What advantage does your biggest flaw give you?

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My biggest flaw is how quickly and easily my heart is engaged in a relationship.

It is both my biggest flaw and my greatest gift. I love that I lead with my heart in all things. I probably hated that about myself when I was a teenager. It created incredible amounts of angst in my life. Do you remember your first love? I remember mine. I was eleven! And not unlike the choices I make today, it was totally inappropriate. I fell in love with my first cousin! I think I have loved him my entire life! Of course, I was too young to act on anything, but I assure you it was love.

Over the years, I’ve had so many deep and meaningful Loves. Some were consummated and reciprocated, others not. But I would not change one delicious and glorious moment of falling in love or being in love, for anything. Yes, if the relationship is inappropriate—I like those type of relationships, they usually involve younger men—I know from the beginning that I have a choice. I can indulge my fantasies, engage my heart and get high on the feeling. Or I can walk away and never allow myself the pleasure of that emotional high. If you read my work here on Quora or have purchased my novels or read my memoir LOVE The Beat Goes On you know this is my philosophy on life.

So the advantage my biggest flaw gives me is that I don’t have to analyze my emotions. I know who I am and what I need and want. I go for it. And my life has been enriched by the relationships I’ve nurtured, the men I’ve loved, and the life I’ve led because I’ve always led with my heart.

 

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Your date is going so well that you agree to go back to his/her place.

What’s one thing he/she could do to completely ruin the mood?

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*You know I love to share my Quora answers!

If I’d agreed to go to your place, you’ve more than likely already done enough right things to get me there. What could you do further that would be stupid? Let me make a list.

  1. you could ramble on endlessly about your ex—I’d be bored
  2. you could ask me too many personal questions about past lovers—that seems to be in annoying abundance lately
  3. you could ask me about STD’s insinuating that I sleep around
  4. you could open up a bottle of wine and insist on drinking the whole thing
  5. you could become a rather sloppy drunk and I would walk out immediately
  6. you could take too long to make a pass at me, and I would be totally bored
  7. you could fall asleep in the middle of a passionate moment and I would leave
  8. you could be a ‘biff-bam-thank-you-mam’ kind of guy in which case I would be a ‘no-second-chance’ kind of girl

I hope you enjoy this  ‘tongue-in-cheek’ silly, yet serious response from me today!

 

more by Lynda Filler

LOVE The Beat Goes On

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12 Books Every Man Should Read

Reblog from CRISTIAN MIHAI

Whether sexual in nature, or books that deal on subjects such as family, history, or the relationship between men and women, these are must-read books for any man, true treasures of information when it comes to a man’s place in today’s society.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores
Gabriel García Márquez

It is almost impossible to read this short novel and not be moved by the life of G.G. Marquez’s main character. An old man wishing to feel alive, wishing to spend his 90th birthday in the company of a virgin woman, so full of life. How many have found love at a young age? How many have located it at 90? How many lived to be 90 years of age?

The day the old man meets his love, that’s when all fear of dying is obliterated. The simple act of contemplating a naked woman, without any sexual desires being involved, that’s what some of us might call love. Real love.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores need to be read at least once. Maybe more than once.

Two of Us
Alberto Moravia

Released in 1971, Alberto Moravia’s novel is all about the cold war between a man and the lack of performance of his organ. So to speak. Yes, this might shock the faint of heart, but this novel deals on subjects that are all too relevant in today’s world. A lack of self-worth, the idea of finding one’s physical appearance disgusting, the obsessive nature of man.

 

The 120 Days of Sodom
Marquis de Sade

 

The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage, was written by the Marquis in 37 days while imprisoned in the Bastille.  Considered the most perverse book ever written, a true encyclopedia of sexual excesses, a long time thought to be lost, it was finally published in 1904.

It is worth reading by those who believe that love-making is repetitive in nature, that one cannot imagine new pleasures (depends on how you defined them) into existence.

 

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Emanuelle Arsan

 

Eroticism as a concept, as a code, as ceremony, as art, as science.

“No one is born anything. One must learn. Our way of becoming men, of mutating into men, is to reject our ignorance and our myths, like a hermit crab casting off its old shell, and don the truth like a new garment. Thus we can be indefinitely born and reborn. With each ‘abrupt mutation,’ we’ll be more human and we’ll remake our world to suit out pleasure better. ‘Learning’ is learning to enjoy. Ovid already said it, as you’ll recall: ‘Ignoti nulla cupido!’” (you cannot desire what you do not know), Nihil volitum nisi praecognitum (Nothing is wanted that was not previously known.)”

As Oscar Wilde said, everything in life is about sex. Except for sex. Sex is about power.

 

Dangerous Liaisons
Choderlos de Laclos

 

Published just years before the French Revolution, Dangerous Liaisons is a novel of moral and emotional depravity is a disturbing and ultimately damning portrayal of a decadent society. The Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two rivals (and ex-lovers) use seduction as a weapon to socially control and exploit others, all the while enjoying their cruel games and boasting about their manipulative talents. Merteuil challenges Valmont to seduce an innocent convent girl, all the while being occupied with the conquest of a virtuous married woman. Eventually, their human pawns respond, and the consequences prove to be more serious–and deadly–than the players could have ever predicted.

Often compared with Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Dangerous Liaisons has been adapted a number of times.

Sexus
Henry Miller

 

Or read some other of his novels. Tropic of Cancer or something. But you must read something by Henry Miller, if only to be dumbfounded as to how someone can be so pornographic, have such a disgusting way of describing certain depravities and such pitying views when it comes to certain characters, yet you cannot stop reading.

It is shocking, yet you must read more.

A brilliant writer, one of the most influential writers of the last century, Henry Miller deserves the most to be on this list.

Women
Charles Bukowski

 

“I was sentimental about many things: a woman’s shoes under the bed; one hairpin left behind on the dresser; the way they said, ‘I’m going to pee.’ hair ribbons; walking down the boulevard with them at 1:30 in the afternoon, just two people walking together; the long nights of drinking and smoking; talking; the arguments; thinking of suicide; eating together and feeling good; the jokes; the laughter out of nowhere; feeling miracles in the air; being in a parked car together; comparing past loves at 3am; being told you snore; hearing her snore; mothers, daughters, sons, cats, dogs; sometimes death and sometimes divorce; but always carrying on, always seeing it through; reading a newspaper alone in a sandwich joint and feeling nausea because she’s now married to a dentist with an I.Q. of 95; racetracks, parks, park picnics; even jails; her dull friends; your dull friends; your drinking, her dancing; your flirting, her flirting; her pills, your fucking on the side and her doing the same; sleeping together” 

Learning how to fight!

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Well, some might call it ‘communicate.’

Years ago I had a friend who told me a story. He said when his parents fought, they stopped speaking to each other. Their record was six months! They later divorced. Can you imagine? I can’t. I get over things very quickly, but not everyone does.

I came across the following article posted on Paulo Coelho’s Website. It’s from The Manuscript Found in Accra. It made me think of my temper and a recent reaction I had to something a friend said to me. My heated response had nothing to do with the subject at hand. Afterward, I realized it’s merely a reflection of how I am feeling, the hurt and sadness that’s in my heart, towards the relationship I now have with someone for whom I care a great deal. I think I have to learn how to fight!

I wanted to share it with you.

If someone confronts you over ideas or ideals, step up and accept the fight, because conflict is present in every moment of our lives and sometimes it needs to show itself in the broad light of day.

But do not fight in order to prove that you are right or to impose your ideas or ideals on someone else. Only accept the fight as a way of keeping your spirit clean and your will spotless. When the fight is over, both sides will emerge as winners, because they tested their limitations and their abilities.

Since both respect the courage and determination of the other, the time will come when they will once again walk along hand-in-hand, even if they have to wait a thousand years for that to happen.

Meanwhile, if someone merely wishes to provoke you, shake the dust from your feet and carry on. Only fight with a worthy opponent, and not with someone who uses trickery to prolong a war that is already over, as happens with all wars.

Such cruelty does not come from the warriors who meet on the battlefield and know what they are doing there but from those who manipulate victory and defeat for their own ends.

The enemy is not the person standing before you, sword in hand. It is the person standing next to you with a dagger concealed behind his back.

The most important of wars is not waged with a lofty spirit and with your soul accepting its fate.

It is the war that is going on now as we are speaking and whose battlefield is the Spirit, where Good and Evil, Courage and Cowardice, Love and Fear face each other.

 

 

 

What aspect of your life are you the most unwilling to compromise today?

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I would love to know your answer to this question. What aspect of your life are you most unwilling to compromise today?

Many of you know I’m a Quora writer. Every once in a while I stop in to answer questions. I thought you might enjoy my answer to the above question. It’s a glimpse into what I put into my writing I think.

 

“Let me count the ways…”

  1. I refuse to compromise on friendships. If I don’t love you with all my heart, we can’t be friends. My time is precious, life is short… and friends who are in our lives should be like chosenfamily members vs the ones we inherit by birth. So my friendships are few but they are absolutely the best.
  2. I refuse to compromise on my peace of mind. There is nothing in your life that will be more important than peace. If your mind is troubled, or your life is all f++k’d up, you only have yourself to blame. I choose peace over drama every single day.
  3. I will not compromise on my health, so 90% of the time I eat well, exercise, and watch what and whom I allow in my head and heart. All those things keep me healthy and young and excited about every single day of my life.
  4. I will never compromise on love. If I love you, you’re in my heart forever. Yes, we can be sexual, then with time, if that changes, we will still be friends. If I loved you once, I will always love you. It’s not about falling in love it’s about unconditional love. If we’re friends or lovers, I’ve chosen to have you in my life. No one’s perfect including me. We all make mistakes and do stupid things. But in the end, if I love you, you will always have a place in my heart.

“I feel we owe Stormy more for her moxie than handfuls of sweaty singles.”

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The Stormy Daniels (And Melania Too) Effect  as published on HuffPost.com 8/26

Sex/human trafficking and the sex trade are themes I deal with in my Code Raven Series and particularly in my recent publication of Lie To Me an exposé on sex for money  I thought you might enjoy this provocative and witty article by Lily Burana, a feminist and fellow author, published in HuffPost today. 

 

Tucker Carlson (he who has crafted a lasting brand from bowtied White Male Grievance) was fuming on air the other night, Now that Stormy Daniels is part of the resistance, porn is noble!

Or something like that. I didn’t hear the exact words because I was too busy cackling smugly.

The statement seems to indicate that Carlson, prima facie Right-Wing Outrage, is heated up about not being able to make a partisan bitch slap out of a woman’s employment in the sex industry because she, apparently, is showing social (and political) capital above and beyond her lowly “ho” status. Baby boy angry cuz baby boy can’t slut-shame right now! You stay mad, Carlson!

Meanwhile, over here in feminist ladyland, I’m thrilled.

When it comes to how we talk (and joke) about women who’ve worked in adult entertainment, times are changing. Even stories in The New York Times are changing. Certainly, the courage that Stormy Daniels has shown in the face of incredible antagonism can be credited for this shift. Think what you will about her line of endeavor, but my God, her chutzpah in taking on Donald Trump is commendable.

But she’s not the only game-changer here. Melania gets a nod for this shift as well. She’s a woman who modeled nude (sometimes with other women in a hotsy-totsy, clearly-for-titillation configuration), and then, boom, there she was, years later, wife of a Republican magnate and devoted mother.

This has created a bracketing effect ― leftie porn star, right-wing former nude model ― that has muted the impulse to couch a political dig in a bimbo-bashing wrapper. Yes, the hypocrisy of Donald Trump being the head of a party that waves the “family values” flag while being such a creep himself has made its way into late-night monologues and political cartoons: I can’t believe Trump has the NERVE to work the CHRISTIAN ANGLE after he had AN AFFAIR with a PORN STAR. (Because it would’ve been a lesser betrayal if he’d bedded the local chapter president of the Junior League? Help me out here.) But it’s not as sticky of a comedic gambit as it would’ve been even 10 years ago.

I feel we owe Stormy more for her moxie than handfuls of sweaty singles.

Stormy and Melania having both created prurient adult material has, oddly, engendered a bipartisan truce around using sex workers as punchlines or moral lancets. Neither the right nor the left can slut-bash the other side, because each side has its own major presence who is, or was, working en dishabille. Thus, we can’t use that to make political hay. Between Melania’s nude girl-girl photo shoots and Stormy’s turn on the strip club stage and porn set, we’ve eased away from political slut-shaming.

Hallelujah, and may it ever be thus.

Melania, fused in marriage and image with all things Trump and silent as a cipher herself, is something of a suspect blank slate. There’s not much for us to attach to her except guilt by association. But the fact that she hasn’t issued some sort of mewling public apology for her nude modeling photos should be taken as a marker that she ― and the country of which she’s first lady ― is not convinced that any renunciation or mea culpa is required.

Then, we have the volubly sassy and articulate Stormy Daniels. She’s curiously sympathetic folk heroine: She seems to have accepted her lot in life with an admirable blend of pragmatism and good humor, and she has been presented in full 360-degree “actual human being” format in mainstream profiles. She’s a working wife and mother, protective of her child, and incensed by the hypocrisy and corruption of this administration. Add to that her appealingly curvy mom-bod and the pleasing softness to her facial features and you’re like, “You know what? I don’t need to be a jerk about her being a porn star. She’s flesh and blood like us, trying to keep it together while the country goes mad along with everyone else out here.”

Think what you will about her line of endeavor, but my God, her chutzpah in taking on Donald Trump is commendable.

The feminist view of how to treat and discuss women primarily known, willingly or not, for their sexual exploits has also shifted in a far more charitable and sympathetic direction. To have a roundtable of prominent feminists assemble to run down and ridicule such a woman in a major publication like they did with Monica Lewinsky in The New York Observer back in 1998, seems unthinkable now. Bimbo-baiting and shaming are entirely passé, as they have been revealed to be part of the patriarchal dictate to police, and even damage, other women’s lives through judgment. This type of censure through mockery is not a good look for women on either side of the so-called madonna/whore divide ― or either side of the political aisle.

Even normally censorious, socially conservative writers are taking heed and resisting the urge to make the character-assassinating, tongue-clucking cheap shot. Case in point: Professional scold Caitlin Flanagan laid off her usual troweling of disapproval in a May article in The Atlantic. The biggest arrow she dared fire was referring to Daniels as “an aging sex worker,” which from our stern, “the best birth control is holding an aspirin between your knees,” Catholic auntie CaitFlan is practically a pat on the head.

Historically, there has been so much unmitigated hostility toward any woman who does any form of sex work, at any level and for any reason, that if it takes a sense of partisan loyalty to stem the tide of vitriol and low blows, I’ll take it.

We seem to be growing up a bit, able to see now that on the grand continuum of moral “crimes,” female sexual adventuring is on the tame end directly opposite from, say, cratering an entire democracy through, you know, actual crime.

As for what the future holds for these two iconic women who’ve had the audacity to be both naked for money and fully human, I hope Melania has her own escape plan in place, to implement if and when the time comes.

For Stormy, it’s hard to say. In days of yore (you know, like in the 1980s and 1990s), a woman caught in the center of a sex scandal would be offered a royal sum to strip off for a major men’s magazine. Amidst the dwindling readership ― and budgets ― of skin mags, I doubt such an economic rocket boost still exists. However, if anyone deserves the million-dollar post-scandal pinup retirement package, it’s Stormy Daniels. In the absence of that opportunity, maybe she’ll get a big publishing contract for a book in which she can thoroughly examine her side of things (mama, if you need a ghostwriter, you call me).

Even normally censorious, socially conservative writers are taking heed and resisting the urge to make the character-assassinating, tongue-clucking cheap shot.

Regardless of the manifestation, I hope there’s a payout and I hope it’s plenty big. She’s out there capitalizing on her notoriety with her “Make America Horny Again” dancing tour at various strip clubs (and getting set up for arrest at one appearance), but I feel we owe Stormy more for her moxie than handfuls of sweaty singles.

This isn’t to suggest that we all now view adult entertainment as a job like any other job (it isn’t) or that speaking of the workers in the business with civility will transform porn into some amazing cool job that teen girls will choose instead of working at, say, Piercing Pagoda (it won’t). All it means is that we’ve been able (in this case, anyway) to realize slut-shaming is a zero-sum activity and that a hearty chuckle at the rich irony of the situation need not escalate into sick burns on the naked ladies involved. It means that where female sexuality is concerned, we’ve decided, collectively, to not be freaking mean for once.

Yes, there are plenty of bawdy laughs to be had in this trash-fire Trump administration, and let us take our delight where we may. Hit “share” on those “Trump’s Pecker Problem” headlines and the meme of Snoopy at his typewriter atop his doghouse, tapping out “And then, America was saved by a Porn Star. THE END.” We’ve been wounded and anguished for months, so we might as well yuk it up while we’re able. So yes, let us continue to find the humor ― just spare the usual (female) suspects the humiliation of being the butt of the joke.

These are strange days indeed, and we are finally seeing some glimmers of hope that our long national political nightmare may soon end. How wonderful it is to think we might just have the last laugh at an administration that’s a total joke. And how novel that an ever-so-slight uplift for so-called fallen women — of any political affiliation — might be the end product of misogynist folly.

 

Lily Burana is the author of four books, most recently Grace for Amateurs: Field Notes on a Journey Back to Faith (W Books/Harper). Follow her on Twitter @lilyburana.

 

You can literally control your mind.

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It’s amazing the conversations and exchange of ideas and philosophies we can have with strangers from around the world if we only open to the connections. I LOVE this video. It’s so simple and explained so beautifully.

Thanks, Rohith, for bringing this video to my attention.

Have a week filled with wonder, joy, and happiness. My gift for you to begin your week.

 

Why do you enjoy writing romance novels?

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I was asked this question on Quora today. It made me think about who I am as an author, and what exactly I write!

I LOVE this question. I never thought of myself as a romance author. But, when I wrote my first published novel, TARGET in the Sun  I received an award for Best in Contemporary Fiction. I had to look up what that meant!

I write from the heart. And there is romance in all things in life. It’s the natural progression of our natures. TARGET was about a relationship between an older woman and a younger man. But it was more about his past, his cartel family, his life growing up on the streets of Mexico, and how he did what he needed to do to survive. I would say that falling in love with an older woman may have been secondary to the story, but that wouldn’t be correct neither. What reviewers say about my work is that I write romance from a different angle.
I’ve since gone on to write Action/Adventure like XPOSED (with romance in it) and Suspense (yes, relationships as well) and am about to embark on the first true romance novel that I’m co-authoring.

The challenge I have with romance is that I’m not sure I believe, wait I KNOW I don’t believe in Happily Ever After or HEA; but, I’m great at HFN, Happy For Now.
Having said all the above, I also live in total denial—according to my friend Lisa. She says I do believe in HEA. I just haven’t found it yet for myself.
So why do I write about love? For the same reason that 28–32% of the male market reads romance! Deep down we all want to be loved. And some of us only find it in books.

 

How do you know when your idea is big enough to write a book about?

If it’s big in your mind and heart that’s all that matters.

I write contemporary novels (amongst other genres). I know that what I write doesn’t necessarily fall into the strict categories of the romance field nor the mystery-suspense fields.

But I have huge stories inside of me, and they are more significant than genres—they beg to be released from my soul.

Write what your heart tells you to write. If your ideas are “big,” yet they don’t come from that place inside you that begs for release, then who will want to read them? If you start to write a story and can’t seem to continue, maybe because it’s following what’s “in style” at the moment, then the authenticity of your work will not show through.

I lead with my heart, nothing else matters to me. And if no-one buys a book I write, I will still be compelled to write exactly the way my soul leads me.

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You might enjoy Lynda’s latest Contemporary Fiction

 Lie To Me an exposé on sex for money

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Lie to Me: An Exposé on Sex for Money
“is insanely captivating, entertaining and exciting. It’s a spellbinding story that explores the psychology of sex in a way that defies Coelho’s Eleven Minutes.” R. Dzemo 5 STARS READERS’ FAVORITE BOOK REVIEWS
From a “powerful and unforgettable” author and winner of the Best in Contemporary Fiction 2017 BTRC for Target in the Sun comes another powerful fictional story, Lie to Me, an exposé on sex for money.

How many lives have been ruined for the pleasure of an orgasm?

Forty-something Layla Duncan, a women’s magazine writer, has a dangerous obsession with men who sell steamy sexual encounters to vacationing women in Puerto Vallarta. She infiltrates the underworld of male prostitution, interviews several men and begins to write a mesmerizing exposé of their lives.

Before long the lines between Layla’s personal life and professional assignment become blurred, and she finds herself questioning her value system in a titillating yet disturbing way.

Sparks fly one night when she takes a break from her writing and meets the sensual twenty-something Mateo at a local nightclub. The charismatic yet quiet young Mexican man seems oblivious to his powerful sexual aura but is immediately turned on by Layla. The one-night-stand turns into sporadic hook-ups, while two emotionally damaged lovers long for something neither can put into words.

Lynda Filler has once again delivered a fast-paced, sexy and sometimes gut-wrenching page-turner that will unnerve you and leave you breathless.

29 Life-Changing Lessons That Will Make You Successful And More Strategic

There is this myth that mentors are people you have to know and see.

That it is some official designation to seek out. I’ve never met Tyler Cowen, the bestselling author, economist, and thinker. We’ve never spoken on the phone. Our longest email conversation might have been three sentences. Yet he has been one of the most significant influences in the education and evolution of my life. By every definition, he’s been what you would call a mentor.

Lately, I’ve been trying to write about all the ways people have helped me. It’s been an exercise in gratitude but also articulation — in writing it down, I am remembering it and codifying it so I never forget the lessons. Below are just some of the things I’ve learned from this polymathic professor of economics, voracious reader and contrarian philosopher. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to meet him one day (I hope I am) but even if you don’t, he can still be your mentor.

Below are 29 lessons I learned from Tyler over the last 10 years. Hope you gain from them as much as I have.


1. See Yourself Afresh — This is one of my favorite quotes from Tyler: “Treat yourself like a piece of your writing which you set aside for a week so you could look at it fresh.”

2. Being Curious Is a Career — It was crazy to me at first that Tyler got to do what he did for a living: write blog posts, read books, have ideas. That’s what I wanted to do. I think the way you get paid to do that is by making that curiosity valuable to other people: Tyler blogs every day and his links and questions help people do their jobs, his books propose provocative big ideas, his podcast is entertaining and important. You can’t just nerd out — there has to be value creation

3. Complacency Is the Enemy — Tyler’s newest book (which is awesome) is about all the ways that society has become complacent. We accept the status quo, we don’t want to disrupt it. People move less, change careers less, change their minds less, live in less diverse places, riot less than they used to. I’ve done most of those things in my life (except the last one), it’s how you keep things interesting and find opportunities. Point being: Don’t worry as much about disruption and chaos — it might simply mean interesting things are happening — fear stability and complacency because it means decay.

4. Seek Out Quake Books — When I was 19 or 20, Tyler talked to me about the concept of “quake books” — books that shake you to your core. As he wrote in his 2007 email to me: “I would more likely intensively engage with some important book totally full of new ideas. Hayek. Parfit. Plato. And so on. There just aren’t books like that left for me anymore. So I read many more, to learn bits, but haven’t in years experienced a ‘view quake.’ That is sad, to me at least, but I don’t know how to avoid how that has turned out. So enjoy your best reading years while you can!”

5. What’s the Cost of This Fight? — There is a line in one of Tyler’s books where he talks about fighting with a spouse over a couch (or something like that). He says that maybe you like your idea 20% more than her/his idea, so you fight and win. Now you’re a little bit happier. But what did that victory cost you in terms of an unhappy spouse? Is it worth more or less than how much you value your opinion over the couch? I never would have thought about it that way — I can’t tell you how many arguments this has saved me. (The answer is ‘not enough.’)

6. Expectations Are the Enemy in (Long Distance) Relationships — I was in a long distance relationship in 2006 when I read Tyler’s post on them. It was another brilliant perspective that helped me relax and made things better. I ended up marrying that girl a decade later. Thanks, Tyler!

7. Know What is Scarce — “In today’s global economy here is what is scarce: 1. Quality land and natural resources 2. Intellectual property, or good ideas about what should be produced. 3. Quality labor with unique skills.” I framed the longer passage this line is from and I have it above my desk as a daily reminder. It comes from Average is Over — another absolutely amazing book.

8. To Speed Read, Read A Lot — How do you become a better and more prolific reader? I’ll let Tyler tell you: “The best way to read quickly is to read lots. And lots. And to have started a long time ago. Then maybe you know what is coming in the current book. Reading quickly is often, in a margin-relevant way, close to not reading much at all.”

9. Knowledge Compounds — I think what he’s also saying there is that the value of reading compounds over time. Reading more makes you a better and faster reader, learning about stuff makes it easier and faster for you to learn more.

10. Your Life Is Not a Story — Tyler has observed that most people describe their lives as stories and journeys. But giving in to this temptation can be dangerous. Narratives often lead to an overly simplistic understanding of events, causes, and effects — and, often, to arrogance.

11. Move to Texas — In 2013, Tyler wrote a Time cover story about why everyone was moving to Texas. That’s not quite why I moved to Austin but it didn’t hurt.

12. When Traveling, Pretend You’re A Thief — I like his trick when visiting museums: Pretend you’re a thief who is casing the joint. It changes how you perceive and remember the art. Try it.

13. Just Go — Another travel tip from Tyler: “My main tip is simply: “Go, go go!” Go. People have a status quo bias when they make decisions and they don’t take enough chances.”

14. Read However You Want — People are amazed at how much Tyler reads (it’s a lot) but they miss that he has his own set of rules for doing it. He skips around. He quits books he doesn’t like. He might read a novel from only the perspective of one of the characters. He’ll ruin the ending. He just does whatever — and so you should you. This isn’t for a test. It’s for your own enjoyment (he does the same with movies apparently).

15. Be a Good (But Quiet) Family Man — Even though Tyler talks about all sorts of parenting stuff in his books, it really never occurred to me that he had kids until I heard him mention something about it on his podcast. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about his wife. I have a lot of respect for people who have families…but don’t parade them around like some trophy. He has a family, it’s important to him, but that’s his business. It’s how I try to live my life too.

16. Really Understand Other People’s Work — What you’ll hear when you listen to Tyler’s podcast is just how deeply he has set out to understand the work of the person he’s talking to. I think in some ways he understands the arc of the person’s career better than they do. This is a special skill. It requires getting out of your own head and actually thinking about someone else (that’s not something podcasts are known for…).

17. Read Eclectically — Another reading rule: Check out a couple of these most recent “What I’m Reading” posts from Tyler. Look at how diverse the subject matter is. Books about far-right politics in Europe, the diary of a Stalin ambassador, histories of the Irish border, a book on the quartet of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, John Jay, and James Madison, one right after another.

18. Money Can Sap Motivation — In Discover Your Inner Economist, Tyler writes about how he tried to incentivize his step-daughter to do the dishes so he resorted to paying her, which got her to wash them — but it worked only for a week. “I knew this could happen. I understood that there is such a thing as intrinsic motivation and that if you pay people, you might weaken that. What I didn’t really get was the control issue. That when you start paying people to do a thing, they often see it as control.” (The story has a happy ending: She started washing the dishes for free after reading the book.)

19. Order Weird Stuff on the Menu — If the weird thing wasn’t good, goes his logic, the chef probably wouldn’t have been allowed to put it on there. Sure — I’ll buy it.

20. Don’t Be Afraid to Have a Partner — Tyler’s site, Marginal Revolution, has a co-writer named Alex Tabarrok. He’s the unsung hero of that site and many of his articles are longtime favorites of mine. You don’t have to do everything yourself. In fact, you should have intellectual and creative partners. It’s powerful.

21. Write The Opposing View — It’s not just enough to think about how other people might think. One of his more recent opinion pieces shows how far Tyler is willing to go when it comes to empathy: He suggests actually writing — as if it’s you — an article with someone else’s opinion. See if you can explain why Trump is doing this or that, or why your parents believe this or that. Feel those words coming through your fingers — do you understand them better? Are things less contentious? I love this idea.

22. How to Thoughtfully Disagree — I’ve read a lot of Tyler Cowen writing over the years. Tyler is smart, opinionated and contrarian. It occurs to me there is one thing I’ve never seen from Tyler: contemptuous dismissal of anyone else. That’s something I know I need to work on. I take things too seriously, I condescend, I speak with undeserved certainty. Meanwhile, Tyler entertains basically everything. He’s friendly even when he disagrees. He’s open-minded. It’s a great model for any aspiring thinker.

23. Think Rationally, Not Emotionally — Two interesting posts from Tyler stand out to me, both about Peter Thiel. One was after the Gawker lawsuit, where Tyler stripped the emotion out of the debate and just looked at how third-party funding works and how common it is. Two, after Peter’s controversial comments in the New York Times about whether there is “too little” or “too much” corruption, Tyler actually tried to figure out what the guy was talking about (it’s actually kind of interesting). Point being: Don’t get caught up in outrage or emotions, earnestly try to figure stuff out.

24. Cultivate Young Smart People — Like I said, I don’t know Tyler, but he’s nice enough to occasionally answer my emails. I know he answers emails from people like Ben Casnocha and Cal Newport and I’m sure there are hundreds — if not thousands — of young people he’s helped over the years (students or otherwise). He doesn’t need to do this but he does. It’s paying it forward.

25. Watch One TV Show at a Time — Tyler has a great rule about not watching more than one big TV series at a time.

26. Don’t Offer to Work for Free — From Average is Over: “It doesn’t matter how flexible the wage is in the more complex, less brute force jobs. A manual worker who just shows up at your door is probably not someone you want to hire unless it is already part of a preexisting business plan with broad buy-in from your enterprise and your creditors. The worker might say, “I’ll lower my wage demands by thirty percent!” or, “I’ll work for nothing!” It usually won’t matter. The sad reality is that many of these workers you don’t want at all, even if the business plan involves additional labor. Some workers simply aren’t worth the trouble unless the demand for extra labor is truly pressing.”

27. Command Your Audience — I’ve become addicted to Tyler’s podcast. Aside from the conversations, a secondary pleasure is his command over the audience (‘I will cut you off.’ ‘We will be out of this room by 5pm.’) and his very specific questions. His confidence and directness was not something I expected to hear, but it’s impressive. I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve been to where I wished for someone like that.

28. For Good Food, Go to The Suburbs — As Tyler writes in his rules for dining out, “I love exploring the suburbs for first-rate ethnic food. Many people consider suburbs a cultural wasteland, but I am very happy searching for food in Orange County, California; the area near San Jose; Northern Virginia, near D.C.; Somerville, Massachusetts; and so on. I don’t always pre-Google to find the best place, and I don’t keep tapping on my iPhone. I drive around and keep my eyes open for dining establishments likely to follow the economic rules for good, innovative, and affordable food.”

29. Ask: Do Your Actions Match Your Beliefs? — The Tyler post that has me thinking the most lately is something he said after the election of Donald Trump. A good portion of the country thought Trump was dangerously unfit for office and would enact terrible, destructive policies…yet the markets have steadily gone up. Why don’t we see more people acting on these beliefs? Why aren’t there more short sellers in the market? More doomsday preparations? His point: People love to talk but rarely match their actions with their beliefs. This is both a contradiction or a potential market opportunity. It’s made me re-examine my actions in regards to both.

I could keep going but it might start to seem weird. Besides, the other thing I’ve learned from Tyler is this: keep it short. Almost all his blog posts are pithy — sometimes just a few sentences long. Even his opinion pieces are tight and to the point. So I’ll end it here. If you want to learn from Tyler, go read his stuff. He’s the best.

Like to Read?

I’ve created a list of 15 books you’ve never heard of that will alter your worldview and help you excel at your career.

 


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