In his book "Blink", Malcolm Gladwell takes an in-depth look at the power of rapid cognition, which is the ability to make quick judgments of people or situations within a very short period of time. Gladwell convincingly argues that these judgments, whether they be of other people or situations, are sometimes good and sometimes bad, but in all cases they are real.
I'm not a big gambler. Maybe this is because I can't stand taking a carefree risk, or maybe it's because the pain of losing is always greater than the joy of winning. I know at least part of it is that I hate being patronized.
Over spring break, my family watched "The Princess and the Frog". After the movie ended, my wife and I explained to our children that mommy and daddy used to live in New Orleans and had been to the church where Princess Tiana was married. The kids seemed so excited by this news, we decided then and there that a G-Rated tour of New Orleans was in order. We left a few days later.
Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but only a few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince.
"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." - Sun-tzu
I love baseball. The strategies and tactics of the game are fascinating, and there are so many life lessons to be had from the sport. Consider this: Barry Bonds is the all-time Major League Baseball leader in home runs and the all-time leader in intentional walks. What does this tell us? When your opponent truly believes you have the skill and ability to succeed, you may have already won the battle. This is leverage.
The famous value investor, Warren Buffett, once said that "writing a check separates a commitment from a conversation." In a certain way, those of us who work on a contingency fee basis are value investors just like Warren Buffett. We examine investment opportunities (potential cases) and gauge whether our investment (projected case expense and attorney time) would be worthwhile in light of potential profits (attorney fees). The key for value investors, as with litigators, is knowing when one's investment has maximized its value.
A few moments ago, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and one of its vice presidents with defrauding investors by failing to disclose material information associated with collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs.
A CDO is a financial security made up of dozens of bonds, and each bond is comprised of hundreds of mortgages. The CDO is divided into several different tranches, or levels, and each tranche consists of different mortgage risk levels.
I've recently found myself a bit obsessed with understanding the root causes of the recent financial crisis. Within the last few months, I've read Liar's Poker and The Big Short, both by Michael Lewis. I've twice listened to the This American Life episode entitled "Return to the Giant Pool of Money" while laboring away on the treadmill. I have found myself, on more than a couple occasions, scouring the internet to read more and more about mortgage backed securities, credit default swaps and other esoteric financial instruments which played a role in the downturn of our economy.
One of the most interesting things about art is that it can be reflective of the times in which it is created. The television show, Damages, which airs on Mondays at 9 pm (central time) on the FX Network, is truly a work of art. The 90 minute season finale of the third season of the show will air on Monday, April 19.
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