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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Common Risk

Quite possibly the most helpful skill I have is being able to make connections.  I begin the year telling students that anyone can come up with A=B=C, therefore A and C are equal.  This is not mentally challenging.  But life, in its infinite randomness, doesn't follow an easy to follow linear pattern.  Information comes at you from multitudinous places and directions.  Training your mind to see these connections can help greatly.  Finding common threads can be stimulating and useful.  Something I enjoy is finding the most disparate sources espousing the same idea.  This can be "intellectually neat".

I don't think that it's possible to find two people more different than Sheldon Adelson and Alan Moore.  I found Alan Moore first - as I was a voracious reader of comic books for about 15 years.  Luckily for me I was able to buy Alan Moore's "Watchmen" of the rack, as well as Batman's "The Killing Joke".  He was the reason I realized that it is the story, not the art, that makes a good comic book.  (Graphic novel, if you are so inclined...).  This was a step toward maturity.  Sheldon Adelson hit my radar via a Charlie Rose interview - a show that plays the role of the House Organ of the Establishment.  Despite Adelson's odious political views, his entrepreneurial skills are otherwordly. 

What could these two incredibly different people have in common?  They both speak eloquently about RISK.  Moore puts it in an artisic way.  He explains that your actions that will be the most pure, the 'work of the universe' so to speak, will be the actions where you take risks.  He decided to change his dead end existence (he mentions a job he had cleaning toilets in a hotel), and become a comic book writer.  This was not a safe choice, as a comic book writer was possibly the most anonymous and least lucrative choice at the time.

Adelson, in an article at, speaks the same way about risk.  He speaks about  the necessity of risk, both as a person trying to live a full life, and for the purposes of starting a successful business.  "This is the nature of entrepreneurship. It's the willingness to take a risk," Adelson said. "It's a willingness to do things a little bit different."  As an example of lifes valuable lessons, this common thread presented itself to me via two categorically different people.

Here is Alan Moore's film.  I found it fascinating, and have watched it twice:

Here is Adelson:

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