Quote IconUndergraduates will tell you that they’re under pressure — from their parents, from the burden of debt they incur, from society at large — to choose majors they believe will lead as directly as possible to good jobs. Too often, that means skipping the humanities.

The Decline and Fall of the English Major - NYTimes.com

There’s a special hubris underlying our fetishization of “employability.” Not that it’s an unworthy goal, but I wish we’d show a little more humility when predicting which skills our economy will demand 3-7 years out.

Quote IconWhat makes the use of these speech-to-text systems so risky is that they create a significant cognitive distraction, the researchers found. The brain is so taxed interacting with the system that, even with hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, the driver’s reaction time and ability to process what is happening on the road are impaired.

Voice-Activated Technology Is Called Safety Risk for Drivers

(via The New York Times)

Having used plenty of voice activated tech while driving, I can attest that this is a real issue.  Hands-free does not make it distraction-free.

(via marksbirch)

Somewhat related: I’m strangely excited for the “Google Glass users walking into things” tumblr. Less so for the “Google Glass users driving into things” tumblr.

Quote IconWe try more to profit by always remembering the obvious than from grasping the esoteric. It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.

Charlie Munger, Poor Charlie’s Almanack

Quote IconI have had several occasions to ask founders and participants in innovative start-ups a question: To what extent will the outcome of your effort depend on what you do in your firm? This is evidently an easy question; the answer comes quickly and in my small sample it has never been less than 80%. Even when they are not sure they will succeed, these bold people think their fate is almost entirely in their own hands. They are surely wrong: the outcome of a start-up depends as much on the achievements of its competitors and on changes in the market as on its own efforts. However, WYSIATI [What You See Is All There Is] plays its part, and entrepreneurs naturally focus on what they know best—their plans and actions and the most immediate threats and opportunities, such as the availability of funding. They know less about their competitors and therefore find it natural to imagine a future in which the competition plays little part.

Kahneman, Daniel (2011-10-25). Thinking, Fast and Slow (p. 260). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

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Which leads us directly to a few rules about dealing with sudden wealth:

1. You must avoid the hubris and arrogance that often accompanies sudden wealth. (Becoming wealthier does not = acquiring more expertise);

2. Debt is a dangerous tool, especially in the hands of the naive;

3. Assets are not the same as income; wealth is not the same as cash flow; Spending is not the same as investing;

4. You best understand your own strengths and weaknesses; this includes emotional, intellectual as well as behavioral.

5. Experience teaches us that the belief “I’m rich, therefore I must be very smart” is a recipe for disaster when not backed up with actual knowledge in relevant fields.

Are You Trying to Get Rich — Or Stay Rich? | The Big Picture