Life Reports from Experienced Folks, How Life Happened for Them — David Brooks Series

. . .” Lean toward risk. It’s trite, but apparently true. Many more seniors regret the risks they didn’t take than regret the ones they did. . . ”

I have not found many articles that precisely fit the the theme of this blog, but these do. Brooks reports of how experienced people regard life decisions, perseverance, rumination, “strategic self-delusion,” “relentless self-expansion,” rebellion, self-obsession, and having to make crucial decisions when we are twenty-somethings. It is all here. I cannot recommend any reading more enthusiastically than this series.  Go to the link below.  Good reading for young, middle-aged and senior Americans.  The following link goes to both earlier and later responses.


Steadfast and cautious,

David Milliken

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“Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure” — Recommended Book

According to David Brooks (New York Time, 8/12/11), author Tim Harford’s basic lesson is that “you have to design your life to make effective use of failures. You have to design systems of trial and error . . . ”  I haven’t read it yet but the book appears to be a Tortoise kind of thing.  Anyway, I’m going to check it out. Brooks full review is at NYT (6/13/11).



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The Trump and the Hare

In Chelonia where I live we don’t see  Trump-like characters.  There’s not a blow hard among us. I mean look at our natures.  We’re built to be wary, inconspicuous, ready at any moment to survive another day by pulling head and limbs into our shells, hoping our camouflage will cause us to be over looked. We’re like the group of cautious Americans David Brooks cited recently (NYT 4-19-11). Billions of net worth does not permit us to offend whomever we choose and with abandon. We have bosses and voters to ingratiate.

Brooks says he would never vote for Trump, but that he would also not want to live in a country without people like Trump.  Well, perhaps, if we could only confine them to Texas.  I suppose Brooks means he wants to live in a place where a Trump can do his entrepreneurial thing with all the promise of trickle down.  Well, yes, we have to have our Vanderbilts and Carnegies, but at least they built railroads and steel mills.   But Trump is a real estate broker, a tycoon of the real estate “industry.”

The Trump is no hare in the sense that he will loose for snoozing while  more methodical, industrious, dull drones pass him by.  However, The Trump epitomizes narcissistic ego that goes amuck regularly.  He’s a man so confident and vain that he knows he can bamboozle the Chinese into submission with tariffs and quotas.

The hare didn’t lose the race because he lacked the savvy, guts and skills to succeed.  He lost the race because of flawed character.  Brooks refers to Trumps’ boyishness.  Agreed, the man is the quintessential boy-man, a particular kind of American archetype.  Trump captures something else peculiarly American — by any means make the sale.  Change the pitch to sell the house regardless of whether your mark can afford it or the block needs your development.  The sale!  Make the sale!

Our country would be the loser without sales people.  We also are the loser when we forget caveat emptor.  That vigilance is the only defense against greed as we forgot when enterprising capitalists pawned away low-interest homes at inflated prices — quite an industry, “real” estate.

We tortoises have our own camouflage and so does The Trump.  Camouflage is a kind of specialized facade for self-protection.  Camouflage deceives for both offense and defense. It covers something up and hides an identity.  No, Donald Trump doesn’t belong in the White House.  He’s not fit for command.

Cautious and steadfast,

The Tortoise



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