Getting to Yes, And

Morgan Housel: Same As Ever: A Guide To What Never Changes


Morgan Housel

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Kelly talks to best-selling author Morgan Housel whose book "The Psychology of Money" sold over 3 million copies. His new book, "Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes" is a fascinating look at history's most powerful lessons.

While reading your book, I was reminded of a particular Neil Gaiman quote that I want to read to you, he once wrote, “You're always you, and that doesn't change, and you're always changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.”

“All of us live in the own little confines of the bubble that we've experienced in life. I view the world as a college educated white American male. I imagine you do, too. And there's nothing we can do about it. It's just what we've seen. I've always been me. I will always be me. ButBut ate same time, everything is always changing around us, which is a big part of this book: that we are so bad at predicting the future, because everyone is trying to focus on what is going to change. And our track record there is horrendous. I've always been a financial writer, and I found myself cynical at how bad the entire punditry in business was at predicting the stock market and recessions and whatnot. And so, for me, a lot of this just came from the fact that I think the reason we're so bad at it is because everyone's trying to figure out what is going to change. And we can't do that. There's no evidence that people can do that.”

In improvisation, you can’t stop to analyze everything before you speak. You are trained to be fiercely present in the moment with another person in part because you can’t read their mind or guess what they are going to say – just listen and react.

"Yeah, that's so good. I would imagine, in improv, too, that a big part of it, and speaking as someone who has no idea what they're talking about with regard to improv, a lot of it is you can't let perfect be the enemy of good. You just have to be willing to play. Just say it. Don't think about it. Don't analyze what's best. Spit it out, spit it out right now.”

The other thing is that we know that human beings aren’t rational actors, so that should also inform our decision making.

“If you go through life assuming that the decisions that people will make are going to be rational and levelheaded and fact-based, you lose. You're going to miss a lot of the biggest events from people who are doing things in ways that just don't compute. There's not a rational answer to it. It's just people who are disconnected from reality, or have different incentives than you do, so they make decisions and look completely irrational to you but might make sense in their mind at the time.”

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