Saturday, November 19

Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship

I did not know the extent of the support that slavery had in the Bible but when I read this book review, I was quite surprised. Have put this into my to be read pile, but in the meantime, just check the main points of the book. The book also talks about how the various popes and other luminaries did / didn't do. Fascinating stuff. One of the worst crimes that man commits on his fellow man.

3. Near Eastern Ethics and Slavery
Mesopotamian Beginnings
Egypt and Divine Care for Humanity
Hittites and Lex talionis
Greece and the Bonds of Freedom
Rome: Home of Slavery and Freedom
The Imago Dei and Universal Inequality

4. Slavery in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
Lexicographers as Apologists
Genesis 1:26: Let Dominion Begin
Genesis 3:16 and Female Subjugation
Genesis 9:19-27 and Noah’s Curse
Genesis 16: Rape of a Slave Woman?
Genesis 17:12 and Genital Mutilation
Genesis 17:23: Abraham, the Blessed Slavemaster
Exodus 1-15: A Liberationist Paradigm?
Exodus 20:10 / Deuteronomy 5:12-15 and the Sabbath
Exodus 21:1-6 and Term Limits
Exodus 21:16 and “Manstealing”
Exodus 21:20: Killing Slaves
Exodus 21:26-27: Beating Manumission
Leviticus 25:42: Who’s your Master?
Leviticus 25:35-43: Jubilee Manumission
Leviticus 25:44-46: Enslaving Outsiders
Deuteronomy 15 and Inner Biblical Progress
Deuteronomy 23:15: Fugitive Slaves
1 Samuel 8: Exclusive Service to Yahweh?
Ezra 2:64-65 and Slave Societies
Job 31:13-15 and Justice for Slaves
Joel 2:28-29: Possessing Slaves

5. Slavery in the New Testament
Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule
Acts 17:26 and Human Unity
1 Corinthians 7:21: Better to Remain in Slavery?
Galatians 3:28: A Magna Carta of Humanity?
Galatians 4:7: No Longer Slaves?
Ephesians 6:5: Obedience through Terror
Philippians 2:4-6: Slavery as Human Destiny
Colossians 3:18-4:1: The Magic of Socio-Rhetorical Criticism
1 Timothy 1:10: Manstealing
1 Timothy 6: Honoring Christian Slavemasters
Philemon: What Are You Insinuating?
Why Was the New Testament Not More Vocal?

6. Christ as Imperial Slavemaster
Imperial Political Rhetoric 101
Christ as Emperor
Christ as Slavemaster
Jesus and God’s Plantation
Christ and the Least of my Brethren
Christ, the Torture Master
Are Believers Friends of Slaves?

Friday, November 18

Thursday, November 17

Text of Steve Jobs' Commencement address

Good morning son

here's an interesting commencement speech by Steve jobs. I have seen this video and speech in a variety of different ways. Some show it to talk about innovation. Some show it to talk about recovering from failure. Some show it to talk about product design. Its one of those things, can fit anything..But its interesting all right. I wanted to give you my interpretation on the second and third part of it.

Son, I have failed many times in my life. Seriously failed. I have failed in class when I was studying mathematics. Yep, me the proverbial math nerd failed in math class. I have failed in Sanskrit, me who now likes reading the old religious and mythological books in Sanskrit. I have failed in chemistry. I was a horrible student, rarely getting good marks in school and even in college. I failed in making the navy as my long term career. I failed in being the best teacher possible in Indore. I failed in spending more time with you when you were little. I failed to save lives at the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. I even fail to put away my clothes properly and then I get scolded by Mamma. I fail to mind Diya's toys when I go to kiss her in the morning and then she scolds me. I fail to keep my promises many times. I failed to look after the garden this summer. Failure is part of my life. Yet, life goes on. That is what I hope you can appreciate. Failure is to be recognised. I will keep on failing throughout my life. Constantly. Every day I fail. But I win as well. The trick, my son, is to learn from these mistakes and failures. Anticipate failure and if it happens, don't beat yourself up on it. The problem is not failing, everybody fails. the problem is not learning from it.

The second is the talk about death. You are too young to know death, son, and frankly death is a boring old time. I have been close to death many times and have seen too much death already, which has fortunately inured me from it. But here are something that you should learn about death. People are basically afraid of death and they will do almost anything to avoid it. You know why? the main reason is that they are afraid of the unknown. But as a Hindu, you have the luxury to know that you will come back to life again. Even if you are not a believer, the trick to not to be afraid of death is to live life every day as if its your last day. You shouldn't have any regrets. I can drop dead today and I will not have any regrets son. Plus then there will be the next life to look forward to, which is fun. So live life, son, as if its your last day and do things that make you happy.
And for this, you have to stay hungry and stay foolish. Stay hungry for more learning, making more money, having love, conquering new worlds and experiences. And Stay foolish, never stop asking questions, son, keep on poking at things, keep on being foolish and ask the stupid questions.

Love

Baba


Text of Steve Jobs' Commencement address (2005)
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html



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Stanford Report, June 14, 2005
‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.


Wednesday, November 16

Half of young Swedish mums want to be housewives: study

First the article:

As things look today, people may be comparing bad working conditions with the image of the glamourous housewife,” gender researcher Catrin Lundström told Sveriges Television (SVT).
In a survey conducted by the Swedish family lifestyle website familjeliv.se, 45 percent of mothers indicated they wanted to be housewives.
The thought of staying home full-time to tend to household chores and children was most popular among younger mothers aged 18- to 29-years-old, with 53 percent responding that they wanted to be at home.
Among mothers aged 30- to 44-years-old, 40 percent of respondents indicated they would prefer to be at home.

But actually, only 2% of the respondents actually chose to stay at home. Primarily because of economic reasons. So well, while there is the desire, the money doesnt allow it to happen. Curious phenomena nonetheless, i would have thought that this level of desire to be a housewife was not right, specially in one of the most gender aware places in the world.

Tuesday, November 15

81 Reasons We Love Warren Buffett

Dear Son
First of all, I hope you do well in your Math exam today, I am sure you will ace it as usual.
I am sure you will appreciate this article. there are quite a lot of reasons to love and admire old Warren but you cant go wrong with following him really. He has made quite a lot of money by following good tactics and strategy. That makes sense.
But you have to remember to sweat the small details, son, review your portfolio every week minimum. If you are not reviewing your portfolio every week, it basically means that you arent interested in your money. Now why would you not be interested in that? If its important, review it, sweat it and take decisions. And reviewing doesnt mean taking a cursory look at it, it means that you ask if you are happy for your money to be in that person's hands for the foreseeable future or not. So every week you have to make a decision.
Get that discipline into you, son, that will help you tremendously.
Love you
Baba


81 Reasons We Love Warren Buffett - 31/08/2011
http://www.fool.co.uk/news/investing/2011/08/31/81-reasons-we-love-warren-buffett.aspx?source=uoofolrf0010002


Published in Investing on 31 August 2011

3 comments

A version of this article was originally published on our US site, Fool.com.

Yesterday was Warren Buffett’s 81st birthday. To celebrate, here are 81 reasons that make him the Fool’s biggest hero.

1. Intricate, occasionally contradictory complexity hides beneath the aw-shucks folksy charm. As a Forbes writer once put it, “Buffett is not a simple person, but he has simple tastes.”

2. Many people talk about avoiding the madding crowd, but Buffett actually does it by living 1,250 miles away from Wall Street.

3. He has a fortress-like internal scorecard on all things investing, but a vulnerable, endearing external scorecard on many aspects of his personal life. See his penchant for seeking mother figures.

4. Perspective: “In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.”

5. He is that guy in school who tells you he may have failed the test … only to bust the top of the curve.

6. His time frame for the long run consistently exceeds his life span.

7. Him saying it better: “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

8. He’s human. He fears nuclear war and his own mortality. He’s frequently more adept at business relationships than personal ones. He can hold a grudge. His hero is his daddy.

9. Classic line: “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.”

10. Once branded a stingy miser (rightly or wrongly), Buffett has evolved (assuming it wasn’t his intention from the start) into one of the most effective philanthropists I know. After growing his potential givings at a 20% compounded rate per year, he set a plan to give most of it away.

11. Perhaps as importantly, he put ego aside and outsourced the charitable decision making to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Circle of competence at its finest.

12. “I never attempt to make money on the stock market. I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.” Contrast that with computer algorithm-based trading, day trading, and some of the moves you’ve made in your own account.

13. Buffett’s smarter than you and I, but he’s kind enough to let us feel otherwise.

14. David Sokol was once an heir apparent and arguably Buffett’s most trusted operations guy. But when Sokolgate erupted, Buffett stayed true to his word: “We can afford to lose money — even a lot of money. But we can’t afford to lose reputation — even a shred of reputation.”

15. “Derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction.” He said it early, and we are reminded of it often.

16. In a glimpse of the nuance that some commentators call hypocrisy, Buffett uses derivatives himself. But he does so in a way that doesn’t threaten the entire financial system and explains why in his annual shareholder letters.

17. He doomed himself from ever holding public office: “A public-opinion poll is no substitute for thought.”

18. I like juxtaposing these two quotes: (1) “It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.” (2) “Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.”

19. “You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.”

20. He has the ability to resist the allure of the quick fix or quick buck when longer-term dynamics are at play.

21. Not sure if this quote was before or after the Internet: “Let blockheads read what blockheads wrote.”

22. For those hoping to become famous and respected, he’s a testament that the challenges and doubts keep coming regardless of the length of the track record. He’s publicly prevailed so far.

23. An investing truism: “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

24. The business side of that investing truism: “Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.”

25. He uses colourful language and analogies when drab jargon could do the trick.

26. Boring example: moat vs. competitive advantage.

27. Not-so-boring example: sex.

28. “Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.”

29. Classic line: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

30. He backs up his saying, “Our favourite holding period is forever,” by keeping past-their-prime subsidiaries others would “spin off to unlock value.”

31. His Robin (Charlie Munger) can kick your Batman’s butt.

32. He makes loophole-free handshake deals.

33. “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

34. Keep it simple, stupid, quote No. 1: “The business schools reward difficult complex behaviour more than simple behaviour, but simple behaviour is more effective.”

35. Keep it simple, stupid, quote No. 2: “There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”

36. The Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B.US) annual meeting is an unrivaled spectacle in investing, truly living up to its billing as the Woodstock for Capitalists.

37. One of the most succinct summations of why America is great: “There are 309 million people out there that are trying to improve their lot in life. And we’ve got a system that allows them to do it.”

38. Trash-bin-diving caution No. 1: “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

39. Trash-bin-diving caution No. 2: “Time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.”

40. He’s an eternal optimist in a sound-bite culture that often rewards pessimists.

41. His shareholder letters reveal an artisan-like craftsmanship only seen when the proprietor cares deeply about his creation.

42. The contrarian credo: “We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”

43. Genius fails: “When a management with a reputation for brilliance tackles a business with a reputation for bad economics, it is the reputation of the business that remains intact.”

44. Like so many great thinkers, Buffett is able to ignore noise and whittle a decision down to its core variables. After he explains those variables, the decision sounds elementary.

45. Why banking can be dangerous: “When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.”

46. He allows me to see the word “Buffett” without thinking of Jimmy.

47. Buffett maintains a high thought-to-speech ratio.

48. Buffett’s librarian fantasy: “If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”

49. He converts a deadly sin into a virtue: “You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.”

50. Averaging 20% returns for almost half a century results in beating the S&P 500 78:1!

51. Even as he has fewer and fewer meaningful investing options because of the size of Berkshire Hathaway, he continues to wow us.

52. On a chili-dog-and-onion-ring-flavoured note, Berkshire Hathaway owns Dairy Queen, my favorite fast-food chain.

53. Many of Buffett’s managers were wildly successful entrepreneurs before selling out to Berkshire. Convincing successful, often headstrong, boss-less superstars to voluntarily subjugate themselves and to keep those people motivated and happy is a feat.

54. On a related note, Buffett doesn’t micromanage. Good thing, with an empire this large.

55. He gets doubted again and again and again and proves the doubters wrong most of the time. Yet, you never hear him say “I told you so.”

56. Well, maybe sometimes he gloats. Harvard Business School rejected him, which led him to study under his mentors Benjamin Graham and David Dodd at Columbia. His “how do you like me now?” statement: “Harvard did me a big favor by turning me down,” he said. “But I haven’t made any contributions to them in thanks for that.”

57. He has become America’s de facto investing teacher. And he’s done so willingly.

58. Perhaps my favourite Buffett line: “We like things that you don’t have to carry out to three decimal places. If you have to carry them out to three decimal places, they’re not good ideas.”

59. Not that he can’t be ruthless, but Buffett tends to look for win-win situations where possible. Contrast that with the Wall Street art of “ripping the face off” of clients.

60. He’s often described as a “learning machine,” extending his natural abilities and allowing him to make behemoth investing decisions over the span of just hours.

61. He added to Ben Graham’s teachings with the help of that learning-machine ability and Munger’s counsel.

62. Here’s a good place to point out that available-to-all company annual reports are the primary fuel in his learning machine. He reads them voraciously to compare and contrast companies and build his business knowledge base. See the next point.

63. When asked what the most important key to his success was, Buffett answered, “focus.” His biographer Alice Schroeder elaborates: He has “focus like you have never seen on anybody else.” For good or ill, Buffett’s entire life has been dedicated to investing. It’s much harder than he lets on.

64. Plenty of business fish in the sea: “There are all kinds of businesses that I don’t understand, but that doesn’t cause me to stay up at night. It just means I go on to the next one, and that’s what the individual investor should do.”

65. How many people can pull off being a contrarian by buying shares of Coca-Cola?

66. Even with an investing world full of Buffett students and imitators, he manages to surprise.

67. He takes every legal, ethical advantage available in the current system, but lobbies for a better system. For example, he supports higher taxes for the rich, more severe estate taxes, and a level playing field. As he puts it, “I don’t like anything where the bottom 20% keep getting a poorer and poorer deal.”

68. He is grateful for the advantages he has had in life — as many of us have, he won the “ovarian lottery.”

69. When he talks, E.F. Hutton listens.

70. Like many geniuses, he is frequently the confounding exception to the rule. For example, “not a dime of cash has left Berkshire for dividends or share repurchases during the past 40 years.” And we shareholders thank him for it.

71. Buffett buys what he knows (and frequently loves), but he doesn’t overpay out of affection. He has the discipline to wait decades for the right opportunity.

72. He gives credit to his direct reports.

73. Not only is Buffett a great investor and manager, he’s one hell of a writer. My jealousy grows.

74. He once picked up a date in a hearse he co-owned.

75. Before having his money work for him, he worked for his money early on with a series of jobs, schemes, and ventures. These included a paper route, selling chewing gum door-to-door, a pinball business, a sales job at J.C. Penney’s, caddying, marking up refurbished golf balls, and founding a horse-racing tip sheet.

76. It’s very possible the house you live in is worth more than the house Buffett lives in — the house in Omaha he bought in 1958.

77. Over the years, he has relied on a similar set of answers to oft-asked questions. That his philosophy has stayed stable throughout that time is remarkable.

78. His wealth has bought him the ultimate trophy: He does whatever he wants to do just about every single day.

79. He’s the outsized calming influence a lot of us need. From his biography Snowball: “If a tornado were barreling straight toward Kiewit Plaza [where his office is], Buffett would say that things were ‘never better’ before mentioning the twister.”

80. Anyone who can make the hyper-opinionated Charlie Munger regularly utter “I have nothing to add” must be saying something impressive.

81. He fully expects this list to one day reach well into the triple digits. And I look forward to adding those lines. Happy birthday, Mr. Buffett!

Monday, November 14

Financial education petition hits the magic 100,000 signatures

This really bugs me, why on earth are we not teaching our school kids the basics of financial education? There is a huge pent up demand from ordinary citizens and parents who desperately want their kids to be financially literate. What the hell is the government doing? Or not doing?

I quote:

Over 100,000 people have now signed our petition calling for compulsory financial education in schools, which means it must be considered for a Parliamentary debate.

We hit the magic 100,000 number last night, showing the enormous nationwide support for our campaign to help rid the nation of financial illiteracy, which can lead to serious debt problems (click here to sign the e-petition on the Government's website

Here is the petition:

Make financial education a compulsory part of the school curriculum

Responsible department: Department for Education

It's a national disgrace that in the 20 years since introducing student loans, we’ve educated our youth into debt when they go to university, but never about debt. We're a financially illiterate nation, with millions caught by misselling, overborrowing and being ripped off. Is it any surprise we’ve just had a debt imbued financial crisis. This must change. Companies spend billions on marketing and teaching their staff to sell – it's time we got buyers' training. The most cost effective way to start is to ensure every child in the country gets a basic understanding of personal finance & consumer rights before leaving school. This isn’t a large resource requirement. Some schools already do it, but the majority don’t and that needs to end. Unless it's compulsory, head teachers can’t prioritise for it. 97% of people support this, yet no one will take up the baton. We have one of the world’s most complex consumer economies; it's time our children were taught how to thrive and survive in it.

The government says:

In the meantime, we would like to update you on the Government’s current position on the substance of this e-petition.
“The Government agrees that young people should have access to good quality personal finance education, so that they leave school with the knowledge and confidence to manage their money effectively. Parents can also play a crucial role in helping young people to become financially aware in their day-to-day lives.
Schools already use Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education as a framework within which to teach young people about personal financial management. The existing PSHE programmes of study include elements aimed at ensuring that by the time they leave school, pupils should be able to manage their money, understand and explain financial risk and reward, and identify how finance will play an important part in their lives and in achieving their aspirations. We are currently carrying out a review to determine how best to support schools to improve the quality of all PSHE teaching.”

Sighs, this is the response. What the hell, guys, get moving quickly on this.

Sunday, November 13

Trusted Trustees in Technical Test

So we had our first meeting of the IT4CH charity where our brilliant technology ladies joined us. And they immediately made a huge difference. Its obvious that male trustees are utterly useless, and I include myself in that. We had brilliant ideas, we had great initiatives, we had spiffing discussions and we are going to move this forward. Hard. So brilliant stuff. One more trustee will join us soon, but in the interim, we should have fun.

But if there are anybody else who wants to help us? Volunteers, advisors, all welcome to join in and help. We are now starting to initiate projects relating to technology assisting sick children.

Mind you, we can also do with some trustees for the Home Start Hillingdon Charity. We are very happy, we have now confirmed funding from the council. Before people jump on this being a tax payer funded boondoggle, that is not true, the taxpayer money is used to fund a tiny team who train and manage up to 100 volunteers who actually deliver the benefits. Now if that is not community engagement, what is? I am very impressed with the girls in the charity and would appreciate having more trustees to help assist us to make this into something very good.

What else? Well, popped down to Swansea to lecture the MBA students, working with another university to potentially help them with an internship project, started this year’s mentorship with Manchester Business School, working with Essex on curriculum re-design and strategic positioning and finally i am sucking at Farsi, lol.