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Nietzsche & Introductions
My introduction to Nietzsche and the introduction for the book
I got my first introduction to Nietzsche last night from the awesome History of Ideas podcast from Talking Politics. I had no idea what Nietzsche thought before this. Now after listening to a forty minute lecture I’m feeling very up on Nietzsche. I think he’s going to be a big figure in my next book, he and Milton Friedman, who I want to take down hard. Here’s my quick summary of Nietzsche’s thought based on listening to one podcast. (This post is so internet.)
Nietzsche thought Christianity was terrible. It created a suffocating morality the weak used to dominate the strong. He thought democracy was bad, too, at least as it was practiced in Europe in his day. Nietzsche loved the Homeric heroes (I do, too) but felt like the ancients went off the rails with Socrates and his followers. Nietzsche and I disagree here. I love those guys. Nietzsche was not a fan of nationalism, militarism, or racism. That was his sister.
Nietzsche is important because he’s an inspiration for American entrepreneurialism, especially tech entrepreneurialism, and for libertarianism, which despite its obvious unworkability just won’t go away; it’s the American communism. Tech believes it’s a meritocracy where the strongest rise to the top. Nope. The richest rise to the top, but that’s another post.
The mortal enemy of tech isn’t other tech businesses, it’s democracy and regulation. The only thing strong enough to take down dangerous tech (not naming names, but rhymes with WakeHook), is government. The weak — little people who vote — can gang up on the strong and ruin their day. Let’s do it!
I’ve found a structure for Fortune’s Path: How to use the principles of recovery to find fortune and happiness (Working Title) and the rewrites are coming along well, though I’m writing this instead of finishing chapter 7. Below is the introduction, which has nothing to do with Nietzsche or Milton Freedman, but is something I can repurpose without having to spend two hours on this post. I published parts of this introduction before, but it’s had a lot of rewrites, so hopefully it’s not repetitive for regular readers.
If you like the introduction, sign up for this newsletter or get on the mailing list at www.fortunespath.com so I can keep you posted on the publication progress. You can also check out the spanking new Fortune’s Path Pinterest page I’ve created to promote the book and our consulting services. We’re on Pinterest because we want to support non-destructive-to-a-civil-society social media platforms.
Next week I’ll publish a “Chapter in a Chart” which is my new form of business book philosophical poetry. Until then.
Each of us must manage the product that is our life. Before I quit drinking, I was a terrible manager. After thirty years of sobriety I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I’m a master product manager, podcaster, business owner, writer, father, happy husband, and owner of a noble and virtuous sixteen year old dog. Things get better all the time, regardless of my income (mostly). I got this way by applying the disciplines I learned in recovery to every part of my life, and work is a big part of life. I also got this way by defining success for myself. That’s what finding your fortune means.
Here’s an example that illustrates why you have to know what fortune you’re looking for to find it. Imagine you’re hard at work on an important announcement when a top performing salesperson walks into your office. “You busy?” the Salesperson asks. “I need something for a giant new customer and Biggie Cheese says we have to get this done.”
What do you do?
How you respond can make or break the next few months of your work life, and maybe even your career. Do you know the right thing to say to land the deal without committing the company to a blank check?
Here’s another example. You and your partner haven’t been communicating. It’s your partner’s birthday, and you have reservations at Chateau Hard-to-get-into. You’re about to leave the office when you get a message from your boss. It’s a request for a business plan that will take many hours and you haven’t started because it was supposed to be due in a week. How do you respond?
You can apply the principles of this book to know the right thing to do in both situations. You are not the only customer of the product that is your life. Everyone you know is a customer. Just like with any product, you won’t be right for everyone; any product that tries to please everyone inevitably pleases no one. I’ve made a decision to love my customers. I hope after reading this book, you will, too. If you do, you’re making a decision to love everyone you meet, no exceptions. Don’t think small with your product; we want to create monopoly profits of love. Look for a path that gives you real happiness — not just distraction or amusement — even through trial. That’s the path where your fortune is. Value yourself enough to manage yourself and own your effort. Listen for how you can help others and ask for help yourself. Know that your work and your life are not separate but are not the same, either.
When I drank I craved more alcohol, and I couldn’t be satisfied with any amount. For some of us work is the same way; no matter how hard we work, we always feel empty. I couldn’t fix my drinking problem with self knowledge or will power. I needed to bring about a personality change through a religious experience. I know “religious” is a loaded word; for me it means something larger than myself. I don’t know if there’s a God, and if there is one if he cares about me. I do know there is love and there is virtue, and I can’t have one without the other. Love, virtue, and happiness are learned disciplines. The disciplines I need to stay sober are the same disciplines we need to build virtuous organizations and great products: think about ourselves less, think of what good we can do for others more. The more we give, the more we get.