Ben timeless advice

A couple of years ago I had the chance to read “Antifragile” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb—a great scholar and essayist on various topics such as randomness, probabilities, and uncertainty—where, in addition to explaining the concept that gives title to the book, I became acquainted with the ” Lindy effect “.

The “Lindy Effect” proposes that the life expectancy of non-perishable elements, such as ideas or technologies, is proportional to their current age. In this way, each survival period translates into a longer life expectancy.

Derived from this, the author exalts the relevance of reading old books, being that, if these maintain relevance, probably the ideas proposed in them are likely to persist for longer.

Following this line of thought, this year I have decided to include in my reading some books with more years under their belt. One of these works was Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography , with about 230 years to his credit. Although the history of literature has a few thousand years, I consider this a good start compared to my usual recommendations.

In this entertaining reading, Franklin does not focus specially in the War of Independence, as one might suppose. It tells stories of his youth, and takes the opportunity to share its principles encompassed in 13 virtues. It is curious how nowadays, to keep a daily habit log, is a current and universal practice. As a matter of fact, James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, proposes a similar practice.

In the edition that I read, at the end of it included an excerpt from “Poor Richard’s Almanack”, and it is from here that I borrowed some advice for the handling of finances, which remain relevant almost 250 years away.

  • Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of…
  • Laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him
  • Lying rides upon debt’s back
  • Industry pays debts, despair increases them
  • One to-day is worth two to-morrows
  • Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.
  • Buy what thou hast no need of; and e’er long thou shalt sell thy necessaries
  • If you’d know the value of money, go and borrow some
  • The second vice is lying; the first is running in debt
  • Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other

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