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Five Lessons from History

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https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/five-lessons-from-history/

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Five Lessons from History
The most important lessons from history are the takeaways that are so broad they can apply to other fields, other eras, and other people. That's where lessons have leverage and are most likely to apply to your own life. But those things take some digging to find, often sitting layers below the main story.

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Voltaire

“History never repeats itself. Man always does.”

Voltaire

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History lessons

The most important lessons from history are the takeaways that are so broad they can apply to other fields, other historical times, and other people. 

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Adopting new views 

One of the interesting parts of the Great Depressions from history is not just how the economy collapsed, but how quickly and dramatically people’s views changed when it did.

Peopl...

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Reversion to the mean

It occurs when people persuasive enough to make something grow don’t have the type of personality that allows them to stop before pushing too far.

Reversio...

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Unsustainable things can sustain for a long time

Yes, decisions should be made with facts. But in reality, to those directly involved, they’re made with contextualized facts (with things like social signaling, time horizon, office politics, gover...

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Progress and setbacks

There are lots of overnight tragedies. There are rarely overnight miracles.

Progress happens too slowly for people to notice; setbacks happen too fast for people to ignore.&...

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Wounds heal, scars last

There’s a long history of people adapting and rebuilding while the scars of their ordeal remain forever, changing how they think about risk, reward, opportun...

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Know When To Step Down

Often leaders have chosen to stay on when they should have bowed out. Without intending to, they often undo much of their own work and cause problems for their successors.

An increasin...

Don’t Believe Your Own Propaganda

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, accounted for his limitations by issuing an order to ignore instructions he gave in the evenings – when he liked to carouse with his friends. But history has far more examples of leaders whose convictions of infallibility grow in proportion to their power, eventually leading to the failure of their plans.

The Traps That Power Lays

A job can subtly warp your judgement so that you only see things from one perspective.

Think of Richard Nixon trying to use the institutions of the American government to shut down the Watergate scandal. Or the unexpectedly long American war in Vietnam.

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The Great Depression

The Great Depression

.. was a devastating economic collapse which started in the US in 1929, lasting a decade. Europe was already struggling post the WWI recession, while the US was thriving. As borrowings and stoc...

Wall Street Down

On 29th October 1929, the infamous crash of Wall Street happened, where 30 million dollars were lost in a week, leading to customers rushing to withdraw their money, known as the ‘bank run’.

The entire world felt the capitalistic fall and realized that a boom leads to a bust, eventually. The disastrous effects felt around the world showed how economically interconnected the world had become.

A New Deal

In 1933, then-President Franklin Roosevelt promoted his recovery path of Relief, Recovery and Reform, to give shape to the slow and arduous reform process that will take decades.

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Seven universal plots

Seven universal plots

There are only seven plots that are so fundamental to the way we tell stories that every storyteller uses one of them: Overcoming Monsters, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return Rebirth,...

Economic history

Looking for a few universal plot patterns reveals things fundamental to how all people think, which are likely to be repeated in the future and relevant to your own situation. This idea also applies to how the economy works.

Economic history can seem complicated because it's part of politics, psychology, sociology, criminology, biology, military, technology, education, finance, etc. But within all that complexity is a lot of similarities.

The lens to look through

  • People seem to want the same economic things – security, power, admiration, fulfillment.
  • They tend to use the same tactics to acquire those things - work, risk, incentives, persuasion, theft, control.
  • They tend to fall for the same flaws pursuing those things - overconfidence, pessimism, underestimating how fast things can change, etc.

Although economic history may seem complicated, there are only a small number of broad story plots throughout the world and throughout time.

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