Monthly Archives: July 2012

New Arrivals: J. Crew

Some new arrivals at J. Crew lately. I’ve held a long-standing grudge that J. Crew doesn’t make slimmer dress shirts. Now they do:

Not only that, but they added a pajama set. I’ve been eying (side note, “eyeing” looks better than “eying”) the set at Brooks Brothers, but of course, prefer J. Crew.

New arrivals here:

Aggression

“When a child grabs a playmate’s toy, or defends himself violently against someone else who is grabbing the toy from him, you show both children what warrior energy is used for by immediately protecting the victim of the aggression, innocent or guilty. Then you help the little warriors see clearly what happened and how they feel. “That made you mad. That anger helped you feel strong. You may need that strength someday when there is nobody else to help you. But you didn’t need it here. You can get your toy back without hurting someone.”

Preschool teachers constantly repeat the convenient shorthand “Use your words” when a child gets aggressive. The overriding message is that aggression is bad. It doesn’t recognize the healthy aspects of aggression. Unrecognized, the healthy drive frequently goes over to the dark side.”

— Karl Marlantes, What It Is Like to Go to War

How to be Successful

1. Explain your ideas well, in a logical manner.

According to Irwin, if you learn how to talk well, you have an enormous advantage. After all, how can people appreciate what you have to say if they have trouble understanding you? By explaining your ideas in a rational manner, you demonstrate clear thinking and good communication skills.

2. Do not allow yourself to become intimidated by people of wealth, position, or power.

In a general sense, people are much more alike than they are different. If you are a young person who sees others as being similar to yourself, you will not be awed by someone just because he or she is rich, important, or powerful. This gives you an enormous advantage. Conversely, as you become more important over the years, you yourself will not intimidate others, making you more effective as a peer and as a leader.

3. Know how to negotiate.

There is no part of life in which negotiation is not important. After all, time, money, and resources are always limited. Thus, you should realize that, ultimately, you get what you can negotiate, not what you deserve. Remember this, because it is a much more rational belief than hoping that, one day, the rewards to which you are entitled will magically drop on you from heaven. However, you must also realize that negotiating well means more than simply pleasing yourself. Being a good negotiator requires you to work hard at meeting the needs of all parties — a lesson that is best learned young.

4. Be knowledgeable about what you are trying to do.

It only makes sense to find out about something before you make a decision or formulate a plan of action but, according to Irwin, such foresight is in short supply. Look around and you will see that successful people take the time to really understand what they are doing. For example, when Irwin sees a young employee who does research before buying a new car, he keeps an eye on that person.

5. Be willing to control your spending; use your money thoughtfully, not impulsively.

Some people say “Easy come, easy go” but, according to Irwin, such habits do not bode well in the long run. After all, success and wealth take years to build. Learning to spend wisely helps you become the type of person who is able to create the steady, dependable habits that, ultimately, lead to success.

6. No matter what you make, save something.

Saving some of what you earn, every time you are paid, is a habit that will repay you handsomely over the years. Even if your salary is low, save something: it forces you to think about the future regularly, a characteristic that is necessary to build wealth.

7. Invest wisely and conservatively, not impulsively. Control your investments, even when they are small.

If you save regularly, you will soon have something to invest. What Irwin has found is that, when you demonstrate wisdom and care in your investments, you tend to bring those same qualities to your work. And, if you learn how to manage money and invest wisely with small amounts, it will be a lot easier to handle the large amounts that come later in life.

8. Ask a lot of questions. Be inquisitive about everything you do.

Irwin finds out which employees have natural curiosity by noticing who asks the questions. He respects young people who always want to know more about what they are doing, because he knows they are the future innovators and leaders. What’s the best way to be inquisitive? According to Irwin, “You learn the most by asking questions and then listening.”

9. When mistakes are made, don’t place blame.

There is a Japanese saying, “Fix the problem, not the blame.” When something unexpected happens, you are best served by refusing to spend even a moment worrying about who caused the problem. Concentrate instead on making things right, no matter what it takes. If your boss is like Irwin, he or she will notice.

10. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be willing to try new things and go into them optimistically.

No one becomes successful without taking risks, so Irwin looks for the type of person who is not afraid to try and not afraid to fail. Do your homework first, then jump in with energy and optimism. Not only will you get results, you will inspire the people around you, an important characteristic if you want to be successful.

11. Find people who are wiser and better than you, and then delegate. Don’t be afraid to work with people who are strong enough to disagree with you.

No one becomes successful — or rich — all by himself. Have the confidence to realize that your success depends on the efforts of others. Once you understand this principle, you will naturally want to work with the very best people you can find. When someone can do the job better than you, let them. And when someone who knows what he is doing disagrees with you, listen to what he has to say. (The secret is to not take it personally.)

12. Be generous in deed and in spirit.

Irwin has found that, over the years, people who strive to be generous enjoy significant opportunities that would otherwise not be available. Generous people invariably find they receive a great deal in return for their generosity, including feeling good in a way that comes only from the understanding the needs of others. When you are generous in your deeds, that is, when you perform generous acts, you minimize the friction that arises from people around you who would otherwise be competing over scare resources. When you are generous in spirit, by considering the needs of the people whom your decisions affect, most everyone will like you and want to do business with you.

So that’s it. The 12 qualities that will make you successful in life. As Irwin puts it:

“What you do when you are young is practice for what you will do when you are old. In my experience, the only people who became rich and successful as they grew older were the ones who formed good habits when they were young and poor.”

Wedding Tuxedo

Thought I should list out everything I’ll be wearing. Starting at the top…

Bow tie: I’m going with a black bow tie from Brooks Brothers. It’s got a very classic bow shape, and I think it will be perfect. Here

Tuxedo shirt: This one was a little more difficult of a decision (first world problem)… I prefer going with American brands, but Thomas Pink has been great for me so far and I decided to go with their Marcella evening shirt. It’s got a bib, and no pleats. Classic but not too stuffy. Here

Dinner jacket & trousers: This was a pretty easy choice. I’m a huge J. Crew fan, and my two suits are both from J. Crew. They’ve always served me very well. I went for a peak lapel, although the shawl collar was tempting. The shawl collar seemed a bit too outside the box. Here

Suspenders: Honestly, I still can’t decide whether I will wear these or not. They’re nice, but they’re a bit on the skinny side. The black also sticks out quite sharply, and white may be a better choice. Here

Cuff links & studs: Just found Indochino today. They had the best picture of their cuff links and studs that I had seen, so what the hell, I ordered them. Here

Shoes: This is easily the most difficult part. Don’t have them yet. Should I spend ~$500? Thinking Alden, Brooks Brothers, Kent Wang… see below, you get the drift.