Author: Isaiah Gooley

Know Yourself

Jonathan Haidt talks about the power of ancient wisdom in The Happiness Hypothesis. Well, The Art of War was compiled around 600 BCE, though nobody knows who wrote it (likely, it was written by a bunch of people). It’s popular among oligarchs, salesmen, martial artists, and of course, military men. However, I like to look at it a book about conflict management and accomplishing goals. The whole book boils down to three sentences. 知彼知己,百战不殆。不知彼而知己,一勝一負。不知彼,不知己,每戰必敗。 Zhī bǐ zhījǐ, bǎizhànbùdài. Bùzhī bǐ ér zhījǐ, yī shèngyī fù. Bùzhī bǐ, bù zhījǐ, měi zhàn bìbài. Know the opponent, and know yourself, and in 100...

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Hundred Schools of Thought: The Dojo of the East (With Kung Fu Grip!)

I keep telling Hunter that all of these Mixed Mental Arts ideas are stuck in books, just waiting to be let out! Well, that’s always been the case, all over the world. The rich people who weren’t farming would sit down and try to figure out the world. As long as they weren’t killed in wars, or executed as heretics, they built up some pretty good ideas. That’s the premise of The Happiness Hypothesis. In the West, the history of philosophy centers around the Classics. Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, all of these philosophers debated one another in writing. They...

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Learn from Everyone

I like to talk to homeless people. They always have good stories. Full of sorrow, full of regret, or full of joy, these people are closer to something we all have in us than those who walk around with clean clothes and money in their pockets. Even if it’s just a lesson in what not to do, something can be learned from each and every person you meet. 三人行,必有我師/sān rén xíng,bì yǒu wǒ shī:Among three travelers, there exists my teacher(s). This chengyu come straight from Confucius himself. It’s pretty straightforward: a person can learn something from anybody and everybody....

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Cave Paintings and Sunshine

I have a little friend named Lee. He’s five years old. He doesn’t go to school right now, but he’s a smart kid. He sees the world as a puzzle to be explored, broken down and put together again. Lee is a middle child. His older brother is nine, and his younger brother is one. He doesn’t have the responsibility of his older brother, and he’s not as big as him. Sometimes, his older brother calls Lee stupid. Lee’s younger brother can’t communicate well yet. He’s one. Lee has become a sort of de facto translator for his younger...

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Chris Ryan-ism: Question the Premise

Whenever I have a conversation with someone, I always try to understand their point of view. Sometimes, the point of view of others is built on a house of cards, sometimes it’s built on the most stable bedrock. There’s no way to know without getting more information. Therefore, you must always question the premise. In rhetoric, a premise is a set of conditions under which a conclusion can be made. A hypothesis, as it were. If this, then that. Like in Einstein’s elevator. Questioning the premise would be asking why the dude is in the elevator in the first...

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