Happy Holidays! Thanks for staying in touch. Let's do more real world mingling and meeting in 2018.
Two highlights (on a life well lived and gift giving ideas) this week (tho more on blog), before I go back to the festive goose. My roast goose variant only takes 50 minutes to cook! (30 mins prep, 30 min rest). (Goose details here)
How to live a life, well lived. Bernie (Blue) De Koven is a fun theorist. A shaman of fun and play (Wired Interview). He is also terminally ill. Through supporting a game of legacy, I asked him these questions:
-How do you live, a life well lived?
-If you would do life differently - what would you do?
-What would you tell your 40-year-old self?
-If these are the better days of an early nation, what should I do?”
High "return on investment" gifts: Last minute Christmas gifts. Economists argue that buying presents is a value loss as recipients do not value the gifts at the same value as bought.
These economists suggest cash is the best gift as economic value is not destroyed. Tim Harford in the FT (Link here, behind paywall) in 2016 looked at Joel Waldfogel’s notorious research paper, The Deadweight Loss of Christmas, Waldfogel showed that gifts typically destroy value, in the sense that the giver had to pay more to buy the gift than the recipient would ever have been willing to spend on it.
Richard Thaler might disagree (post here) arguing rational “hominem economist” is fantasy. Cash gifts are frowned open.
I have several gift ideas which have a high RoI. These gifts utilise the equation:
Time + Unique + You = Priceless a gift of time and attention and thought.
Poetry/Writing: Write them a poem. Write them out your favourite poem. Record a video or audio of you reading a poem (or short story) to your loved one.
Even for the young child who has everything, they won't have a video of you reading their favourite book.
Write a letter about a time together or why they are important to you.
Recipes: Collect recipes from friends and write them in a book. A short story about their importance is a welcome touch.
If you take the time to create/make/cook some thing, this has “positive value” both economically and socially. There are many items in the read/eat/drink category that most people enjoy.
Cook some thing, make a cake; confit a duck leg (recipe here, keeps for 6 months); order some green coffee beans, roast them yourself for a coffee lover, present them with roasted beans (worth over 10x the green bean value plus 30 minutes or so roasting time, I’ve done it in a pan similar to this). You can brew your own gin, ginger ale, make lemonade.
You can make simple jewellery, with a little more time you could learn to knit or something to actually make a garment, though I appreciate that is probably above what can be easily achieved.
You can make them a mix tape / CD / on line mix -- with personal commentary. The mix tape was a teenage rite of love in decades past.
Busy parents might appreciate a "voucher" for baby sitting time offered by the gifter. We value experiences more than objects when it comes to happiness.
More on the gift giving ideas on 3 min blog post. Some social anthropological thoughts on Lewis Hyde's Gift here (3 mins)
Randomness: An unexpected view in California
Charlie Munger Advice: First, be unreliable. Do not faithfully do what you have engaged to do. If you will only master this one habit you will more than counterbalance the combined effect of all your virtues, howsoever great.
Charlie Munger advice
68,392 unread emails. That’s my inbox. If I spent 30 seconds on all those emails, it would cost me >566 hours or 56 working days assuming I did nothing else. Not feasible.
I take 30 to 60 minutes in my day, semi-scheduled to go through emails. I read all headlines. If I think I can deal with in a minute or so, I answer immediately. If it’s of no value I move on. If I need to consider it, I click it open / mark it. If I think I might forget, I note it down physically. How I organise my email (2 mins). Update: Tim Hartford in the FT agrees with me!