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The New Way to Wealth: Doing More with Less by Bruce Piasecki

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CHAPTER 1

In the Company of Knuckleheads

Think for a moment about what you’re doing when you run into debt: you give your liberty over to another power. If you cannot pay on time, you are ashamed to see your creditor and fear speaking to him. You might even make poor pitiful sneaking excuses, and as a result, gradually come to lose your veracity. You may even sink into downright lying; for “The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt,” as Poor Richard says.

—Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

I inadvertently came upon the following insight about competition.

My wife and I were enjoying a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) final series of college hockey, and had brought our daughter, Colette, then 12, to each game. I will never forget the pleasure of watching my daughter get into the sheer speed and talent of the hockey players’ graceful and swift movements. But our bliss was interrupted by four outrageous knuckleheads.

We had up-front box seats as a gift to the last four games, and these four large males were there for each of these instances. As we got into the caliber and skills of the best players from the best teams, all four became louder and more demanding. By the semifinals, they were acting virtually insane, banging their heads and hands against the glass whenever opponents skated by, until they were thrown out by well-dressed security guards.

My daughter asked at intermission, “Are they drunk?”

I had to say no.

She then asked, “Why do they ...

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