Wednesday, February 18, 2015

RULE # 29

If you are concerned about taking risks, consult an actuary:  odds are, you’ll survive.  

Not forever, but for now you’re good.  

So be bold (assuming gain outweighs risk).

Do you know why insurance companies exist?

To make money. 

They make tons of it.

An insurance company will play on your fears and take your risk every time.


Because they employ actuaries—whose job it is to figure the odds.

Odds are, your house won’t burn down and your plane won’t crash.

Odds are, you’ll live into your eighties.

So if you appreciate that the odds are generally in your favor, go for it!

(But not recklessly.)

Always assess risk.  If risk outweighs potential gain, drop it and move on.

The reason CIA spymaster Clair George became legendary among his colleagues was partly because he went to Athens, Greece, when no one else at the agency wanted the job.

Richard Welch had just been assassinated by a Greek terrorist organization and they needed a new station chief to fill the position.  

Only Clair was willing.  

The agency tried to sweeten the deal. For a start, they’d buy a new residence for the new station chief.  

Nothing doing, said Clair, I’ll live where Welch lived.  

Okay, then we’ll put up ten-foot high gates.  

Clair said, Nope.  He refused to hide himself.  Instead, he enjoyed nightly cocktails on the residence’s front porch, in full public view.  

Clair understood odds as well as any actuary and, like an actuary, he knew the odds were on his side.

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