Ugh

From Russel Roberts, professor of economics at George Mason University (quoted in the WSJ): Another airplane passenger story. I'm talking to the woman next to me and she asks me what I do. When I tell her I'm an economist, she says, "Too bad my husband isn't with me today, he'd love to talk to you." "Why's that?" I ask. "...

Cheap versus frugal

Everybody knows a cheap person, and probably hates them. But I think we often mislabel frugal people cheap. These are just my opinions, but here's what I think differentiates the two: Cheap people care about the cost of something. Frugal people care about the value of something. Cheap people try to get the lowest price on everything. Frugal people try ...

The world is not Darwinian

There seems to be this belief among a lot of people that the world is rational and that bad ideas won't last long because they'll be extinguished by good ones. I think this leaves out one big thing: incompetence. And, sometimes, a lack of experience. You'll hear people say "That was a stupid commercial" and then some smartass will reply, "...

Dumb: “Don’t invest; you can’t beat the pros”

My oh my, I have heard this idea many times. I was giving my finance talk at Intel last month, and afterwards, one of the employees and I started chatting. He told me about his uncle, who had built some kind of technology firm and sold it for $100 million. Obviously a smart guy, no doubt about it. But then ...

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The details are important, but they’re not everything

Do you ever notice how on The West Wing, they say things like "send that to my office" and "take the meeting and fix it"? They don't say "my office is in room 314 and my assistant's name is Donna Moss and her extension is x4685." That's because as we get more experience, we don't worry about logistics as much. ...

Maybe real estate isn’t such a good investment

One of my favorite things is reading an article that takes some fundamental assumption we all make, calmly demolishes it with data and statistics, and then handily concludes like Jackie Chan would after beating someone's ass. Last week, the NYTimes ran such an article. The housing boom of the last five years has made many homeowners feel like very, very ...