Want to understand the changing world? Start with what stays the same.
In this review of Same As Ever will be sharing a mix of lessons from the book, personal takeaways, thought-provoking quotes, and of course, a book verdict. It will be messy and fun.
“Our life is indeed the same as it ever was. … The same physiological and psychological processes that have been man’s for hundreds of thousands of years still endure.” – CARL JUNG
📚 About the book:
Morgan Housel became a household name for nonfiction readers with his book The Psychology of Money. In his new book, Same As Ever, he shows us the power of knowing what stays the same when making assumptions about the future: What are the recurring themes and cycles we see throughout history? What has been true before, is true now, and hence will likely stay true in the future? That’s what this book is about.
📝 Focus on What Stays the Same
Warren Buffett story: “Snickers!”
The book starts out with a personal anecdote about a friend of Morgan Housel who had lunch with Warren Buffett, one of the most celebrated inventors of our time. Housel’s friend was driving around Omaha, with Buffett in late 2009. The global economy had grinded to a halt at this point, and Omaha was no exception. Stores were closed, businesses were boarded up.
Friend: “It’s so bad right now. How does the economy ever bounce back from this?“
Buffett: “Do you know what the bestselling candy bar was in 1962?”
Buffett: “Snickers. And do you know what the bestselling candy bar is today?”
Then silence. That was the end of the conversations. This story shows the difference between focus on what stays the same, rather than what changes.
Jeff Bezos story: “Low prices and fast shipping.”
“It’s impossible to imagine a future where Amazon customers don’t want cheap prices and fast shipping” and that why Bezos is doubling down on that.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said: “It is often asked what is going to change in the next 10 years. I almost never get the question ‘what’s not going to change in the next ten years,’ and I submit to you that the second question is actually the more important of the two.” Things that never change are important because you can put a lot of confidence into knowing how they will shape the future.
“It’s impossible to imagine a future where Amazon customers don’t want cheap prices and fast shipping,”
and that’s why Bezos is doubling down on that. Things that never change are important because you can put a lot of confidence into knowing how they will shape the future.
Video Review: “Same as Ever” by Morgan Housel
📝 Quotes and lessons from Same As Ever
The true nature of the world
“The ones who thrive long-term are those who understand the real world is a never-ending chain of absurdity, confusion, messy relationships, and imperfect people.”
The Financial Instability Hypothesis
The financial instability hypothesis describes a psychological pattern: “When an economy is stable, people get optimistic, when people get optimistic, they go into debt, when they go into debt, the economy becomes unstable.” In short: stability is destabilizing.
The power of low expectations
”The first rule of happiness is low expectations.” An essential skill is to get the goal post to stop moving.
Risk is what you don’t see
Risk can never be mastered because risk is what we don’t see.
“I can promise you that will be the case going forward. The biggest risks and the most important news story of the next 10 years will be something nobody is talking about today”.
“The fact that you can’t see it coming is exactly why it’s risky.”
“We are very good at predicting the future, except for the surprises which tend to be all that matter.”
Personal Story about the Effects of Ignoring and Adhering to Timeless Truths
Personal Story about NOT following timeless rules.
I took on more debt than I should have. Now I earn a good salary, but feel poor because most of my income goes to paying off loans that went from 1% to 4.5% interest rates. It’s easy to take loans when interest rates are low but it can painful in the long run.
Personal Story about following timeless rules.
Warren Buffett taught us to buy when people are fearful. That’s why I went all in when corona hit and got a 100% in return within a year. That was hard to do, but payed off well.
The moral of the story.
It’s hard to do what you know is right when it goes against what most other people do, and it is easy to ignore your principles when everyone else has a field day. But in the long haul it usually pays off to follow timeless principles.
⚖️ Book Verdict:
I can say straight away that this book is worth your time. Especially if you, like me, prefer timeless explanations for human behavior. In a way, it reminds me a lot of the Almanack of Naval Ravikant. It also reminds me of the works of Nassim Taleb, but without the cockiness. It mixes it’s facts and data with just enough personal stories to make it relatable and personal. Have you read The Psychology of Money then you will recognize some themes in this book, but this book has a broader scope than that book. I would say this book is better of the two. A must read for anyone looking for principles to live by.
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ out of 5
Books like “Same as Ever” and further reading:
If you Like the Same as ever then you might want to check out:
– The Richest Man in Babylon – Review (review by Ryan Carter)
– The Almanack of Naval Ravikant – My Review
– Black Swan by Nassim Taleb – My review