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Skill versus luck


Cigarbutt
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Link to a Mr Ritholz article with reference to Michael J. Mauboussin's book "The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing".

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-04-24/the-average-person-today-really-isn-t-rockefeller-rich

 

"...skill and luck are “hopelessly entangled.” Everyone possesses different levels of skill, and we are all subject to outcomes that are based on luck. We also are not very good at distinguishing between the two. How large a role chance plays in determining outcomes may be variable but it is also significant. Once we acknowledge how much of our individual success or failure can be at the mercy of random fortune, it changes the usual assignment of causation and blame." 

 

"...serendipity. This isn't false modesty or humility, but rather, an honest acknowledgment that chance can make a significant difference in people’s lives."

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Hey all:

 

I think quite a few people simply have no idea how much luck plays a role in their lives...

 

A). The fact that you were born at the time you were, instead of say 1300 A.D.

 

B). The fact that you were born in America or a Western democracy.

 

C). The people who you met & interacted with.

 

D). The teachers & professors who you were assigned.

 

E). A handful of multiple choice questions on aptitude or admissions tests can have the final say on which school or college you gain admission to.

 

F). Once admitted to school, a few multiple choice questions or a few sentences can make the difference between a "C+" and an "A-".  With an "A-", you get the chance to advance to the career you want.  With a "C+", you are done.

 

G). How did you meet your spouse?  Luck plays a huge factor in that.

 

H). I was flying in/out of NYC & Atlanta on 9.9.01 & 9.10.01.  Had I been flying a couple days later, my life might be very different, or might have ended!

 

Hard work & skill certainly is required, but there are plenty of skilled, hard working people who don't achieve levels of success that others do...

 

So yes, luck plays a huge role in life that I don't think a lot of people consider or think much about.

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Hey all:

 

I think quite a few people simply have no idea how much luck plays a role in their lives...

 

A). The fact that you were born at the time you were, instead of say 1300 A.D.

 

B). The fact that you were born in America or a Western democracy.

 

C). The people who you met & interacted with.

 

D). The teachers & professors who you were assigned.

 

E). A handful of multiple choice questions on aptitude or admissions tests can have the final say on which school or college you gain admission to.

 

F). Once admitted to school, a few multiple choice questions or a few sentences can make the difference between a "C+" and an "A-".  With an "A-", you get the chance to advance to the career you want.  With a "C+", you are done.

 

G). How did you meet your spouse?  Luck plays a huge factor in that.

 

H). I was flying in/out of NYC & Atlanta on 9.9.01 & 9.10.01.  Had I been flying a couple days later, my life might be very different, or might have ended!

 

Hard work & skill certainly is required, but there are plenty of skilled, hard working people who don't achieve levels of success that others do...

 

So yes, luck plays a huge role in life that I don't think a lot of people consider or think much about.

 

I totally agree. This is something I like to talk to students about. I give them examples in my life, and others, where the opportunity that came along was pure change. It was not part of a grand plan. You do have to recognize the opportunity and seize it.

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Luck plays a huge role, and I totally agree that most people don't appreciate it enough slash recognize it. At the same time, it's not all luck.

 

For example: meeting your wife/girl friend probably had a big luck factor. Maybe the odds of meeting her were almost infinitesimally small. But there are millions of people you could potentially meet. Every individual meeting is unlikely, but that you will meet someone is at the same time likely. The same is presumably true for many other import positive life events. Every single one of them is probably unlikely to happen, and you should consider yourself lucky when they do happen, but at the same time you're almost certain to encounter some of them at some point in your life.

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Hey all:

 

I think quite a few people simply have no idea how much luck plays a role in their lives...

 

A). The fact that you were born at the time you were, instead of say 1300 A.D.

 

B). The fact that you were born in America or a Western democracy.

 

C). The people who you met & interacted with.

 

D). The teachers & professors who you were assigned.

 

E). A handful of multiple choice questions on aptitude or admissions tests can have the final say on which school or college you gain admission to.

 

F). Once admitted to school, a few multiple choice questions or a few sentences can make the difference between a "C+" and an "A-".  With an "A-", you get the chance to advance to the career you want.  With a "C+", you are done.

 

G). How did you meet your spouse?  Luck plays a huge factor in that.

 

H). I was flying in/out of NYC & Atlanta on 9.9.01 & 9.10.01.  Had I been flying a couple days later, my life might be very different, or might have ended!

 

Hard work & skill certainly is required, but there are plenty of skilled, hard working people who don't achieve levels of success that others do...

 

So yes, luck plays a huge role in life that I don't think a lot of people consider or think much about.

 

I tend to think of the two as being intertwined and you can't separate one factor from the other easily. You can generally be certain two incredibly successful entrepreneurs worth 15M and 150M are both incredibly skilled and good at what they do. What becomes harder is determining who had more skill and who had more luck. I generally think it's a pretty safe assumption that once somebody has reached a certain level of success, relative to their starting point, that you can be certain they are more skilled than average. But, comparing successful individuals from similar starting points to each other becomes much harder in ranking that because luck plays a larger role in the disparity.

 

I tend to believe that luck comes into everything - skill is recognizing it and taking advantage of it. Do some get more opportunities than others - absolutely! But EVERYONE has opportunities and successful opportunities beget more successful opportunities which naturally leads those who regularly take advantage of their luck to move to the top.

 

Sure, you had those multiple choice questions on that admissions test - but so did everyone else who took that test. Did they do better or worse than you? The luck is the questions - the skill is doing better on the test than everyone else who took it and advancing to a better University because of it.

 

Sure you weren't born in 1300 A.D. - neither was anyone else alive today. The skill is doing better than most with what's available to you and your peers today.

 

Sure not everyone had the same teachers as you - the skill is recognizing when your teachers are lacking and making the most of all resources available to you (coming from a guy who went to university in Mississippi and has done well for himself competing against Ivy League grads for finance jobs in NYC).

 

Sure meeting your spouse is lucky - but there's a correlation to where you meet your spouse based on decisions you made. If you grew-up, and stayed, in middle America, then there's a good chance you went to the same high school as your future spouse. If you moved away and went to university, that dramatically decreases your chances of having a high school sweetheart, but increases your chances of meeting your spouse in college. If you move away from college to a large, metropolitan area, that decreases your chances of meeting your spouse in college, but dramatically increases your chances of meeting a spouse in Chicago/New York/L.A./etc. Luck when you meet them? Yes. Skill in maximizing your options and the pool you're drawing from? Yes.

 

 

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We are but the inanimate universe that has become animate, wondering such questions; we are but the dust of dead stars that gaze upon burning stars, pondering such questions...

 

Terrible philosophical poetry aside, I'd like to add to the point that meeting your partner - the one who you truly were meant to be with - is insanely, unimaginably soaked in luck.

 

When I think about how unlikely the series of events (and events that could have transpired to thwart our paths crossing) that led to my wife and I coming together, I am left speechless.

 

However, it takes enormous amounts of hard work and skill to maintain and grow that partnership once you have found it.

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I am a firm believer that you can create your own 'luck' and lots of it.

 

Simply by setting a goal (I want $1,000,000 in the bank by the time I am 40 years old) is a good example; your brain will start to figure it out (even when you sleep at night :-). You will also build and execute plans. When opportunities present themselves to partly achieve your goal you will be more likely to act decisively. People will call you lucky, when they see you achieving your goal.

 

Prepraration is also key. I am telling all three of my kids to fill up theit tool boxes when they are young. Play sports (lots of different ones, some rep some house). Work for good companies with good/great bosses and coworkers. Get good grades (my wife is on this one). Travel and learn about the world. No crappy attitude and work hard. They have all enjoyed more than their fair share of success already; I am sure their friends think they are 'lucky'.

 

Most people view success as luck because it conveniently gives them an out as to why they are not happy with their current lot in life; they were unlucky!

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Prepraration is also key. I am telling all three of my kids to fill up theit tool boxes when they are young. Play sports (lots of different ones, some rep some house). Work for good companies with good/great bosses and coworkers. Get good grades (my wife is on this one). Travel and learn about the world. No crappy attitude and work hard. They have all enjoyed more than their fair share of success already; I am sure their friends think they are 'lucky'.

 

This entire paragraph proves the point of this thread: this is exactly why your kids are so lucky. A lot of kids grow up with parents that a) have never had any success in life b) are dirt poor c) don't love them as much as you love your kids d) are dead, addicted to drugs, gambling addicts, in prison, etc etc. All of the above leads to those kids going to worse schools and a host of other things that result in a negative flywheel effect. Traveling the world isn't even an option for a large amount of people. They come from poor households led by unsuccessful parents who aren't able to teach them how to improve their life. So those kids maybe graduate high school and start the grind just to get by. Telling those people to just get good grades and travel the world would come off as incredibly insensitive. The fact that your kids were born into a successful household with two parents who love them and give them tons of advice is a MASSIVE advantage over all those other kids who correctly think of them as lucky.

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On the topic of skill and luck:

 

It's a valuable social skill for a successful person to be able to acknowledge the role of luck in their life.  I think it's one of the social graces any conspicuously successful person ought to have, and a person who can't do it freely is limiting his or herself in the eyes of others.

 

Buffett does it when he says he was lucky to have come out of the right womb, or won the genetic lottery, or just happened to be born with an aptitude for a skill (capital allocation) into just the right time and place (US markets 1950s onward) where that skill was highly rewarded.

 

Howard Marks does it too, he mentions the luck behind his transition into junk bond analysis at just the right time.

 

When they acknowledge the role of luck, they're not saying "it was _all_ luck" and they're not saying "I have zero skill" ... I think by acknowledging the role of luck, they come off as more likable people... 

 

"A man all wrapped up in himself makes a small package."  (I really liked that quote as a teen)

 

I love a bit in "Fooled by Randomness" where Nassim Taleb says a Janitor might get lucky and win the lottery and end up with $1M dollars.  And a dentist might do the same over the course of his or her career.  But if you re-roll the dice of life 60 times for each of those two people, the Janitor will only become the lottery millionaire in 1 of those lifetimes, but the dentist will likely get there in maybe 30 of the re-rolls. 

 

This quote sums it up nicely, I think: “The more I practice, the luckier I get...”

http://stelfox.ie/practice-luck/

 

Better to succeed and acknowledge luck (even if you think it was _more_ your doing) than to succeed and let others think it went to your head.

 

Nobody is an independent success, and there's no such thing as a fully self-made man.  I once heard someone demonstrate this by saying: "You probably took a shower this morning.  Did you make the water come out of the pipes by the power of your own will?"

 

"Victory has a thousand fathers and failure is an orphan."  When you do succeed, I think in addition to acknowledging luck, you get bonus points for acknowledging the role of the other 999 fathers of the happy success. 

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Guest longinvestor

Prepraration is also key. I am telling all three of my kids to fill up theit tool boxes when they are young. Play sports (lots of different ones, some rep some house). Work for good companies with good/great bosses and coworkers. Get good grades (my wife is on this one). Travel and learn about the world. No crappy attitude and work hard. They have all enjoyed more than their fair share of success already; I am sure their friends think they are 'lucky'.

 

This entire paragraph proves the point of this thread: this is exactly why your kids are so lucky. A lot of kids grow up with parents that a) have never had any success in life b) are dirt poor c) don't love them as much as you love your kids d) are dead, addicted to drugs, gambling addicts, in prison, etc etc. All of the above leads to those kids going to worse schools and a host of other things that result in a negative flywheel effect. Traveling the world isn't even an option for a large amount of people. They come from poor households led by unsuccessful parents who aren't able to teach them how to improve their life. So those kids maybe graduate high school and start the grind just to get by. Telling those people to just get good grades and travel the world would come off as incredibly insensitive. The fact that your kids were born into a successful household with two parents who love them and give them tons of advice is a MASSIVE advantage over all those other kids who correctly think of them as lucky.

+1 JD Vance in Hillbilly Elegy says the same thing about rural Americans.

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(This went long, I hope you don't see it as any kind of attack, I am in agreement throughout but trying to make the case that the high skill / low skill operators are divided by whether they can graciously navigate the skill vs luck question.)

 

I am a firm believer that you can create your own 'luck' and lots of it.

 

Agree 100%

 

"The harder I practice, the luckier I get"  (a famous golfer from decades past)

 

I think there's a secret key in that quote: Work as if it all depends on you.  Then when you're success arrives in the mail, when you talk about it to others, you have to acknowledge role of luck in your achievement. 

 

It's an unspoken rule, and a trap that requires some EQ (emotional skill) to avoid.  If you just saved a bunch of orphan babies from a burning building, and a news reporter asks if you think you're a hero, here are your choices:

 

1. Say "Yes" and you'll look small in the eyes of others.

2. Say "No, I just did what you would've done in the same situation" and you look like the real hero.

 

Simply by setting a goal (I want $1,000,000 in the bank by the time I am 40 years old) is a good example; your brain will start to figure it out (even when you sleep at night :-). You will also build and execute plans. When opportunities present themselves to partly achieve your goal you will be more likely to act decisively. People will call you lucky, when they see you achieving your goal.

 

That happened to me.  And it did hurt.  (Story below.)  But... "To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it."

 

Preparation is also key. I am telling all three of my kids to fill up their tool boxes when they are young. Play sports (lots of different ones, some rep some house). Work for good companies with good/great bosses and coworkers. Get good grades (my wife is on this one). Travel and learn about the world. No crappy attitude and work hard. They have all enjoyed more than their fair share of success already; I am sure their friends think they are 'lucky'.

 

Your kids are lucky to have a dad who encourages them to work hard and learn everything they can.  It can safely be said that having good parents wasn't a product of their own skill.  Later on when the major awards of life are handed out, and they're giving their acceptance speeches, you'll be honored if they graciously admit that they were lucky to have had you and your wife for parents to encourage and prod them toward their success.  You'll feel quite differently if they stand at that podium with a narcissistic attitude that they achieved it all by themselves through their own hard work, or worse yet through their skills at manipulating others with shrewd negotiating skills <cough:Trump>

 

Most people view success as luck because it conveniently gives them an out as to why they are not happy with their current lot in life; they were unlucky!

 

I love how Charlie Munger says envy is the worst of the "deadly sins", because it doesn't even give you any fun or pleasure.  True, some people exist who look on success and say "They got lucky" ...

 

I helped build a startup on a philosophy of making our customer support a mind-blowing positive experience, trying to be like Zappos.  The business grew by leaps and bounds.  I felt sure our success was due to the word of mouth advertising generated by all the good karma.  Through a mutual friend, I heard that one of my peers at a previous job had heard of our success and dismissed it as "luck" ... even though we weren't close friends, it really hurt to hear that someone thought my good fortune was just luck.  (*Even if my success _was_ all luck, it makes that guy a little bit smaller to be dismissive instead of encouraging.*) 

 

Sometimes it's a lazy person's copout to blame bad luck.  But sometimes the bad luck is real.  You can eat lots of greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, and sprouts to reduce your cancer risks, but you still might get cancer.  Looking at another person and trying to judge whether their success or failure is due to skill or luck is a waste of time that could be better spent thinking of an encouraging compliment instead.  Far better (and more socially skillful) to say "Look at your awesome skills" when praising another person for a success, and to say "I had some great lucky breaks" when talking about your own successes. 

 

Good and bad things happen to us every day, and some of those things are random and unpredictable.  One person or group or nation's good fortune can never be accurately explained as "all luck" or "all skill"

 

It's just a feature of our psychology as humans to want clean little stories that explain good or bad outcomes ... it's the narrative fallacy working against us when we think that reality can be fit into nice little stories.  Our brains are wired for hearing and telling stories, which helps explain why "Good to Great" has 2100+ reviews on Amazon, while "The Halo Effect: . . . and 8 other business delusions that deceive managers" has 120 reviews.  (The Halo Effect is a book that debunks a lot of the other business books that purport to distill business success down to a bunch of inspiring stories.  It's more scientific, but harder to read or listen to because it hurts all those cute stories we want to believe.) 

 

On Narrative Fallacy: https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/04/narrative-fallacy/

 

Favorite quote about Narrative Fallacy comes from Yuval Noah Harari, in this interview:

 

https://overcast.fm/+BSCDk9Xmk/57:10

 

"Homo Sapiens is a story telling animal. We think in stories. We expect reality to be a story. And we expect the meaning of life also to be a story. When people ask what is the meaning of life, they almost always expect the answer to come in a story. Some huge cosmic drama, with a beginning, middle, end, heroes, etc... also a role for me to play in the drama, in the big story... And I think the problem is: reality doesn't come in the shape of a story. I think as a kind of rule of thumb: If the meaning of life that you think you have found is in the shape of a story it is wrong: it's a human invention."

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Travis and longinvestor, I live in a pretty affluent area of greater Vancouver. I see many affluent kids who are likely going to struggle as they are growing up in a bubble (where mom and dad look after their every need). I see lots of affluent youth with little ambition, poor work ethic, an entitlement attitude living a life of liesure (living at home after graduation).

 

I have told my kids many times that I am likely going to screw their life up (joking but with a subtle message). Parents want to protect their kids and want them live a stress free life - in doing this many kids are set up for failure once they turn 18 as they are ill equipped to deal with the real world. I came from the 'poor' side of the tracks and was able to hit it out of the park (lots of drive and very good work ethic).

 

I think 100 years ago you could bell curve the youth population; 20% will do very well, 20% will fail and 60% will be somewhere in the middle. I think this is true for every generation. My goal with my kids is to do what I can to prepare them to be in the top 20% once they hit 18.

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nafregrum, I also tell my kids that even if you do all the right things bad outcomes can still happen. Nothing is guaranteed. Kind of like Greek Mythology; if the gods are having a bad day you could pay a big price that has nothing to do with what you 'deserve'. However, this does not mean you should not do everything you can to achieve your goals.

 

 

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It's just a feature of our psychology as humans to want clean little stories that explain good or bad outcomes ... it's the narrative fallacy working against us when we think that reality can be fit into nice little stories.  Our brains are wired for hearing and telling stories, which helps explain why "Good to Great" has 2100+ reviews on Amazon, while "The Halo Effect: . . . and 8 other business delusions that deceive managers" has 120 reviews.  (The Halo Effect is a book that debunks a lot of the other business books that purport to distill business success down to a bunch of inspiring stories.  It's more scientific, but harder to read or listen to because it hurts all those cute stories we want to believe.) 

 

On Narrative Fallacy: https://www.farnamstreetblog.com/2016/04/narrative-fallacy/

 

Favorite quote about Narrative Fallacy comes from Yuval Noah Harari, in this interview:

 

https://overcast.fm/+BSCDk9Xmk/57:10

 

"Homo Sapiens is a story telling animal. We think in stories. We expect reality to be a story. And we expect the meaning of life also to be a story. When people ask what is the meaning of life, they almost always expect the answer to come in a story. Some huge cosmic drama, with a beginning, middle, end, heroes, etc... also a role for me to play in the drama, in the big story... And I think the problem is: reality doesn't come in the shape of a story. I think as a kind of rule of thumb: If the meaning of life that you think you have found is in the shape of a story it is wrong: it's a human invention."

 

I just went and bought "Halo Effect". $3.99 right now on Amazon.

 

The interesting conclusion from what you wrote is: don't look at the story when investing; look at the numbers/data. But then computers are much better looking at numbers/data than humans. And computers definitely are not subject to Narrative Fallacy. So... computers (or algorithms, or whatever-weighted indexes) should outperform us, the story seeking humans.

 

Yet, on the other hand, although "Good to Great" mean reverted, if one followed the story and invested in BRK, MSFT, GOOGL, FB, AAPL, Liberty universe, whatever, one would have likely outperformed the computers hugely. (Yeah, I know these come with Survivorship Bias, so I am trading one fallacy for another ... see Fairfax, Pershing Square, ??? ). So do stories matter and continue actually? Or is it just Survivorship Bias at play?

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You cant do anything without luck.

Skill is important, but without the luck to get that first opportunity - there is not a lot that you can do.

 

When punk rock was first becoming a fashion statement in London (UK) everybody was dead scared of them;

they walked around in groups & supposedly would beat you up for next to no offence. While on a visit, my uncle & I encountered our first punk rockers -  & I killed myself laughing at the hairdos, even throwing out a few parrot references before the joke had been invented. Shortly after I was making friends, and asking where I could get one; my uncle was certain we were dead, & could not believe our luck.

 

Some years later I encountered this same rocker again in a full-up riot; complete with teargas, water cannon, and baton charges. I pulled him out of a tight spot, following which we climbed up a lamppost to watch the entertainment; with the show over we went for a pint with a couple of the police. My unusual friend could not believe our luck in escaping a mugging in some alley.

 

A few months later, I got ejected from Holland - but not before having to kill some time in a dockside police station before being put back on a ferry. Thier being ever gracious, & very dutch - we spent the wait in a bar of my choice; & since none of these folks were little - I looked for an interesting place. 4 hours later I was put back on the ship & treated like royalty all the way home; nobody could believe our luck in not getting our heads broken.

 

Yes there was luck, but in all cases we made it ourselves; and once the opportunity opened - we knew how to use it.

Of course a little chutzpah does not hurt either!

 

SD

 

 

   

       

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I can't help telling following joke:

In early/mid 90s, many ambitious people wanted to go to US. A middle age guy sold his apartment for $10k, bough an air ticket and set for New York city. Once there, he worked his ass off, 70-hour week was not unusual in Chinese restaurants. He worked his way up to become a manager and finally owned his own restaurant. After more than 20 years, he's ready to retire. So he sold his business and everything else for $2 million to go back. Once back he found out that he just had enough money to buy his old apartment back.

So yes, I think luck plays a big role.

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Guest longinvestor

I can't help telling following joke:

In early/mid 90s, many ambitious people wanted to go to US. A middle age guy sold his apartment for $10k, bough an air ticket and set for New York city. Once there, he worked his ass off, 70-hour week was not unusual in Chinese restaurants. He worked his way up to become a manager and finally owned his own restaurant. After more than 20 years, he's ready to retire. So he sold his business and everything else for $2 million to go back. Once back he found out that he just had enough money to buy his old apartment back.

So yes, I think luck plays a big role.

;D

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Guest longinvestor

+1 JD Vance in Hillbilly Elegy says the same thing about rural Americans.

 

Off-topic, but can you recommend that book? Has been on my to-read list for a while.

 

Big time YES! Couldn't put it down. Personal story told from the heart by Vance. Profound personal reflection.

 

If you want to connect the dots as to the just concluded, most exciting presidential election season of our lifetimes, this book has got to come the closest to help you do that!!

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"A few months later, I got ejected from Holland..."

 

SD

 

 

   

     

 

This takes some real doing, does it not?  Short of decapitating entire rows of tulips with a weed-whacker while riding a bicycle through Amsterdam, I can't even imagine...

 

It was actually Oostende, Belgium (pop 68,000); but my 'friends' were dutch.

 

I got ejected for 'no visa', & unfortunately they weren't about to give me one.

At the time I was traveling on a South African passport during the apartheid era; and Belgium was one of those countries imposing sanctions. I was well treated because Belgium used to have a colony in Central Africa, and was one of the armorers in my home country. None the less, I still felt pretty special for managing to get myself informally deported!

 

The UK at the time was interesting, as my home country was the 'rebel' colony under sanctions.

Legal arbitrage was something of a sport, and gave rise to some exceptionally gifted sanctions breakers; some of whom taught me my first lessons in business.

 

The downside was growing up in a shooting war, with ambushes and IED's a routine experience; many of my friends were either dead or maimed before I left, and we had all been ambushed at least 2-3 times. Punk rockers, riots, and the odd deportation were no big deal; & oddly not unlike the experiences of most others who have also had to run at some point. 

 

I cannot recommend it as a career path, but it's a hell of a ride.

Unfortunately way too exotic for Western Europe & North America, so it has to be tamed down a lot. Such a bummer!

 

SD

   

 

 

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SD, you really need to find an agent, get it written and option the rites.

 

You can spend the advance on a bordello and make even more money on publicity.

 

 

 

And I really should become an agent and start representing people from CoBF.  8)

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I can't help telling following joke:

In early/mid 90s, many ambitious people wanted to go to US. A middle age guy sold his apartment for $10k, bough an air ticket and set for New York city. Once there, he worked his ass off, 70-hour week was not unusual in Chinese restaurants. He worked his way up to become a manager and finally owned his own restaurant. After more than 20 years, he's ready to retire. So he sold his business and everything else for $2 million to go back. Once back he found out that he just had enough money to buy his old apartment back.

So yes, I think luck plays a big role.

 

Love it!  Reminds me of the "Story of the Mexican Fisherman"

 

https://bemorewithless.com/the-story-of-the-mexican-fisherman/

 

Nutshell version: While on vacation, an investment banker living a workaholic life chats with a fisherman, recommending to the fisherman a life of hard work and entrepreneurship to build a fishing business empire.  At each step, fisherman asks "And then what?" ... answer to last "Then what?" question is: Then you can retire, and live the life you're essentially living right now (taking it easy, a little fishing, a daily siesta, hanging out with friends at night)

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