Morgan Housel is a partner at The Collaborative Fund. He’s the author of The Psychology of Money, which has sold over four million copies, and The New York Times Bestseller Same As Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes. He is a two-time winner of the Best in Business Award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and winner of the New York Times Sidney Award. In 2022, MarketWatch named him one of the 50 most influential people in markets. He serves on the board of directors at Markel.

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  • “Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works.”
    • All behaviors make sense with enough information.” 
  • The best story wins: Good stories have an extraordinary ability to inspire and evoke positive emotions, bringing insight and attention to topics that people tend to ignore when they’ve previously been presented with nothing but facts.
    • Stories are more powerful than statistics. And most statistics are incomplete props to justify a story. Stories are easier to remember, easier to relate to, and emotionally persuasive.
  • Progress requires optimism and pessimism to coexist: A rational optimist. – Save like a pessimist and invest like an optimist. – Plan like a pessimist and dream like an optimist.
  •  “It’s supposed to be hard.” – Everything worth pursuing comes with a little pain. The trick is not minding it hurts.
  • It’s impossible to plan for what you can’t imagine. – Invest in preparedness, not in prediction. – Realize that if you’re only preparing for the risks you can envision, you’ll be unprepared for the risks you can’t see every single time.
  • Fostering envy vs. admiration. Are you creating envy by what you post on social media?
    • “People admire you when you are pursuing something, not when you have it.”
  • Reasonable Optimists: Once people believe in a better future – for themselves and others – they become willing to take risks, work hard, sacrifice near-term comfort, delay gratification, and cooperate with others, all of which are the raw ingredients of economic and social progress.
    • A realistic optimist is someone who knows that what happens in any given day, month, or year will be surprising, disappointing, difficult, and mostly out of your control. But they know with equal confidence that what happens in any given decade or generation is likely to be pretty good, bending heavily toward progress.
    • The reasonable optimist expects the world to break all the time. But they know – as a matter of faith – that if they can survive the day-to-day fractures they’ll capture the up-and-to-the-right arc over time.
  • Writing: I think “know your audience” can be dangerous advice for writers. Write stuff you yourself find interesting and entertaining. Writing for yourself is fun, and it shows. Writing for others is work, and it shows.
  • If you’re efficient, you’re doing it the wrong way (Jerry Seinfeld micro-managed everything about his show). Counterintuitive. Highlights the dangers of shortcuts.
  • Be careful what you wish for: A carefree and stress-free life sounds wonderful only until you recognize the motivation and progress it prevents. Hardship is the most potent fuel of problem-solving. And what makes life mean something is purpose. A goal.
  • Read less news and more books. If you read good books, you’ll have an easier time figuring out what you should pay attention to. (News isn’t timeless. Good books are)
  • Writing: People don’t remember books, blogs, or articles. They remember sentences. That should be your goal: a collection of memorable sentences. One good line is infinitely more powerful than a few clumsy paragraphs.
  • Mr Beast tells aspiring YouTubers to make 100 videos and he’ll give them feedback and advice. 2 things happen. 98% never get close and give up. The 2% who do, no longer need his help.
  • People use success as an indication of what to keep doing. But most success plants the seeds of its own demise, so what people think works and try to copy is always changing.
  • Keep running – There is never a time when an investor can discover an investing strategy and be confident it will continue working indefinitely. The world changes, and competitors create their own little twist that exploits and snuffs out your niche. Same with careers, job skills, relationships, and countries. It’s hard to accept that you have to put in a ton of work just to stay in one place, but that’s how it works. Keep running.
  • Acceptable Flaws — Short-term thinking is the root of most of our problems in business, investing, and politics. But I get why it happens. It has to happen. Short-term thinking can be the only way you’ll survive long enough to experience long-term results. It’s an acceptable flaw.
  • Useful BiasesReasonable ignorance – intentionally limiting your diligence in order to avoid decision paralysis in a world where everything, if you dig deep enough, is more complicated than it seems. (the paradox of choice).
  • Progress happens too slowly for people to notice; setbacks happen too fast for people to ignore.
  • “Stop telling kids they can be whatever they want to be. You can be whatever you’re good at, as long as they’re hiring. And even then it helps to know someone.” — Chris Rock
  • A good test when reading the news is to constantly ask, “Will I still care about this story in a year? Two years? Five years?”
  • “Money buys happiness in the same way drugs bring pleasure: incredible if done right, dangerous if used to mask a weakness, and disastrous when no amount is enough.”
  • “I’m not interested in anything that’s not sustainable. Friendships, investing, careers, podcasts, reading habits, exercise habits… If I can’t keep it going, I’m not interested in it.
  • “I know people who have a lot of money, and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”
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Time Stamps

00:59 – Awareness & Perspective

05:13 – Who Are the Reasonable Optimists?

10:49 – A Story About Luck: How Morgan Met His Wife

13:17 – “The Hard” is What Makes it Good – Advice from Mr. Beast

16:45 – The Weight of Your Words

22:05 – Wisdom About Writing

24:05 – Storytelling for Leaders

30:53 – Being Efficient Isn’t Always Right

34:19 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911

42:04 – Morgan’s Approach to Social Media

48:56 – Commonalities of Sustained Excellence

51:59 – Career/Life Advice

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode #300: AJ & Keith Hawk – How To Instill Work Ethic & Curiosity In Your Children

Episode #303General Stanley McChrystal – The New Definition Of Leadership