Jordan Peterson’s Twelve Rules for Life

The psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has an enjoyable writing style that weaves scientific data with allegories and anecdotes, wrote a book titled the Twelve Rules for Life. There are two arguments that he makes that I find particularly enjoyable.

The first is the “lobster stuff”, which the media has teased him about, but makes a fair point about the importance of posture and how our physical presentation transmits all of this data to other people that we may not even realize that we are doing and can often have even more influence than the words that come out of mouths.

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Chuck Feeney: The Billionaire Who Wasn’t

In 1960, Chuck Feeney and a business partner set up duty-free shops in airports to sell alcohol, cigarettes, and handbags produced in Japan to American travelers. The DFS Group, which was the holding company for Feeney’s business, earned 300% profit margins from the outset and had extremely high retained profits that gave him tens of millions of dollars in annual profits despite having only a few dozen physical locations in the 1960s and 1970s.

Feeney’s life has been marked by incredibly interesting moments, such as early investments in Facebook, Priceline, and Alibaba following the sale of DFS Group to Louis Vuitton in 1996. During the 1990s, he provided approximately $600 million to a constellation of causes, including funding for paramilitary forces in Northern Ireland to embrace electoral politics, the creation of an antiretroviral treatment for AIDS in Southern Africa, and even grants to create a public health system in Vietnam.

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The Demutualization Secret of Credit Unions

You’ve probably encountered the general advice that the luckiest people are the most prepared. One of the basic, ordinary decisions that you make in your life is where to bank. Unless you are affluent, travel a lot, or bounce a lot of checks, most financial institutions offer products and services that are largely indistinguishable from each other. This has been especially true during the 2008-2018 timeframe in which interest rates have been negligible.

I am firm believer that, if you can make modest tweaks to your lifestyle with almost no additional hassle, but it sets you up for the possibility of a significant reward, you should pay attention to those circumstances in life.

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The Perils Of Too Much Debt

Clarence Saunders—an oft-forgotten early 20th century entrepreneur—is one of the five most important men in the history of American groceries. You could make an argument that he deserves a spot on the list of the top 100 most important businessmen of the entire 20th century.

Saunders revolutionized the grocery store business by recognizing why small-town grocery store chains kept failing.

In the early 1900s, the typical grocery store experience had similarities with visiting a pharmacy today. You would show up at the storefront, present a list of what you needed, a clerk would retrieve the items, and then you would pay the bill or pay it on credit (grocery stores would keep a ledger of amounts owing).

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The Limitations of GEICO’s Liability Risk

The strong blue-chip stocks in the world are generally decentralized holding companies. For instance, when you buy Berkshire Hathaway stock, there are layers of separation between it and GEICO, its most famous insurance subsidiary.

Berkshire Hathaway has a 100% ownership interest in Government Employees Insurance Company, and in turn, this company owns (1) GEICO Indemnity Company; (2) GEICO Casualty Company; (3) GEICO Advantage Insurance Company; (4) GEICO Choice Insurance Company; (5) GEICO Secure Insurance Company; and GEICO County Mutual Insurance Company. That is just on the underwriting side. The sales of GEICO policies occur through GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc., which is 100% owned by Government Employees Insurance Company, which in turn is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.

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