Mental Exercises #5

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Hello friends,

Vizi here.

Here’s your weekly Mental Exercises Newsletter.


“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” — Peter Drucker

“One cannot answer for his courage when he has never been in danger.” — François de La Rochefoucauld

 “A man’s maturity consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Insight of the Week

How to Buy your Dream Home

When people buy a house, they consider the following: location, size, number of floors, number of bedrooms, and journey time to work. They often focus on what’s quantifiableon what can be numerically expressed.

In other words, most people use raw logic to make one of the biggest decisions of their life.

The Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, Rory Sutherland, has a different approach.

“It doesn’t pay to be logical,” Rory wrote, “if everyone else is also being logical.” This is because conventional logic is a straightforward mental process that is equally available to all. This isn’t always bad. But when choosing things in scarce supply, such as property, it pays to be eccentric. If you can convince yourself to value something which other people don’t, you can enjoy a fabulous house for quite a low price.

I and my girlfriend are considering buying (or building!) a house next year or so. We decided that we want to live somewhere interesting, placing more emphasis on the quality of architecture and the community around us than on the precise location, the size of our house, or the number of bedrooms. Most people who want to escape the cities prefer the suburbs. But, for us, such places lack a sense of community. Hence, it would be much better to move to a village where that vibe is still vibrant. The village we have in mind is called Hărman, and is located in Central Romania. It was established by Transylvanian Saxons. The landmark of the village is the 13th-century fortified church, which happens to be one of the 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Romania.

Likewise, what we love about such villages is that the people are united, kind, hard-working, and humble. They permeate with little to no snobbery.

Because the quality of architecture and community can’t be easily measured, houses in villages like Hărman are therefore deeply devalued. Hence, we’re more likely to get the house of our dreams, without spending a fortune.

When making decisions, we should at times be wary of paying too much attention to numerical metrics. When buying a house, numbers are easy to compare, and tend to monopolize our attention. The quality of architecture and community do not have a numerical score, and tend to sink lower in our priorities as a result, but there is no reason to assume that something is more important just because it is numerically expressible.

It’s very feasible to get your dream house. The trick is, you have to be a bit eccentric.

That’s all for today guys!

Best wishes,


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