Scott Adams’s Life Advice in 28 Words — and More Wisdom from the Creator of Dilbert

Think of your life as a system. Think of yourself as the most important part of the system. Be useful. And make yourself more valuable as you go.

The quote above comes from Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert, during his recent appearance on Tim Ferriss’s podcast*.

Very much worth listening to.

Here’s more from Adams on goals vs. systems.

Other stuff from Adams’s I’ve linked to in the past:

  • Happiness Engineering
  • How to Get a Real Education
  • And you should definitely check out his extremely simply advice on personal finance:

    — Make a will.
    — Pay off your credit card balance.
    — Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
    — Fund your company 401K to the maximum.
    — Fund your IRA to the maximum.
    — Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it.
    — Put six months’ expenses in a money market account.
    — Take whatever is left over and invest it 70 percent in a stock index fund and 30 percent in a bond fund through any discount brokerage company and never touch it until retirement
    — If any of this confuses you, or you have something special going on (retirement, college planning, tax issue), hire a fee-based financial planner, not one who charges you a percentage of your portfolio.

    * I am not a regular listener of Ferriss’s podcast, but I see that he has interviewed some interesting folks.

    HOWTO Tech

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Taking Selfies But Were Afraid to Ask

    2015 09 16 selfies

    Aanand Prasad, pictured above, has written an amusing — and exhaustive — guide to taking selfies:

    Do you ever hate how you look in photos taken by other people? That’s because other people have no clue how to make you look good. But you can very easily learn how.

    Selfies have been a positive force in my life ever since I came across the wonderful #dudetime and its gently radical flipping of the default male gaze. If you think selfies are bad for any reason, I don’t want to know. I suggest getting in a bin and sharing your bad opinions with the other trash.

    The target audience is straight dudes, but there are tips in here for everyone. He covers topics like lighting, camera angles, facial expressions, backgrounds, composition, and more.

    Fun stuff.

    Bangkok HOWTO Thailand

    Bangkok Bombings: Latest Updates and How to Follow the News

    2015 08 19bkkbomb

    A and I returned to Singapore Monday morning after a couple of weeks of traveling. Then that evening came the sad news about the bombings in Bangkok.

    From our latest WSJ story:

    Thai police said they were homing in on a suspect seen in security-camera footage of the bomb blast that killed at least 20 people, most of them foreign tourists, in the Thai capital.

    A second explosive device on Tuesday was thrown from a bridge over Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. The bomb narrowly missed a busy pier where commuters waited for taxi boats, falling into the river where it exploded. No one was injured.

    The blast, which threw a column of water into the air, deepened the sense of unease in a city where many commuters chose to stay at home and some tourists avoided the usually bustling malls and temples of downtown Bangkok.

    The Economist has more on the context:

    Low-level political violence is not uncommon in Thailand—which is riven by a kind of class war in which two military coups have succeeded in less than ten years—but the attack on August 17th was unprecedented in scale. The blast, caused by a pipe stuffed with TNT, did only relatively moderate damage to the shrine itself and the buildings that surround it. But timed to explode during the evening rush hour, and positioned at an intersection often packed with shoppers and tourists, it was designed to kill and maim a maximal number of bystanders. The dead included visitors from China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. A young girl was among the injured.

    Meanwhile, this dash cam footage shows the force of the Erawan Shrine bomb:

    วินาทีระเบิดที่แยกราชประสงค์ วันที่ 17 สิงหาคม 2015 ภาพจากกล้องในรถผมครับ

    Posted by Pimornrat Nana Puttayot on Monday, August 17, 2015

    Quartz has a roundup of pics and videos.

    For ongoing updates, here’s my public Twitter list of more than 100 media people in Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand.

    I especially recommend longtime Thailand blogger Richard Barrow, who frequently tweets information of interest to tourists and others in the city.


    How to Spell My Name, According to Starbucks Baristas Across Southeast Asia

    I love coffee.

    I have a weird name.

    And I live in Singapore and travel regularly in Southeast Asia.

    That’s a recipe for some serious Starbucks barista mixups!

    Herewith, a collection of misspellings of my name from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and more locations over the last year.

    Thumb IMG 0721 1024

    This one’s from Kuala Lumpur.

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    Can’t remember the location of this one.

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    This one’s from Jakarta.

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    Singapore, I think.

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    This one’s also from KL.

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    Another one from Singapore.

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    And another from Singapore, I think. This one’s pretty close, and completely logical.

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    Can’t remember where this one’s from. But it’s certainly phonetically accurate.

    IMG 5227 1024
    This one’s from Manila

    Life would be so boring if my name were James or John.


    I’m in the Philippines Helping Cover Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby — Here’s How to Follow My Dispatches

    I arrived in Manila early this morning; the weather has remained calm here.

    Here’s our latest story, just up:

    Typhoon Hagupit made landfall late Saturday, with its eye passing over the town of Dolores in the coastal area of Eastern Samar, a central Philippine province that has yet to fully recover from the devastation wrought last year by supertyphoon Haiyan.

    It was too early to know the extent of damage to Dolores.

    “It’s now in God’s hands,” Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who is in Eastern Samar’s capital of Borongan City to oversee disaster response actions, told a radio station earlier about what is ahead for the Philippines.

    The typhoon, locally referred to as Ruby, has days to make its might felt, as it moves up from the midsection to provinces just south of Manila.

    For images and other dispatches, follow me on Twitter; I posted some photos from the city today.

    You can also subscribe to my public Facebook updates.

    Stay tuned.