The Monday Mix (25/01/2021)

A new week, another email

Hi friends,

It’s another week here in the UK, which feels very similar to the last 15 or so. Stuck inside, writing while trying to stay warm. The weather has been terrible here for the past week. We’ve had floods, a lot of snow and freezing temperatures. On top of a pandemic that’s barely under control, it feels like I’m living in a dystopian novel!

This is the river close to where I live. Thankfully, I don’t live close to the flooding area, but plenty of homes have been affected by the adverse weather The structure to the right of centre is a boarding platform for a ferry, now submerged with water. The river normally floods this time every year, but it’s been especially bad this year.

It’s not been the best start to the year here in the UK!

With that said, here’s what I want to share with you this week:

Skin In The Game

My latest article on Medium looks at how the concept of skin in the game can impact your life. Skin in the game refers to how much you are directly involved in or affected by something. This could be anything from your investment portfolio, driving your car or even your writing career. It’s a concept popularized by Nassim Taleb, in his book… Skin In The Game!

This concept affects us more than we realise. We all have skin in the game in regards to something, which either affects us negatively or positively. But not only does this affect us it affects others as well. Skin in the game moderates our behaviour and makes us consider others instead of acting in our own self-interest.

It’s an important concept more of us need to recognise.

How To Use The Concept of ‘Skin In The Game’ To Make Better Choices

One coin to scam them all

I first read this article towards the end of 2019. I was astounded at how someone could pull off a fraud on this scale and get away with it. After the price of Bitcoin shot up in recent weeks, I read it again and was left even more perplexed at how this happened.

Crypto is an industry I don’t fully understand. One of my best friends spent a lot of time researching it and even owned some Bitcoin back in 2017 when the price first rocketed. He’s not confident that everything about Bitcoin is above-board, which doesn’t bode well for all the other cryptocurrencies out there.

To me, the industry seems like the wild west. Reading articles such as this doesn’t dissuade me from that point of view. Maybe I’m wrong, and I hope I am, but it just goes to show that people will try always try and make a quick buck out of a gold rush.

Cryptoqueen: How this woman scammed the world, then vanished

Think and Grow Rich?

When I bought one of the most famous self-help books, Think and Grow Rich, last year I was expecting to be blown away by what I found inside. Instead, I was underwhelmed and had to stop reading after 50 pages. This supposedly great book was bland, vague and uninspiring.

The experience inspired me to write an article about putting down a book if you’re not enjoying it. Normally, I’d soldier on, but I couldn’t. After being disillusioned, I googled the author, Napoleon Hill to find out more about him. This sent me down a rabbit hole where I came across the article below.

It turns out that the author of this book was a known con man and all-around dodgy character. The premise of the book, that he was instructed by the American business magnate Andrew Carnegie to detail the habits of the most successful figures of the early 1900s, has never been corroborated. There’s no evidence to suggest Hill ever met Carnegie.

Recently, I came across a video which looks at Hill’s past and it’s amazing how almost no one mentions his history when talking about his book. It was common knowledge he was a con man while he was alive, but this seems to have been glossed over today, while con artists selling courses are commonplace on the web.

Maybe we just enjoy the thought of trying to become rich rather than exposing the truth behind some of these so-called ‘gurus.’ I’m going to try and write an article on Hill in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s the link to the article below.

The Untold Story of Napoleon Hill, the Greatest Self-Help Scammer of All Time

Technology can’t fix everything

I’m a huge football (soccer for any Americans reading) fan. Watching football has been one of the few saving graces of the past year. However, one aspect of football which has changed recently has affected my enjoyment of it.

The introduction of a Video Assistant Referee, or VAR for short. The clamour for some form of technology to be introduced has been raucous for several years before it was finally introduced in 2019. But has it made a positive difference? Well, it’s hard to say.

Instead of clearing up obvious mistakes, VAR is now adjudicating on decisions which are open to debate. Offsides are being decided by armpits and fingertips instead of a clear discrepancy. It’s taken a game that had its flaws and reduced it to a painstaking search for absolute accuracy in every contentious decision.

This works in sports such as rugby and cricket, but football is a free-flowing game and much more open to interpretation than those sports. For me, this debacle represents a broader point. We’ve welcomed technology into our lives to fix what we perceive as problems, but how much of a problem were they?

How far do we go before technology saps the joy out of everything in life and spontaneity and volatile are removed from life? Life shouldn’t be sanitised, it should be free, open and sometimes, unexplainable. My fear is that we’re pushing to add technology to every aspect of our life just because we can. But should we?

It’s a question we all need to ponder.

He shoots, he scores – or does he? How VAR changed football for ever

Until next time,

Tom