More brilliance from Scott Adams: “You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job”

I’m re-reading his book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big [Kindle]. Along with Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You [Kindle], they present a fantastic one-two punch against the overhyped and underskilled enemy that is passion.

This great gem, about the value of grit and the mirage of passion:

You often hear advice from successful people that you should “follow your passion.” That sounds perfectly reasonable the first time you hear it. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection, and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right? Here’s the counterargument: When I was a commercial loan officer for a large bank in San Francisco, my boss taught us that you should never make a loan to someone who is following his passion. For example, you don’t want to give money to a sports enthusiast who is starting a sports store to pursue his passion for all things sporty. That guy is a bad bet, passion and all. He’s in business for the wrong reason. My boss, who had been a commercial lender for over thirty years, said the best loan customer is one who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet. Maybe the loan customer wants to start a dry-cleaning store or invest in a fast-food franchise—boring stuff. That’s the person you bet on. You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.

If you’re interested in Scott (he created Dilbert), here are some of my past posts about him:

If all you needed to be happy…

If what most people take for granted were really true—if all you needed to be happy was to grab everything and see everything and investigate every experience and then talk about it, I should have been a very happy person, a spiritual millionaire, from the cradle even until now. If happiness were merely a matter of natural gifts, I would never have entered a Trappist monastery when I came to the age of a man.

…from Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton [Kindle].

Daily Habits Checklist (January 23 – February 5): Lonesome Dove and Gandalf

Another disappointing 2 weeks, with the usual culprits of more “business” work and a lot of Asia travel. Some days – like Wednesday and Thursday – I get off to such a bad start that I just say “fuck it” and give up habits altogether that day…

Current book: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty [Kindle]. The best book I’ve read in months, maybe years. Here’s my brief post on it

Current quote:

Look to my coming, at first light, on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the East. – Gandalf

Favorite jokes I’ve heard over the years

I keep an Evernote of funny jokes I’ve heard over the years. Wanted to share some favorites.


Why did the old lady fall into the well?
She didn’t see that well.

Pretty sure I could build a pyramid today. In 2015. Using only slave labor. If I charged $50 a session for it. And called it “CrossFit Extreme Bootcamp.” – James Myers

The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s just to keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead. – Mr. Peanutbutter in Bojack Horseman

Every black American is bilingual. All of them. We speak street vernacular and we speak ‘job interview.’ – Dave Chappelle

When I finished high school, I wanted to take my graduation money and buy myself a motorcycle, but my mom said no. See, she had a brother who died in a horrible motorcycle accident when he was eighteen. And I could just have his motorcycle. – Anthony Jeselnik

It’s all about money, not freedom, y’all, okay? Nothing to do with fuckin’ freedom. If you think you’re free, try going somewhere without fucking money, okay? – Bill Hicks

I need my sleep. I need about eight hours a day, and about ten at night. – Bill Hicks

Thirty is the new twenty for men. But forty is still thirty for women. – Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock

Money can’t buy happiness. Money is happiness – Jack Donaghy in 30 Rock

Pets are animals that don’t taste good; that’s probably how we got em, we probably tried to eat all of them, and we said, ok, these don’t taste good, let’s give them first names and sweaters, these over here, we’ll eat these – Demetri Martin
I have an L-shaped sofa…lower case – Demetri Martin

I like how people are complaining about how Arnold’s not a great man anymore because of what he did. Really? I mean, really? Anybody here think they could move to Austria, learn the language, become famous for working out, then be a movie star, then marry into their royalty, and hold public office. How many life times would you need? I’m on my third attempt at Rosetta Stone Spanish! – Bill Burr

it’s not until you’re an adult you appreciate how awesome a dog is. your dreams start dying, somebody cheats on you, bankers fuck up your 401k, you know? then you come home and that dog’s looking at you and he’s like, dude, you’re awesome! it’s like no, dude you…YOU are awesome! – Bill Burr

Don’t worry about who’s following you or who’s not following back. Worry about why that worries you. – Chris Rock

Marriage is hard man. Marriage is so hard Nelson Mandela got a divorce. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in a South African prison getting tortured and beaten everyday of his life for 27 straight years. He got out of jail, spent 6 months with his wife and said, “I can’t take this shit.” – Chris Rock

People are starving all over the world. What do you mean, “Red meat will kill you”? Don’t eat no red meat? No, don’t eat no green meat. If you lucky enough to get your hands on a steak, bite the shit out of it. – Chris Rock

What’s with this sudden choice of disorders we get right now? When I was a kid, we just had crazy people. That’s it, just crazy people. – Ellen Degeneres

Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell people the paint’s wet, and they have to touch it to be sure. – George Carlin

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff. – George Carlin

The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, “You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.” – George Carlin

You have to stay in shape. My mother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 now and we have no idea where she is. – George Carlin

I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me – they’re cramming for their final exam. – George Carlin

I saw this wino, he was eating grapes. I was like, dude, you have to wait – Mitch Hedberg

When someone hands you a flyer, it’s like they’re saying, ‘Here, you throw this away.’ – Mitch Hedberg

I don’t have a girlfriend. I just know a girl who would get really mad if she heard me say that. – Mitch Hedberg

The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how much I play, I’ll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They’re relentless. – Mitch Hedberg

It’s really hard to work out what the moral of humpty dumpty is. i can only work out, don’t sit on a wall, if you’re an egg – Ricky Gervais

I’ve had friends who’ve gotten married after a year, a year and a half. really, a year and a half? i’ve had sweaters for a year and a half and been like, what the fuck was i doing with this sweater? – Aziz Ansari

You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it’s your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You’re probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you’re gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years. – Louis CK

My bank is the worst. They are screwing me. You know what they did to me? They’re charging me money for not having enough money. Apparently, when you’re broke, that costs money. – Louis CK

What we’ve done with our modern food supply is absolute insanity. It’s not even real any more. You used to be able to give a kid an apple and they would love it. Kids can’t even taste apples any more. Apples taste like paper to kids now. – Louis CK

I did a show in New Jersey in the auditorium of a technical high school … Technical high school, that’s where dreams are narrowed down. We tell our children, “You can do anything you want.” Their whole lives. “You can do anything!” But this place, we take kids – they’re 15, they’re young – and we tell them, “You can do eight things. We got it down to eight for you.” – Louis CK

A man is in his house, it’s late at night and there’s a knock at the door… and he goes to the door, and it’s a snail. The snail says ‘I’d like to talk to you about buying some magazine subscriptions.’ And the man is furious that he’s been interrupted, so he rears back and kicks the snail as hard as he can, slams the door, goes to bed. Two years later, there’s another knock on the door. He opens it, and it’s the snail, and the snail goes…’What the fuck was that all about?'”- David Sedaris

Where do you find a dog with no legs?
Right where you left it

If you like good American literature, you’ve got to read Lonesome Dove

Started Lonesome Dove [Kindle] last week and I can’t put it down.

A country western novel about two retired Texas Rangers on their last adventure and the people who thread through their lives past and present. John Steinbeck with more humor. Centered on the big bold American West featuring Indians and outlaws and cattle and guns. But like all good stories the land and the times are just a backdrop to the good stuff: unfinished loves, unspoken friendships, dreams being made and destroyed, life’s little pleasures and bitter sweets. The style and flow remind me of Norm MacLean’s A River Runs Through It which I wanted to be 5x longer. Luckily Lonesome Dove is a hefty book – 800 plus pages, I’m only 2/5 through, and glad there’s a lot more waiting.

Here are some snippets so you get a sense of the author’s writing:

Call’s got to be the one to out-suffer everybody, that’s the pint. I won’t say he’s a man to hunt glory like some I’ve knowed. Glory don’t interest Call. He’s just got to do his duty nine times over or he don’t sleep good.”

“I figured out something, Lorie,” he said. “I figured out why you and me get along so well. You know more than you say and I say more than I know. That means we’re a perfect match, as long as we don’t hang around one another more than an hour at a stretch.”

But he was convinced that Indians understood the moon. He had never talked with an Indian about it, but he knew they had more names for it than white people had, and that suggested a deeper understanding. The Indians were less busy and would naturally have more time to study such things.

Roscoe found it hard even to remember Elmira, though he had done practically nothing but think about her for the last twenty-four hours. All he really knew was that he hated to ride out of the one town he felt at home in. That everyone was eager for him to go made him feel distinctly bitter.

His wife had left for parts unknown, his deputy was wandering in other parts unknown, and the man he was supposed to catch was in yet other parts unknown. In fact, July felt he had reached a point in his life where virtually nothing was known. He and Joe were on a street in Fort Worth, and that was basically the sum of his knowledge.