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Book Club 101 - Don't Interrupt and... Money VS Power

Every Wednesday I participate in a book club. We now discuss a great book I've read a couple of years ago “Debt: The First 5000 years”. It’s a nice meeting, stimulating environment with interesting discussions.

One thing that annoys me a bit is that certain people interrupt a lot. I’ve also been a bit like that in the past. I used to hear something and my brain would scream “what?” At that point I would stop listening. That's bad for two reasons. First. Most of the discussions are not rehearsed and they don’t have structure. Whoever speaks might clarify later. If they don't, I will use my notes to ask them to clarify when my turn comes. The second reason is that my ideas are often average. Of course they resonate with me, because they’re mine. But that doesn’t mean that they’re that profound. In the group, someone interrupts often to say that they’ve grown up in a socialist country. That somehow means that they know better. Well - I’m pretty sure that at least half of the other members of the group have also grown in such a country. That argument isn’t the end of the discussion but rather a starting point. I remember friends in the past telling me. “Hey - you have a good point, but the way you express it doesn't help. People dislike your behavior and they stop listening.” I now see that from the other side. Larry King has a great quote: “I never learned anything while I was talking.” Self expression feels great, but better be selfish. How to be selfish? Listen!

The second weakness of our group is that we’re all biased to see money as something fundamental and important. At some point someone coined the idea that “guns is money”. The idea is that Military Dominance is used to establish currencies like the dollar. I’ve heard that idea before but it never made much sense to me. Money is not that important. What is both super-important and tax-free, is power. Guns can give power. Money can give power. Innovation and natural resources can give power. But they aren’t power by themselves. In the United States, there are laws, culture and ethics that make people use those tools legally to achieve results in a global scale. That's what gives power.

As you can see, I feel this group has great inspiring people and conversations. Can't wait to meet again next Wednesday.

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