It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
It’s been seven years since I met Nick face-to-face and 16 since I met him online. Much has changed in our lives, our businesses and each of our worlds, but our friendship has only gotten stronger. But the applicability of these Russian proverbs, and proverbs in general, never changes, but the wisdom they encompass grows more meaningful. Read other Golden Oldies here.
Today was a super cool day for me. I met my Russian business partner Nick Mikhailovsky, CEO of NTR Lab, for the first time, although we’ve worked together for a decade.
So when I started thinking about today’s quotes Russia was on my mind. And when I think of Russia I think of proverbs.
I find proverbs to be fascinating proof that no matter the color, culture or time there really is only one race on this planet—human.
The basic concepts of human action and interaction span the globe. In fact, I’ll bet that your culture has a saying that embodies the same concepts as these do.
War has been around as long as the human race as has the desire for peace, which only proves the truth of this proverb, “Eternal peace lasts only until the next war.”
Common sense underlies this proverb, “as long as the sun shines one does not ask for the moon,” but people rarely follow it.
Real Estate people are fond of saying that the there are only three things that matter, location, location, location, but I’ll bet that this proverb predates that by decades, if not longer. “Don’t buy the house, buy the neighborhood.”
It is well know that age is no guarantee of wisdom, knowledge or smarts, but “long whiskers cannot take the place of brains” is a more elegant way of saying it.
My next offering is one that has always been true, but has been proven in spades over the last couple of decades. “With lies you may go ahead in the world – but you can never go back.” Bernie Madoff has decades to think that one over.
“There is no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out.” This is one that all of us need to take to heart. We need to find out about our politicians, financial managers, corporate chieftains, religious leaders and any others we choose to trust.
Speaking of politicians, we should never forget that “when money speaks, the truth is silent” and we have condoned a culture of political silence.
There is a universal applicability and truth in this proverb, “When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart.”
Maybe the reason for the universality of these thoughts is found in my final offering, “Proverbs are the people’s wisdom.”
We have no leaders, let alone statesmen, just ideologues, elected by like-minded ideologues, who care only about getting reelected, bringing government money back to their constituency and making lucrative connections in the event they aren’t reelected or are caught by term limits.
Politicians talk it — Statesmen walk it
Politicians run to win — Statesmen run to serve
Politicians are ideologues — Statesmen are open-minded
Politicians, “it’s all about me” — Statesmen, “it’s all about them”
Politicians focus on the next election — Statesmen focus on the future
Einstein also said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Americans must be insane; we will go to the polls flip the party in charge and expect different results.
Based on the past, what we will get is a different ideology that screws up differently, not better results.
Sadly, nothing much has changed in the intervening years; a notion that will be proved tomorrow.
Please note that much of the interest and value in these posts is found in the comments and discussion they generated.
Here is the fourth installment of comments about politics; if you missed the previous ones you may find them here 1, 2, and 3. You’ll notice I named the third one “I Hate Politics 3,” which was actually an error, but one I like, so I’m going to continue using it.
Politicians come from varied backgrounds; in times past most were lawyers, but these days they are truly anything; or, as Robert Louis Stevenson so aptly puts it, Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.
Gore Vidal adds a telling comment to that with which I totally agree, Any American who is prepared to run for president should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so.
As campaigns heat up the zingers always fly thicker and faster; one of the best came from Adlai Stevenson, in a 1952 campaign speech, I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.
Some lies never die (even when they should) and some of the nastiest seem to hang around forever (BTW, nasty isn’t a new trend as some seem to think, but more on that another week.) Our old friend Anonymous made a good point when he said, Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.
It’s hard to argue with the wisdom of Will Rogers, especially this little gem, If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.
Have a great rest-of-the-weekend and I’ll see you tomorrow.
He paid 13.9 percent in taxes on income of $21.7 million for 2010 and about the same rate for the not fully completed 2011 returns.
The current tax code is 5,296 pages long vs. 27 when it was written. The majority of the additional 5,969 pages are descriptions and explanations of how to legally cheat on your taxes.
If economists ran the tax system, there would be virtually no exemptions or loopholes. Instead, businesses, rich people, Congressmen and attorneys spend a shockingly large amount of time lobbying for tax breaks or exploiting the ones that exist.
As is often the case with his activities, just beneath the surface was a shrewd use of the United States tax code.
Just in case you are wondering, here’s some intel on what catches the eye of those who pay in the 15% tax bracket.
Neiman Marcus sold out of pewter-color Ferraris (luggage set matching the interior included) at $395,000 each within 50 minutes of making 10 of them available through its “fantasy” holiday catalog late last month.
But in the great scheme of US taxation, Romney’s 14% is still significantly higher than many of our large corporations pay, especially those in the so-called “Dirty Thirty.”
In January, the two organizations identified 30 corporations whose cumulative profit was $164 billion from 2008 to 2011. These corporations didn’t just avoid paying taxes — they actually collected $10.6 billion in tax rebates, according to the groups. They were dubbed the “Dirty Thirty.”
Ask anybody with a blog and they will tell you that while Akismet does a great job of catching spam, making sure that real comments weren’t also caught is a nuisance; especially if you let it go too long. Most spam comments are stupid, meaningless or boring, but lately one spambot has been leaving quotes, so I copied the last batch to share with you today; Plato’s and Asimov’s were pure serendipity from other places.
With the Republican primary in full throttle I thought this comment by Edward R. Murrow was very appropriate; note that it applies equally well to the Democrats, “When the politicians complain that TV turns the proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that TV has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained.”
Politicians on all sides of the spectrum have been providing a constant supply of sexual peccadilloes and we can than Henry Kissinger for providing a succinct explanation of why, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
Throughout history sexual peccadilloes have been dominantly the province of men, which may have led to Lady Nancy Astor’s scathing judgment, “I married beneath me. All women do.”
Centuries apart, Plato and George Dorsey offered similar opinions on the same subject,
Plato “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
George Dorsey: “Play is the beginning of knowledge.”
That’s an attitude that ties closely with Dale Carnegie’s thought, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Finally, whether globally or locally, humans had best take heed of Isaac Asimov’s words or nothing will be solved in time, “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”