This book was given to me by a great friend with the inscription “To another member of the Tribe”. Of course the short read jumped to the top of my queue. If I am part of a tribe, I want to know more about my team.
In this book the author seeks to shed light on mental illness and other life stressers as they relate to modern society’s absence of community. The avenue utilized for example centers around active military duty and PTSD. While I do not agree with all of the theories that arise, the book was practical and insightful – a worthy read.
Here are a few quotes I marked along the way:
- How do you become an adult in a society that doesn’t ask for sacrifice? How do you become a man in a world that doesn’t require courage?
- Many people feel that affluence and safety simply aren’t a good trade for freedom.
- During the 1960’s, senior executives in America typically made around twenty dollars for every dollar earned by a rank-and-file worker. Since then, that figure has climbed to 300-to-1 among S&P 500 companies, and in some cases it goes far higher than that.
- Today’s veterans often come home to find that, although they’re willing to die for their country, they’re not sure how to live for it.
- Unlike criticism, contempt is particularly toxic because it assumes a moral superiority in the speaker.
Numbers tend to lie less badly than people do.
I am little behind the curve on this one. The book was originally published in 2005. I have heard it referenced many times thought the years. I finally read it in 2019.
I enjoyed this book a lot. In fact, it made me wonder if I had missed my intended calling as a psychiatry-economics-sociologist. The book takes on multiple sets of assumptions and asks, “Is common thought, factual thought?” or “Is there a better explanation for this?”
Here are a few of the quotes I noted along the way:
- Morality, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work – whereas economics represents how it actually does work.
- Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life. And understanding them – or, often, ferreting them out – is the key to solving just about any riddle.
- The conventional wisdom is often wrong.
- Dramatic effects often have distant, even subtle causes.
- There is nothing like the sheer power of numbers to scrub away layers of confusion and contradiction.
- An incentive is simply a means of urging people to do more of a good thing and less of a bad thing.
- There are three basic flavors of incentive: economic, social, and moral.
- “A thing worth having is a thing worth cheating for.” – W. C. Fields
- Just because a question has never been asked does not make it good.
- Immutable law of labor: when there are a lot of people willing and able to do a job, that job doesn’t pay well.
- “The risks that scare people and the risks that kill people are very different” – Peter Sandman
- “Risks that you control are much less a source of outrage than risks that are our of your control.” – Peter Sandman
- Numbers tend to lie less badly than people do.