I happened to read Uncharted by Margaret Heffernan and Die With Zero by Bill Perkins around the same time. While her book says it’s folly to act as if we can predict what’s to come in life, his says we don’t need to over prepare. Different messages on the face of it and yet I found there to be a half-dozen shared themes.
For fun, tally which quote from each pair below has more meaning to you. (Note: This is not a competition, it’s only an exhibition. Please – no wagering.)
MH: “The best way to navigate uncharted territory is to have an energetic, future facing and long-term ambition in mind.”
BP: “I’m reminded how many (or how few) weekends I’ve got. I’ve got only so many Christmases to enjoy, or so many summers or autumns.”
Like sands through the hourglass, says the voiceover guy.
MH: “If all the uncertainty were eliminated, so, too, would be excitement and meaning.”
BP: “Many people live as if they forget that [experiences are] the point of earning, saving, and investing money.”
They would likely toast to this, that life is an adventure of exploring unknowns.
MH: “There are no magic formulae that accurately anticipate financial markets.”
BP: “To make the most of your hard-earned money, you must crack open your nest egg earlier.”
Ms. Heffernan comes to us from the look-before-you-leap point of view, whereas Mr. Perkins says jump.
MH: “Perfection can be a problem when it makes people passive, afraid to experiment.”
BP: “Some people’s fears are irrational: They have plenty of resources, so if they plan right, they won’t need to worry about running out of money.”
Here the authors seem to share the belief that we should be willing to take risks and bet on ourselves more often.
MH: “As the end of life approaches and the certainty of death becomes tangible, we continue to have choices.”
BP: “The question we all must answer is how to make the most of our finite time on earth… to maximize fulfillment while minimizing waste.”
Seems that sloganeer at Nike is on to something.
MH: “It doesn’t matter where we start, only that we do.”
BP: “So what are you waiting for?”
These are the last lines in each book. Just do it indeed.
For what it’s worth, I’m Team Perkins. While Heffernan’s book is educational with British flair, his has changed my life permanently with its powerful message that it’s stupid to have wealth growing throughout our so-called golden years. The time is now to live, to give, to enjoy what we’ve worked so hard for.
Consider one more quote of his:
“[These] are the people I’m writing for – people who are saving too much for their own good.”
I’ll drink to that.
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