The Work Required to NOT Have an Opinion

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

This is my favorite Farnam Street post. It’s simple. It’s short. It’s eternal. It’s inspiring.

It’s about the idea of seeing things from your point-of-view and from at least one other.

Tom Wolfe said to be the man from Mars.

Bryan Caplan created an Ideological Turing Test.

Sam Arbesman suggested to look things up.

In his post, Parrish has great ideas. Watch out for confirmation bias. Don’t overestimate your circle of competency. Develop more than a chauffeur’s knowledge.

Parrish’s post inspires work and is sound advice. But there’s more to do. The opportunity cost to know everything is beyond high, it’s impossible. Instead, we should be comfortable saying I don’t know and I don’t care. Like a pop song chorus, let this be the refrain in your head all summer.

Jason Zweig wrote that investing in index funds, “liberated me from the feeling” and “gives me more time and mental energy.”

Like exercise, coffee, politics, diet, and religion, we each have a blend of ego and humility. Too much humility and people will walk all over you. Almost literally. Too much ego is your enemy.

IDK and IDC is a shimmy away from ego and a two-step toward humility.

Writer Katherine Boo advises to, “Wean yourself off of the tit of your own ego.”

WGL President Warren Lagarie warns, “What separates you from knowing a good deal is your ego. We always tell our interns, ‘Your ego is not your me go.'”

John Boyd warned people they could be or they could do. Being is ego, doing is not.


One answer is space. Pause. Let your opinion float past. Avoid the instant reaction to retweet, to speak, to dash off a letter to the editor about the obtusity of someone.

At first IDK and IDC felt like giving up. But like Zweig notes, it gives you more energy for other things. Things you do or want to know, things where you do or want to care.


Thanks for reading.

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