Why Economists Fear the Commandments

According to Dr. Avichai Snir Empirical evidence suggests that economists do not know the 10 commandments yet they behave like socially inclined sissies when reminded about them. Economists fear the commandments. Dr. Snir shows that this puzzle can be explained if we assume that economists are both rational and fear God despite not believing in his existence. We share his treatment of commandment 5 here.

Commandment 5: Honor thy father and thy mother.

Any economist who took at least a basic course in game theory can see that this sentence is simply not time consistent. It is clearly optimal for any child to promise that he will honor his parents when he wants an increase in his candy supply. Once he has grown up, however, it is just as optimal for him to renege from his promise because once the parents retire they cannot provide him with further M&Ms. By backwards induction, any parent should understand that the child’s promises are not credible and should therefore have no children. Instead of learning Commandment 5, therefore, the economist will do better if he spends his time on publishing papers that show why even Garry Becker made the irrational decision to spend time, effort and money on bringing up two girls and two stepsons (Becker and Tomes, 1976).

Economists fear the commandments, but they can be funny!

Economists drone on about “gross domestic this” and “game theory that”. But when they aren’t busy boring you (and each other), to death with their professional musings, they can actually crack a smile. And perhaps make you smile too. And yes, Economists fear the commandments. 🙂

If you like this you may enjoy other blog posts by Jeff Linroth

10 Best Seasons by Pitchers

Walter Johnson – 1913 (age 27)WalterJohnsonPitching

Won-Lost Record 36-7 ERA 1.14 11 Shutouts (best of the 10 best seasons by pitchers)

Walter Johnson was among the most dominating pitchers ever to pick up a baseball. His best season easily qualifies as one of the 10 best seasons by pitchers. In his 1913 season he was the winning pitcher in 40% of his team’s victories. No one in the 108 years since has even come close to his league-leading 36 victories. Only once since has his league-leading shutout total of 11 been surpassed. His microscopic 1.14 ERA led the league and has only been surpassed once since. Johnson led the league in complete games and strikeouts. His record 6.39 strikeout/walk ratio stood for 58 years. He was the MVP. Johnson shut out the opposition 1 out of every 4 starts. In his career he started 666 games and pitched a shutout in 110 of them. Every sixth start was as shutout.

Bob Gibson 1968 (age 32)

Won-Lost Record 22-9 ERA 1.12 13 Shutouts

Bob Gibson was an intimidating pitcher whose presence as well as his pitching were key him having the second-most career strikeouts at his retirement. In 1968 Gibson’s domination reached its zenith, shutting out an all-time record of 13 opponents while surrendering barely 1 run per game. For the remaining 21 games he was 9-9 with a 1.80 ERA. In three of his losses he gave up just 1 earned run, in three others just 2 earned runs. Gibson pitched over 40 consecutive scoreless innings. Being on a weak-hitting team meant that even one run scored by his opposition could easily lead to a loss which makes this season even more remarkable. He won both the Cy Young award and the MVP award. Many believe this was the best season ever by a pitcher. Almost nobody would say it isn’t among the 10 best seasons by pitchers.

Dwight Gooden 1985 (age 20)

Won-Lost Record 24-4 ERA 1.53 8 Shutouts

Dwight Gooden’s season for the ages followed his spectacular rookie year (1984) where, at age 19, he was 17-9 and won the rookie of the year award. In 1985 at the tender age of 20 Gooden compiled one of the most dominant seasons in history. He led the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA. His ERA was the second-best in the past 100 years (the live-ball era). He won the Cy Young award and finished 4th in the MVP voting. His curve ball was so unhittable that it became known as “lord charles” instead of the traditional “uncle charlie” moniker. He threw 49 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run in this incredible year.

Ron Guidry 1978 (age 27)

Won-Lost Record 25-3 ERA 1.74 9 Shutouts

Among the 10 best seasons by pitchers this may be the most surprising. In just his second major-league year as a starter (converted from a reliever), Ron Guidry set the all-time record for highest win percentage of .893 by a 20-game winner. He lived up to his nickname of “Louisiana Lightning” striking out 268 batters on the year. His 25th and final win of the regular season clinched the division title for his team. He won the Cy Young award and was 2nd in league MVP voting. He won the playoff game he started and garnered a complete game victory in the world series game he pitched. His post-season ERA was under 1.10 for the two post-season games.

Sandy Koufax 1963 (age 27)

Won-Lost Record 25-5 ERA 1.88 11 Shutouts

In 1963 Sandy Koufax had the breakout year that established him as the most dominant pitcher in baseball. His 25-5 record, 306 strikeouts, 1.88 ERA, and 11 shutouts – all lead the major leagues. This led to him being voted the winner of the Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player Award. He led his team (the Dodgers), to victory in the world series by pitching two complete-game wins, allowing just three runs in those 18 innings. Sandy Koufax had 3 or 4 years that could qualify among the 10 best seasons by pitchers.

Dean Chance 1964 (age 23)

Won-Lost Record 20-9 ERA 1.65 11 Shutouts

Playing with precious little run support (only three major league teams had worse hitting that year), Chance combined guile and a tremendous arsenal of pitches to shut out 11 opponents, compile one of the lower ERA’s of the modern era, and have a sensational season on a relatively poor team. He won the Cy Young award and was fifth in MVP voting. His sinking fastball, sweeping curve, and slider caused Mickey Mantle to say that year, “Every time I see his name on a lineup card I throw up”. Chance had a good fastball and even threw a changeup screwball. During his delivery he turned his back to the hitter.

Steve Carlton 1972 (age 27)

Won-Lost Record 27-10 ERA 1.97 8 Shutouts

Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton had many excellent seasons and won 4 Cy Young awards as the best pitcher in the league (including the 1972 award). 1972 is far above the rest because of his win total, his very low ERA, and the fact that his team batted just .236 – near the bottom of the league. He lead the league in victories, strikeouts, and innings pitched. Carlton won 27 of the paltry total of 59 victories his team accumulated during the season. The team was 32-87 in games he did not pitch. Carlton accounted for almost 45.8% of his team’s victories…the all-time single-season record in the modern era.

Greg Maddux 1995 (age 29)

Won-Lost Record 19-2 ERA 1.63 10 Shutouts

In an era where baseballs had begun to fly out of stadiums regularly, courtesy of a juiced ball and a few juiced players, Maddux had the lowest ERA of his career and won his 4th Cy Young award. This season was a masterpiece of domination featuring an unimpressive fastball but a dazzling level of control of his entire repertoire. Maddux walked just 23 batters and was almost never hit hard. He led the league in innings pitched, complete games, and ERA. He also was 3-1 in the post season, leading his team to a world series championship. His taming of the otherwise homer-happy batters he faced each week made him a shoo-in pick among the 10 best seasons by pitchers.

Lefty Grove 1916 (age 31)

Won-Lost Record 31-4 ERA 2.06 4 Shutouts

Grove led the league in several statistical categories and led his team to the world series. Sportswriters voted him the most valuable player in baseball. In addition to amassing 31 wins he also saved 5 games as a reliever. His league-leading 31 victories has been matched only once in the subsequent 90 years. Grove led the league in ERA despite the baseball having been “livened up” just one year earlier. Lefty also led the league in strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, and of course, victories. His .886 win percentage was the highest in the modern era for a 20-game winner and stood for 47 years until broken by Ron Guidry in 1978.

Babe Ruth 1916 (age 21)

Won-Lost Record 23-12 ERA 1.75 9 Shutouts

Yes! That Babe Ruth. The most prolific slugger ever was first a force to be reckoned for other hitters in 1916. He even secured a place on our list of the 10 best seasons by pitchers. He set the league record for a left-hander with 9 shutouts. This went unmatched until 62 years later by Ron Guidry. The Babe’s tiny 1.75 ERA also led the league. He batted .272 with 3 home runs, 5 triples, and 5 doubles. Ruth won 4 of 5 games he pitched against the great Walter Johnson. He pitched 13 scoreless innings in the world series, helping his team win.

If you enjoyed this. Go ahead and read more of our blog posts.

-Jeff Linroth

Investor Lee Cooperman Jokes on air

Legendary investor Lee Cooperman jokes in an interview. He’s been successfully investing for over 50 years. He’s a generous and modest billionaire investor who also runs a hedge fund to help others invest profitably. Lee Cooperman jokes “(Shorting government bonds), has been a widow-maker for 25 years. So I’m not short U.S. government bonds because they’re totally mispriced. One day they will be a good short. I’m just staying away from them. It’s like looking at a rattlesnake that is curled up in the corner. And you give it a kick to see if it’s alive. I think the smart thing is just to stay away from it”. Investor Lee Cooperman jokes are hilarious but he takes investing seriously enough that many others trust him with their investing decisions. Another reason we like him is that his philosophy is in harmony with ours -Jeff Linroth

Choose Your Roles Carefully

Your roles are leverage for your time – by Jeff Linroth

There are many ways you can spend your time. When you choose your roles carefully you have a context for deciding how to spend your time. This is one of the most meaningful things you can do to make the most of your time. It’s important to determine what you want your life to be about. What kinds of experiences do you want to have? How do you want to contribute? Identifying and defining roles makes a big difference in how you spend your time and how good you feel about it.

The obvious roles

Some roles are obvious and some are less so. Parent, spouse, sibling, employee, business owner, entrepreneur are just a few examples of roles that are well-known but are often less well considered when it comes to deciding how to spend our time.

The less obvious roles

We are members of groups…church members, citizens of a community/city. We are stewards assets (homeowners, car owners, etc.). Keeping track of and prioritizing our roles helps us say no to adding things as well as saying yes to things that we want to look back on and be satisfied with how often we said yes to them.

Our roles help us focus our energy and time

When we tend to our roles we wind up with fewer. But we carry them out with far more excellence! Choose your roles carefully and you will be rewarded for the effort! Do What You Are is a really helpful book to help you choose your career role! Making a good choice about how to earn doesn’t just affect your income. If it is done well it leaves more energy for the other roles you choose! Thanks for reading this far. – Jeff Linroth

Make 2021 Better Than 2020!

An idea for having a good and prosperous one

Identify the roles where spending your time will matter most.

You get to choose how and where you are spending your time. There are so many options that it can be overwhelming to narrow the options and commit. In the face of this reality, a key success factor is how well you choose what to say “no” to. (Don’t forget to have some white space)! A framework is needed to help you prioritize so that you wind up satisfied with most of these decisions. Having named roles such as “spouse”, “parent”, “friend”, “electrician”, “church member”, “daughter”, and so on, helps you spend time on/with people and things that you decide are most important. This prevents regret as well as providing the satisfaction of a life well lived over time. Whether you are planning your day and week or responding to a request from someone else, you can be more confident in the “yes” or “no” you say to spending your time on a project or task.

Choosing Outcomes for Our Roles

“I want to spend time with family and be there for my son”. “I’m going to serve on a church committee”. “I want to enjoy my hobby”. These are examples of initiatives that can help you confidently create projects or respond to ideas/requests from others. As Stephen Covey implored, “Begin with the end in mind”. Planning and spending your time with “the end in mind” for each of your roles is an important aspect of this. Say “no” to things that don’t fit…unless they are so overwhelmingly compelling that you think them worth of creating a whole new role and perhaps diminishing or replacing an existing role.

Create a “Time Budget” for your roles

You don’t need a strict “budget” per se. You need a guideline so that each role regularly commands some of your time. This helps you avoid looking back some months (or even years) later, and say, “I regret neglecting that”. You can even prioritize the time budget so the most important roles and projects still receive time and energy if unusual external forces unexpectedly intrude on your schedule. You then can say “no” to things that are still important and painful to put aside…but you’ll know they are the right things to “not do” until later.

Re-schedule Important Things

When you decide to do something other than what you planned, you face the biggest opportunity for future regret. One of the most common errors in time management is not to analyze and decide what to do about planned things that did not get done. Choose promptly whether/when something should still be done and you will enjoy greater consistency and integrity in meeting the commitments you make to yourself and others. This will ultimately lead to greater overall integrity in each of the roles you choose to fulfill.

Jeff Linroth – Longmont

Working vs. Fighting

Most things are far better “worked for” than “fought for”

Working for the Outcome

We work to achieve outcomes on the job or in business. We also work in relationships, in volunteer efforts, and in other environments. This is a tried and true method for getting things done when sustained effort is required. It is not often dramatic but it is virtuous. It also can involve collaboration and teamwork. We hear and see a lot of speech that implies quick fixes. It is worth reminding ourselves that “less talk and more work” is a good priority for our behavior. Also it is also good to reserve our attention and praise for quiet, steady progress rather than the noisy, sometimes flashy and ostentatious proclamations that cheap and lightening-fast communication enables.

Fighting for the Outcome

So often we hear that “I’m fighting for this” or “we will continue to fight” or “You’ve got to fight”. Our speech seems to glorify fighting. It may sound glamorous but it’s often just an unconscious reach for dopamine. It subtly suggests the need to overcome opposition and/or adversity. The truth about many situations is that they simply require sustained hard work and delayed gratification. This is not usually a combination that produces excitement or anticipation. We’ve conditioned ourselves to imagine that when we hear someone is going to “fight” for something we imagine something more productive than “working” for something.

“Win-Lose” vs. “Win-Win”

Something else subtle and unhelpful happens when we use the phrase “fight for” instead of “work for” or “work toward”. We imply that we are in a “win-lose” situation, where someone else must “lose” if we are to “win”. We should avoid a “win-lose” mindset (which is often followed by “win-lose” approach) because the opportunity for partial success and/or compromise is reduced. There are a few situations where there can (and should), only be one winner. They are much more rare than our current popular mood might suggest.

Most things are far better “worked for” than “fought for”

Jeff Linroth – Longmont

Staying Organized

There is no shortage of people (and books), that pledge help and tools to get organized. It’s hard enough to get organized. It can be particularly hard to stay organized. One of the biggest reasons is that the benefits cited are often short-term and the techniques offered are tactical. The headline is usually some form of “stress relief”. See the “Spare Capacity” post for an idea about achieving longer-term more durable stress relief. Along with the tactical, there must be strategic, long-term analysis and thinking.

What helps us STAY organized?

In two words: Knowing Why.
Having one or two or more long-term benefits in mind (to go along with the short-term ones), will help us keep up the consistent delaying of gratification that is required to stay organized. In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey advised, “Begin with end in mind”. Asking ourselves about the time between now and our death is a great place to begin.

A couple of High-level Questions to consider:

“What are my values?”

When I look back on my life…
“What significant things will I want to have done?”
“How will I want to have been?”

“In what roles will I be most effective and efficient?”

When you have identified values most important to you and chosen roles in which to engage, you will have context for saying “no” to things you otherwise would have wrongly said “yes” to and saying “yes” to things that fit well into the person you want to be.

What do you think about this topic?

What has worked for you?

Jeff Linroth – Longmont

The Land of Can

The Land of Canaan was a large and prosperous country. Today I propose that we can bring great and varied forms prosperity to everyone else as well as ourselves if we become citizens of “The Land of Can”.

The Land of Can

What is this Land? It is comprised of wonderful human beings who persist in the face of adversity…large or small. They hail from “The Land of Can” because they consistently and demonstrate that they have the skill and the will to do what a situation calls for. Their actions and their attitudes also lift those around them to have persistence and an upbeat disposition…especially, in the face of challenge. Citizenship in this land is difficult to obtain and it requires maintenance. Perseverance, patience, the ability and willingness to endure pain, and delayed gratification are important character traits here. The rewards, however, often dwarf the prices paid. They can include lasting peace of mind, deep lifelong friendships, professional respect, financial success, and many many other profound meaningful outcomes. Ultimately citizens live a meaningful life. The rewards can also extend far beyond the individual citizen and those nearby. The entire human race is sometimes advanced by the sustained actions of one or more “Can-ites”.

The Land of Can’t

From time-to-time we encounter people who hail from “The Land of Can’t”. They are prone to make excuses and to discuss the why’s and wherefores of why they didn’t or won’t do something (sometimes it’s a thing they committed to do or are reasonably expected to do). Excuses are a prominent feature among these citizens. This citizenship is easily obtained. In fact it is where almost every child begins. For countless reasons many reach adulthood and are still spending most of their time in this land. It is a difficult citizenship to renounce…but it is worth the effort!

Both!

The truth of the matter is that many of us hold a “dual citizenship”. We want to be from “The Land of Can”! But we find ourselves revisiting “Can’t land”. That’s just part of being human. Let’s resolve to maximize our time in “Can land”.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Love is a Verb

Much is made of how important it is to tell people you love them. This is indeed very important…but it must be preceded by deeds.

Not only is love a verb…it is an action verb. If you want people to believe you when you say “I love you”, consistently extend yourself for their benefit. Be considerate of them when you decide what to do for them. Suffer for them and with them when appropriate. Study the topic of love…much has been written about it. Act on what you learn about love…prioritizing what you think best and what the other person thinks best.

My favorite treatment of the verb love is found within Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Traveled”. Please contribute one or more of your favorite writings or presentations on the topic of the verb love.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Spare Capacity

Benefits of Spare Capacity

Operating with spare capacity provides a lot of things. Insurance, peace of mind, the ability to respond to the unforeseen, and endurance. It is hugely helpful to have spare time, spare financial resources, and spare emotional capacity. Remember, however, it’s all just time. 🙂

The False Virtue of “Busyness”

It has somehow become a badge of honor to be busy. The busier the better. The downsides to this are too numerous to list. Three big ones are:
A. Shorter lifespan
B. Inefficiency
C. Being unreliable
It is often accompanied by the unpleasant feeling of doing many things and doing none of them particularly well. It is a bit like sprinting all the time. Figuratively speaking, the “over-busy” person is often emotionally (and sometimes physically) “out of breath”.

Balance Over Busy

We use other names for spare capacity…”white space on the calendar”, “savings in the bank”, “psychological resilience”. Let’s resolve to build and maintain spare capacity. We can do this by consciously planning a balance of work and play and rest. This “balance over busy” approach will give us strength and commitment when adversity comes – whether it comes to us, to others, or to our communities.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Ignorance of the Law…

Is no excuse. And yet….

We do not teach our citizens about the laws. We don’t require our them to demonstrate knowledge of the laws of the land at all. Why not?

If we say to ourselves that “it’s too much work” or “it’s too complicated”, should we contemplate making it easier for the average citizen to learn?

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

It’s all just time

Time management…we are all encouraged to manage our time and use it wisely. Likewise with money. We are supposed to “manage” it. In particular, we are to spend it wisely.

It helps to think of money as your claim on someone else’s time…your ability to get others to spend their time creating a product or service that you want or need. If you see yourself as deciding how or whether you will ask someone else to create or do something for you, it will help you be wise in spending it.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Forgiveness

We all need it. Let’s start by offering it. It takes next to nothing for small things. Forgiving small things builds momentum to forgive larger things. It’s worth remembering that most people have good intent and don’t mean harm.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

“I want to see the country”

It’s a phrase many of us have heard…usually accompanied by “When I retire and have time to travel”. A great way to “see the country” before you retire…is to take a different route each time you travel by car or train. An easy way to do this is to “collect counties”. Try it!

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

It’s all just time

Time management…we are all encouraged to manage our time and use it wisely. Likewise with money. We are supposed to “manage” it. In particular, we are to spend it wisely.

It helps to think of money as your claim on someone else’s time…your ability to get others to spend their time creating a product or service that you want or need. If you see yourself as deciding how or whether you will ask someone else to create or do something for you, it will help you be wise in spending it.

  • Jeff Linroth Longmont

Welcome to Leaving It Better, LLC!

What Longmont and Jeff Linroth try to do!