Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The Art of the Good Life #17 : The prison of a good reputation.

This chapter begins by asking the question of who would you rather be :

a) You are the best lover in the world but everyone thinks that you're the worst lover in the world.
b) You are the worst lover in the world but everyone thinks that you're the best lover in the world.

Most folks would choose (b).

The chapter however goes on to show that being obsessed with how people see you can be bad for your mental health. After all, all thanks to social media, we have all become managers of our personal brand. I am always performing a Google search on my own name and measuring the number of eye-balls that this blog attracts. Articles on back-testing and correlations would attract me about 300-400 eyeballs a day but brutal truths about private degree holders will net me thousands of eyeballs over the next 24 hours.

Would switching to internal measurements make you better off ?

It will certainly make you more comfortable, but I know of too many people who set such a low bar for themselves, so much so that they don't achieve very much when they hit their middle age. Furthermore, the book admits that our ancestors needed to maintain good reputation before they could survive as part of a tribe.

I guess this is why financial independence is so attractive to many readers with introverts taking a particular idea to leaving the rat race.

The only measurement that matters is your passive income. After it exceeds your basic living expenses, you can start living the introvert's dream of leaving the workplace and isolating yourself in your little cubbyhole without a care of what the whole world thinks about you.

But for me, there is a slight problem...

I am an extrovert.

My financial independence gives me more ways to engage with readers and fans through talks and seminars.

Perhaps a simpler question would be to choose between :

a) You are the worst investor in the world but everyone thinks that you are the best investor in the world.
b) You are the best investor in the world but everyone thinks that you are the worst investor in the world.

(b) makes you a Warren Buffett.
(a) Makes you a hedge fund manager for an LTCM.


  1. Hi Christopher,

    Building a good reputation could be the premises of revenue for certain people. Many funds nowadays are marketed through their asset under management rather than long term investing performance.

    There will be the other side of the spectrum whereby the better performing funds wish to maintain a small size as growing larger will force it to make larger trades that could move the market

    It is important to develop a discerning eye, look through the illusions that others are propagating, and not judge a book by its cover.

  2. The sad thing is 90% of the people usually goes for "branding" and ignore risk management which is an important factor when investing as well.

  3. This is why we advocate DIY investing !

  4. Nice article! Like the last part about hedge fund managers!