Monthly Archives: July 2016

Give up the bottle

ethiqueWhy not make shampoo and conditioners in bar form?

The next question is, why hasn’t this been done before? Bar shampoo seems like a logical step forward because it doesn’t need a plastic container and it’s cheaper to ship because there’s no need to ship the water normally in shampoo.

The reverse happened awhile back – some companies start selling harder-to-use liquid body soap in place of easier-to-use bar soap. I’m sure it’s marketing and trying to keep up with the competition.

Now, a company called Ethique is selling shampoo, conditioner and soap in bar form. Ethique uses packaging that’s plastic-free, made of biodegradable, compostable material.

“The more I thought about it, the crazier it seemed to me that we pay gobs of money for all that water packaged in plastic,” founder Brianne West told Forbes.

All the products are made from natural ingredients and have eliminated the need for another plastic bottle bobbing around in the trash.


Pull Back

rbf“Grumpy and bitter isn’t a place we begin. It’s a place we end up.

People don’t become selfish, hateful and afraid all at once. They do it gradually.

Do we find ourselves taking actions that make our conversations more considered, our arguments more informed, our engagements more civil? Or precisely the opposite, because it’s easier?” Those are Seth Godin’s observations in a recent blog post.

If you’ve been watching the Republican and Democratic conventions, characterizing the Republicans as grumpier and the Democrats as cheerier would be accurate. The Republicans seem focused on the negative, much of which resulted from their earlier policies and obstructionism. The Democrats seem to have a bigger tent and longer term view.

Leaving American politics aside, there are lots of people in the world who think everything is getting worse. But if we zoom out to see the bigger picture, the trending is more towards the good than bad for humans.

Today the standard of living is better than it used to be, in the US and even worldwide. It’s not where everyone would like, but it’s happening. While there’s occasional backsliding, but the general direction is toward a higher standard of living.

Consider that over the past century humans have reined in famine, plague, and war. What used to be uncontrollable and mysterious forces of nature are now more or less manageable challenges.

Now in the affluent countries, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals combined.

You never guess it by watching the news, but the average American is a thousand times more likely to die from bingeing at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.

Grumpier results from the easier short-term take on life. Cheerier happens if you can take a longer view.

The Simple Path to Wealth

the simple path to wealthI just finished reading “The Simple path to Wealth” by JL Collins. It’s a book about money that I’d recommend to everyone.

The bare bones concept is that if you can avoid debt, save most of what you earn, invest your money (in a very low cost indexed fund), and leave it alone, then with a bit of time you’ll wind up financially independent. The particulars he gives are important along with the whys and how-tis. And he does it all in an engaging and down to earth way.

Don’t take my word for it, here’re some reviews and endorsements from other readers:

– By the end of the book you find yourself wondering why it took someone so long to put these thoughts to paper and bundle it all into one package. For someone just starting out on this journey, congratulations, you just won the lottery after having read this book. For someone a few years into their working career, you still have plenty of time. And lastly, for someone over half way through their working career, tomorrow is never too late to start.

– It’s the only book I’ve ever read it’s in entirety on a phone!

– Imagine a book that can teach you everything you need to know about investing in one afternoon. Now suppose that the book is insightful, well researched, filled with wit and humor, and can help you achieve better investing results than over 80% of professional investors. The Simple Path to Wealth is that book.

– He doesn’t ask his readers to take his word for it. He explains how he reached his conclusions.

– …he stresses the importance of money in our society, while writing a book that people who do not really care about money will actually find interesting and actionable.”

– JL Collins gives an approachable, well-structured guide to understanding what money is (and is not), how to protect it, how to make it work for you, and ultimately how to make sure that you master money so it doesn’t master you.

– It’s a book about freedom – the freedom to be your own master by escaping the traps of debt and wasteful spending and letting your money work for you.”

– Jim advises new investors to ‘Stop thinking about what your money can buy.’ and ‘Start thinking about what your money can earn.’ Money is much more than the things it can buy. It represents the energy of our lives. Do you want to exhaust that on stuff and clutter, or use it to buy freedom.

– Jack Bogle and Warren Buffett undoubtedly would give JL Collins a thumbs up.

– If you’re too cheap to spend eleven bucks on the one book that will finally make you rich and happy, then don’t come crying to me in six months when you find yourself destitute, friendless, eating cold pork-n-beans out of a can at the public library, and creeping everyone out.