March 31, 2008

Taleb on f*** you money

Nassim Taleb has a lot of money, while I don't, but I have enough, and no debt. He also has his one idea, which is a good one, enough for me to buy the first two iterations of the one book he has to write and ready to get the third when it comes out. This is how I feel about money.

I certainly do not buy the notion that money does not make you happy, counter to the literature on the hedonic treadmill. This idea stipulates that additional wealth leads to no long term gains owing to a reversion to a baseline. I agree with the reversion to a hedonic baseline. But if spending money does not make me happy, most certainly, having money stashed away, particularly f*** you money, makes me extremely happy, particularly compared to the dark years between the age of 20 and 25 when I was impoverished after having had an opulent childhood. There is something severely missing in the literature, the awareness of the idea best expressed in the old trader adage: the worst thing you could possibly do with money is spend it. Having no argumentative customers increases my life satisfaction. Not depending on other people’s subjective assessment increases my life satisfaction. Not being an inmate in some corporate structure increases my life satisfaction. Not doing some things increases my life satisfaction. Having the option to give everything away to go live as a hermit in the desert or as a social worker in Africa, increases my life satisfaction. Either nobody in these papers and papers tested for that, or he can’t get it published.

Ideally in an ideal situation you would live simply with a hidden stash somewhere that nobody knows about. Nobody hangs around with you because of your money; nobody laughs at your jokes because you are rich.

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