Monday Musings 49

Maybe I should have called this post Monday Musings, The Alaska Edition as in Alaska was the 49th state admitted to the US. No? OK…

This CNBC article is by Morgan Housel, a partner at The Collaborative Fund, behavioral finance expert and former columnist at The Wall Street Journal and The Motley Fool. He is also a winner of The New York Times Sidney Award and a two-time finalist for the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. It is nine rules about life and money he wants his very young daughter (she was born in 2019) to know. While I don’t agree with all of the manifestations or interpretations of these rules that he uses (and I acknowledge that’s a little arrogant of me since they are “his” rules), I think most of the rules are quite sound. Leaving the elaboration for you to read yourself, here are the nine rules:


Don’t underestimate the role of chance in life.

The highest dividend money pays is the ability to control time.

Don’t count on getting spoiled. (Remember this is for his daughter.)

Success doesn’t always come from big actions.

Live below your means.

It’s okay to change your mind.

Everything has a price.

Money is not the greatest measure of success.

Don’t blindly accept any advice you’re given.


My interpretation of the first rule is one about which I have written here many times. People who think everyone gets what they “deserve” and who dismiss the role of luck/chance in life outcomes need an operation to have their heads removed from their rectums.

Living below one’s means is the way my wonderful wife and I have lived for most of our marriage. People might say, “You both have late-model Corvettes and you live in a big house.” Well, all of those things are owned free and clear, so we must not have stretched to or beyond our means to acquire them.

A former friend, one of the best men at my wedding, was incapable of changing his mind. I would argue that this inability has contributed to his life outcome being one that has made him bitter and also made him incapable of accepting his role in how his life has turned out. I also think that changing his/her mind is not automatically a bad thing for a public official. As Keynes is supposed to have remarked, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”

Everything has a price, which I interpret as nothing is free. Politicians who promise “free stuff” are lying to gain votes. Housel uses this rule to write about the trade-offs in life, something about which I have also written.

The last rule is another one that has appeared here often, although perhaps indirectly. EVERYONE has an agenda. Don’t just accept what they’re saying as being true. Have some discipline and use your mind to think.


Perhaps because 56PackardMan has left the blog world or perhaps because the search for a Corvette Companion/Grocery Car is now focused on modern cars, I have not written much lately about defunct American makes like Packard. This article hit my email and I found it interesting. From said article, a picture:



The article is about the end of the straight-eight engine era in American automobiles. Some have attributed the demise of Packard, at least in part, due to its being late in bringing out a V-8, not offering such an engine until the 1955 model year. Cadillac and Oldsmobile introduced a modern, overhead-valve (OHV), oversquare (bore greater than stroke) V-8 engine for the 1949 model year. Ford was later, but (finally) introduced its successor to the flathead in 1954, but the flathead dated to 1932 and it was a V-8. Chrysler introduced its first OHV V-8, and a hemi no less, in 1951. Even fellow independent make Studebaker introduced its V-8 in 1951.

A blog post is not the proper forum to discuss at length the reasons for Packard’s demise. Indeed, many books have been written about Packard and its end. I think that like most life outcomes, the company failed due both to exogenous forces (e.g. the Chevrolet-Ford production “war”, or “Ford Blitz,” of 1953-55) and its own decisions like trying to use a small, body-stamping plant for the entire production process, which had major growing pains and led to quality control issues for much of the 1955 model year.

One theme about which I used to write quite a bit is that fewer companies producing cars means fewer companies to develop innovations in engineering and in styling. More competition is almost always better for consumers.

56PackardMan, if you’re reading we would love to hear from you. I would also like to read thoughtful comments by all readers.







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10 thoughts on “Monday Musings 49

  1. Not being conversant in advanced engine performance specs or design, I am ignorant of how market forces influence engine design and capabilities. Though I understand the basics of cylinder size, number, types, etc., I find it interesting that a car company’s demise might, in part, be related to their engine design choice. I consider myself a little more educated in automotives after reading your post, my friend.


    1. Many thanks, kind sir.

      Packard’s inability/unwillingness to offer a V-8 was a detriment because most other American manufacturers were offering such an engine in the early 1950s. The “Horsepower Wars” had begun. The lack of a V-8 created the impression that Packard was behind the times and post-war America was a place where progress was all important, at least so I’ve read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The 1954 Packard has similar lines to the 1954 Ford.

    Innovation and creativity always result from competition. The unintended consequences of this pandemic will result in more competition and more innovation. The competition between the USA and the USSR in the space race of the 1960s and 70s resulted in a whole host of technical innovations from which we benefit today.

    Your statement of having discipline and using your mind to think is so very important. It drives us as grandparents to help the grandchildren to learn how to think and to find the answers to things. Thinking independently is critical. To use the cliche: Think outside the box. Or better yet, how can I use this box? The children’s book “Not a Box” is a fun read and gets them thinking.


    1. Many thanks, Philip.

      It’s so easy at present to succumb to propaganda, to numb one’s mind on electronic “drugs.” Those temptations should be resisted for the betterment of all of us, in my opinion.


      1. Which is why I still use paper maps to teach geography to the grandchildren when the need pops up on the news and for me to spatially orient myself to some happening event. I also resist temptation by working on my truck and woodworking projects which allow me to use my hands as well as my mind. We don’t let the electronic “drugs” of the televised news dictate our thinking. We’re still too much the revolutionaries to not think for ourselves. Beverly has always been the parry to my thrust in thinking to use a fencing analogy.


  3. I believe Michael Lewis in his podcast tells the story of a fateful ship captain who crashed his vessel and created a severe environmental damage because he could not change his mind, and due to some chance events. Regarding money and time, I would hazard a guess that Steve Jobs would have given up 90% of his Apple money for five more years.


    1. Many thanks, sir.

      Blind stubbornness, like blind adherence to anything, will not usually produce optimal results. If Steve Jobs had sought conventional treatment when first diagnosed, he may very well have lived longer. Even Jobs could be a victim of the “anti conventional medicine” rhetoric, most of which is b*llsh*t.


      1. Blind stubbornness has killed a whole lot of people. Second opinions and even third opinions are always worth the time so you can get a more complete picture of how to treat a problem.

        I much prefer the use of the Phonetic Alphabet when using terms like b*llsh*t. Bravo Sierra has a “positive” connotation to it and confuses the uninformed. As does Whiskey Tango Foxtrot for the well used acronym WTF. If you’d like I can send you a table of how it has evolved over time since the first listing in 1913. Humor me, I’m an engineer on Monday.


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