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They looked at attitudes toward entrepreneurship in twenty innovation-based advanced economies. The results were emphatic. Japanese citizens demonstrated the highest fear of failure. Americans, meanwhile, displayed one of the lowest levels.7 Five years later the same attitudes prevailed. In a survey of seventy different countries, at different stages of development, and facing different challenges, Japan had the highest fear of failure of all of them with the exception of Greece, which was going through the trauma of an externally imposed fiscal consolidation. The United States remained among the lowest.8 In a 2013 survey Japan was rated the lowest in the world in terms of believing that the skills associated with entrepreneurship can be improved over time. Fear of failure is not an inherently bad thing. It is smart to consider the risks and to exercise caution if they are deemed severe.
In the previous section we concerned ourselves with the mindset aspect of this equation. Cognitive dissonance occurs when mistakes are too threatening to admit to, so they are reframed or ignored. This can be thought of as the internal fear of failure: how we struggle to admit mistakes to ourselves. The original nozzle is at the top. The final nozzle, after 45 generations and 449 iterations, is at the bottom. It has a shape no mathematician could possibly have anticipated. In sections 5 and 6, we will return to this crucial issue. We will look at how to create a culture where mistakes are not reframed or suppressed, but wielded as a means of driving progress. We will also look at the external fear of failure—the fear of being unfairly blamed or punished—which also undermines learning from mistakes. Ultimately, we will see that strong, resilient, growth-orientated cultures are built from specific psychological foundations, and we will look at practical examples of cutting-edge companies, sports teams, and even schools that are leading the way.
She asked parents and tutors and other role models to talk about how they had failed, and what they had learned. She showed YouTube clips of famous people practicing: i.e., learning from their own mistakes. She told students about the journeys taken by the likes of David Beckham and James Dyson so they could have a more authentic understanding of how success really happens. Hanbury has said: You’re not born with fear of failure, it’s not an instinct, it’s something that grows and develops in you as you get older. Very young children have no fear of failure at all. They have great fun trying new things and learning very fast. Our focus here is on failing well, on being good at failure. What I mean by this is taking the risk and then learning from it if it doesn’t work. There’s no point in failing and then dealing with it by pretending it didn’t happen, or blaming someone else.
My Start-Up Life: What A by Ben Casnocha, Marc Benioff
affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, call centre, David Brooks, don't be evil, fear of failure, hiring and firing, index fund, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Menlo Park, Paul Graham, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technology bubble, traffic fines
Looking back, I think my fear came from the enormity of the risk, the incomplete information, the emotional challenges inherent in an outsider’s taking over the company—my company. Brainstorm: How to Overcome Fear of Failure I betcha I fail more than you do. Take that! I failed to get good grades in school. I failed to successfully start a radio station in high school. I failed to launch my first business idea, which was going to be a sweepstakes clearinghouse online. I have failed in countless sales presentations, sometimes with people walking out on me. I failed to lead my basketball team to a league championship. Now, I don’t like dwell on my failures too much since I prefer to take lessons away and then look forward. But I won’t deny that I fail early and fail often. And this is the best way to overcome the fear of failure: fail. Fail at little things. Get good at it. Laugh at yourself. Fail with 100 percent effort—don’t engage in the kind of self-protection that 75 percent effort affords (“Well, if I had given it my all I would have succeeded”).
It’s Called Doing Things. 49 Confronting Failure . . . and Bouncing Back 52 Brainstorm: Building Resilience—A Transferable Quotient Brainstorm: How to Create and Leverage an Advisory Board 57 Hiring an Interim CEO: My First Big Mistake 60 64 Brainstorm: Three Sure Ways to Maximize Luck 68 The Hunt for a COO: Recruiting a Top Team 70 Brainstorm: The Art of Courtship Brainstorm: How to Overcome Fear of Failure 78 85 10.0 Life as a Road Warrior: Making Memorable 90 Sales Pitches 11.0 Brainstorm: Presentations—Worthy of Obsession Brainstorm: Pricing in an Early-Stage Company Brain Trust: Life Is a Sales Call, by Jeff Parker 93 100 105 I’m a Sophomore: Balancing Work, School, and Life 106 Brainstorm: Redefining the Entrepreneurial Lifestyle: Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise Brainstorm: Being a Corporate Athlete Brain Trust: A Life That Works, by Chris Yeh 108 12.0 A Silicon Valley Life: Building Me, Inc.
Along the way, I spent a night in Monterey, where I snuck into a nonvendor city government conference to network (they almost stopped me from entering), got bumped up to the varsity basketball team as a sophomore (those were the days when I’d miss school and race back from L.A. to catch a late afternoon practice), and finished off the cycle with a doctor’s meeting: I had high blood pressure. At the ripe old age of fourteen. Indeed. This all raises a deeply serious question: Did I even attend school classes freshman year? I have no recollection of anything of the sort (and neither did my transcript). >> Dad, Mike, and I agreed to Dave’s comp and Year One budget in principle. By this time I had made up my mind to be supportive of hiring Dave, and subjugated my fear of failure. Mike and advisor Tom Mulvaney were working on customizing an employment agreement. “OK, Ben, we’re almost there. I’ve spoken to Dave and we agree in principle to the numbers he wants to hit, it’s just about structuring the package to get him there. It will be a combination of base, commissions, and of course, his equity,” Mike said. “Great—any deal breakers?” I asked. “Well, there is one thing he didn’t want to budge on.
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Braxton Irvine
According to Plutarch, Cato did this not because he “sought vainglory”; to the contrary, he dressed differently in order to accustom himself “to be ashamed only of what was really shameful, and to ignore men’s low opinion of other things.”7 In other words, Cato consciously did things to trigger the disdain of other people simply so he could practice ignoring their disdain. Many people are haunted by a fear that in some cases significantly constrains their freedom, namely, the fear of failure. The individuals in question might contemplate doing something that will test their courage, determination, and ability, but then decide against the attempt, with the key factor in their decision being the fear of failure. From their point of view, it is better not even to attempt something than to fail while trying to accomplish it. There are, to be sure, failures that any sensible person will want to avoid—those failures, for example, that result in death or disfigurement. The failures that many people seek to avoid, though, will not cost them their life or health.
Whenever you undertake an activity in which public failure is a possibility, you are likely to experience butterflies in your stomach. I mentioned above that since becoming a Stoic, I have become a collector of insults. I have also become a collector of butterflies. I like to engage in activities, such as competitive rowing, that give me butterflies simply so I can practice dealing with them. These feelings are, after all, an important component of the fear of failure, so that by dealing with them I am working to overcome my fear of failure. In the hours before a race, I experience some truly magnificent butterflies. I do my best to turn them to my advantage: They make me focus on the race that lies ahead. Once a race has begun, I have the pleasure of watching the butterflies depart. I have also turned elsewhere in my pursuit of butterflies.After I began practicing Stoicism, for example, I decided to learn how to play a musical instrument, something I had never done before.
The would-be novelist’s real goal is obviously to get her novel published—something she knows full well—and in advising her to internalize her goals with respect to the novel, I am doing little more than advising her to pretend as if getting published weren’t her goal. In response to this complaint, I would point out, to begin with, that it might be possible for someone, by spending enough time practicing goal internalization, to develop the ability not to look beyond her internalized goals—in which case they would become her “real” goals. Furthermore, even if the internalization process is a mind game, it is a useful mind game. Fear of failure is a psychological trait, so it is hardly surprising that by altering our psychological attitude toward “failure” (by carefully choosing our goals), we can affect the degree to which we fear it. The Stoics, as I have explained, were very much interested in human psychology and were not at all averse to using psychological “tricks” to overcome certain aspects of human psychology, such as the presence in us of negative emotions.
Wealth Without a Job: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Freedom and Security Beyond the 9 to 5 Lifestyle by Phil Laut, Andy Fuehl
For this reason, moving forward and making progress toward your goals is supposed to feel uncomfortable. Change does not have to be agony, but it certainly will activate uncomfortable feelings. Remember the Dilbert cartoon that says, “Change is good. You go ﬁrst”? Fear is chronically linked to change. Unacknowledged fear causes procrastination. At the beginning of an important project, there is fear of failure or fear that you will not be able to reach completion. Toward the end of the project, as success gets closer and more certain, the emotional experience tends to shift to fear about what success may mean. Expect to feel a little uncomfortable about making changes. The discomfort is natural and does not mean that you are doing something wrong. A compulsive desire for emotional comfort can defeat your desire to make the changes you want, if you allow it to.
I reviewed how I had motivated myself to complete projects that had been successful in the past as well as some that were not. Many people have since told me that their own motivation strategy is similar to what I had originally used. I’ll describe ﬁrst my original unconsciously developed motivation strategy and then the new one I now use. When I got started on any new goal, I was excited and began moving forward. Soon after the fear of failure set in, but somehow I got over that. Then after a little while I bumped into obstacles and got frustrated and angry. Still, somehow I got through them. Next, as I continued to move forward, lots of distractions appeared. Somehow I moved past those. Then a combination of fear of success and the concern that the results would not be as good as I originally thought came to my awareness. Yet somehow I got over them and completed the project.
FIGURE 4.6 Developing Self-Motivation ccc_laut_ch04_31-60.qxd 7/8/04 12:23 PM Page 51 Changing Your Motivation—From Inconsistent to Unstoppable Imagine the sheets of paper are a baseball diamond and you are going around the bases. Now think of a goal that you want to achieve. See yourself working on your goal through your own eyes. See the pictures, hear the sounds, and feel the feelings associated with achieving your goal. Now move through your mental image of achieving your goal. It is only natural that you experience some fear of failure. If you don’t, then either your goal is trivial or you are denying your feelings. Consider a larger goal that offers a bigger challenge or slow down so you can focus your awareness more carefully on your current feelings, whichever is appropriate. Now stand on ﬁrst base (PATIENCE). Notice that the goal is not accomplished yet. While you are there, be patient. Really experience being patient and relax.
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, and the same principle applies when people are pursuing new ideas or embarking on change in their lives. Often the biggest constraint is fear of failure. When I asked Sebastian Thrun why the What if you could not fail? question resonated with him, he responded, “People mainly fail because they fear failure.” A central tenet of Thrun’s approach to bringing about radical change, whether that involves reinventing cars or college courses, is “the willingness to fail fast and celebrate failures.” Thrun added, “Innovators have to be fearless.” That was the message Dugan conveyed in her TED speech featuring the could-not-fail question. “If you really ask yourself this question,” she told the audience, “you can’t help but feel uncomfortable,” because it becomes clear that fear of failure “keeps us from attempting great things . . . and life gets dull. Amazing things stop happening.”
In fact, the sudden ubiquity of this idea prompted a mini-backlash from a writer on the website Big Think, who used the term failure fetish39 to describe the trend. The writer pointed out that failure, despite all its current good press, is in reality often painful and sometimes devastating. Nonetheless, many are pushing the “embrace failure” message. The writer Peter Sims pointed out40 that fear of failure has been drummed into us, starting early in life: “Your parents wanted you to achieve, achieve, achieve—in sports, the classroom, and scouting or work. Your teachers penalized you for having the ‘wrong’ answers,” Sims wrote in Harvard Business Review. And if anything, it only got worse as you moved into the business world, where, Sims noted, “modern industrial management is still predicated largely on mitigating risks and preventing errors.”
This line, along with lots of other interesting thoughts on prototyping, can be found on Rodriguez’s bog Metacool, http://metacool.typepad.com/metacool/2009/04/4-prototype-as-if-you-are-right-listen-as-if-you-are-wrong.html. 61 “enabling a class of ordinary people . . . J. Paul Grayson’s quote appeared in Ashlee Vance, “A Technology Sets Inventors Free to Dream,” New York Times, September 14, 2010. 62 “How might we roll it instead of lugging it?” . . . Joe Sharkey, “Reinventing the Suitcase by Adding the Wheel,” New York Times, October 4, 2010. 63 As the writer Peter Sims noted in . . . Peter Sims, “The Number One Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure,” Harvard Business Review, October 5, 2012; see also, Peter Sims, “Daring to Stumble on the Road to Discovery,” New York Times, August 7, 2011. 64 At Facebook, founder Mark Zuckerberg has . . . Zuckerberg published his manifesto “The Hacker Way” as part of his letter to investors during Facebook’s IPO in early 2012. Wired reprinted the complete letter, http://www.wired.com/business/2012/02/zuck-letter/. 65 “the trick is to go from one failure . . .”
3D printing, Black Swan, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Clayton Christensen, crowdsourcing, deliberate practice, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, future of work, Google Glasses, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Lean Startup, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, move fast and break things, Paul Erdős, Paul Graham, recommendation engine, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Y Combinator
And a report from the Kauffman Foundation in 2012 showed that immigrant founders were the social group most likely to start companies in either the “innovation and manufacturing related services” (45%) or software (22%).) Perhaps the significant feature of immigrants is that they are already outsiders, so the compulsion to conform with the host society’s nice ways of doing things is tempered by the knowledge that they are different anyway. Unbound by the domesticated fear of failure, it seems that immigrants can step outside the normal zone of nice and predictable. This sense of difference seems to generate a great appetite for the creative and buccaneering life of start-up businesses. What’s true for entrepreneurs is also true for artists. Malcolm Gladwell explained, in the NY Times, that impressionism, the most influential artist movement in history, was the product of misfits.
In his study of iconoclastic innovators Berns identifies the following three characteristics as key to being creative and successful: Different perception: Seeing the world differently enables you to imagine new possibilities where others see the same. This of course is a feature of the Anti-Conform mentality and thinking differently. Fear management: As you take risks and buck the convention of “Nice” you must be able to handle the fear of failure, social ostracism, or potential mockery that is highly likely to accompany this different direction. You must, in other words, be comfortable being Anti-Safe. Social intelligence: If you have new ideas, new ways of seeing things and want others to see the value of this – whether it is art or business or something else – then you must be able to persuade people. You have every right to treat your art as something wonderful that will speak for itself, and unless you are lucky or have a famous mum or dad it will probably be ignored.
Asperger Syndrome: A Love Story by Sarah Hendrickx, Keith Newton
I had a fear of being unable to excite my partner and this enabled me to relax and enjoy myself. I only needed it the first time, after that I was OK. (AS male) Finding a Partner / 27 It is definitely easier to stay alone, but I have finally mustered the courage to at least attempt a relationship. I am tired of being lonely. (AS male) Respondents were asked whether self-esteem had played any part in their ability to begin or maintain relationships, and whether fear of failure inhibited new attempts to find someone. Someone’s capacity to recover from past failures and move forward varies enormously from person to person. Self-esteem, for most people, is developed through interaction and feedback from others (Hénault 2006) and this is often lacking in those with AS because they have few opportunities to experience positive relationships. The result of this is a continuing downward spiral of negativity: I fear rejection, real or imaginary.
This condition prevented me from basically ever being in a romantic relationship. (AS male) I generally feel inferior to other people and therefore do not feel worthy of associating with them. (AS male) He (AS) did have problems with trying again after his first marriage. He was alone for ten years. (NT female) Compliments do not increase my self-confidence. I don’t believe them to be true so they have no meaning to me. (AS male) Yes (fear of failure affects ability to attempt a relationship) I would still be alone if I was not set up on a blind date. (AS male) 28 / Love, Sex and Long-Term Relationships During different periods of my life I felt so trapped by fear of sexual failure and inadequacy. The advent of Viagra® made a huge difference, as did some therapy. (AS male) The role of alcohol and/or drugs For a small proportion of the men with AS (14%), alcohol or drugs played a large part in their ability to manage the anxiety that is often inherent in the condition.
Allow yourself some time to process your feelings rather than swiftly moving on to find another partner or shutting yourself away fearing another ‘failure’. A relationship ending is not a ‘failure’: people change, circumstances change and the relationship may no longer be able to keep up with those changes: He (AS) chose it (celibacy) after the breakdown of his first relationship and went into (seven) years of mourning. (NT female) Fear of failure or rejection affects ability and desire… I remained alone for seven years. (AS male) My husband (AS) says he was involved with a crazy older woman who pursued him… When it ended my husband pierced his own penis, as some kind of act of what he said would be a commitment to life-long abstinence. (NT female) Me? Us? No One? – Options and Choices for Sexual Pleasure / 77 There was a period of time after the marriage split, where my self-confidence was so shaken.
Albert Einstein, Build a better mousetrap, Burning Man, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, deskilling, fear of failure, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, school choice, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
When they unintentionally drop an item they are juggling, they often jump up with arms outstretched, a big smile, and a loud ta-da! My former colleague Rolf Faste used to have participants in our workshop take the clown’s ta-da bow when they messed up. It did wonders; it made it okay to show one’s mistakes and not try to cover them up. The accepting-repeated-failure route, if used with an open mind, can lead to much better solutions than does a fear of failure. A system that punishes failures rather than accepting that they occur on the road to success squelches creativity. People tend to accept the notion that failure can be productive as an abstraction, yet unsurprisingly, in reality they find it difficult to accept failure unless they’re in an environment that supports this notion. In the d.school we have had a great deal of success in creating such an environment.
I have regained the habit, and many students tell me how thankful they are to have it as an unexpected side benefit of my course. Success opens the door for increased self-esteem. If it comes early in life, it can do much to shape your future direction. If it does not come early, it can still be achieved. It is important to attempt different modalities and not to remain stuck in one that does not nurture and fulfill you. Fear of failure often keeps us in an unsatisfying routine. Instead of daydreaming about change, reach out and attempt new things. Small steps with accompanying successes lead to major life transitions. YOUR TURN Did you have a youthful formative experience of accomplishing something on your own? Think back to the essence of that experience. Looking at your current life, what would you do differently if you were not afraid of failing or looking bad?
If you trip, pick yourself up and keep moving forward. THE MAIN CONSTRUCTS OF this chapter are easy to test in your own life: Be honest and notice the differences between your self-image and the ways you actually act. Notice the difference between intention and attention, between trying to do something and actually doing it. Finally, notice how the habit of acting on your dreams builds from direct experience, and from overcoming the fear of failure. CHAPTER 6 Sincerity—if you can fake that, you’ve got it made. —George Burns The way we communicate with people has a significant effect on their opinions of us. It’s not just about what we say, but about how we say it. Becoming better communicators can heal relationships, lead to better job opportunities, and enable us to reach wider audiences with whatever messages we want to share.
Cooking for Geeks by Jeff Potter
3D printing, A Pattern Language, carbon footprint, centre right, Community Supported Agriculture, crowdsourcing, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, fear of failure, food miles, hacker house, haute cuisine, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, iterative process, Parkinson's law, placebo effect, random walk, slashdot, stochastic process, the scientific method
Even if dinner does end up in the trash, if you learned something about what went wrong, that’s success. Failure in the kitchen is a better instructor than success. Fear of failure is another thoroughly modern American phenomenon. We’re bombarded with images of the perfect Thanksgiving turkey (they probably used a plastic one during the photo shoot), photos of models sporting impossible physiques (thanks, Photoshop), and stories of triumph and success (where they don’t disclose the sad parts and trade-offs). Then when we go to try something, we often find it doesn’t work for us the way it seems to for others. Setbacks. Negative feedback. No wonder there’s so much fear of failure: we’ve set ourselves a bar so high that it simply doesn’t exist. There’s a generation of Americans hung up on being perfect. The perfect white teeth, the perfect clothing, the perfect "carefree" tossed-together wardrobe.
Really just to get in there and start cooking and not be afraid to fail. You probably learn more from failure than you do from success because when something goes right you don’t really think about how you did it or why it worked. But when something goes wrong and you have to fix it, then you learn a lot more about what’s happening. Why do you think people have a fear of failure in the kitchen? Because they have a fear of failure in life. Nobody wants to fail. Most people who are cooking at home and trying a new recipe are usually cooking for someone else. And if you screw up in the kitchen, it’s expensive—to ruin a whole thing of food and then you don’t have anything to eat? You have to have a sense of humor in the kitchen. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. You can always order a pizza.
I’m surprised at how often the people I interview say that it seems like people just aren’t using common sense. I think there are several reasons for that. One is a lack of confidence that comes from not having grown up around cooks so that you’re afraid to trust your instincts, whereas if you’ve grown up making cookies with your grandmother for your whole life, then a cookie recipe wouldn’t scare you. I think there’s some fear of failure there. I think there’s another thing that probably relates to science and common sense more than people realize: don’t poke at your food while you’re cooking it. If you have something cooking in a hot pan, and the recipe says either sauté it or cook until the onions are wilted or whatever it is, if you get in there with a spoon and you keep moving it around so that the food doesn’t have any chance to come into contact with the heat, whether you’re actually stirring or, as more often happens, poking, that food doesn’t ever cook.
The Little Book of Hedge Funds by Anthony Scaramucci
Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, business process, carried interest, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fear of failure, fixed income, follow your passion, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, index fund, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, merger arbitrage, NetJets, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra
See, economists often think human beings act rationally, but we know that if anything is predictable, it’s the fact that human beings are predictably irrational and unpredictable. Human sentiment effects people’s decisions, choices, and behaviors. Like a live performer whose demeanor swings from excited anticipation to paralyzing fear the moment he sets foot on stage, the stock market gyrates based upon human emotions and the impulses of greed and fear. Why? 1. Investors are not fully rational. In pursuit of glamour, fortune, and fame or fear of failure, the minds of investors can be clouded by overly emotional thoughts that negatively affect their decision-making abilities. 2. Investors are overconfident. They have a tendency to operate under the belief that they are able to pick winning stocks and time the market perfectly. There is no real evidence to support this, but alas market hubris abounds. 3. Investors, like consumers, are brand snobs.
A few years ago, a friend of mine asked me that very same question. Here’s the list of attributes and skills that I have learned from life and business experience that the next generation of entrepreneurs should have: Be confident in yourself as early in your career as possible. Prepare for—and always expect—the unexpected. Think about the life you want to lead and then determine the steps you need to take to get there. Take risks; don’t let your fear of failure stop you. Don’t let failures or setbacks derail your confidence. Always look for new opportunities for learning. If you come at the game from this perspective, you will always be a winner regardless of the outcome. A Quick Pop Quiz Before I dispense advice on how to get a job at a hedge fund, I urge you to think long and hard about whether your personality is suited for this high-paced, intense, live-or-die-by-your-own-performance lifestyle.
Team Geek by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman
Your Life Under a Bad Manager It’s hard to know where to start when describing the traits of a bad manager—entire movies and TV shows have been created solely to lampoon the bad managers of the world. Most of us have had at least one bad manager in our careers, and a bad manager can make life on even the greatest team a living hell, so we’re going to cover just a few of the traits of a bad manager that typically affect engineers. Fear of failure is one of the most common traits of bad managers. This insecurity tends to make them very conservative, which is antithetical to the work style of the typical engineer. If your manager doesn’t want you to take risks, there is little opportunity for you to inject your own ideas into your product and you’ll usually wind up implementing (by rote) the product that someone else designed.  Oftentimes the insecure manager will insist on inserting herself into any interaction you have with people outside your team, thereby preventing you from speaking directly to other teams without “going through the chain of command.”
., the “Author Tags” Issue), Have Real Test and Release Processes, It Really Is About the Code After All in synchronizing goals, High-Level Synchronization–Design Docs, The Mission Statement—No, Really, Efficient Meetings, Design Docs, Day-to-Day Discussions Subversion project motto about, Working in a “Geographically Challenged” Team team culture and, Communication Patterns of Successful Cultures, Communication Patterns of Successful Cultures, It Really Is About the Code After All, It Really Is About the Code After All complexity, hiding, Hide Complexity–Managing Your Relationship with Users, Hide Complexity, Managing Your Relationship with Users compliment sandwich technique, Be Honest–Be Honest, Be Honest, Be Honest connectors in organizations, Seek Powerful Friends consensus building, Be a Catalyst–Be a Catalyst, Be a Catalyst, Identifying the Threat–Perfectionism, Perfectionism leaders and, Be a Catalyst–Be a Catalyst, Be a Catalyst poisonous people and, Identifying the Threat–Perfectionism, Perfectionism constructive criticism, Learn to Both Deal Out and Handle Criticism, Culture and People, Culture and People, Lose the Ego criticism, Learn to Both Deal Out and Handle Criticism, Culture and People, Lose the Ego, Be a Catalyst constructive, Learn to Both Deal Out and Handle Criticism, Culture and People, Lose the Ego public, Be a Catalyst customer service, Don’t Be Condescending, Be Patient–Create Trust and Delight, Create Trust and Delight condescending attitudes toward, Don’t Be Condescending patience and, Be Patient–Create Trust and Delight, Create Trust and Delight D day-to-day discussions, Working in a “Geographically Challenged” Team, Mailing Lists instant messages, Working in a “Geographically Challenged” Team mailing lists, Mailing Lists decision-making process, Culture and People, Culture and People defensive work, Learn to Manage Upward delegating work, Track Happiness delight, creating, Create Trust and Delight–Remember the Users, Create Trust and Delight, Remember the Users design by committee, The Bad Organization design documentation, Design Docs distributed teams, Working in a “Geographically Challenged” Team E Edison, Thomas, Fail Fast; Learn; Iterate egos, Culture and People, Lose the Ego–Lose the Ego, Lose the Ego, Not Respecting Other People’s Time losing the ego, Lose the Ego–Lose the Ego, Lose the Ego of poisonous people, Not Respecting Other People’s Time team culture and, Culture and People email etiquette, Fortifying Your Team energy creature, feeding, Don’t Feed the Energy Creature extrinsic motivation, Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Motivation–Final Thoughts, Final Thoughts F face-to-face conversations, Working in a “Geographically Challenged” Team failure, Hiding Is Considered Harmful, Fail Fast; Learn; Iterate, Be a Catalyst, Be a Catalyst, Be a Catalyst, Your Life Under an Ideal Manager Google motto about, Fail Fast; Learn; Iterate importance of, Hiding Is Considered Harmful public criticism of, Be a Catalyst risk taking and, Be a Catalyst, Be a Catalyst, Your Life Under an Ideal Manager favor economy, luck and, Luck and the Favor Economy–Luck and the Favor Economy, Luck and the Favor Economy, Luck and the Favor Economy fear of failure, Your Life Under a Bad Manager feedback, Hiding Is Considered Harmful, Be Honest–Be Honest, Be Honest, Be Honest compliment sandwich in, Be Honest–Be Honest, Be Honest, Be Honest programmers and, Hiding Is Considered Harmful first impressions, Pay Attention to First Impressions, Underpromise and Overdeliver, Consider Barrier to Entry flipping the bozo bit, Identifying the Threat focus, The Bad Organization, Learn to Manage Upward in bad organizations, The Bad Organization on product launches, Learn to Manage Upward Focus on the user motto, How Usable Is Your Software?
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Because of its phantom nature, and despite elaborate defense mechanisms, the ego is very vulnerable and insecure, and it sees itself as constantly under threat. This, by the way, is the case even if the ego is outwardly very confident. Now remember that an emotion is the body’s reaction to your mind. What message is the body receiving continuously from the ego, the false, mind-made self? Danger, I am under threat. And what is the emotion generated by this continuous message? Fear, of course. Fear seems to have many causes. Fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of being hurt, and so on, but ultimately all fear is the ego’s fear of death, of annihilation. To the ego, death is always just around the corner. In this mind-identified state, fear of death affects every aspect of your life. For example, even such a seemingly trivial and “normal” thing as the compulsive need to be right in an argument and make the other person wrong — defending the mental position with which you have identified — is due to the fear of death.
As far as your life situation is concerned, there may be things to be attained or acquired. That’s the world of form, of gain and loss. Yet on a deeper level you are already complete, and when you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do. Being free of psychological time, you no longer pursue your goals with grim determination, driven by fear, anger, discontent, or the need to become someone. Nor will you remain inactive through fear of failure, which to the ego is loss of self. When your deeper sense of self is derived from Being, when you are free of “becoming” as a psychological need, neither your happiness nor your sense of self depends on the outcome, and so there is freedom from fear. You don’t seek permanency where it cannot be found: in the world of form, of gain and loss, birth and death. You don’t demand that situations, conditions, places, or people should make you happy, and then suffer when they don’t live up to your expectations.
A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton
At the beginning of human history, as we struggled to light fires and to chisel fallen trees into rudimentary canoes, who could have predicted that long after we had managed to send men to the moon and aeroplanes to Australasia, we would still have such trouble knowing how to tolerate ourselves, forgive our loved ones and apologise for our tantrums? 10 My employer had made good on the promise of a proper desk. It turned out to be an ideal spot in which to do some work, for it rendered the idea of writing so unlikely as to make it possible again. Objectively good places to work rarely end up being so; in their faultlessness, quiet and well-equipped studies have a habit of rendering the fear of failure overwhelming. Original thoughts are like shy animals. We sometimes have to look the other way – towards a busy street or terminal – before they run out of their burrows. The setting was certainly rich in distractions. Every few minutes, a voice (usually belonging to either Margaret or her colleague Juliet, speaking from a small room on the floor below) would make an announcement attempting, for example, to reunite a Mrs Barker, recently arrived from Frankfurt, with a stray piece of her hand luggage or reminding Mr Bashir of the pressing need for him to board his flight to Nairobi.
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life's Work by Steven Pressfield
He seeks liberation and enlightenment. And he’s willing, he hopes, to pay the price. The amateur is not evil or crazy. He’s not deluded. He’s not demented. The amateur is trying to learn. The amateur is you and me. What exactly is an amateur? How does an amateur view himself and the world? What qualities characterize the amateur? THE AMATEUR IS TERRIFIED Fear is the primary color of the amateur’s interior world. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of looking foolish, fear of under-achieving and fear of over-achieving, fear of poverty, fear of loneliness, fear of death. But mostly what we all fear as amateurs is being excluded from the tribe, i.e., the gang, the posse, mother and father, family, nation, race, religion. The amateur fears that if he turns pro and lives out his calling, he will have to live up to who he really is and what he is truly capable of.
Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett, Dave Evans
David Brooks, fear of failure, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, invention of the printing press, iterative process, knowledge worker, market design, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs
Sometimes it is more comfortable to hold on to our familiar, failed approach to the problem than to risk a worse failure by attempting the big changes that we think will be required to eliminate it. This is a pretty common but paradoxical human behavior. Change is always uncertain, and there is no guarantee of success, no matter how hard you try. It makes sense to be fearful. The way forward is to reduce the risk (and the fear) of failure by designing a series of small prototypes to test the waters. It is okay for prototypes to fail—they are supposed to—but well-designed prototypes teach you something about the future. Prototypes lower your anxiety, ask interesting questions, and get you data about the potential of the change that you are trying to accomplish. One of the principles of design thinking is that you want to “fail fast and fail forward,” into your next step.
It’s important to think of ourselves as life designers who are curious and action-oriented, and who like to make prototypes and “build our way forward” into the future. But when you take this approach to designing your life, you are going to experience failure. In fact, you are going to “fail by design” more with this approach than with any other. So it’s important to understand what “failure” means in our process, and how to achieve what we call failure immunity. The fear of failure looms so large in people’s experience of their lives. It seems to relate to a fundamental perception in the way people define a good or a bad life. She was a success (yay, good!). He was a failure (boo, bad!). When you look at it that way, no one wants to be a failure. We imagine that at our funerals there will be some external judge (or some imagined life tenure committee) who will pass judgment on whether we managed to succeed or ended up failing.
Low self-esteem can be caused by: ● always being told you were not good enough, odd, strange, weird ● bullying (emotional or physical), ostracism, humiliation ● not fitting in with peers, family or work colleagues 25 ● blaming yourself for your differences ● not understanding ‘why’ you are different – no clear diagnosis ● wrong diagnoses by professionals, such as ‘learning disabled’, ‘mentally ill’ or ‘self-inflicted behaviour’ ● incorrect and unhelpful labels by others such as teachers, family, work colleagues or peers as ‘lazy’, ‘unwilling’, ‘wilful’, ‘naughty’, ‘useless’ and so on ● being a constant disappointment to others despite trying very hard ● setting perfectionist or unrealistically high standard for yourself ● many, many more things. Signs of low self-esteem are: ● excessive shyness ● passive behaviour ● feeling inferior ● conforming when not wishing to ● apologizing for yourself constantly ● fear of failure and competition ● not accepting compliments ● allowing bad behaviour in others towards you ● fear of being rejected ● finding negativity and faults in others ● feeling constantly guilty or defensive ● being possessive or jealous. Self-esteem boosting tips for Aspies Aspies often: ● have a strong sense of social justice ● are straightforward, honest not game players 26 ● place less emphasis on fashions, trends, appearance ● are thoughtful, intelligent ● have a very helpful ability to separate emotion from logic ● are accepting of those from all backgrounds.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
Fear of the consequences of following our heart. Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency. Fear of groveling when we try to make it on our own, and of groveling when we give up and come crawling back to where we started. Fear of being selfish, of being rotten wives or disloyal husbands; fear of failing to support our families, of sacrificing their dreams for ours. Fear of betraying our race, our ’hood, our homies. Fear of failure. Fear of being ridiculous. Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have sacrificed so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. Fear of launching into the void, of hurtling too far out there; fear of passing some point of no return, beyond which we cannot recant, cannot reverse, cannot rescind, but must live with this cocked-up choice for the rest of our lives.
The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart
If a man can rely on consistency, he can afford not to notice people after the first few times. But I imagined a world in which each individual might be about to play the lover, the benefactor, the sponger, the attacker, the friend: and once known as one of the next day he might yet be anything. Would we pay attention to this person? Would life be boring? Would life be livable? I saw then clearly for the first time that the fear of failure keeps us huddled in the cave of self a group of behavior patterns we have mastered and have no intention of risking failure by abandoning. What if secretly before every agon or game the dice were thrown to determine whether the `winner' or the `loser' `wins'! The prize or the championship, with fifty-fifty being the odds for each? The loser of the game would thus end up half the time being congratulated for having been lucky enough to have lost, and thus won the prize.
It is real; it is important; the child doesn't have, to be rewarded or punished by society in order to prefer success to failure. The, second meaning of failure is also simple: failure is failure to please an adult; success is pleasing an adult. Money, fame, winning a baseball game, looking pretty, having good clothes, car, house are' all types of success which primarily revolve around pleasing the adult world. There is nothing intrinsic to the human soul in any of these fears of failure. Becoming the dice man was difficult because it involved a continual risking of failure in the eyes of the adult world. As dice man I `failed' (in the second sense) again and again. I was rejected by Lil, by the children, by my esteemed colleagues, by my patients, by strangers, by the image of society's values branded into me by thirty years of living. In the second sense of failure I was continually failing and suffering, but in the first sense I never failed.
Every time I followed the dictates of the die I was successfully building a house or purposely knocking one down. My mazes were always being solved. I was continually opening myself to new problems and, enjoying solving them. From children to men we cage ourselves in patterns to avoid facing new problems and possible failure; after a while men become bored because there are no new problems. Such is life under the fear of failure. Fail! Lose! Be bad! Play, risk, dare. Thus, I exulted that evening of Larry's first diceday. I became determined to make Larry and Evie fearless, frameless, egoless humans. Larry would be the first egoless man since Lao-Tzu. I would let him play the role of father of the household and Evie the mother. I'd let them reverse roles. Sometimes they would play parents as they perceive us to be and at other times as they think parents should be.
European Founders at Work by Pedro Gairifo Santos
business intelligence, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, fear of failure, full text search, information retrieval, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, natural language processing, pattern recognition, pre–internet, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, subscription business, technology bubble, web application, Y Combinator
Any entrepreneur that puts financial success as number one generally won't succeed. I know a few who succeed, but it's very rare. They just focus on the one thing, I think. Then what else? I think the execution matters much more than the idea itself. I think that's a European vs. US thing. I see two problems. One is their fear of failure, which is much more important in Europe than in the US. Here, [in the US] it's okay if you fail. We accept it. It's obvious. But I guess I should say it: people are much more fearful of failure in Europe. Then, two is the fact that they try to wait for the idea of their life, like a revolutionary idea, and that never comes. I think you should focus. Many people do that great in Europe, of course, but one of the lessons I learned is that you should really find a need, whatever the need, a little niche.
How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman
affirmative action, Atul Gawande, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, fear of failure, framing effect, index card, iterative process, medical malpractice, medical residency, Menlo Park, pattern recognition, placebo effect, stem cell, theory of mind
This surrender is not conscious, but an astute patient can pick up on the fact that his doctor is sticking with the same treatment, not taking the risk of devising a novel, individual approach when the condition is not improving, because "it's a bad disease." When I was a fellow in training at UCLA, some of the senior attending physicians invoked this mantra, and I found myself repeating it with a guilty sense of relief. It acted as a buffer against the fear of failure, a fear that even an accomplished physician, which I was not, carries within himself. It is healthy and beneficial to invest your ego in healing your patient's disease. But when your ego overshadows that goal, there lies danger. "I tell patients that I am going to do everything possible to help them," Nimer said, "and that means that I am also setting myself up to fail." Failure is something that physicians deeply dislike.
My friend ultimately sought an outstanding oncologist in his hometown in New Jersey who was attentive and made sure that his final days were as comfortable as possible. My novelist friend theorized that the oncologist who treated his artist wife but would not consider treatment beyond statistics and protocols, and the oncologist who abandoned the intelligence operative, both suffered from fear of failure, and probably fear of death. "I know it sounds strange," he said, "supposing that an oncologist who sees so much death would flee from it. But I think posing as highly rational, acting only when all the numbers are in hand, is in fact an irrational way to care for people with cancer. You refuse to try anything creative, refuse to put yourself on the line. He must have known that we would leave him, that we would seek another doctor at this most difficult point in our lives, when we were facing death.
The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class by Guy Standing
8-hour work day, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, deskilling, fear of failure, full employment, hiring and firing, Honoré de Balzac, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, land reform, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, lump of labour, marginal employment, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mini-job, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, nudge unit, pensions crisis, placebo effect, post-industrial society, precariat, presumed consent, quantitative easing, remote working, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, Tobin tax, transaction costs, universal basic income, unpaid internship, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, young professional
The precariat is not yet at that stage, even if a few in its ranks display a defiant pride, in their parades, blogs and comradely interactions. A good society needs people to have empathy, a capacity to project oneself into another’s situation. Feelings of empathy and competition are in constant tension. People in incipient competition conceal from others knowledge, THE PRECARIAT 23 information, contacts and resources, in case revealing them would take away a competitive edge. Fear of failure, or of being able to achieve only a limited status, easily leads to disavowal of empathy. What induces empathy? It may arise from a shared sense of alienation or insecurity, or even shared poverty. Evolutionary biologists generally agree that empathy is more likely within small stable communities, in which people know each other and engage with each other on a regular basis (see, for example, De Waal, 2005).
In the United States, the proportion of men in jobs fell to below 70 per cent in 2009, the lowest since records began in 1948. By 2010, one in five American men aged between 25 and 55 was unemployed. In the 1960s, 95 per cent of that age group were in jobs. In the European Union, three-quarters of the jobs generated since 2000 have been taken by women. Ironically, women’s increased ‘public’ involvement in the economy has been accompanied by a rising fear of failure due to multiple forms of precariousness. This has gone under a chilling name – ‘bag lady syndrome’ – a fear of being out in the streets due to job failure. In 2006, a life insurance survey found that 90 per cent of American women felt financially insecure and nearly half said they had ‘tremendous fear of becoming a bag lady’. This was even prevalent among women earning over US$100,000 a year.
Geek Wisdom by Stephen H. Segal
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, battle of ideas, biofilm, fear of failure, Henri Poincaré, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Mark Zuckerberg, mutually assured destruction, Saturday Night Live, Vernor Vinge
You are afraid, and in your fear you’ve already failed. You know she is already lost to you—or. Or. Or maybe you can suppress that fear. Can think, act, do, talk; can embrace reason and confidence over raw emotion. Can just go ahead and talk to her, so then maybe, maybe, she’ll talk back to you. And you can smile. Frank Herbert’s groundbreaking science-fiction classic Dune (1965) was rejected twelve times. Herbert did not let fear of failure prevent him from continuing to send the book out until he found a publisher who believed in it. “IF MY DOCTOR TOLD ME I HAD ONLY SIX MINUTES TO LIVE, I WOULDN’T BROOD. I’D TYPE A LITTLE FASTER.” —ISAAC ASIMOV THAT ASIMOV meant what he said is plain to see in the immense library of knowledge and wisdom he imparted to us during his extraordinary lifetime—a library we’ll likely continue to benefit from for time immemorial.
Going Self-Employed: How to Start Out in Business on Your Own by Steve Gibson
The Future What you are now comes from what you have been and what you will be is what you do now. The Buddha Beasts to Avoid • Over-caution: learn to take risks and when to stick your neck out. The faint-hearted won’t progress. Can you accept that by starting your own business you are a risk-taker? Are you comfortable with risk-taking? • Easy target-setting: while you need to be sensible, fear of failure may make you set your sights too low. • Financial motivations: sounds bizarre, but if you think self-employment is a quick road to riches, you could be in for a rude awakening. Try the lottery or Pop Idol instead. Keep cash in sight, but let other reasons for self-employment be your prime motivators, at least to start with! • Procrastination: or, put simply, over-indulging in thinking and planning and never getting on with it.
asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Doha Development Round, fear of failure, financial innovation, housing crisis, income inequality, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, moral hazard, Northern Rock, price discovery process, price mechanism, regulatory arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, technology bubble, too big to fail, trade liberalization, young professional
As I thought through my decision, I recognized that it was simply fear that was causing me such anxiety. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown: the uncertainty of working with a group of people I had never worked with before and managing people I had never managed before. Once I understood this, I pushed back hard against the fear. I wasn’t going to give in to that. I prayed for the humility to do something not out of a sense of ego, but out of the fundamental understanding that one’s job in life is to express the good that comes from God. I always believed you should run toward problems and challenges; it was what I told the kids in camp when I was a counselor, and I now told myself that again. Fear of failure is ultimately selfish; it reflects a preoccupation with self and overlooks the fact that one’s strength and abilities come from the divine Mind.
3D printing, Airbnb, Asian financial crisis, bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, cleantech, collaborative consumption, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, debt deflation, Diane Coyle, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, eurozone crisis, fear of failure, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, forward guidance, full employment, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, hiring and firing, hydraulic fracturing, Hyman Minsky, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, interest rate derivative, Irish property bubble, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, liquidity trap, margin call, Martin Wolf, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open economy, price stability, private sector deleveraging, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, Richard Florida, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, savings glut, school vouchers, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, smart meter, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, working-age population, Zipcar
Stopped-up Europe Four types of barrier hold European enterprise back: education systems that fail to encourage entrepreneurship; a cultural aversion to risk-taking, diversity and many new technologies; flawed regulations that restrict competition, stymie start-ups and hamper smaller businesses; and a shortage of finance. All four are related. For example, punitive bankruptcy laws exacerbate Europeans’ fear of failure. Cartelised markets, burdensome regulations and a lack of risk capital encourage many go-getting Europeans to emigrate. Pessimism about the future can prove self-fulfilling. The problems start young: European education systems generally don’t encourage entrepreneurship. While 59 per cent of Americans think their schooling has helped them develop a sense of initiative and entrepreneurial attitude, only 50 per cent of Europeans and 35 per cent of Britons agree.660 A majority of Americans believe their education has given them the skills and know-how to run a business, compared with 41 per cent of Europeans and a mere 27 per cent of Britons.661 Only 17 per cent of Britons say their schooling has made them interested in becoming an entrepreneur.662 Once they start working, most Europeans prefer the security of being an employee to the excitement, freedom and potential rewards of being an entrepreneur.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s annual survey in 2013, some 13 per cent of Americans (and Estonians) were starting or had started a new business, but only 8 per cent of Europeans (and 7 per cent of Britons).664 Fewer Europeans (31 per cent) perceive opportunities for entrepreneurship than Americans (43 per cent) and fewer think they have the necessary capabilities (42 per cent to 56 per cent). Many Swedes (66 per cent) see opportunities; far fewer have confidence in their abilities (37 per cent). Fear of failure is crippling in Greece and Italy.665 Starting a business inevitably involves the risk of failure. Yet one in two Europeans – and a whopping two in three Portuguese – think that one should not start a business if there is a risk it might fail; only 28 per cent of Americans agree.666 Britons (38 per cent) are the least risk-averse Europeans. Over their lifetimes, more Americans have started a business or are taking steps to do so (38 per cent) than Europeans (23 per cent).667 Only 24 per cent of Britons have and a mere 15 per cent of French people.
eBook <WoweBook.Com> The Ten Evils for a Budō Practitioner: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Insolence Overconfidence Greed Anger Fear Doubt Distrust Hesitation Contempt Conceit Although these may be within us, you can see how none of these 10 evils are helpful when making a presentation, performing a piece of music, or teaching a class. All of the 10 listed can be destructive and hold us back—fear and doubt, in particular. Fear holds a lot of us back. It is our fear of failure, our fear of what other people may think. We’re afraid. We’re not sure. So we hesitate, and we fail to act. Popular authors such as Seth Godin call this the Lizard Brain. Confidence, meanwhile, is necessary and important, but overconfidence can sometimes be as destructive as fear. It can also hold us back. Overconfidence, conceit, and contempt also prohibit us from seeing the lessons from people and experiences around us.
The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman
Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs
PLAN Z: JUMP ON YOUR LIFEBOAT AND REGROUP The reason many people do not embrace trial and error, learning by doing, adaptation, and the other themes of this chapter is because these strategies introduce real uncertainty. It’s easy to say “learn by doing”—but what if you’re not sure what you’ll learn or what you should do? As we’ll talk about in the risk chapter, uncertainty never goes away. Fear of failure never goes away. The way to feel comfortable with these entrepreneurial strategies is to have one plan in your life that’s highly certain. That’s Plan Z: a reliable plan you shift to when you no longer have confidence in Plan A and B, or when your plans get severely disrupted. The certainty of the Plan Z backstop is what enables you to be aggressive—not tentative—about Plans A and B. With a Plan Z, you’ll at least know you can tolerate failure.
The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity From Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs by Alexa Clay, Kyra Maya Phillips
3D printing, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Burning Man, collaborative consumption, conceptual framework, double helix, fear of failure, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the steam engine, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Occupy movement, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Zipcar
“You need to listen twice as much as you talk, because as long as people are preoccupied with their own problems, they are never going to see the bigger issues.” This is something that we found in talking with a lot of misfits working within big organizations, such as David Berdish at Ford or Gib Bulloch at Accenture. It’s important to understand the politics and motivations of the people you work with and the people you are trying to influence. Many people operate from a position of fear—fear of failure, fear of reputation, fear of the unknown. And so you need to be able to stop and ask yourself: What motivates a person at a deeper level? How can I better understand his or her point of view? Don’t forget to turn that mirror on yourself and understand the biases and fears that you bring to a situation. Being a misfit requires that you have a bit of double consciousness: able to see the logic and rationality of others’ viewpoints while maintaining your own conviction.
Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone
Then, because doubt is your biggest threat and therefore your biggest enemy, in the next chapter we’ll look at how powerful it is to deny something your attention, to make it so weak it loses any hold it once had on you. When you are truly obsessed with things that are good and you constantly feed them, all those things yanking at you—self-esteem issues, introversion, disability, fear of success, fear of failure, or any form of neurosis—fall away. Why? Because you don’t care about them. Your attention is fully on the good stuff. I will never tell you that anything’s impossible, and you should never decide anything’s impossible. A total stranger came up to me recently and said, “I understand your goal is to have seven billion people know your name. You know that’s impossible, right?” I thought, This guy isn’t talking to me.
And then we have all the mass media that constantly expose us to stellar success after success, while not showing us the thousands of hours of dull practice and tedium that were required to achieve that success. At some point, most of us reach a place where we’re afraid to fail, where we instinctively avoid failure and stick only to what is placed in front of us or only what we’re already good at. This confines us and stifles us. We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed. A lot of this fear of failure comes from having chosen shitty values. For instance, if I measure myself by the standard “Make everyone I meet like me,” I will be anxious, because failure is 100 percent defined by the actions of others, not by my own actions. I am not in control; thus my self-worth is at the mercy of judgments by others. Whereas if I instead adopt the metric “Improve my social life,” I can live up to my value of “good relations with others” regardless of how other people respond to me.
Animals by Emma Jane Unsworth
‘I wasn’t immune to the kudos,’ I said. Marty nodded. Tyler sipped her drink. Her throat was reddening. My jaw was starting to ache. ‘Far from it. I wanted in. Badly. But then … well, I convinced myself I wasn’t academic enough, I was too creative yadayada, I wouldn’t have time to write blahblah, but really I knew why I didn’t apply. I’d bottled it. Reached my limit with all the trials and tests. Fear of failure – is there a word for that?’ ‘Normal,’ Tyler said. Oh, Tyler, see, you can be so nice when you try … I said: ‘I bet there’s a proper word for it.’ She got out her phone. Tapped on it. Scrolled. Tapped. Scrolled. Squinted. ‘Atychiphobia.’ ‘There you go,’ I said. ‘Also known as the fuse-box.’ ‘Also known as the ego,’ said Marty. I looked at him. He followed me to the bathroom. Locked the door.
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
Goldratt’s Theory of Constraints, which focuses on improving or exploiting bottlenecks, as a special version of the 80/20 Principle. The idea is to concentrate on the few causes—and usually only one cause—of the bottleneck. That releases enormous power. It strikes me that this theory of constraints, like the principle, applies both to our work and personal lives: • At work, what is the one constraint that, if it were removed, would make us five, ten or twenty times as productive? For you, is it your boss, your fear of failure, your lack of qualifications, your inability to choose what you work on, your lack of the right collaborator, or something else altogether? What is the constraint, what stops you from enormous improvement? If you identify the constraint, you can then work on a campaign to remove it. • In your private life, what is the one thing that stops you making the best of your life and bringing happiness to the people you care about?
Some of the traits include: Giving up Numbing the pain with various addictions Staying stuck in self-destructive lifestyles Underachievement Here are some stories of self-sabotaging daughters of narcissistic mothers: Taryn always plays it safe. Rarely can she point out an instance in her adult life where she took risks for what she wanted. “I am an underachiever because of the ‘never feel good enough’ message. The fear of failure keeps me from doing the absolute best. If I keep on the middle road, I don’t have to deal with failure. I have big ideas and aspirations, but they are dreams rather than goals. I think, Oh, that would be nice to do, but I don’t do it. Maybe I wouldn’t be good at it.” Sandra readily describes herself as an underachiever. “I don’t feel the need to be great at anything I do. I was never good enough anyway, so why bother trying?
The Disciplined Trader: Developing Winning Attitudes by Mark Douglas
Regardless of the depth of understanding you have of 66 market behavior or what you consciously intend, you will only "give" yourself the amount of money that corresponds to your level of selfvaluation. This concept can be explained with a simple illustration. If you perceive an opportunity, based on your definition or what market conditions constitute an opportunity, and do not follow through by executing a trade, what stopped you? In my mind, there can be only two possible reasons. You were either immobilized by the fear of failure or you are struggling with a belief (value) system that says you don't deserve the money. Otherwise, you would have acted on your perception. SELF-ACCEPTANCE The second theme that provides a foundation for the belief system I am offering is that personal transformation, growth, and learning new skills are a function of self-acceptance. Your intent of learning a new skill or way of expressing yourself is in essence an attempt to create a new dimension of yourself.
Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account From Curiosity's Chief Engineer by Rob Manning, William L. Simon
By June, the rover’s innards had finally been assembled. Still, the frequent “No’s” to requested fixes that Jim felt would make his avionics subsystem less buggy led to tension and frustration. Not surprisingly, from the perspective of the subsystem engineers like Jim, every “No” increased the complexity of MSL and possibly increased the risk of some sort of failure or anomaly, even if that failure didn’t kill the rover. The fear of failure is something that gnaws in your gut. In this line of work, that feeling never completely goes away even after the spacecraft has landed safely. On a personal level, my physical condition was now significantly improved. A year or so earlier, my doctor had found that my blood pressure had gone through the roof, and was much concerned about my hypertension, and I had added some fifteen pounds (6.8 kg).
American Made: Why Making Things Will Return Us to Greatness by Dan Dimicco
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American energy revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, clean water, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, fear of failure, full employment, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, invisible hand, job automation, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Loma Prieta earthquake, manufacturing employment, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration
Obviously, there’s more than one way to innovate. There’s innovation that takes place on an incremental basis, there’s game-changing innovation, and there are degrees in between. Nucor has focused on all of it. We are focused on being able to take risks on game-changing technology that no one else is willing to take. And our strong financial position allowed us to do that without being so overly fearful of failure that we didn’t act when opportunities arose. Time and again, whether it was expanding into cold-rolled sheet metal or forming a partnership with Yamato Steel to produce large construction girders or acquiring companies like Auburn Steel and Birmingham Steel, we knew we could take the risks and knew we could not only survive but also thrive if the investments paid off. We have taken advantage of game-changing technologies from day one.
Sure, we can always look back on some Career Do Over and see something we could have done another way. For all I know, she taught swing dancing for a year full time and then tried something else. Why do I let fear hold her up as the poster child for failure, as if choosing the wrong opportunity at twenty-two years old forever crippled that woman’s career? We get a choice: fear or regret. Will you attack your fear of failure, maybe even fail and try again? Cleaning the beach of your life after a wave that crushed you but left lesson upon lesson in its wake? Or will you give up on your Do Over? Believing that kids can dream but adults must settle? Allowing that thin line of regret to trickle over time until it splits your life in half? I choose fear. I choose grit. Let the waves come. ■ Make Grit Decisions If grit is stubbornness in the face of fear, how do we actually make decisions that reflect that?
When you release attachment, you allow yourself to be more open to opportunities. You are better able to tap into your introvert strengths of listening, reflection, and curiosity—to explore beyond the norm. Introverts prefer going deep rather than wide, focused rather than scattered. If you combine that depth with openness, you are setting a bigger stage for yourself. Maybe even all the world! Releasing attachment has a magical side effect: Our fear of failure diminishes. Even the word failure starts to take on new meaning and release its power over us. We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. —Joseph Campbell Reframing Risk We’re going to wrap up this chapter by revisiting the word risk, because it’s a close cousin of failure, and being able to embrace both is key to your success.
AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War by Tom McNichol
The women, who earned $8 to $10 a week, were replaced by a group of Polish immigrants at half the wage. Edison was never motivated by money, but the prospect of his company skidding into insolvency unnerved him. Casting a weary eye over the company’s balance sheet, Edison commented to colleague Samuel Insull, “This looks pretty bad. I think I could go back and earn my living as a telegraph operator.” Behind the nervous joking was the fear of failure. When word of the merger talks with Thomson-Houston reached him, Edison wrote an unusually impassioned letter to Villard. “If you make the coalition [with Thomson-Houston], my usefulness as an inventor is gone,” Edison wrote. “My services wouldn’t be worth a penny. I can only invent under powerful incentives. No competition means no invention. It’s the same with the men I have around me. It’s not the money they want but a chance for their ambition to grow.”
His purist approach might have been regarded as naive or unrealistic if he were working for a big auto or aircraft company, but Cray recognized that there was a profound differ- ence between his job and the jobs of engineers at typical Ameri- can corporations. Cray was always on the cusp of revolutionary new technology. His machines couldn't be designed by a commit- tee. Committees, by nature, were always conservative, compro- mising, and fearful of failure. Cray was none of those things. So Cray ignored his management. Using the extraordinary suc- cess of the CDC 1604 as leverage, he bulled ahead. He was going to build a machine fifty times faster than the 1604, and that was that. Late in 1960 Cray gathered the engineering crew for his new ma- chine and moved from 501 Park to the Strutwear Building, a for- mer underwear factory. It seemed a natural move at the time, partly because the engineers could attribute it to the fast growth of the company.
The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman
On an individual level, too, no matter how much success you may experience in life, your eventual story – no offence intended – will be one of failure. Your bodily organs will fail, and you’ll die. Yet though failure is ubiquitous, psychologists have long recognised that we find this notion appalling, and that we will go to enormous lengths to avoid thinking about it. At its pathological extreme, this fear of failure is known as ‘kakorrhaphiophobia’, the symptoms of which can include heart palpitations, hyperventilation and dizziness. Few of us suffer so acutely. But as we’ll see, this may only be because we are so naturally skilled at ‘editing out’ our failures, in order to retain a memory of our actions that is vastly more flattering than the reality. Like product managers with failures stuffed into a bedroom closet, we will do anything to tell a success-based story of our lives.
Rethinking Camelot by Noam Chomsky
Paul Kattenburg, at the dovish fringe, reported yet another problem: “Chemical defoliation and crop destruction operations are effective weapons against the VC,” but “Present approval procedures are too cumbersome” and “The psychological and civic action aspects of the operation are not particularly good.” The need is for more efficiency and better PR.61 Washington’s coup plans continued, with Ambassador Lodge in operational command. The only hesitation was fear of failure. JFK thought that we “could lose our entire position in Southeast Asia overnight” if the coup plans failed. When the coup finally took place on November 1, replacing Diem and Nhu (who were killed) by a military regime, the President praised Lodge effusively for his “fine job” and “leadership,” an “achievement...of the greatest importance” that “is recognized here throughout the Government.” With the generals now in power, “our primary emphasis should be on effectiveness rather than upon external appearances,” the President added.
Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity Into Prosperity by Bernard Lietaer, Jacqui Dunne
3D printing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, business climate, business process, butterfly effect, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, conceptual framework, credit crunch, discounted cash flows, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, German hyperinflation, happiness index / gross national happiness, job satisfaction, Marshall McLuhan, microcredit, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, more computing power than Apollo, new economy, Occupy movement, price stability, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, the payments system, too big to fail, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, urban decay, War on Poverty, working poor
And what would a truly cooperative society, which has not existed since the dawning of the Modern Age, look like? In the following chapters, we will explore this available future that stands in such stark contrast to our world today. Success, in the words of Winston Churchill, “consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” The greatest barriers to success so far have been the fear of failure and the failure to learn from mistakes. This page intentionally left blank Chapter Ten TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES Lessons Learned In dreams begin responsibility.1 William Butler Yeats, 20th-century Irish poet and playwright It was hard to contain the emotions that were surprisingly welling up inside while I was standing on the bridge in the small Tyrolean village of Wörgl. The bridge was so different from how it had been described in various books and articles.
A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
Al Roth, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, experimental economics, fear of failure, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, linear programming, lone genius, market design, medical residency, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, Ronald Coase, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, spectrum auction, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, upwardly mobile
Gunderson, a psychiatrist at Harvard, they tend “to engage in solitary activities which often involve mechanical, scientific, futuristic and other non-human subjects … [and] are likely to appear increasingly comfortable over a period of time by forming a stable but distant network of relationships with people around work tasks.”25 Men of scientific genius, however eccentric, rarely become truly insane — the strongest evidence for the potentially protective nature of creativity.26 Nash proved a tragic exception. Underneath the brilliant surface of his life, all was chaos and contradiction: his involvements with other men; a secret mistress and a neglected illegitimate son; a deep ambivalence toward the wife who adored him, the university that nurtured him, even his country; and, increasingly, a haunting fear of failure. And the chaos eventually welled up, spilled over, and swept away the fragile edifice of his carefully constructed life. The first visible signs of Nash’s slide from eccentricity into madness appeared when he was thirty and was about to be made a full professor at MIT. The episodes were so cryptic and fleeting that some of Nash’s younger colleagues at that institution thought that he was indulging a private joke at their expense.
When those problems are solved it will be by a young mathematician who attacks them with the hubris, originality, raw mental power, and sheer tenacity that Nash brought to bear on his greatest work. Yet the timing of Nash’s decision to pursue these problems, just as he turned thirty and while he was licking various wounds to what he would later call his “merciless superego,”30 suggests that a fear of failure lay behind his willingness to take unusual risks. Stein’s impression of Nash during their conversations about the Riemann problem is interesting: “He was a little .. . on the wild side. There was something exaggerated about his actions. There was a flamboyance in the way he talked. Mathematicians are usually more careful about what they will assert to be true.”31 But, of course, hubris is not exactly uncommon.
airport security, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, big-box store, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversification, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Freestyle chess, fudge factor, George Akerlof, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, high batting average, housing crisis, income per capita, index fund, Internet Archive, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, locking in a profit, Loma Prieta earthquake, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Monroe Doctrine, mortgage debt, Nate Silver, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pets.com, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, savings glut, security theater, short selling, Skype, statistical model, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, University of East Anglia, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, wikimedia commons
One moment, they were the king of the hill in high school; the next, they are riding busses between Kannapolis and Greensboro, reading about their failures on the Internet each time they go into a slump. When Sanders sees a talented player underachieving, he wonders, “Is there a desire to succeed to the degree that there’s a failure mechanism kicking in? Is there a fear of failure? Is the desire to succeed significant enough to overcome the fear of failure?” Stress Management and Humility In baseball, even the best hitters fail a majority of the time, and every player will enter a slump at certain points during the season. The ability to cope with this failure requires a short memory and a certain sense of humor. One of Sanders’s favorite scouting tactics is to observe how a player reacts after a rough or unlucky play.
airport security, Albert Einstein, BRICs, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, Climategate, corporate social responsibility, decarbonisation, energy security, Exxon Valdez, failed state, fear of failure, income inequality, Joseph Schumpeter, market fundamentalism, Naomi Klein, new economy, nuclear winter, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, union organizing, University of East Anglia
Would it be to save our children and our genes in the belief that if society fails in this historic task, we can rebuild a new world from the ashes of the old? This is sometimes an appealing thought, even for me. After all, no one can argue I haven’t had a go at preventing the situation we now face from emerging. So even I have had days when simply withdrawing has its attractions. But then I consider the counterargument. That running away could just be fear of failure and the opportunity for a blameless escape, as argued by the writer Paul Williams, who in 1982 wrote the following in his extraordinary poem “Common Sense”: On the edge of the dream we face our deepest doubts. Now that it all is almost real a terrible fear of success takes hold and we grab desperately, uncontrollably, for failure. One last chance to get off easy. Who among us really wants to save the world, to be born again into two thousand more years of struggle?
The Inequality Puzzle: European and US Leaders Discuss Rising Income Inequality by Roland Berger, David Grusky, Tobias Raffel, Geoffrey Samuels, Chris Wimer
Branko Milanovic, Celtic Tiger, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, fear of failure, financial innovation, full employment, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, income inequality, invisible hand, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, Long Term Capital Management, microcredit, offshore financial centre, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, rent-seeking, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, time value of money, very high income
Five Principles for Moving Forward 205 the reach of education, and improving educational standards is essential. Greater partnerships between government and business can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of training programs. Reducing and removing barriers to geographical and occupational mobility, such as improving the portability of pensions, can also help. Lastly, we need to explore ways to incentivize mobility, and one of the major obstacles is a fear of failure, a reluctance to take risks. This is an area where governments can help, if only by reforming insolvency laws and procedures to reduce the stigma of bankruptcy. Programs, support networks, and funding to stimulate entrepreneurship can also play a very positive role to incentivize mobility. The media can also play a more constructive role by giving more exposure to responsible business practices and achievements.
Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, deskilling, Edmond Halley, fear of failure, Honoré de Balzac, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, McJob, McMansion, Naomi Klein, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route
Consequently, when Starbucks was spreading across America in the early nineties, its leader wore braces. They made Schultz so self-conscious around reporters that some early profiles called him “timid,” with an “apologetic manner”; a New York Times story from 1994 said of him, “He looks like a well-meaning camp counselor.” Schultz floated through school without distinguishing himself, and after he graduated in 1975 he found himself adrift. An intense fear of failure made him ambitious, but he had little idea what he wanted to do with himself. At one point, he even considered acting school. Back in New York, he took an unglamorous sales job with Xerox, for $800 a month. From this experience came two lessons that would serve him well in later years at Starbucks: first, that after making fifty cold sales calls a day, often encountering outright hostility, he could handle rejection; and second, that he was a very good salesman.
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 brain’s chemical response to the prospect of good and bad, called by Antonio Damasio and other neuroscientists the “beacon of incentive,” is part of our evolutionary endowment, designed to motivate us to do whatever is necessary to stay alive and reproduce. In prehistoric times the actual taste of fruits and berries was not what got early man out of his cave and foraging. It was the anticipation of that taste. Actually being eaten by a saber-toothed tiger was not what got early man running; it was the dread of being eaten by that tiger. Modern humans benefit from this legacy because it is not failure per se but the fear of failure, not success per se but the prospect of success, that gets us out of bed in the morning. And when it comes to discounts, it is not necessarily the object per se but the anticipation of getting a good deal on that object that motivates us to make a purchase. Some of us more than others are susceptible to the allure of discounts, but none of us is immune. It is for this reason that retailers work hard to frame prices as a good deal even when they are an ordinary deal—or no deal at all.
What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis
23andMe, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, clean water, connected car, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, don't be evil, fear of failure, Firefox, future of journalism, Google Earth, Googley, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer lending, post scarcity, prediction markets, pre–internet, Ronald Coase, search inside the book, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, the payments system, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, web of trust, Y Combinator, Zipcar
When customers talk about you in public, you’d better have the means to hear and respond. It’s simple for a competitor with a better answer to steal your customers in a flash. New Imperatives Beware the cash cow in the coal mine Encourage, enable, and protect innovation Simplify, simplify Get out of the way Beware the cash cow in the coal mine Sometimes, success can blind you to the oncoming possibility of failure. And fear of failure can keep you from success. When I was TV critic for TV Guide in the mid-1990s, it still sold more copies in a year than any magazine in America. But it was slowly fading, stuck in the first stage of death: denial. Its circulation had fallen from more than 17 million a week to 15 million, then 13 million while I was there (entirely the fault of my bad taste, of course). TV Guide couldn’t keep pace with the explosion of television: Dozens, then hundreds of channels wouldn’t fit on the magazine’s little pages.
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dematerialisation, deskilling, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Jono Bacon, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, life extension, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Narrative Science, Netflix Prize, Network effects, Oculus Rift, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, rolodex, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, telepresence, telepresence robot, Turing test, urban renewal, web application, X Prize, Y Combinator
There’s the obvious need for military secrecy, but more important is the fact that isolation stimulates risk taking, encouraging ideas weird and wild and acting as a counterforce to organizational inertia. Organizational inertia is the notion that once any company achieves success, its desire to develop and champion radical new technologies and directions is often tempered by the much stronger desire not to disrupt existing markets and lose their paychecks. Organizational inertia is fear of failure writ large, the reason Kodak didn’t recognize the brilliance of the digital camera, IBM initially dismissed the personal computer, and America Online (AOL) is, well, barely online. But what is true for a corporation is also true for the entrepreneur. Just as the successful skunk works isolates the innovation team from the greater organization, successful entrepreneurs need a buffer between themselves and the rest of society.
The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig
affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, deliberate practice, Donald Trump, failed state, fear of failure, Firefox, full employment, Howard Zinn, index card, invisible hand, John Gruber, Lean Startup, More Guns, Less Crime, post scarcity, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, semantic web, single-payer health, SpamAssassin, SPARQL, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, unbiased observer, wage slave, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor
He laments the ways time is wasted, important topics are trivialized, and teachers are forced by the administration to fixate on testing instead of teaching for its own sake, which means that students become correspondingly blinkered, obsessed with passing or failing instead of getting truly absorbed in the subject at hand. Online, Aaron found a community that pointed to the possibility of another way of doing things. Far-flung Internet users helped him master the art of computer programming, offering feedback and assistance and encouraging his love of coding—of knowledge—instead of enforcing rote memorization and instilling fear of failure, as a more orthodox student-teacher relationship might. Fear is a big theme of Aaron’s writing on education, as is boredom, and for him the two go together. Like most prominent unschooling advocates, Aaron believes human beings are naturally curious; the problem is that conventional schooling stamps this inherent inquisitiveness out of us. Students are so afraid of getting answers wrong, so terrified of seeing a big F written in red pen, that they retreat into apathy, hedging their bets to finish the required assignments instead of taking the risks true engagement requires.
airport security, British Empire, call centre, clean water, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, fear of failure, glass ceiling, high net worth, income per capita, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, microcredit, Own Your Own Home, random walk, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer
My first all-nighter since graduate school had been successful. I had slept on the floor from 2 a.m. until 6 a.m. As I listened to the lugubrious foghorn protecting the Golden Gate Bridge, I thought about how my faithful sleeping bag had been with me on that initial trip to Nepal and was now also here during the hard part of putting ethereal dreams into solid reality. I resumed work at 6 a.m., fueled by the omnipresent fear of failure. I typed frantically, making a mental note to spell-check later. At 1:45 I dashed off to the local YMCA to shower, shave, and don fresh clothes. Screeching into the parking lot, I saw Bill and Jenny pull up in his red Mercedes convertible. I ducked into the office ahead of them. On the printer’s output tray sat two thick copies of our business plan. I felt like Reggie Miller sinking a clutch three-pointer with a second on the shot clock.
Conscious Capitalism, With a New Preface by the Authors: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey, Rajendra Sisodia, Bill George
Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, business process, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, Flynn Effect, income per capita, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, Occupy movement, profit maximization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, shareholder value, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, women in the workforce
Reconnect with your heart. As long as we are alive, it is never too late. We are free in each moment to choose the path of our heart, which never stops quietly whispering to us, urging us to follow it. The second key to successfully following our hearts is to learn how to deal with fear. Fear prevents people from reaching their fullest potential in life. It comes in many flavors—fear of looking ridiculous, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear that we simply aren’t good enough, and sometimes even fear of our own potential greatness. Unfortunately, no one else can overcome our fear for us; we must learn to master it on our own. The most important insight about fear is that it seldom exists in the present moment. It is almost always about the future, something we are afraid is going to happen. When we direct our attention fully into the present moment, fear greatly lessens or disappears.
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
Let’s start with a standard working definition of creativity. There are plenty to choose from but “the process of developing original ideas that have value” is arguably the most common, so we’ll go with that. The first thing to know about coming up with original, valuable ideas is how deeply this process scares us. Every time we have a creative insight and share it with the world, we come up against some very primal terrors: fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of social ridicule, fear of loss of resources (time, money, access, etc.). There’s significant risk involved in every step of this process. Drilling down deeper, beyond the risk taking involved in idea generation, there’s a second mechanism at work: pattern recognition. When Apple cofounder Steve Jobs said, “Creativity is just connecting things,” he wasn’t wrong.
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
The process has allowed many companies to survive recessions. The potential cost is that ‘zombie’ businesses are allowed to keep going (as has happened particularly in the airline sector) with the result that efficient companies can never earn a decent return. Many commentators think that the risk-taking attitude of American entrepreneurs has been encouraged by the relaxed attitude to bankruptcy. With their fear of failure reduced, executives had plenty of incentives to load their companies with debt. For a start, after the mid-1980s, much of their remuneration came in the form of share options; these gave the managers the right to buy shares at a set price. By borrowing money to invest, or make an acquisition, the executives took a chance on growth. If the gamble worked, profits would soar and they would make millions from their share options.
Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer, Mark Shatz
And now every presidential candidate needs to make a guest appearance, not only to be toasted but also to increase his popularity by being roasted. And Now a Word From the Prof The formal study of humor in colleges has grown in geometric propor¬ tions despite the doubting colleagues who associate facetiousness with frivolity. The president of my university once told me he disdained humor, because he feared failure. "I've heard some of your speeches," I told him. "And I agree with you." It's the fear of failure, however, that continues to be the biggest draw¬ back. While 90 percent of us claim we have a sense of humor, the number of critics is 100 percent. "I didn't think it was funny." Go argue. Milton Berle ended his years appearing before senior citizens in Miami Beach. Once, a little old lady in the front row kept shouting, "That stinks. I've heard it before." Exasperated, Berle said, "Lady, do you know who I am?"
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace
Albert Einstein, business climate, buy low sell high, complexity theory, fear of failure, Golden Gate Park, iterative process, Menlo Park, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Wall-E
I have seen directors and writers who were stuck and could not get unstuck, because they couldn’t see where to go next. It is here that some of my colleagues have insisted that I am wrong, that “Trust the Process” has meaning—they see it as code for “Keep on going, even when things look bleak.” When we trust the process, they argue, we can relax, let go, take a flyer on something radical. We can accept that any given idea may not work and yet minimize our fear of failure because we believe we will get there in the end. When we trust the process, we remember that we are resilient, that we’ve experienced discouragement before, only to come out the other side. When we trust the process—or perhaps more accurately, when we trust the people who use the process—we are optimistic but also realistic. The trust comes from knowing that we are safe, that our colleagues will not judge us for failures but will encourage us to keep pushing the boundaries.
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
You like to resolve ambiguities before moving on: it helps to have as much information as possible about the opponent. You are often underconfident. You’re vigilant and work meticulously, avoiding risks. You work best without time pressure. You perceive the competition inherently as a threat and, ultimately, a great stress. You learn the most from feedback on your mistakes. When gain-oriented, you’re driven by a desire to succeed; when prevention-oriented, you’re driven by a fear of failure. When playing to win, you perceive ties as a loss; when playing not to lose, ties are satiating. Overall, a gain-orientation—playing to win—sustains those during competition. Gain-oriented people are more likely to persevere: as long as they have a fighting chance, they are never willing to admit defeat. The prevention-focused, however, are more likely to lose their motivation to compete along the way.
Start listening to that powerful being inside y o u for once. It w o n ' t steer y o u w r o n g . Cowardice Cowardice is the practice of using your power to feed your fears instead of your desires. Instead of creating w h a t y o u w a n t , y o u create w h a t y o u don't w a n t . W h e n y o u worry that exercising your power will cause y o u to make too many mistakes, y o u feed the fear of failure. The truth Is that y o u will sometimes fail. S o m e of your failures may even be spectacular blunders, but that's nothing to worry about. It's better to fail as the powerful being y o u are instead of trying to hide from the truth and live as a mouse. W h e n y o u shrink from failure, y o u only weaken yourself. W h e n y o u make mistakes a n d learn from t h e m , y o u grow stronger. W h e n y o u worry that exercising your power will bring y o u too much responsibility, y o u feed the fear of success.
Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons
Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, call centre, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, dumpster diving, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Golden Gate Park, Google Glasses, Googley, Gordon Gekko, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lean Startup, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, new economy, Paul Graham, pre–internet, quantitative easing, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, tulip mania, Y Combinator, éminence grise
This is organized by Jordan, the twenty-something manager who has read Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In and been inspired by Sandberg’s admonition that women should “do what you would do if you weren’t afraid.” Jordan seems to believe that Sandberg’s admonition can be used as the basis of a one-day exercise, which she dubs Fearless Friday. She sends us this email: We’ve got a brilliant team and, at times, it can be hard to innovate due to fear of failure and the pressure of our day-to-day goals. That’s why we’re creating this day to exist in total isolation to work on ANY project that you’re passionate about. The only goal: Be Fearless. I read the email and forget about it. A couple weeks later, on a Thursday afternoon, I’m sitting at my desk when Ashley from the blog team suddenly asks me, “So what are you going to do for Fearless Friday?”
Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets by John McMillan
accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Anton Chekhov, Asian financial crisis, congestion charging, corporate governance, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, Deng Xiaoping, experimental economics, experimental subject, fear of failure, first-price auction, frictionless, frictionless market, George Akerlof, George Gilder, global village, Hernando de Soto, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job-hopping, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, land reform, lone genius, manufacturing employment, market clearing, market design, market friction, market microstructure, means of production, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, proxy bid, purchasing power parity, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Stewart Brand, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, War on Poverty, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, yield management
Each was subject to intense product-market competition from the many similar firms. Since they were owned by local governments, they could raise funds without a financial market yet could not expect to be bailed out by the government if they failed. They effectively co-opted the local Communist Party officials, who otherwise might have sabotaged the reforms, by giving them a stake in the emerging economy. The fear of failure induced the managers to run the firms efficiently. But these explanations came after the fact; these firms’ success was not foreseen. The township and village enterprises highlight the single most important feature of any program of deep economic reform—its unpredictability. The transition cannot be planned because we cannot know in advance what policies will work. There is much for reformers to do.
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
And this, in turn, explains why both Kaufman and O’Neill strike us today as “modern,” though almost none of their predecessors do. Kaufman was absolutely and utterly a creature of Broadway. He rarely strayed beyond walking distance from Times Square; almost all of his friends were show folk. He kept his job at the Times years after he no longer needed the measly salary, though it’s hard to say whether this was owing to his love of the milieu or his ever-present fear of failure. And Kaufman wrote about what he knew; Broadway gave him his setting, his characters, and his language. The characters in The Butter and Egg Man, for example, speak an almost impenetrable vaudeville slang—“I done six clubs for the wow at the finish, and done it for years!” “Butter and egg man” was the Broadway pejorative for one of the freshly minted midwestern plutocrats who could be counted on to back stage productions; the play’s main character is a starstruck rube from Chillicothe, Ohio, whom a scheming producer separates from his inheritance.
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
Among his recent winners was Picasa, a software download sold to Google that helps users organize, edit, and share photos. “I look at the world and see something I don’t like and my immediate instinct is to say, How can I fix that? I don’t think I have better skill than other people to do that, but I have less fear than other people to go out and do it.” Gross argues that a big part of teaching the creative process at any level involves getting people to overcome their fear of failure and plunge ahead when they have an idea. Who taught him that? “Failure,” says Gross. “We have had one hundred companies over the last twenty years and sixty have succeeded and forty failed, and the failures are where I learned everything. Everybody goes through life and sees things and says, ‘I wish that were this way.’” But most people stop there. The successful creators and entrepreneurs are the people who overcome that fear and act.
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, en.wikipedia.org, 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
Her neck began to hurt and her back was sore. In the morning she’d stare at furious scribbles she had written to herself the night before, completely unable to decipher them. She did things she never thought she would do—cold-calling potential clients and then silently swallowing their dismissive disdain. She’d started this business with dreams of success, but once it was under way she was primarily motivated by fear of failure. It was the thought of the looks she would get from friends and colleagues if her business failed that drove her onward. It was the prospect of having to tell her mother that she’d gone bankrupt. She’d been a driven person since the Academy, but now she became a detail fanatic. She presented potential clients with little binders of her ideas and proposals. If a page was out of line, if one of the plastic spiral things was bent, she went to Code Red.
The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein
Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Brownian motion, Carmen Reinhart, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial deregulation, fixed income, high net worth, Hyman Minsky, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, race to the bottom, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, the payments system, too big to fail, tulip mania, Y2K
CEOs generally received more of their pay in stock, but enough was in cash (or in soon-to-vest shares) that their incentives were also biased toward maximizing short-term “profits.” O’Neal, in 2006, received $48 million, much of it thanks to Merrill’s lofty revenues in CDOs. It is unlikely that O’Neal consciously put Merrill at risk, for he had more to lose—his expected future salary, his reputation, and probably his career—if Merrill went down. But his eight-figure swag established a destructive example for the troops. It dulled his sense of urgency—the fear of failure that drives a manager to worry about the downside. Bankers who took home these enormous paychecks were crafty financiers, but their cleverness served their personal interests first, their clients and shareholders second, and the economy barely at all. The bankers learned to fool the system: to game the rating agencies, to bundle deadbeat mortgages into paper that was triple A and foist it on trusting clients.
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, centralized clearinghouse, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, double helix, fear of failure, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions
Animals’ skills are always matched to concrete demands because their minds, such as they are, only contain information about what is actually present in the environment in relation to their bodily states, as determined by instinct. So a hungry lion only perceives what will help it to find a gazelle, while a sated lion concentrates fully on the warmth of the sun. Its mind does not weigh possibilities unavailable at the moment; it neither imagines pleasant alternatives, nor is it disturbed by fears of failure. Animals suffer just as we do when their biologically programmed goals are frustrated. They feel the pangs of hunger, pain, and unsatisfied sexual urges. Dogs bred to be friends to man grow distraught when left alone by their masters. But animals other than man are not in a position to be the cause of their own suffering; they are not evolved enough to be able to feel confusion and despair even after all their needs are satisfied.
All the Devils Are Here by Bethany McLean
Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, Black-Scholes formula, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, high net worth, Home mortgage interest deduction, interest rate swap, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Maui Hawaii, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Own Your Own Home, Ponzi scheme, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, race to the bottom, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, telemarketer, too big to fail, value at risk
As he later related in his memoir, when he first got the call from the White House in the spring of 2006, he agreed to a meeting with the president, but then quickly canceled when John Rogers, the firm’s veteran Washington hand, told him that going to the meeting was tantamount to accepting the offer. Having been through several ineffectual Treasury secretaries, Bush wanted Paulson badly, largely because his Goldman Sachs credential gave him a stature his predecessors had lacked. Paulson was initially deterred by “fear of failure, fear of the unknown,” he later wrote. But he finally said yes. “I didn’t want to look back and have been asked to serve my country and declined,” he later explained. “So I just took the plunge.” He did so after getting an unprecedented agreement from Bush that he would have real power: regular access to the president, on a par with the secretaries of State and Defense, and the ability to bring in his own people.
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, en.wikipedia.org, 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
Furthermore, with human applications there is normally a delay of at least one decade between proof of concept in the laboratory and clinical application, because of the need for extensive studies to determine safety. The simplest forms of genetic selection, however, could largely abrogate the need for such testing, since they would use standard fertility treatment techniques and genetic information to choose between embryos that might otherwise have been selected by chance. Delays could also result from obstacles rooted not in a fear of failure (demand for safety testing) but in fear of success—demand for regulation driven by concerns about the moral permissibility of genetic selection or its wider social implications. Such concerns are likely to be more influential in some countries than in others, owing to differing cultural, historical, and religious contexts. Post-war Germany, for example, has chosen to give a wide berth to any reproductive practices that could be perceived to be even in the remotest way aimed at enhancement, a stance that is understandable given the particularly dark history of atrocities connected to the eugenics movement in that country.
Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website by Matt Blumberg
airport security, Albert Einstein, bank run, Broken windows theory, crowdsourcing, deskilling, fear of failure, high batting average, high net worth, hiring and firing, Inbox Zero, James Hargreaves, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, pattern recognition, performance metric, pets.com, rolodex, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype
But if you can’t do that, and are backing a first time CEO, recognize the risks of that. Mentor, coach, and pay a lot more attention. What does this mean for entrepreneurs and managers? It means that the first time you run a business, you should admit what you are up against. Don’t let ego get in the way. Ask for help from your board and get coaching and mentoring. And recognize that you may fail at some level. And don’t let the fear of failure get in the way. Because failure isn’t fatal. It may well be a required rite of passage. As a CEO, I feel like I’ve made every mistake in the book at least once. I’m sure I’ve made a couple more than once. So this book is my hope to pay forward the lessons of my 14 years of experience as a first-time CEO to other entrepreneurs, whether actual or aspiring. If I can help just one of them not get fired, not go down with the ship, not quit and figure out how to do the job, then I will call this book a success.
ZeroMQ by Pieter Hintjens
anti-pattern, carbon footprint, cloud computing, Debian, distributed revision control, domain-specific language, factory automation, fault tolerance, fear of failure, finite state, Internet of things, iterative process, premature optimization, profit motive, pull request, revision control, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Skype, smart transportation, software patent, Steve Jobs, Valgrind, WebSocket
We are happiest when we can spend the least effort to get a result or test an assumption quickly, so the architecture has to make this possible. Specifically, that means it must be simple. Jealousy We’re jealous of others, which means we’ll overcome our stupidity and laziness to prove others wrong and beat them in competition. The architecture thus has to create space for public competition based on fair rules that anyone can understand. Fear We’re unwilling to take risks, especially if they might make us look stupid. Fear of failure is a major reason people conform and follow the group in mass stupidity. The architecture should make silent experimentation easy and cheap, giving people opportunities for success without punishing failure. Reciprocity We’ll pay extra in terms of hard work, even money, to punish cheats and enforce fair rules. The architecture should be heavily rule-based, telling people how to work together, but not what to work on.
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein
Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, buttonwood tree, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, double entry bookkeeping, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, endowment effect, experimental economics, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, Fermat's Last Theorem, financial deregulation, financial innovation, full employment, index fund, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, linear programming, loss aversion, Louis Bachelier, mental accounting, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, spectrum auction, statistical model, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transaction costs, tulip mania, Vanguard fund
Elements de la theorie mathematique des jeux. Paris: Dunod. Hacking, Ian, 1975. The Emergence of Probability: A Philosophical Study of Early Ideas about Probability, Induction, and Statistical Inference. London: Cambridge University Press.* Hald, Anders, 1990. A History of Probability & Statistics and Their Applications Before 1750. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Hancock, J. G., and Teevan, R. C., 1964. "Fear of Failure and Risk-Taking Behavior." Journal of Personality, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 200-209. Hayano, David M., 1982. Poker Face: The Life and Work of Professional Card Players. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Heilbroner, Robert L., 1995. Visions of the Future. New York: New York Public Library/Oxford University Press. Herrnstein, Richard J., 1990. "Rational Choice Theory: Necessary But Not Sufficient."
The New Digital Age: Transforming Nations, Businesses, and Our Lives by Eric Schmidt, Jared Cohen
3D printing, access to a mobile phone, additive manufacturing, airport security, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, augmented reality, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, bitcoin, borderless world, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, Elon Musk, failed state, fear of failure, Filter Bubble, Google Earth, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, invention of the printing press, job automation, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, market fundamentalism, means of production, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Singer: altruism, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, The Wisdom of Crowds, upwardly mobile, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day
Communication technologies could not have hoped to ameliorate all of Haiti’s woes, but there are many areas where, if correctly and widely utilized, coordinated online platforms can streamline this process so that a future version of the Haitian earthquake will produce more good results and less waste in a faster recovery period. Throughout this section we will present a few of our own ideas, knowing full well that the institutional actors in reconstruction settings—the large NGOs, the foreign government donors and all the rest—may be unwilling to take these steps for fear of failure or loss of influence in the future. As we look ahead to the next wave of disasters and conflicts that will occur in a more connected age, we can see a pattern emerging. The mixture of more potential donors and impressive online marketing will create an “NGO bubble” within each postcrisis society, and eventually that bubble will burst, ultimately leading to a greater decentralization of aid and a rash of new experiments.
Business Lessons From a Radical Industrialist by Ray C. Anderson
Albert Einstein, banking crisis, carbon footprint, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, cleantech, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, dematerialisation, distributed generation, energy security, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Indoor air pollution, intermodal, invisible hand, late fees, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, music of the spheres, Negawatt, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, renewable energy credits, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, supply-chain management, urban renewal, Y2K
There was 100 percent agreement among the 125 managers there that sustainability was firmly rooted in Interface’s DNA. I took enormous pride and pleasure in that declaration. Back to the Five Ps. We’d certainly made changes in our products and our processes. They were evolving to meet the challenges of our hard climb up Mount Sustainability. Check. But people have to evolve, too. The Play to Win™ program had helped to break down the fears (of failure, of standing out, of saying something that might compromise a career) and given our associates new skills. Check again. Interface had also sponsored Why? conferences for customers, combining the concepts of Play to Win™ and sustainability in an understandable, interactive format that built valuable friendships and lasting relationships. Meanwhile, companies hoping to do business as suppliers to Interface had been put on notice that we would be paying close attention to their own practices.
accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, business climate, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Donald Trump, fear of failure, financial deregulation, friendly fire, George Akerlof, hiring and firing, margin call, market bubble, moral hazard, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, race to the bottom, Ronald Reagan, short selling, The Market for Lemons, transaction costs
Individual control frauds should be a central regulatory concern because they cause massive losses. The worst aspect of control frauds is that they can cluster. The two variants of corporate control fraud, “opportunistic” and “reactive,” can occur in conjunction. Opportunists are looking for an opportunity to commit fraud. Reactive control frauds occur when a business is failing. A CEO who has been honest for decades may react to the fear of failure by engaging in fraud. Economists distinguish between systemic risk that applies generally to an industry and risks that are unique to a particular company. Systemic risks can endanger a regional or even a national economy. Systemic risks pose a danger of creating many control frauds. In the S&L case, the systemic risk in 1979 was to interest rates. S&L assets were long-term (thirty-year), fixed-rate mortgages, but depositors could withdraw their money from the S&L at any time.
Fear: January 10 Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble. —Ralph Waldo Emerson Fear can be a big stopper for many of us: fear of fragility, fear of failure, fear of making a mistake, fear of what others might think, fear of success. We may second-guess our next action or word until we talk ourselves out of participating in life. “But I failed before!” “I can’t do it good enough!” “Look at what happened last time!” “What if…?” These statements may disguise fear. Sometimes the fear is disguising shame. After I finished the first two chapters of a book I was writing, I read them and grimaced.
We do not have to shame ourselves or accept shame from anyone else, even those in recovery, for making mistakes. The goal of recovery is not to live life perfectly. The goal of recovery is to live, learn our lessons, and make overall progress. Take a risk. Do not always wait for a guarantee. We don’t have to listen to “I told you so.” Dust yourself off after a mistake, and then move on to the success. God, help me begin to take healthy risks. Help me let go of my fear of failure, and help me let go of my fear of success. Help me let go of my fear of fully living my life, and help me start experiencing all parts of this journey. Self-Love: May 16 “I woke up this morning and I had a hard time for a while,” said one recovering man. “Then I realized it was because I wasn’t liking myself very much.” Recovering people often say: “I just don’t like myself. When will I start liking myself?”
affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, fixed income, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, NetJets, Northern Rock, oil shock, paper trading, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, supply-chain management, too big to fail, value at risk, éminence grise
On the first Sunday afternoon of May, he found himself fretting in his home in Georgetown, wondering whether he had given Paulson bad advice. He finally picked up the phone and called Bolten. “I know Hank told you no,” he told him, “but if the president really wants him, you should ask him again.” When Bolten called and repeated his pitch, Paulson wondered whether his resistance to the overtures was really a matter of a fear of failure. At Goldman he was known as someone who “runs to problems.” Was he now running away from them? Paulson is a devout Christian Scientist and, like most members of the faith, he deeply admires the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who, seeking to reclaim early Christianity’s focus on healing, founded the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston in 1879. “Fear is the fountain of sickness,” she wrote.
Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days by Jessica Livingston
8-hour work day, affirmative action, AltaVista, Apple II, Brewster Kahle, business process, Byte Shop, Danny Hillis, don't be evil, fear of failure, financial independence, Firefox, full text search, game design, Googley, HyperCard, illegal immigration, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, nuclear winter, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social software, software patent, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, Y Combinator
Do everything as cheaply as you possibly can. What you want in a startup is this feeling of cheap and hip. Not miserly cheap, but cool, bohemian cheap. That’s what we strove for. Livingston: So investors were your biggest worry? Graham: Probably, but I worried about all the different things that could kill us and all the different ways they could kill us. People start startups to get rich, but what keeps them going day to day is the fear of failure. You’ve said, “OK, I’m starting this startup and I’m going to get all the users and be successful,” and once you’ve told everybody that’s what you’re doing, if you fail you’ll look like a fool. So when we did sell the thing finally to Yahoo, in the eyes of the world, because we got bought, we were a success. Arguably we were already a success, since we had more online stores than anybody else.
affirmative action, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centre right, clean water, dark matter, desegregation, East Village, fear of failure, Firefox, game design, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of radio, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, market bubble, market clearing, Marshall McLuhan, New Journalism, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, profit motive, random walk, recommendation engine, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, software patent, spectrum auction, technoutopianism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Nature of the Firm, transaction costs
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, entitled "Georgia Puts Trust in Electronic Voting, Critics Fret about Absence of Paper Trails," 65 is not atypical of coverage at the time, which generally reported criticism by computer engineers, but conveyed an overall soothing message about the efficacy of the machines and about efforts by officials and companies to make sure that all would be well. The New York Times report of the Georgia effort did not even mention the critics. 66 The Washington Post reported on the fears of failure with the newness of the machines, but emphasized the extensive efforts that the manufacturer, Diebold, was making to train election officials and to have hundreds of technicians available to respond to failure. 67 After the election, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the touch-screen machines were a hit, burying in the text any references to machines that highlighted the wrong candidates or the long lines at the booths, while the Washington Post highlighted long lines in one Maryland county, but smooth operation elsewhere.
Albert Einstein, Columbine, Donald Trump, Exxon Valdez, fear of failure, game design, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, out of africa, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, upwardly mobile
So, the rumors were true? Have you ever seen a salami chub? Yes, they were true. They were more than true. Anyway, I said, “Mr. Berle, you wanted me to bring some jokes —” “— Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said. “Whatcha got?” I handed him my gags, and he told me to wait a minute. He closed the door, and I just stood there. I can't tell you what I was feeling — but it was mainly terror and worry. Also, fear of failure. I was really petrified. About five minutes later, he opened the door again. Now he's wearing a bathrobe, and he said, “Some of these jokes are pretty good, so I'll tell you what. You know where the Park Central hotel is? It's six blocks away. Run there, and go up to an office on the second floor where my agent works. He'll give you a check. Then come back, because we're going to work all night.”
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
It was two a.m. when Terry Dean stumbled into the emergency room with a penknife stuck in the small of his back at such an awkward angle he couldn't remove it himself. As Eddie pulled out the knife, Terry's open and candid manner, combined with the late-night silence of the graveyard shift, made Eddie confide to his patient his confused feelings--how it felt to be torn between disgust and duty, between obligation and the fear of failure. Basically, Eddie moaned: did he want to be a fucking doctor or didn't he? He admitted that he loathed the idea and it would in all probability drive him to suicide, but how could he get out of it now? How else could he make money? Terry listened sympathetically, and on the spot offered him a high-paying though unusual job: traveling the world and watching over his brother with the aim of helping him out when he needed it.
Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator
I was so shocked that this big burly firefighter wanted love in his meal, and he was right, actually. I was so sullen about cooking that I didn’t. He was a little indignant about that. Now, I try to put love in my meals when I cook. “The second was to make it colorful. . . . It’s very hard for me to do. Everything was kind of gray. And the third was to have three set meals that you make.” Pride Can Be a Tool “For me, pride worked because my fear of failure was way greater than my fear of fire. I didn’t often feel fear of fire, to be totally frank. I’m not trying to pretend I’m so brave. It’s just that I had a bigger fear—humiliation, failure, letting down women. Pride can be a really great motivator.” ✸ A book to give every graduating college student? “I would say The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. It’s a beautiful book by a writer who fought in Vietnam.
Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe
The rapier stars glinted upon his serfdom: dawn reddened on release. He was like a sailor drowned within the hold, who gropes to life and morning through a hatch; a diver twined desperately in octopal feelers, who cuts himself from death and mounts slowly from the sea-floor into light. Within a month a thick hummock of muscle hardened on his shoulder: he bent jubilantly into his work. He had now no fear of failure. His heart lifted like a proud crested cock. He had been dropped among others without favor, and he surpassed them. He was a lord of darkness; he exulted in the lonely sufficiency of his work. He walked into the sprawled chaos of the settlement, the rifleman of news for sleeping men. His fast hands blocked the crackling sheet, he swung his lean arm like a whip. He saw the pale stars drown, and ragged light break open on the hills.
Oil: Money, Politics, and Power in the 21st Century by Tom Bower
Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, bonus culture, corporate governance, credit crunch, energy security, Exxon Valdez, falling living standards, fear of failure, forensic accounting, index fund, interest rate swap, kremlinology, LNG terminal, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, new economy, North Sea oil, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, passive investing, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, price stability, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, transaction costs, transfer pricing, éminence grise
Although oil imports were predicted by the US Government Accountability Office to rise to 60 percent by 2015, there was no fear of an oil shock. Smart technology that enabled drills to turn corners in rocks miles beneath the surface could be relied upon to produce more oil, and oil’s contribution to industrial production was diminishing. Raymond’s sense of certainty enhanced Exxon’s stature. He and Rex Tillerson were guided by their desire to satisfy their shareholders. They appeared to have no fear of failure. Exxon’s reserves, compared to those of their competitors, were enormous. “Lots of molecules” was a familiar Exxon boast. Convinced that Exxon’s balance sheet could withstand any cycle, Tillerson asserted, “We’ll be the last one standing.” The volatility of prices during the 1990s had convinced Raymond that Exxon should continue on its own terms, without departing from its preordained systematic process.
Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan
asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, buttonwood tree, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, hive mind, Hyman Minsky, interest rate swap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, paper trading, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, South Sea Bubble, time value of money, too big to fail, traveling salesman, value at risk, yield curve, Yogi Berra
.” —— WHITEHEAD’S MAIN CONCERN, as Weinberg aged into his seventies, was the prospect of the firm’s investment banking business withering away when Weinberg left the stage. Whitehead figured Weinberg’s business-getting prowess could not be easily replaced, and he—alone, apparently—was increasingly worried about how the firm would carry on without its “ultimate rainmaker.” Ironically, Whitehead reasoned, “it was apparent that our greatest strength was our greatest weakness.” It was this fear of failure that led Whitehead to devise his plan for a New Business Group—a group of ten or more senior bankers who would fan out across the country and touch base with one large company after another to see what, if anything, Goldman Sachs could do for them. Whitehead’s thinking—Marketing 101, really—was highly Cartesian, logical, and totally radical for Wall Street at the time. “No one solicited business,” he recalled.
The Art of Computer Programming: Fundamental Algorithms by Donald E. Knuth
discrete time, distributed generation, fear of failure, Fermat's Last Theorem, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, linear programming, linked data, Menlo Park, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Richard Feynman, sorting algorithm, stochastic process, Turing machine
Several things about this subroutine should be noted: 1) The sentinel constant appears as the 101st word of each buffer, and it makes a convenient test for the end of the buffer. In many applications, however, the sentinel technique will not be reliable, since any word may appear on tape. If we were doing card input, a similar method (with the 17th word of the buffer equal to a sentinel) could always be used without fear of failure; in that case, any negative word could serve as a sentinel, since MIX input from cards always gives nonnegative words. 2) Each buffer contains the address of the other buffer (see lines 07, 11, and 14). This "linking together" facilitates the swapping process. 3) No JBUS instruction was necessary, since the next input was initiated before any word of the previous block was accessed. If the quantities C and T refer as before to computation time and tape time, the execution time per tape block is now max (C,T); it is therefore possible to keep the tape going at full speed if C < T.
Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
The cool temperatures and hard physical effort conspired to drain the energy from their bodies as they picked their way around and over the two-thousand-foot hills that dotted the Icelandic coast like so many fence pickets. Several things kept them moving. One was the fear that the Soviet division they had watched airlifted in would expand its perimeter and snap them up. No one relished the thought of captivity under the Russians. But worse than this was fear of failure. They had a mission, and no taskmaster is harsher than one's own self-expectations. Then there was pride. Edwards had to set an example for his men, a principle remembered from Colorado Springs. The Marines, of course, could hardly let a "wing-wiper" outperform them. Thus, without thinking consciously about it, four men contrived to walk themselves into the ground, all in the name of pride.
Security Analysis by Benjamin Graham, David Dodd
asset-backed security, backtesting, barriers to entry, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversification, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, full employment, index fund, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, low cost carrier, moral hazard, mortgage debt, p-value, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, secular stagnation, shareholder value, The Chicago School, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, zero-coupon bond
I doubt many owners of private companies are preoccupied with the value of their business on a short-term basis—how different from the public markets, where a rising stock price makes us feel smart and a falling one makes us feel dumb. In my office, when one of our businesses is floundering and the stock is getting pounded, my partners and I start to doubt the reasoned basis upon which we made the investment. Our self-doubts and fears of failure cause us to glimpse catastrophe where once we envisioned opportunity. Or if you prefer the Graham and Dodd condensed version: “Obviously it requires strength of character in order to think and act in opposite fashion from the crowd and also patience to wait for opportunities that may be spaced years apart.” The third factor, greed, has always distorted investors’ behavior, but it is especially present in markets today given the proliferation of hedge funds.