to a Puritan ethic of delayed gratification has become one that revels in instant pleasures. We’re losing interest in the basics—math, manufacturing, hard work, savings—and becoming a postindustrial society that specializes in consumption and leisure. “More people will graduate in the United States in 2006 with sports-exercise degrees than electrical-engineering degrees,” the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, said a few years ago.


pages: 341 words: 116,854

The Devil's Playground: A Century of Pleasure and Profit in Times Square by James Traub


Anton Chekhov, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, fear of failure, Jane Jacobs, jitney, megastructure, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, rent control, Ronald Reagan, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal

Each table came equipped with wooden mallets, and patrons were encouraged to bang the mallets and rattle their silverware in a merry din; revelers could use telephones to call one another. The tables also included dolls and funny hats and other toys. It is safe to assume that many of the patrons got merrily plastered. Here was a setting in which not just conventional morality, but adulthood itself, had been temporarily suspended. The Times Square of 1915 would have been practically unrecognizable to the denizen of 1905. The rules of self-restraint and delayed gratification—that is to say, the Protestant ethic—that had been drilled into generations of Americans had been lifted, if not quite obliterated. Barriers that had governed relations between men and women, the rich and their “inferiors,” high and low culture, tottered and often toppled. A new subculture of cosmopolites had appeared; Julian Street called them the Hectics. These were the terribly fashionable, giddy young men and women who raced from restaurant to theater to cabaret to roof garden.


pages: 455 words: 133,322

The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick


Andy Kessler, Burning Man, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, global village, happiness index / gross national happiness, Howard Rheingold, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, Peter Thiel, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, Startup school, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Whole Earth Review, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator

“Well, there are different levels of jeopardy,” he replied. “Is it sustainable? Will it go out of business? I don’t spend any time worrying about that. It’s fine. Can it be a $10-billion company or something like that? Okay, I think we have a really good chance of getting there.” Some colleagues say Zuckerberg’s desire to prioritize openness and fairness over profit shows he is good at delaying gratification. Or maybe he’s just so driven that gratification is irrelevant. “He’s always striving to do the next thing,” says an executive who has worked closely with him. “For most people there are plateaus and milestones you hit and it allows you to sit back and celebrate and feel a sense of accomplishment. That doesn’t really exist for Mark.” Zuckerberg’s pursuit of growth over money does not seem to have diminished Facebook’s financial prospects.


pages: 519 words: 118,095

Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth


Airbnb, asset allocation, bank run, buy low sell high, car-free, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, Firefox, fixed income, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, index card, index fund, late fees, mortgage tax deduction, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, Paul Graham, random walk, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, speech recognition, traveling salesman, Vanguard fund, web application, Zipcar

Post this note someplace obvious: on a calendar, the fridge, or a bulletin board. For the next 30 days, think about the item and whether you really want it, but don't buy it—not yet. If, at the end of a month, you still have the urge, then consider purchasing it (but don't pay with credit). That's all there is to it. It's simple, but surprisingly effective. The 30-day rule works because you aren't actually denying yourself—you're simply delaying gratification. This process also teaches you to think through your purchases and breaks the cycle of instant gratification that can lead to compulsive spending. This rule has another advantage: It gives you a chance to research the item you want to purchase. You may find that there's a better product out there, or that you can get it for a better price at another store! If you feel like you've tried everything but you still need help, don't turn to the debt-settlement companies that advertise on TV and radio.


pages: 487 words: 151,810

The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by David Brooks


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, business process, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Emanuel Derman,, fear of failure, financial deregulation, financial independence, Flynn Effect, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, impulse control, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, loss aversion, medical residency, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Monroe Doctrine, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, school vouchers, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, Walter Mischel, young professional

It’s not how Academy students conduct themselves. These thousand little rules became second nature to Erica, as to almost all the students. She found her diction changing, especially when she addressed strangers. She found her posture evolving, so that she adopted an almost military bearing. These little routines were almost always about self-discipline in one way or another. They were about delaying gratification or exercising some small act of self-control. She didn’t really think about them this way. The rules were just the normal structure of life for a student such as herself. But they had a pervasive effect on how she lived at school, eventually at home, and even on the tennis court. By junior year, Erica wasn’t quite so obsessed with tennis, but she had developed a way of mentally preparing for each match.


pages: 467 words: 154,960

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


Albert Einstein, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Clayton Christensen, commodity trading advisor, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elliott wave, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, fixed income, game design, hindsight bias, housing crisis, index fund, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, mental accounting, 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, 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

Self-regulation is the ongoing inner conversation that emotionally intelligent engage in to be free from being prisoners of Chapter 6 • Human Behavior their feelings. If we are able to engage in such a conversation, we still feel bad moods and emotional impulses just as everyone else does, but we can learn to control them and even to channel them in useful ways.18 A trend follower’s ability to delay gratification, stifle impulsiveness, and shake off the market’s inevitable setbacks and upsets, makes him not only a successful trader, but also a leader. Goleman found that effective leaders all had a high degree of emotional intelligence along with the relevant IQ and technical skills. While other “threshold capabilities” were entry-level requirements for executive positions, emotional intelligence was the “sine qua non” of leadership.


pages: 555 words: 119,733

Autotools by John Calcote


Albert Einstein, card file, Debian, delayed gratification,, place-making, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Valgrind

Now all you have to do is remember to execute make distcheck before you post your tarballs for public distribution! Unit Testing, Anyone? Some people insist that unit testing is evil, but the only honest rationale they can come up with for not doing it is laziness. Proper unit testing is hard work, but it pays off in the end. Those who do it have learned a lesson (usually in childhood) about the value of delayed gratification. A good build system should incorporate proper unit testing. The most commonly used target for testing a build is the check target, so we'll go ahead and add it in the usual manner. The actual unit test should probably go in src/Makefile because that's where the jupiter executable is built, so we'll pass the check target down from the top-level makefile. But what commands do we put in the check rule?


pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker


Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

In 2011, two researchers from the University of Virginia randomly assigned four-year-olds to one of three activities: a fast-paced TV show for preschoolers (SpongeBob SquarePants, with frenetic pacing and a scene change approximately every eleven seconds); a slower, educational program (Caillou, with scene changes on average every thirty-four seconds); or a control group (they drew pictures for the duration of the shows). Afterward, the kids were given memory games, spatial and fine motor puzzles, and delayed gratification tests (they were offered a choice between two marshmallows that they could eat right away or ten marshmallows if they waited). The results? Though the kids in all three groups were equally attentive before the experiment began, those who had just watched SpongeBob fared significantly worse on the tests of planning and self-control than those in the drawing group, and somewhat worse than those in the educational TV group.42 These are immediate, not long-term effects.


pages: 500 words: 145,005

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler


Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrei Shleifer, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Atul Gawande, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, capital asset pricing model, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, George Akerlof, hindsight bias, Home mortgage interest deduction, impulse control, index fund, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, late fees, law of one price, libertarian paternalism, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, market clearing, Mason jar, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, More Guns, Less Crime, mortgage debt, Nash equilibrium, Nate Silver, New Journalism, nudge unit, payday loans, Ponzi scheme, presumed consent, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, random walk, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel

., 330–33 constrained optimization, 5–6, 8, 27, 43, 161, 207, 365 “Consumer Choice: A Theory of Economists’ Behavior” (Thaler), 35 consumers, optimization problem faced by, 5–6, 8, 27, 43, 161, 207, 365 consumer sovereignty, 268–69 consumer surplus, 59 consumption function, 94–98, 106, 309 “Contrarian Investment, Extrapolation, and Risk” (Lakonishok, Shleifer and Vishny), 228 cooperation, 143–47 conditional, 146, 182, 335n Prisoner’s Dilemma and, 143–44, 145, 301–5, 302 Copernican revolution, 169 Cornell University, 42, 43, 115, 140–43, 153–55, 157 Costco, 63, 71–72 Council of Economic Advisors, 352 coupons, 62, 63, 67–68, 120 credit cards, 18, 74, 76–77 late fees for, 360 crime, 265 Daily Mail, 135 Daily Show, The, 352 Dallas Cowboys, 281 data: financial, 208 collection and recording of, 355–56 Dawes, Robyn, 146 Deal or No Deal, 296–301, 297, 303 path dependence on, 298–300 deals, 61–62 De Bondt, Werner, 216–18, 221, 222–24, 226n, 233, 278 debt, 78 default investment portfolio, 316 default option, 313–16, 327 default saving rate, 312, 316, 319, 357 delayed gratification, 100–102 De Long, Brad, 240 Demos, 330 Denmark, 320, 357–58 descriptive, 25, 30, 45, 89 Design of Everyday Things, The (Norman), 326 Diamond, Doug, 273, 276 Diamond, Peter, 323 Dictator Game, 140–41, 142, 160, 182, 301 diets, 342 diminishing marginal utility, 106 of wealth, 28, 30 diminishing sensitivity, 30–34 discount, surcharge vs., 18 discounts, returns and, 242–43 discounted utility model, 89–94, 99, 110, 362 discretion, 106 Ditka, Mike, 279, 280 dividends, 164–67, 365 present value of, 231–33, 231, 237 Dodd, David, 219 doers, planners vs., 104–9 Donoghue, John, 265n “Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?”


pages: 455 words: 116,578

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


Atul Gawande, Checklist Manifesto, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, game design, haute couture, impulse control, index card, meta analysis, meta-analysis, patient HM, pattern recognition, randomized controlled trial, rolodex, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, telemarketer, Tenerife airport disaster, Toyota Production System, transaction costs, Walter Mischel

Scientists, who were watching everything from behind a two-way mirror, kept careful track of which kids had enough self-control to earn the second marshmallow. Years later, they tracked down many of the study’s participants. By now, they were in high school. The researchers asked about their grades and SAT scores, ability to maintain friendships, and their capacity to “cope with important problems.” They discovered that the four-year-olds who could delay gratification the longest ended up with the best grades and with SAT scores 210 points higher, on average, than everyone else. They were more popular and did fewer drugs. If you knew how to avoid the temptation of a marshmallow as a preschooler, it seemed, you also knew how to get yourself to class on time and finish your homework once you got older, as well as how to make friends and resist peer pressure.


pages: 473 words: 121,895

Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski Ph.d.


cognitive dissonance, correlation does not imply causation, delayed gratification, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, Skype, Snapchat, spaced repetition, the scientific method

This was the lightbulb moment. Camilla recognized that what she really needed was time for her enjoying to grow and expand until finally it activated her eagerness. They had been working with the hypothesis that it was feeling pursued that made her feel desire, but it turned out the real trick was not the experience of being chased but the amount of accelerator activation that comes with going slowly, delaying gratification. For her, the process of getting from enjoying to eagerness is a bit like the ticking pilot light on a gas stove—not quite enough gas, not quite enough, not quite, until phoof! she crosses from enjoying into eagerness. Or—going back to the shower analogy—her accelerator was like a hot-water heater that took a lot of time to heat the whole tank. It worked great, it just needed more patience, but it was so worth the wait.


pages: 468 words: 123,823

A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare


affirmative action, British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, East Village, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, payday loans, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

If it was us, if it was our lonesome ass shuffling past the corner of Monroe and Fayette every day, we’d get out, wouldn’t we? We’d endure. Succeed. Thrive. No matter what, no matter how, we’d find the fucking exit. If it was our fathers firing dope and our mothers smoking coke, we’d pull ourselves past it. We’d raise ourselves, discipline ourselves, teach ourselves the essentials of self-denial and delayed gratification that no one in our universe ever demonstrated. And if home was the rear room of some rancid, three-story shooting gallery, we’d rise above that, too. We’d shuffle up the stairs past nodding fiends and sullen dealers, shut the bedroom door, turn off the television, and do our schoolwork. Algebra amid the stench of burning rock; American history between police raids. And if there was no food on the table, we’re certain we could deal with that.


pages: 686 words: 201,972

Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately


barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Peace of Westphalia, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor

Good Muslims were encouraged to expect an afterlife of sensual excess, spent in a fertile Arcadia: “As for the righteous . . . theirs shall be gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed virgins for companions, a truly overflowing cup.” Anyone thirsty after a mortal life of abstinence could chose between “rivers of wine, delicious to drinkers,” and a packaged variety (“pure wine, securely sealed, whose very dregs are musk”), upon arrival in paradise. This was deferred gratification on a grand scale, far beyond the Christian version, which left the delights of heaven unspecified, beyond one’s being in the presence of God. Even the most visionary of Christian saints had lacked the confidence to depict their paradise as wet. With such clear limitations to work with, Islam set about conquering the drinking world. Under the command of the caliphs, the lineal descendants of Muhammad or his generals, Muslim victories were numerous, rapid, and convincing.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells


Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, borderless world, British Empire, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, planetary scale, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl

The material consequences of this apparently abstract digression on time and capital are increasingly felt in economies and daily lives around the world: recurrent monetary crises, ushering in an era of structural economic instability and actually jeopardizing European integration; the inability of capital investment to anticipate the future, thus undermining incentives for productive investment; the wrecking of companies, and of their jobs, regardless of performance because of sudden, unforeseen changes in the financial environment in which they operate; the increasing gap between profits in the production of goods and services and rents generated in the sphere of circulation, thus shifting an increasing share of world savings to financial gambling; the growing risks for pension funds and private insurance liabilities, thus introducing a question mark over the hard-bought security of working people around the world; the dependence of entire economies, and particularly those of developing countries, on movements of capital largely determined by subjective perception and speculative turbulence; the destruction in the collective experience of societies of the deferred-gratification pattern of behavior, in favour of the “quick buck” common ideology, emphasizing individual gambling with life and the economy; and the fundamental damage to the social perception of the correspondence between production and reward, work and meaning, ethics and wealth. Puritanism seems to have been buried in Singapore in 1995 along with the venerable Barings Bank.26 And Confucianism will last in the new economy only as long as “blood is thicker than water;”27 that is, while family ties still provide social cohesion beyond pure speculation in the brave new world of gambling finance.


pages: 661 words: 169,298

Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferris


Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, delayed gratification, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Gary Taubes, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, Karl Jansky, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, planetary scale, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Wilhelm Olbers

Consequently the idea slowly took hold that an adequate model of the universe not only should be internally consistent, like a song or a poem, but should also make accurate predictions that could be tested against the data of observation. The ascendency of this thesis marked the beginning of the end of our cosmological childhood. Like other rites of passage into adulthood, however, the effort to construct an accurate model of the universe was a bittersweet endeavor that called for hard work and uncertainty and deferred gratification, and its devotees initially were few. One was Eudoxus. He enters the pages of history on a summer day in about 385 B.C., when he got off the boat from his home town of Cnidus in Asia Minor, left his meager baggage in cheap lodgings near the docks, and walked five miles down the dusty road to Plato’s Academy in the northwestern suburbs of Athens. The Academy was a beautiful spot, set in a sacred stand of olive trees, the original “groves of academe,” near Colonus, blind Oedipus’ sanctuary, where the leaves of the white poplars turned shimmering silver in the wind and the nightingales sang day and night.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker


1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser,, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

The three-dozen-odd rules are not independent of one another but exemplify a few themes. It’s unlikely that each of us today had to be instructed in every rule individually, so that if some mother had been remiss in teaching one of them, her adult son would still be blowing his nose into the tablecloth. The rules in the list (and many more that are not) are deducible from a few principles: Control your appetites; Delay gratification; Consider the sensibilities of others; Don’t act like a peasant; Distance yourself from your animal nature. And the penalty for these infractions was assumed to be internal: a sense of shame. Elias notes that the etiquette books rarely mention health and hygiene. Today we recognize that the emotion of disgust evolved as an unconscious defense against biological contamination.24 But an understanding of microbes and infection did not arrive until well into the 19th century.

As we have seen, an interest rate is just such an index, because it reveals how much compensation people demand for deferring consumption from the present to the future. To be sure, an interest rate is partly determined by objective factors like inflation, expected income growth, and the risk that the investment will never be returned. But it partly reflects the purely psychological preference for instant over delayed gratification. According to one economist, a six-year-old who prefers to eat one marshmallow now rather than two marshmallows a few minutes from now is in effect demanding an interest rate of 3 percent a day, or 150 percent a month.125 Gregory Clark, the economic historian we met in chapter 4, has estimated the interest rates that Englishmen demanded (in the form of rents on land and houses) from 1170 to 2000, the millennium over which the Civilizing Process took place.


pages: 654 words: 191,864

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman


Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, Checklist Manifesto, choice architecture, cognitive bias, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, demand response, endowment effect, experimental economics, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, feminist movement, framing effect, hindsight bias, index card, job satisfaction, John von Neumann, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, medical residency, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, nudge unit, pattern recognition, pre–internet, price anchoring, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, union organizing, Walter Mischel, Yom Kippur War

She was in a state of flow.” “His ego was depleted after a long day of meetings. So he just turned to standard operating procedures instead of thinking through the problem.” “He didn’t bother to check whether what he said made sense. Does he usually have a lazy System 2 or was he unusually tired?” “Unfortunately, she tends to say the first thing that comes into her mind. She probably also has trouble delaying gratification. Weak System 2.” The Associative Machine To begin your exploration of the surprising workings of System 1, look at the following words: Bananas Vomit A lot happened to you during the last second or two. You experienced some unpleasant images and memories. Your face twisted slightly in an expression of disgust, and you may have pushed this book imperceptibly farther away.


pages: 734 words: 244,010

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins


agricultural Revolution, Alfred Russel Wallace, complexity theory, delayed gratification, double helix, Drosophila, Haight Ashbury, invention of writing, Louis Pasteur, nuclear winter, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steven Pinker, the High Line, urban sprawl

They have lost some of the normal aphid defensive responses and, according to one intriguing suggestion, some have modified their rear end to resemble the face of an ant. Ants are in the habit of passing liquid food to one another, mouth to mouth, and the suggestion is that individual aphids that evolved this rear-end face-mimicry facilitated being 'milked' and therefore gained protection by ants from predators. The Leaf Cutter's Tale is a tale of delayed gratification as the basis of agriculture. Hunter-gatherers eat what they gather and eat what they hunt. Farmers don't eat their seed corn; they bury it in the ground and wait months for a return. They don't eat the compost with which they fertilise the soil and don't drink the water with which they irrigate it. Again, it is all done for a delayed reward. And the leaf cutter ant got there first. Consider her ways and be wise.


pages: 725 words: 221,514

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber


Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banks create money, Bretton Woods, British Empire, carried interest, cashless society, central bank independence, colonial rule, corporate governance, David Graeber, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, double entry bookkeeping, financial innovation, full employment, George Gilder, informal economy, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, oil shock, payday loans, place-making, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit motive, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, upwardly mobile, urban decay, working poor

Cooper’s essay is a brilliant exploration of the relation between debt imperialism—a phrase she seems to have coined, inspired by Hudson—and evangelical Christianity, and it is heartily recommended. See also Naylor 1985. 29. Robertson 1992:153. In Cooper again: op cit. 30. Atwood 2008:42. 31. This is, incidentally, also the best response to conventional critiques of the poor as falling into debt because they are unable to delay gratification—another way in which economic logic, with all its human blind spots, skews any possible understanding of “consumers’ ” actual motivations. Rationally, since CDs yield around 4 percent annually, and credit cards charge 20 percent, consumers should save as a cushion and only go into debt when they absolutely have to, postponing unnecessary purchases until there’s a surplus. Very few act this way, but this is rarely because of improvidence (can’t wait to get that flashy new dress) but because human relations can’t actually be put off in the same way as imaginary “consumer purchases”: one’s daughter will only be five once, and one’s grandfather has only so many years left. 32.


pages: 879 words: 233,093

The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin


agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, British Empire, carbon footprint, collaborative economy, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, distributed generation,, energy security, feminist movement, global village, hydrogen economy, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, labour mobility, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, out of africa, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, planetary scale, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, supply-chain management, surplus humans, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, working poor, World Values Survey

Recall that Freud believed that every newborn seeks to satisfy his or her libidinal drive—the pleasure principle. It is only later—at around the age of eighteen months to two years—that parents introduce their children to the reality principle. For Freud, reality is imposing restraints and constraints, first in the form of toilet training and scheduled feedings. The baby, says Freud, needs to be taught to delay gratification, to repress his or her instinctual drives in order to conform with the norms that make social life possible. Socialization for Freud meant repression of basic drives, which he viewed as ultimately self-destructive and antisocial. Many of the renegade psychologists of the 1930s and 1940s thought differently. They argued that children are born with a reality principle, and that principle is to seek affection, companionship, intimacy, and a sense of belonging.


pages: 1,351 words: 404,177

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein


affirmative action, Alistair Cooke, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, East Village, European colonialism, full employment, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, immigration reform, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Monroe Doctrine, New Urbanism, Own Your Own Home, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price mechanism, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, walking around money, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

“And the young people themselves began to develop a sense of their own identity and with it a radically critical attitude about the society that their elders had created. They dissented, they dropped out, they said ‘No’—and the reverberations of that No are still being heard.” The new generation’s ethos had something to do with JFK, all agreed, and the Bomb, and a celebration of the immediate against their parents’ cult of deferred gratification. Their favorite politician, Bobby Kennedy, was like them addicted, Andrew Kopkind of the New Republic wrote, to “sudden, spontaneous, half-understood acts of calculated risk.” They reviled a society lost “among the motorized toothbrushes, tranquilizers, and television commercials” (wrote Kennedy brother-in-law Sargent Shriver, in an article on their signature government program, the Peace Corps).


Melody Beattie 4 Title Bundle: Codependent No More and 3 Other Best Sellers by Melody Beattie: A Collection of Four Melody Beattie Best Sellers by Melody Beattie


Albert Einstein, call centre, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, fear of failure, out of africa, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some of our greatest mistakes may become crucially beneficial parts of our lives. Some of our codependent character traits may become the basis for some of our finest characteristics. We may find that our ability to be responsible will qualify us for positions of leadership. We may discover that our ability to put up with deprivation enables us to accomplish something extraordinary that couldn’t be accomplished without the ability to delay gratification. We may find that healing from our pain helps others heal from theirs. Let me close this chapter with a quote from Ellen Goodman, my favorite columnist. Goodman shared the following story with a college graduation class. Eighty percent of life is showing up. Day by day, year by year we were presented with choices and made them. We showed up. And up. And up. Some are paralyzed by choices.