Review and Summary: Same As Ever

Same As Ever Book Cover

I’ve just turned the final page on the much-anticipated new book from Morgan Housel, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all! As someone whose mind is still wrapped around the profound insights from The Psychology of Money years after turning the last page, I knew Housel’s latest work would be memorable. In this newly released book, he wrote, “People don’t remember books; they remember sentences,” and true to form, his words have a way of sticking with you.

Same As Ever is an intriguing collection of short sections that explores timeless themes in our ever-changing world. One of the cool things about this book is its flexibility; there are twenty-three chapters, each a standalone part, so you can hop around and read in any order that piques your interest. And for those of you who’ve been following Housel’s works on the Collaborative Fund blog, you’ll find a comforting sense of familiarity with fresh, insightful twists that capture that magic of reading something for the first time.

What sets Housel apart is his skill in discussing the wild, everyday occurrences of life with wisdom and clarity—something that might come off as awkward or forced from other authors feels genuine and enlightening when Housel does it. I personally connected with so much of what he writes in this book; it’s as if he found the exact words to describe thoughts and feelings I’ve encountered, especially in the poignant chapters like “Wounds Heal, Scars Last.” These stories resonated with me on a personal level, reflecting experiences during and after COVID-19, which made me appreciate his words even more.

Housel has a gift for capturing the essence of our experiences with crisp clarity. If you’re looking for a book that speaks to life’s constants in an ever-shifting world, “Same As Ever” might just be the next read to leave a lasting impression on you, as it did on me.

Summary

The Laws of Life

  • Tech and medicine has changes. Geopolitical world would make no sense. Language and dialect might be completely foreign. But people falling for greed and fear just like they do in our current world.

Hanging by a Thread

  • Predicting what the world will look like 50 years from now is impossible. But predicting that people will still respond to greed, fear, opportunity, exploitation, risk, uncertainty, tribal affiliations, and social persuasion in the same way is a bet I’d take.

Risk is What You Don’t See

  • The biggest risk is always what no one sees coming, because if no one sees it coming, no one’s prepared for it; and in if no one’s prepared for it, its damage will be amplified when it arrives.

Risk is what’s left over after you think you’ve thought of everything

Carl Richard
  • Two factors can guide you towards a more beneficial path:
    • As Nassim Taleb says,”Invest in preparedness, not in prediction”
    • Realize that if you’re only preparing for the risks you can envision, you’ll be unprepared for the risks you can’t see every single time.

Expectations and Reality

  • Your happiness depend on your expectations more than anything else.

If you only wished to be happy, this could be easily accomplished; but we wish to be happier than other people and this is always difficult, for we believe others to be happier than they are.

Montesquieu
  • Today’s economy is good at generating 3 things:
    • wealth
    • the ability to show off wealth
    • great envy for other people’s wealth

Wild Minds

  • The key thing is that unique minds have to be accepted as a full package, because the things they do well and that we admire cannot be separated from the things we wouldn’t want for ourselves or we look down upon.

One day, I realized with all these people I was jealous of, I couldn’t just choose little aspects of their life. I couldn’t sat I want his body, I want her money, I want his personality. You have to be that person. Do you want to actually be that person with all of their reactions, their desires, their family, their happiness level, their outlook on life, their self-image? If you’re not willing to do a wholesale, 24/7, 100% swap with who that person is, then there is no point in being jealous.

Naval Ravikant

Wild Numbers

  • A common trait of human behavior is the burning desire for certainty despite living in an uncertain and probabilistic world.
  • Probability is about nuance and gradation. But in the real world people pay attention to black-and-white results.

Best Story Wins

  • There is too much information in the world for everyone to calmly sift through the data, looking for the most rational, most correct answer. People are busy and emotional, and a good story is always more powerful and persuasive than ice-cold statistics.

Does Not Compute

  • The ones who thrive long term are those who understand the real world is a never-ending chain of absurdity, confusion, messy relationships, and imperfect people.
  • Steps toward accepting that some things don’t compute:
    • Realizing that the reason we have innovation and advancement is because we are fortunate to have people in this world whose minds work differently from ours.
    • Accepting that what’s rational to one person can be crazy to another.
    • Understanding the power of incentives.
    • The power of stories over statistics. It’s hard to compute, but it’s how the world works.

Calm Plants the Seeds of Crazy

  • The irony of good times is that they breed complacency and skepticism of warnings.
  • What calm planting the seeds of crazy does is important: It makes us fundamentally underestimate the odds of things going wrong, and the consequences of something going wrong. Things can become the most dangerous when people perceive them to be the safest.
  • What you can do:
    • Accepting that crazy doesn’t mean broken. Crazy is normal; beyond the point of crazy is normal.
    • Realizing the power of enough.

Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast

  • A most convenient size is a proper state where things work well but break when you try to scale them to a different size or speed. It applies to many things in life.
  • Most great things in life gain their value from two things:
  1. Patience, to let something grow.
  2. Scarcity, to admire what it grows into.

When the Magic Happens

  • The circumstances that tend to produce the biggest innovations are those that cause people to be worried, scared, and eager to move quickly because their future depends on it.
  • Stress focuses your attention in ways good times can’t. It kills procrastination and indecision, taking what you need to get done and shoving it so close to your face that you have no choice but to pursue it, right now and to the best of your ability.

Overnight Tragedies and Long-term Miracles

  • Good news takes time but bad news tends to occur instantly.
  • The most important things come from compounding. But compounding takes awhile, so it’s easy to ignore.
  • Complex to make, simple to break.

Tiny and Magnificent

  • Most amazing things happen when something tiny and insignificant compounds into something extraordinary
  • The real lesson from evolution: if you have a big number in the exponent slot, you do not need extraordinary change to deliver extraordinary results. It’s not intuitive, but it’s so powerful.

Elation and Despair

  • Progress requires optimism and pessimism to coexist.
    • Planning like a pessimist and dreaming like an optimist.
    • You can only be an optimist in the long run if you’re pessimistic enough to survive the short run.
  • The rational optimist: those who acknowledge that history is a constant chain of problems and disappointments and setbacks, but who remain optimistic because they know setbacks don’t prevent eventual progress. they sound like hypocrites and flip-floppers, but often they’re just looking.

Casualties of Perfection

  • Species rarely evolve to become perfect at anything, the expense of another skill that will eventually be critical to survival.
  • Many people strive for efficient lives, where no hour is wasted. But an overlooked skill that doesn’t get enough attention is the idea that wasting time can be a great thing.

It’s Supposed to be Hard

  • One of the most useful life skills: enduring the pain when necessary rather than assuming there’s a hack, or a shortcut, around it.

Everything comes with overhead. That’s reality, Everything comes with pieces that you don’t like. [..] And we need to say: That’s part of it

Jeff Bezos
  • Everything has a price, and the price is usually proportionate to the potential rewards
  • A unique skill, an underrated skill, is identifying the optimal amount of hassle and nonsense you should put up with to get ahead while getting along.

Keep Running

  • You should never be surprised when something that dominates one era dies off in the next.
  • Keep running. No competitive advantage is so powerful that it can let you rest your laurels.

The Wonders of the Future

  • It’s easy to always feel like we’re falling behind.
    • When you realize that progress is made step-by-step, slowly over time, you realize that tiny little innovations that no one thinks much of are the seeds for what has the potential to compound into something great.

Harder than It Looks and Not as Fun as It Seems

  • Everything is sales.
    • Everyone is trying to craft an image of who they are.
    • Skills are advertised. Flaws are hidden.
  • What most of us see most of the time is a fraction of what has actually happened, or what’s going on inside people’s heads.

Incentives: The Most Powerful Force in the World

  • What makes incentives powerful is not just how they influence other people’s decisions but how blind we can be to how they impact our own.
  • One of the strongest pulls of incentives is the desire for people to hear inly what they want to hear and see only what they want to see.

Now You Get It

  • People often have no idea how they’ll respond to a big windfall or an incredible gift of good luck until they’ve experienced it firsthand.
  • You might think you know how it’ll feel. Then you experience it firsthand and you realize, ah, okay. It’s more complicated than you thought.

Time Horizons

  • The world changes, which makes changing your mind not just helpful, but crucial. But changing your mind is hard because fooling yourself into believing a falsehood is so much easier than admitting a mistake.
  • Doing long-term thinking well requires identifying when you’re being patient vs just stubborn.
  • Long term is less about time horizon and more abut flexibility.

Trying Too Hard

  • Complexity gives a comforting impression of control, while simplicity is hard to distinguish from cluelessness.

Wounds Heal, Scars Last

  • People who’ve had different experiences than you will think differently than you do. They’ll have different goals, outlooks, wishes, and values. So most debates are not actual disagreements; they’re people with different experiences talking over each other.

The more the internet exposes people to new points of view, the angrier people get that different views exist.

Benedict Evans
  • Disagreement has less to do with what people know and more to do with what they’ve experienced. And since experiences will always be different, disagreement will be constant.

Author: Morgan Housel

Publication date: 7 November 2023

Number of pages: 240 pages


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