Then both of them turn to Owen. “You can do it, Owie,” Walt whispers. “I know you can.” Owen looks evenly at his brother and Merlin, and then steps to the anvil and lifts the sword true. Did he understand what Walt was saying? Did he just imitate what he saw his brother do? What the hell difference did it make? Today, in the sunlight, he’s the hero of his imagination.
Most people love to talk about success (and life in general) as an event. We talk about losing 50 pounds or building a successful business or winning the Tour de France as if they are events. But the truth is that most of the significant things in life aren’t stand-alone events, but rather the sum of all the moments when we chose to do things 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. Aggregating these marginal gains makes a difference.
We separated stocks with pronounceable ticker symbols from those with unpronounceable symbols. Across both markets, stocks with pronounceable symbols enjoyed a bigger post-I.P.O. boost than their unpronounceable counterparts. The effect was strongest during the first few days of trading; over time, it weakened, but never quite vanished.
Neuroscientists have come up with a mathematical equation that may help predict calamities such as financial crashes in economic systems and epileptic seizures in the brain.
Put mathematically, the complexity now grows non-linearly. This means, as banks get larger, the ability to risk-manage the assets grows much smaller and more uncertain, ultimately endangering the viability of the business.
The richness of math is in the abstraction. It allows you to take a step back from reality, and that gives us the freedom to think the way we want. Mathematicians display a great deal of imagination.
His method was adopted by everybody from bond investors and Wall Street banks to ratings agencies and regulators. And it became so deeply entrenched—and was making people so much money—that warnings about its limitations were largely ignored.