What To Know about “12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos” by Dr. Jordan Peterson


I wasn’t looking for an antidote to chaos, but I like the imagery of chaos as a venomous snake.

Why am I inviting you to read this book?

There’s an idea that has a hold of me, you’re never as good as you could be.  I started this channel to record the most valuable things I want my son to know. I dug my dad’s grave when I was 15.  I know that I might die before my son becomes a man.

So I’m gathering what I consider the best available guidance for making his life better and you may find it useful as well. By sharing with you what I find useful, I’m putting it to the test.

Dr. Peterson is a compelling story teller who uses archetypes to persuasively make his point.

He’s a brilliant clinical psychologist who taught at Harvard.  I found this book to be a challenging read.

I like to think that it’s the book I would have written if I was a well educated, genius, psychologist.

I’m NOT, but he is.

He talks about topics that I’ve never studied.

I grew up in a tiny hamlet.  As Peter Gabriel famously said, “A place so small, we use small words”.


I had to look up the definitions of metaphysics, nihilism, postmodernism, NeoMarxism and a dozen other words he often uses.

I wanted to go to university. Thanks to Professor Petersons YouTube channel, I feel like I’m getting the best of what I imagine I missed out on.  I used to think of university as a place where intellectual curiosity is valued and competing ideas are debated.  An environment where you develop a meaningful philosophy of life.

Then I saw how horribly Lindsey Shepherd was treated.  Ironically, for daring to show 5 minutes of a TV broadcast in her critical thinking class without first condemning it.

My high regard for university is now a thing of the past.

This is a work you can’t be indifferent to.  You’ll either oppose these rules or embrace them.

What do you stand for?


What do you stand for?

Jordan took a stand on an issue that I had never even heard of.  For that, he’s been labelled divisive.   I see a guy attempting to bring extremists closer to the middle.

The wisdom is timeless.  When my son turns 18 I’ll give him this book.  I hope that he reads it and says to me “Dad, you know that I know this, you and mom taught it to me.  You can see that I’m living it.

This guy rambles a bit, I don’t agree with some of what he writes, but the gist of it is good.”

That would be excellent.  As I read it, I kept asking myself, how will my son know that I know these things?

What will he see me doing that reflects this wisdom.

Getting your own house in order is the first step in getting your whole life in order.  How you do anything is how you do everything.

Freedom can come from discipline.  Rules help you deal with chaos in other parts of your life.

I like that he focuses on the responsibility of the individual.

Jordan teaches ancient Biblical wisdom in a thoughtfully intelligent way.

I LIKE this book because it validates and supports what I already believe.

I’m Catholic and I like learning about other religions.  I’ve watched The Message, which is the story of Mohammed, attended a Shinto ceremony, read the teachings of Buddha

I was curious why people believed different things than I did.

My parents taught me that we’re born to suffer, that death is certain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh about it.  There’s some witty stuff in here.  If you don’t laugh out loud when you read this, then I’d suspect you are one of those poor souls that lacks a sense of humour.  If you lack a sense of humour, then you may find this book offensive.

There was a petition to have him fired.  If being Canada’s most listened to professor doesn’t work out, Dr Peterson could be a computer programmer.  He speaks thoughtfully and precisely and yet he’s often misunderstood.  I’ll include a link to an interview where the host kept misunderstanding him.

He patiently and reasonably clarified his position.  I admire how he conducted himself.

He’s suffered many false accusations and quite a bit of name calling.

I’d love to be able to deal with that as gracefully as he does.

Thank you Jordan Peterson, this book is well done, which makes it significant.

Thank you for being, our world is a better place for it.

And thank you for watching.

If you do read this, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

What To Know before you pick up a kettlebell


This is a kettle bell.  My mom used to cook on a wood burning stove and it looks like our old cast iron kettle except, it’s missing the spout.

It’s also looks like a cannonball with a handle.

Some people call the handle a horn because the shape is a little like the horns on a bull.

Kettlebells can be made of cast iron, like this one, steel or concrete.

This one has a rubber outer cover to protect your floors.

It’s simple and rugged and costs about $2 a kilo in Canada which is around $4 a pound in the US.

Years from now my great, great, grand children could be using this very same kettlebell.

So kids, if you’re watching, this is not a doorstop.

This is a steel competition kettle bell.

But you don’t have to be a competitor to use it.

It weighs 16 kilograms, which is about 35 pounds.

Kettle bell comes to us via Comrade Pavel from Russia, where 35 pounds is called a pood.

For an adult male, a pood is a great weight to start with, plus pood’s a funny word.

I could have called this the what to know before you lift a pood, but that would have been weird.

I wonder if Prime Minister Putin works out with a pood.

That’s my little Putin Pood Pun.

I’m being silly.

The steel has a smooth finish that feels nicer to handle than the cast iron.  That matters when you swing it around.

This is my favourite.

A competition kettle bell shape and size remain the same, regardless of the weight.

So how do they do that?

By making it hollow.

Depending on the movement that you’re practicing, there’s over a dozen different ways for you to hold a kettle bell.

You have two handed hold for swings.

If all you do is kettle bell swings, you’ll get a great workout.

One handed in the middle, also for swings.

You can hold it one handed on the thumb side.

I’m warming up my arms.


We have one handed pinky side for around the body.

This is called the crusher, no fingers.

You can do a bicep curl this way.

We have bottoms up, where the bottom is pointed up.

You can press it up, but if it starts to fall bring it down right away.

You don’t want that flipping on your wrist.


You have the ball grip, hold it like a basketball.

You can use that for head halos.

Your shoulders might be noisy like mine.

I asked my doctor and he said as long as I’m not experiencing pain it’s nothing to worry about.

You can go the opposite direct.

My thanks to my good friend Brenda Cyr from Toronto for requesting todays show.

Is there something you’d like to know about?  Email me at IWishIKnew@PeterWhelan.com

Would you do me a favour?

Like this video and subscribe to this channel because that means I’ll be able to help more people.

Share it with your friends.

Every time you talk about it, the more you find yourself putting it to use in your own life.

When would now be a good time to do that?

Thanks for watching!


What To Know before you deadlift a kettlebell


This is the show where I share with you what to know before you deadlift a kettlebell.

It could be before you pick up anything, but a kettle bell is more interesting.

I’m wearing loose shorts, no belt.

I like to practice barefoot because it keeps me on my toes.

You might think that barefoot is a bad idea.

These weights are so heavy that even a steel toed boot doesn’t offer enough protection.

If the weight is dropping, then get out of the way.

It’s possible for them to bounce so be aware of that.

Practice this movement without picking up anything until it feels natural to you.

Pretend you are lifting the heaviest weight that you are able.

1. Stand over the kettlebell.

2. To avoid rounding your back, squeeze your shoulder blades slightly together.

3. Tense your leg muscles and imagine pulling yourself down into the squat.

4. Push your butt back.  It may feel awkward at first.

5. Your knees track in the same direction that your toes are pointing

6. Your weight is on your heels, your toes are loose

7.Keep your back straight, which is not the same as vertically straight up and down.

8.Keep your chin up and look straight ahead, the kettle bell hasn’t moved

9.Grip the kettle bell with both hands.

10.Stand up by snapping your hips forward and tightening your glutes.

That’s a kettle bell dead lift.

Repeat it until you’re comfortable with it.

When I was getting started, I hired Ajamu Bernard a world class certified kettle bell trainer who teaches and certifies other trainers.

But, what does it mean if a trainer is certified?

Well now, that’s a good question!

Sometimes, all it means is that someone handed over a certified cheque to get a piece of paper.

No tests, no verification that they know what they’re talking about, no proof that they can help you.

How do you judge someone’s expertise when you’re not an expert yourself in that area?

You can ask about the testing process they went through.

You can ask for proof that they are certified.

For example, Microsoft has a certification program for programmers, system engineers and database experts.

Lots of IT people attempt to pass those exams and fail.

Some people lie and claim to have passed those difficult exams.

But, Microsoft provides a website where you can verify credentials.

I’ve passed over 30 Microsoft exams and I’ll put a link in the show notes to my transcript.

If you want an IT department that defends and supports your business,then give me a call.

But I’m obviously not a certified physical trainer.

If your trainer disagrees with anything I say, then listen to your trainer.

I want you and the people around you to be safe.

Can I tell you a story about how important a healthy back is?

It’s about a man I knew well. He worked hard all his life.

If you were on the other end of him on a cross cut saw, he’d wear you out.

A strong man, hard worker, but he hurt his back.

Over the years, his pain grew, and he drank rye and beer to kill the pain.

The doctors weren’t able to do much for him.

He never had much relief.

He became a heavy drinker.

He crashed his truck into a gas pump while he was drinking.

He lost his licence.

No licence meant no job.

There’s no public transit where he lived.

So he stayed home, in pain, jobless, depressed and drinking.

Until one morning, he never woke up again.

His family suffered the loss both emotionally and financially.

What if he could have protected his back or got some relief from the pain?

I imagine he wouldn’t have had that downward spiral.

Don’t let that happen to you.

The stakes are high.

A good trainer will already have the equipment and the knowledge to guide you.

She’ll watch what you’re doing and make corrections.

Remember, if I can do it, you can do it.

Ok, enough about that.

Let’s do it again, facing the wall.

When you go to the wall it forces you to use good technique.

1.  Stand over the kettlebell.

2. To avoid rounding your back, squeeze your shoulder blades slightly together.

3. Tense your leg muscles and imagine pulling yourself down into the squat.

4. Push your butt back.  It may feel awkward at first.

5. Your knees track in the same direction that your toes are pointing

6. Your weight is on your heels, your toes are loose

7.Keep your back straight, which is not the same as vertically straight up and down.

8.Keep your chin up and look straight ahead

9.Grip the kettle bell with both hands.

10.Stand up by snapping your hips forward and tightening your glutes.

Be patient with yourself. If you’re banging your head against the wall, you’re doing it wrong.

How are going to remember all that?

You don’t have to, I’ve created an instruction sheet for you.

Email KettleBell@PandoWisdom.com and I’ll send you a copy.

You can tape it to your wall and follow the steps until you have them down pat.

OR you could loop this video back a couple of minutes and play the deadlift part again.

I’ve used a few expressions, like “staying on my toes”, “going to the wall” and “getting things down pat”.  If you wondered what I meant by those, then you should check out my “Fun with English” course because I explain those expressions and dozens more.

My thanks to my sister Sandy Bye from Brudenell for requesting todays show.

Is there something you’d like to know about?  Email me at IWishIKnew@PeterWhelan.com

Would you do me a favour?

Like this video and subscribe to this channel because that means I’ll be able to help more people.

Share it with your friends.

Every time you talk about it, the more you find yourself putting it to use in your own life.

When would now be a good time to do that?

Thanks for watching!


What To Know about the Crave TV show “Letterkenny”


I grew up 10 minutes from Letterkenny  so I was excited to see that someone had made a documentary in the area.

The Letterkenny kids were always on the bus to Barry’s Bay before me. I thought I might see someone I knew.

Then it opened with there are 5,000 people in Letterkenny

That ain’t right.  Its maybe 50, tops.

Then I saw this clip …

Dog raped skunk

Not to be impolite, but…. holy liftin, who talks like dat?

By the reefin ginger, Dose guys are not from Letterkenny.

For three years I had no time for it.

I pretty near never watched Letterkenny because it looked like a bunch of degenerates making fun of country folk.

So, the first thing to know is that the show has nothing to do with Letterkeny.


To be fair

To be fair

No one claimed it was a documentary.

It’s a comedy. The land is way too flat to be LetterKenny.

It looks like Sudbury.

So pitter patter lets get at er

Letterkenny continues a long tradition of Canadians poking themselves for fun.

If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you’re missing out on a lot of jokes.

If you love humourous word play and alliteration, you’re going to enjoy the show.

Jared Keeso who hails from Listowel created Letterkenny and plays the Wayne character.

It started with Jared sitting around one day and thinking to hisself, I’s got an idea.

I’ll go stand out in my field and talk to the camera.  Then I’ll put it on youtube.

You have to be a bit twisted to do that.

It’s almost not worth thinking about.

AND he managed to make a full fledged TV show out of it, with three seasons so far

Good for him.   That’s what I say.

Good for him.

I’d go so far as to say I enjoy the show.

I came for the name and stayed for the laughs

Letterkenny is well done.  The cast throw themselves into their performances, the writing, direction, lighting and sound are all world class.

I imagine Letterkenny looks good on everyone’s resumes.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

Pete what are you doing?  Canadians don’t admire the work of other Canadians until they make it big in the states.

Figure it out.

They’ve earned the praise.  It’s funnier than prit near anything out of Hollywood.

Now, it is an edgy show, they’re bouncing hard on the slack line, to be sure, to be sure.

You never know where they might land.

There is plenty that you could take offence to.

But if you can simmer down and laugh it off, you might enjoy it

The Wayne character keeps his truck clean, his shirt tucked in, enjoys a snort and a smoke, doesn’t kiss and tell and loves his dog

Even though she’s not a beautiful dog like my Bootsie here.

I want to share with you a clip from the scene that hooked me on Letterkenny

I related to that.  Everyday I say something that I think is funny and no one laughs.

Also, I love how Wayne moves.  There’s physical humour without being comical about it.

I invite you to check it out for yourself.

If you watch nothing else, I recommend the relationship episode.  Season 2, episode 3

Season 3 Episode 6 is my second favourite episode, the scene where they talk about what’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard.

I’ll include links in the show notes to those.

They’ll work once you sign in to CraveTV.ca

They offer a 1 month trial. You might already have it as part of your TV subscription.

Thanks to my buddy Gord for suggesting todays show.

And thank you for watching.

Not to be impolite, but make yourself useful and subscribe to my channel.

Give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment about your favourite scene.

Figure it out.

That was funny because it was inappropriate .

Be seeing you.



What To Know about passwords


Have you ever wondered how many words you type in a typical day? All those texts and emails add up.

You may be typing 3,000, 6,000 or even 10,000 words a day.

Imagine if you could be more secure by typing a couple of more words.

My name is Peter Whelan and I work as an Information Technology management consultant.  I love solving tough problems.

Did you know that passwords are IT’s dirty little secret? They’re cheap and easy to put in place, and they are often badly implemented.

I’m looking at you LinkedIn!

I’ve researched this topic.  Some websites have cryptic password rules.

To frustrate you more, they only tell you what the rules are after you get them wrong.

Don’t you find that annoying?

It’s easy to reject any password that’s in the top million hacked passwords, but most websites don’t do that.

The first thing to know is that your password should never, ever, be a single word or name.

I recommend that you use multiple words.  I call that a fast phrase, it also known as a pass phrase.

A couple of extra words may be a little inconvenient, but it makes you more secure.

To be fair most systems are not secure.  Hackers have gotten into Yahoo, banks, Equifax, and even secret nuclear weapons programs.

Your fast phrase is your first line of defence.  Sometimes, it’s your only defence.

So, let’s find out if hackers already know your password

Go to https://haveibeenpwned.com

In video games, getting owned means that you’ve been defeated.  It’s spelled with a p due to a typo in a game that stuck around.

I’ll include a link in the show notes.  I enter my email address.

I see that my account was hacked at 4 different websites, that we know of.

That means that hackers stole account data from those companies.  They then figured out what password I was using on each of these sites, along with the passwords of millions of other people.

Try it out with your own email address.

You can also type in your password to see if it’s known.

Then change it to a fast phrase.

To be fair, you may not care if you get hacked.  Its unlikely anyone is going to target you personally, unless you’re in an abusive relationship or running for president.

But, can I tell you a story?

I grew up in a ghost town.  In winter, the temperature gets as low as -40

At minus 40 it can be hard to get the car started,  so my dad would leave the car idling, unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, while we went shopping.

My dad never had a password in his entire life.  If he had, it would have been 1234.

One day we heard of a kid who stole a car for a joy ride and ending up getting his friends and himself killed.  Because of tragedies like that, dad started locking the car.  Some law agencies will fine the owner for leaving a car unlocked.

Cars still get stolen.

Kids still die in joy rides.

As good citizens, we lock our cars to help reduce tragedies.

Now, to be fair no one is going to die if you get hacked.  Probably.

It’s a nuisance though.  Hackers can use your account to do damage to other people and to your reputation.  Fast phrases make the internet more secure for you and your friends.  When hackers get into your Yahoo email, they may spam all your friends next.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

If fast phrases are so great, how come your bank doesn’t allow them? Why do they make the password box so wide and then limit you to 6 characters?  Why are you forced to use numbers, lower case, upper case and a symbol?

That answer is that the National Institute of Standards and Technology came up with that.  They’ve apologized for offering poor advice, but it persists.

However, your password is not the only security measure the bank has in place.

Your connection is secure.  The green padlock is a sign that HTTPS is working.  Your bank also watches for unusual activity. If they get hacked, they’ll be held responsible for your losses.

Plus it’s a crime that law enforcement will investigate and prosecute.

Would you like to see how long it would take to hack your password?  Let’s go to https://howsecureismypassword.net

I’ve seen IT administrators use weak passwords for the most important accounts in the business.  It’s one of the first things I check for when I take on a client.

Some people use leet speak, substituting numbers and symbols for letters.

For example, I’m typing in p, a, dollar sign, dollar sign, w, zero, r, d.

That’s hard for a human to guess, but easy for a computer to break, 19 minutes is all it takes.

That’s why I recommend fast phrases.

The difficulty in hacking a fast phrase increases exponentially with length.

Let’s look at some examples, I’m entering maryhadalittle 51 years to hack, not bad, easy for me to remember and to type, but we can do better.

I’m adding lamb.  23 MILLION years, that’s what I like to see.

Maryhadalittlelamb is easier to say and to type than p, a, dollar sign, dollar sign, w, zero, r, d.

You see it’s more secure and convenient to use a fast phrase than a short cryptic password.

You can use your fast phrase to remind you to do things.

For example, Walkaroundtheoffice, then go do that. Windows takes a while to boot up anyway.

It feels like a trillion years if you sit there and watch it.

Let’s try, iloveeatingbroccoli FANTASTIC!  919 trillion years.

Not to be impolite but, that’s how long it would take me to love eating broccoli.

How about, Iexerciseeverymorning UNBELIEVABLE!  861 quadrillion years.

Or you could use song lyrics.  I was lightning before the thunder


Now we’re getting silly, 27 undecillion years?

Those numbers are just rough estimates, but you get the idea.

Three or four words, a fast phrase, is a more secure choice.

You could make your fast phrase something embarrassing, so that you won’t be tempted to share it.

With a simple fast phrase your accounts become far more difficult to hack.

Use fast phrases where you have to type them in yourself, like your Windows password.

The second thing to know is that it’s best to use a different password for every website.

Do not use the same password for Yahoo as you do for your bank.  That would be bad.

I know what you’re thinking.

How could I possibly remember a different password for every website?

Don’t even try.

That’s what I say.  Don’t even try.

I recommend you use a password manager.

It’s software that creates and enters a unique password for each website.

You can use an open source program such as KeePass, which is excellent.

There are commercial programs such as Dashlane and Lastpass.  They offer free versions that are easy to use.

I’ll include a link in the show notes.

Lets recap,

1. Where you have to type them in yourself, enter fast phrases instead of passwords

2. Use a different password for each website

3. Use a password manager to enter your website passwords for you

Fast phrases are the first step in securing your accounts.

You can also switch to the tor browser.

If you are targeted by a well funded, advanced persistent threat, they’re going to get you.

But, you can make it more costly for them and they might move on to a softer target.

Oh, that reminds me, put a post it note over your webcam.  You never know who might be watching.

My thanks to all my clients over the years who have asked lots of great security questions.

What To Know about learning to program in C#


C sharp, not C pound or C hashtag is a programming language that’s used for desktop applications and Xbox games.

When I want to learn something  programming related , I first check to see if Murach has a book on it.  If they do, I buy it and work my way through it.  I’ll include a link to their website in the show notes.

If you’re a professional programmer, or you want to be, you should know this book publisher Murach.

I’ve been reading their books since the early 80’s.   When I used to program on a mainframe in assembler and COBOL.

When I’m hiring programmers, I always ask how they learned what they know.  Was it formal education, self taught, bootcamp whatever

I’m biased, if they mention that they read a Murach book I have a higher opinion of them.

Murach offers an unlimited guarantee.  If their book isn’t better than any other programming book you’ve ever used, both for training and for reference, you can send it back within 60 days for a full refund.

I’ve never sent a book back.

The only books that I’ve seen that are close to how good this is, are other books from Murach

Murach books are written for programmers, by programmers who also know how to write well.

From this C# book you’ll learn how to best use Visual Studio, the essentials of C#, the various data types, how to program a Windows Forms application

It explains object-oriented programming, SQL, ADO.Net and LINQ for database programming You’ll learn  the tools to debug your application, create and use classes, work with inheritance, the whole 9 yards

It doesn’t cover using version control, like git, but you can learn that online.

And it doesn’t cover WPF, Windows Presentation Framework because that’s a whole book in itself.

Check out “WPF unleashed” for a good book on that.

5 years ago, I taught myself C# from this book written by Joel Murach books and Anne Bame

I was already familiar with .Net and had certified on C++ and VisualBasic so this was just what I needed.

They update their books as technology advances . C# 2015 is available now with 50 more pages.

They’ve been at this for a long time so they’ve managed to think of everything.  Murach books are suitable for a beginner all the way up to an experienced programmer.

The main difference is, an experienced programmer can work through it faster.  You’re already familiar with many of the concepts.

Even though I’m experienced, i read it all.  I still learned some basics that I hadn’t understood.  I was confused about some things and it filled in some gaps.

All the source code and data for the applications in the book are a free download. These aren’t just code snippets, they provide 14 full applications.

I appreciate that the examples are all drawn from real life business applications. They use business classes such as customer, vendor, invoices and products, not something from biology.

At 4 pounds and 850 pages the binding is perfect for a book this size. I open it to any page and it lays flat so that I can easily use it for reference.

Also, they do something very cool which I haven’t seen in any other book.

On the left hand pages, they explain concepts and on the right hand page they show examples and syntax, yet there is hardly any white space.

If you want to learn to program in C# this is a great way to do it.

My thanks to the programmers I work with who suggested today’s show.

Is there something you’d like to know about? Email me at IWishIKnew@PeterWhelan.com

Oh, would you do me a favour?

Like this video and subscribe to this channel because that’s helpful.

Share it with a coworker.

Every time you talk about it, the more you find yourself putting it to use in your own life.  We will all become better programmers.

Thanks for watching!


Show Notes

https://www.murach.com publisher of excellent technical training guides.

What To Know about job openings


This episode is about advertising job openings and hiring people.

I’ve worked in IT, Information Technology, for over 30 years.

I hire computer programmers, system engineers and marketing staff.

Have you ever applied for a job that looked like an ideal match and never heard back?

One time, I posted for a developer and got over 200 resumes in two days.

Most of the applicants were not at all qualified.

The good applicants got buried in a sea of bad applicants.

What I wish I knew then, is that a lot of people aren’t reading the  job posting before they apply.

There had to be a better way.

That’s why I recorded this show.

We’re looking for people who usually get the details right.

What happens when a marketer doesn’t pay attention to detail? You get brochures with the company name spelled wrong, wrong phone numbers or websites, repeated in 30,000 copies. I wish I was making up my examples but these mistakes were actually made. It’s unprofessional and costly.

What happens when a systems engineer doesn’t pay attention to detail?  A typo in a DNS entry can disable access to your email and website for hours. It’s disruptive and stressful.

When a programmer doesn’t pay attention to detail, the compiler will catch it.  I’m kidding. A typo can change the logic of program from true to false.

We all make mistakes. It’s not about being perfect

You may be watching this because someone I trained linked to this  in a job posting.

If so, congratulations, you’ve already set yourself above the other applicants.

We call this the Van Halen test.

Van Halen is a rock band mocked for their behaviour in the Spinal Tap movie.

Van Halen required promoters to provide a bowl of M&M’s backstage.

Nothing horrible about that, lots of people like M&M’s. I’d like to have a bowl of M&M’s in my contract.

But Van Halen demanded the removal of all brown M&M’s.

That’s crazy, M&M’s all taste the same, regardless of the colour.

When I heard this, I thought they were needlessly making people jump through hoops

Van Halen even had a hit song called Jump.

It looked like an abuse of power.

And maybe it was.

But on the other hand, there may a good reason for it.

Can you guess what it is?

I’ll give you a clue “How you do anything, is how you do everything”.

Why would Van Halen demand the removal of all brown M&M’s?

Well, there are hundreds of details to get right when setting up a show.

It would be a huge job to go through and double check that every bolt had been tightened, every scaffold and light was rigged properly.

Performers and stage hands have been injured and killed due to the details not being handled.

Van Halen has a unique stage that had to be setup correctly.

Now can you guess why Van Halen insisted on no brown M&M’s?

The answer is that removal of brown M&M’s proved that the concert promoter had paid attention to that detail.

If the promoter got that silly little detail right, then they probably got hundreds of the important details right.

“How you do anything, is how you do everything”

In our version of the Van Halen test, we ask you to report your typing speed.

We type all day, so we ought to be good at it.

Please take a minute to go to www.TypingTest.com I’ll provide a link in the show notes.  TypingTest.com will help you increase your speed if you choose to do that.

In the first line of your cover sheet include your error adjusted speed.

It takes us 2 seconds to cut the people who miss this detail

On a recent posting we eliminated 75 applicants.

That gives us more time to focus on desirable applicants, like you.

Don’t worry if you have a slow typing speed, so does Stephen Hawking.

What we’re testing is that you read our job posting and followed directions.

You’ve watched this far, which means that you’ll probably read our documentation and emails.

“How you do anything, is how you do everything”

Would you believe that some people read only the first line of your email?

Can I tell you another story?

It’s from a New York times article about a phishing email attack.

I’ll include a link to the full story in the show notes.

What I want you to focus on is this email.

“This is a legitimate email”. Would you stop reading at that point? He goes on to write “John needs to change his password immediately, and ensure that two-factor authentication is turned on his account. It is absolutely imperative that this is done ASAP.

He even  provides the correct link to make the password change.

Are you pondering what I’m pondering ?

What system administrator is going to tell you to change your password because you received a good email?

I’m certain what he meant to say was “This is NOT a legitimate email.”

It would have been more clear if Charles had first written “You’ve been targeted with a dangerous phishing email. Don’t click on any of the links in it.”

Strangely, no one questioned why the systems administrator strongly recommend changing passwords in response to a supposedly legitimate email.

I think it’s because they didn’t read past the first line.

The phishing email was treated as legitimate.

John Podesta unwittingly gave hackers his Gmail password.

Which gave the hackers access to a treasure trove of his confidential email.

Which led to embarrassing Clinton campaign emails being posted on WikiLeaks

Which led to the humiliation of the Clinton campaign.

Which led to the resignation of the chairwoman and a few top aides of the Democratic National Convention.

Which some argue contributed to Clinton losing the US presidential election.

Which led to Donald Trump being president.

And so on…

So details do matter. That’s why we ask for your typing speed.

Good luck in your job search.

Feel free to link to this video when you are hiring.

I guarantee you that it will save you a lot of time and help you find good people to work with.

Thank you for watching.

Show Notes


The full article about the phishing email



What To Know about condominium management


If you’re involved in the management of a condominium this episode is for you.

If you volunteer to be on the board of a condo, you may also have a day job. You may not be an expert on the management of condos or building maintenance. This show will give you the gist of what a condo manager with a general licence should know.

If you own a condo, it’s good to know how your investment is managed.

A condo manager protects the occupants, the owners, their employees and the property.

Up until 2017, any fool could offer condo management services, no education or experience needed.  There are bad ones out there.  Some property managers don’t answer the phone, don’t return messages.

They do the least amount of work possible.    They respond only to repeated complaints and then drag the process out for months. Or they make be great workers in a company that is understaffed.

If your condo is outside of Ontario different laws will apply, but the gist of this remains the same.   When Ontario’s Protecting Condominium Owners Act comes into force, condominium managers will have to be licenced.

The condominium regulatory authority of Ontario will administer the licensing system. Hopefully, that will raise the level of professionalism in this sector.

We’ll see.

The majority of people are honest and hard working. Most people want to pay their bills on time, quietly enjoy their home and be good neighbours.

The first thing I wish I knew about property management is that every liar, every deadbeat, every trouble maker, lives somewhere. Some of them may live in a property I own or manage.

The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario (ACMO) has been around for 40 years. ACMO created the courses and standards for the Registered Condominium Manager (RCM) designation. So far, there are only about 1,000 RCM and I bet there are about 10,000 condo corporations in Ontario.

If you have been managing condominiums for over 10 years, you can try to pass the RCM exam. You’re allowed 3.5 hours for the exam and about a third of property managers fail to pass it.  If you pass, you’re entitled to use the RCM designation and you’ll be able to get a general licence.

If you don’t have the experience, you must pass 4 mandatory courses that cover legal, financial, maintenance, administration and HR.

I passed all 4 courses, even got a couple of A’s, but that’s not enough.

The second thing I wish I knew is that my experience managing my own rental properties doesn’t count as experience for a general licence. I’ve been a condo board member, had some condo management experience but you need at least 2 years of full time experience to qualify for your general licence.

The third thing I wish I knew before I signed up for the courses is that most people don’t do all 4 at the same time. It was more work than I imagined it would be.  It amused the examination staff to keep seeing me showing up for every exam slot.

The course material is over 2,000 pages, weighs over 25 pounds and cost about $680 all in.

I wish I knew that before I enrolled.  I would have ordered the books first and read them all before the course began.

There are questions at the end of each section.  That will give you a good idea of what you’re expected to know.

I recommend reading these books before you spend the $444 tuition on each course. You have to invest about $2,500 in cash, plus your time, to pass everything.

You might find a deal on Kijiji where people are selling theirs. Ask to see the receipt to make sure they are recent purchases.

If you work outside of Ontario, the legislation and courses will be different, but the gist of it will be the same.

Mohawk college runs the program. You can signup online through your nearest college, I went to Sheridan. You’ll be writing your exams there.

The college will set you up with an Ontario Learn account.

From there you will go to the actual course on a 3rd website called DesireToLearn

Once you are setup there, you can go directly to it each week.

The fourth thing I wish I knew is that you must be able to logon at least once a week.  There are weekly chats, assignments and  quizzes. You can’t do them in advance. If you miss them, then you get 0 for that section.

The week after your course ends is exam week.

I recommend starting with intro to condo law.

It’s the law that separates condo management from regular property management.

It’s about consumer protection.

If you own your house, there are loose limits on how you maintain your property.

You can defer maintenance letting the roof leak, paint peel and leave windows broken

It has to get bad before the government will step in.

In a condo, there’s a higher standard to protect consumers. Money is put aside each year for the inevitable major repairs. A wise homeowner does the same thing, but is not required to by law.

Now, you can read the condo act for free, so why pay $195 for The condominium act users manual by Audrey Loeb? Because it’s worth it. A great deal of care and effort went into creating this.  If you are on a condo board I recommend having a copy of this.

It’s well organized with first a section of condominium act quoted. Then she explains what that section means and then she provides case law to provide examples of how the courts interpret the law.

The case law is a little repetitive as the same case is cited many times, but that reflects the reality of it.

When I was a condo board member, I felt it was important to read this. There would be fewer disagreements if everyone involved in condos knew and honoured what their rights and obligations are. I found it depressing to read much of the case law. So much of it seemed to arise out of ignorance or malice. The good news is that we’re supposed to get better education resources written in plain English.   There will be a tribunal to resolve disputes cheaper and faster.

There’s a glossary where you’ll learn the meaning of words and phrases used in the condominium act, such as subrogation, redound and quantum meruit.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that I had to use reading glasses for the first time.  The print is on the small side.

There are also two course manuals, written by a wide variety of lawyers.

Accounting is the language of business.

A condominium is a non profit business.

In the financial course, you’ll setup a zero based budget

You’ll learn the 8 principles of accounting, prepare an annotated chart of accounts, budget variance report, understand accruals and normal balances.

You’ll learn how to setup the operating budget, the reserve fund budget and cash flow budget

The Admin and HR course covers the basics of running any business, with a focus on condominium management.

Physical building management

This was my favourite course because I learned so much and it was one of the ones I got an A on.  Before this course, I hadn’t managed a high rise condo. The mechanical, elevators, life safety systems and pool maintenance was all new to me.  In here you’ll learn what the various trades have to do to keep everything well maintained.

There’s a saying “How you do anything is how you do everything.” I favour preventive maintenance. I’ve been driving the same car since 2000 and people still ask me if it’s new.

Other people don’t change their oil until the car stops working. For property maintenance, some will defer all work until the city orders them to do it. That’s counter productive.

You will learn what to look for in the daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.

Each course ends with an exam

To prepare for it, read the weekly chats and answer all the review questions. That will give you an idea of the kind of questions that you will be answering on the exam.

Arrive an hour before the exam starts

That gives you time to find parking, where to pay for parking, find the exam room and to a relax with a last minute review.

Good luck to you, but if you’ve done the work you won’t need luck.

My thanks to condo property developers Mickee and Seema Singh from Mississauga who suggested this show.

Is there something you’d like to know about? Email me at IWishIKnew@PeterWhelan.com

Would you do me a favour?

Like this video and subscribe to this channel because that helps.

Share it with a co-worker.

Thank you for watching!

What To Know about Bitcoin


I’ve been asked about Bitcoin a lot this year.  My friends know that I’m a certified C++ programmer and that’s the computer language that the Bitcoin code is written in.

I’m also a real estate investor and I’ve traded stocks and options through my own brokerage account.

I’m an IT management consultant, I get paid for my perspective.  However, they never asked me about two phased commits, cryptography or the other technical knowledge I have.  The rapid rise in the price of bitcoin is why they, and you, are interested in it.  I’m recording this on Dec 31, 2017 and it’s risen 14 fold this year alone.

The story of money is a complicated subject, but you don’t have to know that story to use money.

I’ve done my homework and researched bitcoin.  I’ll try to make cryptocurrency less cryptic for you.  It’s complex and not yet as easy as cash to deal with.

What’s the difference between an investment, a lottery ticket and bitcoin?

An investment is something that you EXPECT to make money for you.

A lottery ticket is something that you buy all your life, HOPING it makes you money, even though you’ve don’t know anyone who won big.

A bitcoin is something that interests you because it’s price has risen so high, so fast.  You WONDER if it will make you money, even though you’re not sure what it is.

As you continue to watch, you’ll learn what to do to protect yourself.  I’ll show you how to get $25 for free, if you want to.

I’m not qualified to give financial advice.   To be fair, SMILE, I don’t know what the price of bitcoin will be tomorrow and neither does anyone else.  I’d feel horrible if I told you to buy and the price dropped to 0.  If I told you to not buy and it goes to a million that would be even worse.  Personally, I’d buy Bitcoin before I’d buy a lottery ticket, but to be clear I’m not advising you on what to do with your money.

Bitcoin was designed to give you something to trade with another person, to put your money fully within your control without requiring anyone else involved.

You know how to use cash,  but the story of money is complicated.  How did we get to the point where the government issues money and we all agree on it’s worth?  You can use cash without knowing anything about how it came to be.  We don’t think about what happens to make it all work, all the institutions, the checks and balances, the regulations, which is complicated.

When we think of cash, debit cards or credit cards we know how to use them.  Bitcoin is not yet that simple.

Did you buy Bitcoin in 2013, when it was in the news and cost $25.  Probably not.  Do you feel like you missed out? This might make you feel better.  Would you do a thought experiment with me?  Pretend that you bought 40 coins for $1,000 4 years ago.   They’d be worth over $700,000.  That’s more money than most people ever have.

Ask yourself these questions.

If you had 40 bitcoins for the last 4 years, would you feel like a genius for buying it?  Or would you feel lucky?  Would you hold it or sell it? Would you have sold some of it when it had went up to 10,000 or 100,000 or 500,000?  I imagine I would have.

Would you have lost your keys?  It’s estimated that the keys to over 3 million bitcoin are lost.   That money is unusable, forever.  it’s like burning 50 BILLION dollars.

If you didn’t sell it or lose it, would it have been stolen.  As the price of bitcoin rises, more people are trying to steal it or cheat you out of it.  When you hear of bitcoin hacks, it’s not bitcoin itself that was hacked.  When a bank is robbed we don’t call that a money hack.  It’s the centralized exchanges which are the main entry points where money is transferred and the wallets where it’s stored, that get hacked.  Would you have stored your money in an exchange?

Check out this clip from American Gods.

That was a bank robbery.

Would you hand your money over to some guy on the street?   That’s effectively what people are doing with central exchanges.  Mt. GOX is one example, it sounds like a solid mountain fortress, but it was more like that TV clip. A guy with a website saying  I’ll take your money and tell you how much bitcoin you have. Mt. Gox actually stood for Magic The Gathering Open Exchange, a repurposed card trading website.  Millions of dollars were stolen and that’s just one of over a dozen exchanges that have disappeared.  People send money to exchanges where they have no idea who runs them or where they’re located.  Trying to get your money out of them is more difficult than sending them money.  The exchange websites crash as they can’t keep up with demand.  If your banks website crashes, you can always use an ATM or go to a branch.  You don’t have that option with exchanges, they’re not banks, you can’t walk into them and they do not yet offer deposit insurance.  Do not store your bitcoin on a exchange.

Many popular wallets have been hacked.  In some cases, programming is done by amateurs who don’t follow normal code review procedures.  This has resulted in millions of dollars being accidentally locked away.

There’s also market risk that you can’t do much about.  Half the bitcoin in the world is controlled by around 1,000 people.  It’s possible for them to move the price by placing a large sell order, then buying it back at a lower price.

Lots of experts are making predictions for what price Bitcoin ought to be.  Some say that it will go back to 0 and others say it will be over a million per coin.   How can you tell who the real bitcoin experts are?  I predict that someone is going to be closest to being right because every outcome has been predicted.  That doesn’t make them an expert.    The ones who predict 0 are looking at all the unsolved problems with it.  The ones who predict a million are looking to what Bitcoin aspires to be.

I imagine the price will go higher due to Metcalfe’s law.

Bitcoin has the network effect going for it.  That means the easier it is to buy, the more expensive it gets and the more people want it.   Until this year, it was difficult for a non-technical person to get involved, but it’s getting easier all the time.

Cryptocurrencies are powered by open source blockchain technology.  Bitcoin uses a blockchain, but it is not the same thing as blockchain.  Blockchain technology is here to stay and will eventually deliver on what it promises to do.   The people who will benefit most haven’t even been born yet.  That’s what I’m excited about.

Wherever trust is a problem, blockchain offers a solution.  It’s a protocol for trust that allows you to trade with another person without having to rely on a 3rd party like a credit card company, eBay, uber or AirBNB.

But, we have a lot of work to do, the internet wasn’t built in a day.

Blockchain combines the openness of the Internet with the merit of free markets.  It builds on concepts and technology that I’ve worked with for years in On Line Transaction Processing Systems, OLTP.  It uses cryptography to make a message secure with public keys, digital signatures, hashes and merkle trees.

What’s new is that the Bitcoin blockchain was the first to provide a solution to the double spend problem, without having to trust a 3rd party.

But, unless you are into IT, you don’t care about any of that..

You want to know what is bitcoin and how do you buy it.

A bitcoin is unlike any financial instrument the world has ever seen.

I’ll do my best to demystify it for you.

There’s a lot of confusion because simple explanations leave out important details. Full explanations need broad knowledge to understand.  There’s disagreement over whether it’s a currency, a method of settling transactions, or a speculative asset.

Lets start with what it’s not.

It’s not a Ponzi scheme or a pyramid scheme. However, people are running those scams using bitcoin, just as they’ve run them using other forms of money.

It’s not illegal for you to buy and sell Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is not a company, so talking about it’s market capitalization is misleading.

Bitcoin has no employees.

It’s not a physical coin. You can’t touch one. These symbols are for show.

It’s called a cryptocurrency, but it will have to get a thousand times faster to be usable by everyone.

Computers made music and movies cheap and easy to duplicate.

Bitcoin does the opposite, making a coin rare, expensive and designed to rise in value.  Bitcoin brings scarcity to the digital world. Only 21 million Bitcoin can ever be created and it will be 2140 before that happens.

A bitcoin cannot be randomly and easily inflated, manipulated, counterfeited, frozen or destroyed by someone else.

So, what is bitcoin?

It’s an open source computer project.  Programmers donated their time to write code they care about.

A bitcoin represents equity in the Bitcoin transaction network.

A bitcoin is a number which is a unique address.  It’s tied to some computer code and recorded in a database that is a special kind of ledger called a blockchain.

It’s decentralized so that you fully control what you own.

A bitcoin, or a tiny fraction of it, can be traded between any two people.  The price is determined by the free market, supply and demand.  How badly someone wants to buy it and what the owner is willing to sell it for.

Bitcoin broke the monopoly that governments have on the creation of money.

It’s like cash for the internet.  Some countries have passed laws to explicitly accept bitcoin as a legal payment method.

Where do bitcoins come from?

Bitcoin mining is the process of finding the answer to a difficult puzzle.  That’s called “proof of work”.  It’s computationally difficult to come up with the answer, but easy to verify.  It’s called mining because hard work is being done.  Nothing at all is actually being dug out of the ground.

By design, a coin is mined every 10 minutes.  The coin is payment to the miner for securing the ledger.

Mining is one of areas that causes a lot of confusion.  When Bitcoin started, anyone could mine coins with a home PC, it was a fully decentralized peer to peer system.  Today half the bitcoin in the world is mined in a few buildings in China. Only specialized computers with access to cheap electricity can profitably mine Bitcoin. It costs about a $1,000 of electricity to mine a single coin.

There’s nothing to stop other crypto currencies from being created.  In fact, hundreds already have been. They are called alt coins because they are alternatives to Bitcoin, which was the first to gain mainstream success.  A programmer like me can even create my own currency.  The question is, why would anyone value it?  I predict that by 2022, 95% of the alt coins will essentially be worthless.

Let’s talk about trust.   If you live in a country with limited banking options or high levels of corruption, then you have the most to gain.  I live in Canada and for the most part, we have trustworthy institutions, but they aren’t perfect.

The 2008 financial crisis had many people asking “who can I trust?”

Can I trust the credit rating services?  Nope

Can I trust financial institutions to not take excessive risks? Nope

Can I trust the government to oversee those institutions? Nope

Can I trust the government to not manipulate currency?  Nope

The next time there’s a crisis, will the government confiscate my money? It’s been done in other countries.

If you can’t trust the bank, your government or credit raters, who can you trust?

That brings us to Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.

Satoshi’s answer is that you can trust the code, trust the math and let the free market do the rest.

Satoshi, a C++ programmer, authored the 8 page white paper that defined Bitcoin.  I recommend reading that before you buy any Bitcoin.  I’ll include a link to it in the show notes.


Satoshi is a Japanese man’s name, so I will refer to him as he.  It’s not actually known who he is, he could be Canadian.

Satoshi could be a woman or a small team.

He could be a 13 year old genius.

There’s even speculation that Satoshi is the first self aware, artificial intelligence.

We don’t know. If I was Satoshi, I’d want to remain unknown  too.  That way, the idea of Bitcoin is judged entirely on its own merits.

Another reason to remain unknown is that at the time, it wasn’t clear if it was legal to create bitcoin.

it’s assumed that he mined much of the bitcoin in the first few months of it’s existence.  Would governments retaliate against him?

It’s estimated that he owns 1 million bitcoin and he hasn’t spent any of it.

What can we learn from that?

How can you make a fortune and not spend a dime?

I can think of a few possibilities.

1) He created Bitcoin as a public service.  Maybe he’s a tech billionaire who has more money than he can spend,  maybe he’s a priest who took a vow of poverty.

2) He might have lost his keys.  If you lose your keys, then you’ve permanently lost access to your bitcoin.

3) He might have died and his heirs are unaware that the keys exist or have value.

4) Maybe he’s waiting.  Maybe he believes that each coin will someday be worth a million dollars.  That would make him the worlds first trillionaire.  Why kill the goose that’s laying golden eggs?

If Satoshi wants to reveal himself, he can do so with a single encrypted email signed with his key.

Bitcoin is a great example of how you can get a lot done if you don’t care who gets the credit.

Management of your cryptographic bitcoin keys is very important.   You know how to use a bank card.  HOLD BACK UP You need a short PIN number to prove that you are allowed to use it.  You don’t write that number on your card and you don’t keep that PIN in your wallet.  If your forget your number, you walk into the bank and they will issue you a new one.   Cryptographic keys are too long and complicated for most people to remember.  If you lose a bitcoin key then you can never access that money again.

It’s vital that you master key management.

That’s enough for today. I want to keep these shows short for you. If there is demand for it, I’ll create a show on how to buy and protect your bitcoin and the related keys.


Thank you for watching this far.  You know, there are lots of people who say they want to get into bitcoin, but they’re not willing to spend the time and effort to learn about it.

There are three things you can do now.

First,  I promised to show you how to get $25 for free.  Create a free account with Tangerine, an online bank.  You’ll learn how to transfer money to and from your current bank account.   If you deposit $100 and use the Tangerine Orange Key from the show notes below, Tangerine will deposit $25 to your account.  This will get you comfortable with the idea of having a bank account with a bank you can’t walk into.  If that makes you nervous, then don’t buy cryptocurrency.  Tangerine is far more regulated and trustworthy than the cryptocurrency exchanges.

Second, create a free encrypted email account at ProtonMail.

I’ve seen people who should know better lose their encryption keys.  When an encryption key is lost, then access is permanently lost.  I’m repeating myself because it’s so important.  ProtonMail is a way for you to get started with cryptography and key management. You’ll get experience working with PGP signatures.  You can use that email for your cryptocurrency, making it more secure.

But, you can skip all these steps and buy Bitcoin right now, if you want to.

In the show notes, I’ll include a link to Coinbase where you can purchase a couple of hundred dollars worth of bitcoin with your credit card.

My thanks to Shawn for suggesting this show.

Would you do me a favour?

Click on the thumbs up button  to like this video.

And click on the picture in the upper right corner  to subscribe to my channel because, that’s helpful.

Share it with a friend.

Every time you talk about it, the more you find yourself putting it to use in your own life.

Thank you for watching!

Be seeing you

Show Notes

Get $25 at https://www.tangerine.ca/en/index.html when you open an account with $110 and reference this Orange Key 46641110S1

You can buy up to $250 of bitcoin per week using your credit card at https://www.coinbase.com/join/53ab74bf46b3d0a92c000001. You will get $10 when you open an account with $130

For Canadians, you can also purchase bitcoin at https://coinsquare.io/register?r=BDBA5F7F6  You will get $20 when you open at account with $70

What To Know about “How To Fail At Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams


Do you believe you can improve your life by learning lessons from the successes and failures of other people? If so, then I invite you to read “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams.  Also you should subscribe to this What to Know channel, because that’s kind of the point of it.

I’ve read thousands of books. If you are going to read only one book in your entire adult life, this is the one I recommend. The sooner you read it,  the better. I’ll be teaching my son and godson lessons from this book.

Before I read any book about success, I like to first read this XKCD comic on

survivorship bias. I learned about xkcd from Scott


Never stop buying lottery tickets, no matter what anyone tells you. I failed again and again, but I never gave up. I took extra jobs and poured the money into tickets. And here I am, proof that if you put in the time, it pays off.

You know that’s ridiculous.  It reminds me that we never hear from the millions of losers that took the same actions and failed.

So who is Scott Adams?

He’s an entrepreneur with an MBA.

Scott had the number one best selling ebook in the history of the world, God’s Debris, even though there was no humour, sex or violence in it.

Scott has sold over 12 million books.

Scott has made more money in a year as a public speaker than most people do in a lifetime. That’s particularly remarkable, because he lost the ability to speak in public for years.

At 60 years old, Scott is fit and healthy with a flat stomach.  I’m impressed by that.

He dates a successful, pretty smart and funny woman, Kristina Basham she’s big on instagram

You’ve already seen Scott’s work.

Scott’s very first book, The Dilbert Principle, was a #1 New York Times best seller.

The Dilbert comic strip is his most well known venture, appearing daily in over two thousand newspapers in 65 countries.

He’s the most successful cartoonist in the history of the planet.

Imagine that.

Scott, I call him Scott because that’s his name, he doesn’t know me from BLINK ….Adam   I don’t mean to imply that I know him.

I’m a fan of his work.

He’s published around 10,000 comics strips

And, he did it all on purpose.

As a cartoonist, Scott gets straight to the point. It must be hard for him to write a whole book. Here’s an example of his work

He’s already won big.

He reminds me of the Kilgore Trout character in Kurt Vonnegut’s book Breakfast of Champions.

He’s fabulously well to do.

He has an estimated net worth of $60 million.  That’s a million for every year around the sun.

But don’t hold that against him, he’s earned it.

I used to have a low opinion of millionaires.

Everything I knew about millionaires I learned from Giliigan’s Island.

Every time I look at people like Scott, self made millionaires who are useful contributors to society, I admire them. He keeps working even though he has more money than he can spend ever on himself.  Which means that another million one way to the other won’t have much impact on his day to day life.

Imagine that.

I hope he becomes a billionaire, like Elon Musk or Bill Gates. The way I see it, they’re all working on behalf of humanity.

How to fail at almost everything and still win big, kind of the story of my life. That’s a persuasive title, because when I read it I thought, I haven’t failed at everything, maybe I can win big too.

What he calls failures, I call mistakes. In some cases, things didn’t work out the way he hoped.

As you continue to watch my invitation to read this book, you’ll decide for yourself if you want to. Reading this book is an experience that a video can’t substitute for.

There’s a tremendous amount of life improving ideas in here.

There are chapters on personal energy, affirmations, managing your attitude, humour, happiness, diet, fitness and much more.

Scott used hypnotic writing to make suggestions that you will be more likely to follow, such as being active every day, eating healthy,

singing his praises,

Purchasing every thing he sells

Promoting his work for free.

Telling everyone Scott Adams is the best.

I even bought the t shirt

You see what I did there?

I pretended that Scott mesmerized me.

I point that out because he makes the unbelievable claim that a third of all people can’t tell when someone is joking. I find that hard to believe but I can’t discount the idea either. He IS an expert on humour.

Let’s get into the book.

On page 107 he writes “If you see something that impresses you, a decent respect to humanity insists that you voice your praise.” And that withholding your praise borders on immoral. I read this 4 years ago and that line has been bouncing around in my head ever since.

With this show I’m voicing my praise for the books, ideas and activities that impress me.

Scott impresses me.

I disagree with a lot of what he has to say, but I like to challenge my beliefs.

So!  What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made?

What’s the first mistake you remember making?

Through my fault,

through my own fault,

through my most grievous fault

I’ve made my share of mistakes

This book reveals ways to limit both the number and severity of mistakes you make.

On page 117 he asserts that having an understanding of your dozens of cognitive biases is vital to your financial health. What you don’t know can cost you money. I’ll include a link to those in the show notes.

There’s a chapter on how maximize happiness. My Mom always said we are  born to suffer. So I have a lot to learn about happiness.

Scott suggests you can be happier if you have control of your own schedule and feel that your life is improving. There are people who have attained great success but are unhappy because they don’t like where there life is headed.

Systems versus goals

Scott claims that goals are for losers (literally) and systems are for winners.

I’ve had trouble understanding what he meant by that.

I think he framed it as systems versus goals to make the idea sticky. I find myself repeatedly coming back to that notion.

Systems analysis was one of the courses I had to pass for my Computer Science diploma.

My first thought was that systems are what help you achieve your goals.

You can’t get what you want, if you don’t know what you want.

I’ve also studied 3 different goal setting courses.

I bought into them based on a lie.  They claimed that there had been a study done at Harvard or Yale which found that the 1% of students with written goals later had more wealth and success than the other 99% combined.

There was no such study.

People sell goal setting programs by highlighting the exceptional achievers and ignoring all the people who set goals and fail.  Remember that XKCD cartoon on survivorship bias.

Some people think that the secret is to have a goal and that it will somehow magically happen.  They never create a system that has them working every day towards that result.

With good systems, you are putting yourself in a position where you might get lucky.

Even when you trip, you fall forward.

That’s progress

Let’s use the example of a goal of having a flat stomach.

The way I eat there’s a slim chance of success.

The SMART goal is

Specific – 6 pack abs

Measurable – you can see them

Agreed Upon – Anyone can tell if the goal has been reached

Realistic – other fat people have done it

Time based – by Sept 2018 I will lose over 50 pounds of fat.

With a focus on the goal, you are always falling short. You may get to achieve your goal, but it’s a short lived experience.

I’ve repeatedly achieved losing fat, but I didn’t sustain it. I didn’t have a system to maintain it long term without draining my limited will power.

I bought into systems from Weight Watchers, Nutri System, Jenny Craig and various gyms

Millions of their customers have proven those systems don’t work in the long term.

There has to be a better way

A requirement of a system is that you expect it to give you a favourable result most of the time, for most people.

Scott defines a system as something that you do regularly that improves your odds and makes you more skilled and valuable. Even when you fail, you’ve learned something useful.

A great system will give you multiple ways to succeed and no way to fail.

With a system you focus on the daily process, being happy about the directed effort. Your focus is not on the end goal but on the daily activity. Every day that you follow your system, you win big.

Goals work fine for simple situations.

Life is too complicated and changing too fast to have well defined long term goals. In IT we have methodologies such as Agile for dealing with exactly that problem.

Realize that this channel is an example of a system.  I’m an IT guy, a techie. As a group, we’re not known for our conversational and public speaking skills. So I decided that’s a useful skill for me to develop.

You can have a system to increase your chances of succeeding, without having a specific goal in mind.

In his autobiography “up till now” William Shatner describes his simple system that led to his greatest financial success.

When the phone rings, William Shatner answers it and says “yes” to whatever is offered him, as long as they can pay.

When he was offered the chance to record an album, he said yes. Let’s have a listen

That’s considered the worst Beatles cover of all time and a colossal failure.

Over 20 years later, when Priceline needed a pitch man, they thought of Shatner because of that album.

They didn’t have cash, all they could offer was stock in their company.  That horrible album led to Shatner earning more money than everything else he did in his life, combined.

You couldn’t plan that.

That’s the power of a system that puts you in a position to get lucky.   Luck was a big part of that.


You have thousands of skills and talents. Scott asserts that something special happens when you stack your talents.

What does that mean?

My career is in IT.  We stack one technology on top of another to produce the Internet (TCP/IP stack). For web services, we have the Linux operating system supporting the Apache web server with mySQL for database and PHP for coding. That’s the LAMP stack.

By stacking various independent technologies on top of one another, we’re able build systems that support our modern world.

Scott adapted that idea of stacking to create his talent stack concept. A useful talent stack consists of talents that build on top of one another.  Imagine that These blocks are your talents.  At the bottom of your talent stack is your brain. Then you have your energy level. Improvements at the bottom of the stack improve everything above. For an IT person, rapid learning, touch typing, basic accounting, business writing, are all useful skills.

Sooner or later, when you stack your talents, you reach higher heights.

You don’t have to have a single outstanding talent to win big.

Scott claims that his talent stack consists of a number of average talents. He has a strong work ethic, but he’s a mediocre artist. He’s clever and funny, but at a party there’s usually someone funnier than him. He’s earned his MBA.

He’s a good writer. He’s a master persuader and he knows marketing.

He’s stacked those talents to become a world class cartoonist.

As I said, I’ve read thousands of books. I recommend reading this one above all others. It’s packed full of jam with ideas that you can use to win big lee.

Win bigly is the title of his next book.

If you do read it, I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.

My thanks to my friend Lori Challenger for suggesting todays show. You can see her in the “How to Open A Banana” episode of the “What to Know” show. Every time we watch that we have a good laugh.

Thank you Scott Adams for this excellent book.

and thank YOU for watching.

Is there a show you want to see? Email WhatToKnow@PeterWhelan.com and maybe I’ll make one for you.

Be seeing you.

Show Notes

https://xkcd.com/1827/  Survivorship bias

http://dilbert.com/strip/1992-09-29 gets to the point


Scott Adam’s blog http://blog.dilbert.com

The Dilbert comic strip http://dilbert.com/

How to open a banana https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuEPNlw6nwk&