| Now, Discover Your Strengths

Most people focus on shoring up weaknesses rather than exploiting strengths.

According to Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton in Now, Discover Your Strengths, we’ve got it all wrong.

Today I read a summary of the book Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham.

I learned that while most of us focus on improving our weaknesses, we should be focused on exploiting our strengths.

Here is an idea and an exercise to consider this week, inspired by the book:

Strengths = Talent + Knowledge + Skill

Strengths are a combination of talent (what you are naturally good at), knowledge (knowing how to use that talent), and skill (a repeatable series of steps and actions).

It’s important to note that this combination cannot exist without enjoying the task itself. Being naturally good at something alone does not make it a strength, because without enjoying it you won’t stick with it long enough to acquire the knowledge and skill to complete the formula.

This is important to note in your team as well – just because somebody on your team shows promise in a certain area, does not mean that they should be doing it.


For yourself and for each person on your team, list your areas of responsibility and determine whether or not it utilizes your strengths. Are there helpful strengths that you have that are not being utilized?

If you want more, you can read a summary of this book here today (you’ll need to create a free account first):

This link offers you a free Membership (daily summary by text only), which is regularly $9.99/month.

FPF #73 Trump's Russia Policy

On FPF #73 I give all the latest news on the Sanctions Bill. The bill passed the House and Senate with a combined five no votes, and now Trump plans to sign it. The bill will drive a larger divide in the Russia/USA relationship. I examine how the sanctions bill fits into Trump’s Russia policy. I also update Pakistan, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, and Yemen. 

Source: Foreign Policy Focus – FPF #73 Trump's Russia Policy

Should looters of ancient artifacts go to jail?


Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archeology Review, poses a hypothetical scenario that raise pressing questions about the current state of the antiquities market:

Imagine a young Bedouin looter exploring one of the hundreds of complicated and dangerous caves in the Judean Desert by the Dead Sea. He discovers an extraordinary ancient gold artifact with a Hebrew inscription referring to King Solomon.

One of the Israeli antiquities dealers who sees it reports it to the authorities, who quickly trace it to the young Bedouin and seize it from him. It is displayed in the Israel Museum, which has to remain open until midnight to accommodate the crowds. It is an international sensation. The New York Times sends two of its most knowledgeable reporters to write the story.

The young Bedouin looter is arrested by the authorities and tried for looting and sentenced to two years in prison. The gold inscription soon comes to be regarded as Israel’s most valuable ancient inscription.

This of course is a thoroughly fictional account. But it does bear some resemblances to a real occurrence—something that is reported in the Archaeological Views column of this very issue of BAR.

What makes me feel the need to explore the situation is the fact that the looters alert the archaeologists to the existence of the other valuable finds in the cave and get sent to jail for it, while the archaeologists learn from the looters where to dig.

There are thousands of caves in the Judean Desert. They are large and twisting and dangerous. They have produced archaeological riches beyond avarice. Yet for some reason they cannot all be located and explored. They are often accidentally explored—sometimes by looters. When the looters are caught, they are jailed—instead of congratulated—for the find. Somehow it doesn’t seem right. But somehow I am pretty sure I am wrong. Maybe an archaeologist can explain why to me.

The primary problem Shanks is identifying relates to property. As I have mentioned in an earlier blog post, many countries with sizable yet undiscovered archeological artifacts have effectively nationalized their ownership to the state. While archeologists can receive permission from a government to perform digs, the price signals that could indicate their relative significance have been effectively elminated. As a result, the state treats knowledgeable locals as criminals, while their “crimes” provide clues to archeologists on where to dig next.

What both antiquities-rich nations, and the archeologists that work there, currently do not recognize is there would be a wide range of benefits if people were able to own land that held artifacts. Through the price system, property owners would be incentivized to hold and develop land believed to hold valuable objects. Archeologists could work peacefully with these landowners to obtain rights to perform digs on their land that could lead to obtaining valuable historical information. Finally, the local people would benefit because they could help landowners and archeologists with valuable services.

Unfortunately, both governments and scientists would have to be open to learn about how markets work before they would be open to such liberalization.

Nevertheless, one can always hope, right?



The post Should looters of ancient artifacts go to jail? appeared first on A Simple Fool.

Source: A Simple Fool – Should looters of ancient artifacts go to jail?

Puritans, part 1: Coming to America

Recently, Business Insider editor, MSNBC contributor, and public-radio personality Josh Barro called the left’s war on American culture “annoying.” He explained that “Liberals have supplanted conservatives as moralizing busybodies.” New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait “even tweeted support of Barro’s “sensible thoughts,” calling out the Democrats’ supposedly new-found misadventure of “liberal sanctimony.”

Funny that in all his talk condemning such “moralizing,” neo-liberal Barro went on to further pontificate about the Dems suffering “from a cultural disconnect from non-college-educated voters who have abandoned the party in droves.” But not to worry, the left’s “substantial inroads with upscale suburban voters have been more than offset by the loss of voters down the income spectrum, most of whom did not finish college.”

Translation: If I pepper my blue-blood insults with enough of an overall empathic tone, I can probably admit that “following all the [politically correct] rules has become exhausting,” while also simultaneously telling the poor and stupid masses how poor and stupid they are. Bless his heart, this New England son really tried, but unfortunately, moralizing is all this atheist, gay, Russell-Moore-loving, Harvard “educated,” media elite really has to offer.

In fact, moralizing is and always has been the left’s religion. It’s the “puritanical progressives,” as I refer to them, who are constantly intruding into our lives through never-ending regulations, laws, educational indoctrination, corporate edicts, hive-mind social pressures, and media proselytizing. It’s a devilish scheme in which the pietistic purveyors of “social justice” have concocted a scenario that leaves no room for discussion, logic, or science.

And if you disagree with their flawless emotional creeds and ever-changing but always-correct edicts, well, you’re either an idiot, a hateful troublemaker, or you must just want people to die. That’s why these self-proclaimed Solomons feel no compunction in silencing, discrediting, maligning, bullying, punching, pepper-spraying, or perhaps even killing dissenters.

It’s this diabolical concoction of socialist politics mixed with religious fervor that has become the dominant “cultural power” and is even “more motivating than public policy,” to borrow Barro’s own words. It’s my contention that this holier-than-thou mindset is borne of New England Puritanism and has been a thorn in the side of liberty and self-determination ever since the Pilgrims came to America. So, let’s take a gander at history, shall we?

The Church of England, also called the Anglican Church, was established when King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church in 1534 in order to divorce his wife on grounds that she didn’t give him a male heir. Henry’s defiance of the Pope, who had denied him a divorce request, and break with Rome made this new state-run Church of England Protestant by definition, yet it still shared many liturgical practices with Catholicism. Thus, Anglicanism was (and still is) considered “high church.”

Enter in lawyer-turned-theologian John Calvin. His seminal writing – “Institutes of the Christian Religion” (first published in 1536) – challenged Catholic Church government and promoted divergent dogma, such as justification by faith alone and Sola Scriptura, and an abandonment of Church sacraments, rituals, and traditions.

By the late 1500s and early 1600s, there was a growing faction of Anglicans who had become disillusioned with the state ecclesiastical system. Influenced greatly by Calvin’s Protestant teachings, these Christians pushed for simplified Church worship, challenged what they deemed as apostasy of Anglican hierarchy, and wanted to shed themselves of liturgy they considered an impediment to practicing a more “pure” spiritual life – hence, the name Puritans.

Calvinism continued to spread, although there were varied belief systems and splinter groups within the movement at large, some more Puritan than others, but all united in opposition to Anglicanism. For instance, Congregationalists championed self-governing congregations independent from the Church. Presbyterians, who had a strong hold in Scotland, wanted a national church headed by pastors and elders. And Separatists severed all ties from the Church in order to create their own communities.

Kings Henry and then James harassed and mistreated all sects of non-Anglican Protestants, whom they considered rabble-rousing religionists. Persecution ranged from fines for missing Sunday services and Holy days, imprisonment for holding “illegal” meetings, loss of employment, and even execution in some instances.

In 1608, a group of Separatists fled England for Holland. Even though the Dutch were highly tolerant of these immigrants and their perceived unconventional religious practices, the Puritans worried about the loss of their English identity, as well as the corrupting effect morally lax Dutch culture was having on their children.

In order to protect their religious community and raise their families void of outside influence, the Separatists obtained a land grant in the New World. Under authority of the Virginia Company, they acquired a charter and set off in September 1620 to settle lands north of Jamestown.

Stormy winds and rough waters blew the Mayflower ship off course, and after two grueling months at sea, these Pilgrims landed in Cape Cod in what would eventually become Plymouth Colony. Since they found themselves outside the jurisdiction of the Virginia charter, the colonists in this vastly strange and unsettled territory drafted and signed the Mayflower Compact, which set up a majority-rule system of self-government under the divine authority of King James I.

England’s next monarch, Charles I, wanted to extend English territories along Massachusetts Bay. Consequently, more Puritans were able to obtain charters. In 1628, a small fleet journeyed across the Atlantic and settled in Salem, while another much larger company sailed to the emerging Puritan colony in 1630 and went on to establish Boston.

One of the greatest fallacies of American history is that the Virginia and Massachusetts colonies were monolithic, all endeavoring for freedom, all practicing the same religion, all bringing with them the same beliefs, cultures, and social norms. In truth, it wasn’t just geography and 13 years that separated Jamestown and Plymouth.

The people who settled Virginia were Anglicans who came from the South of England. They were comprised of gentry and indentured servants who sought economic opportunity, land, laissez-faire trade, and self-determination. They labored hard, but also desired down time.

The Puritans who settled Massachusetts hailed from East Anglia. Their faith-based colony consisted of strict personal regulations, collectivism, and “progress” through works.

“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are,” said William Bradford, signer of the Mayflower Compact and governor of Plymouth Colony, “and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shown unto many, yea, in some sort, to our whole Nation.”

“Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own,” stated the charter of the Virginia Company, “and to serve and fear God the giver of all goodness, for every plantation which our father hath not planted shall be rooted out.”

You can see here (emphases are mine) a few nuanced differences in their language. Whereas Bradford spoke in divine terms about the glories of production and spreading the Gospel through the Puritan collective, the Jamestown principles, although devotional in word, were more about the land and spreading community prosperity through individualism.

Another widespread misbelief is that the Pilgrims were seeking religious tolerance. But what these Puritans were really working toward was not freedom of religion, but rather, freedom from other religions.

Their aim was to rebuild humanity, “purify” civilization, and create Heaven on earth through their revamped interpretation and redesign of the Church. In short, the Puritans were activists. They had escaped what they regarded as the dead-and-gone confessionalism and formalism of the traditional Church, so these Pilgrims were finally unchained to plant and manifest God’s “right religion.”

As an Orthodox, we proudly claim to be the “one, holy, catholic (meaning: universal), and apostolic Church,” so I don’t slight the Pilgrims their passion. Admittedly, belief that your faith is “the one true Church of Christ” is a pretty consistent belief among most serious Christians then and now.

But what is troubling to me as a libertarian is that the Pilgrims pushed strict adherence to their constantly unfolding Protestant doctrines in such a coercive and majoritarian way. In preaching that only Puritanism could save mankind, any deviation was considered heresy and was boldly and often violently denounced. The Plymouth Colony was a religious monopoly built upon forced piety and corporate compliance, rather than salvation of the individual.

“Communities, and even families, were tightly controlled by the governing authorities … constables were assigned a group of around 12 families to ‘look in on’ and make sure they were functioning according to community standards,” explains independent historian Carl Jones in his analysis of David Hackett Fischer’s formative work, Albion’s Seed. “Submission to authority was the desired end in all aspects of Puritan society.”

In contrast, within the hierarchical structure of Virginia, free will was acknowledged by these Anglican Protestants, but self-control was instructed and encouraged via manners, familial expectations, community standards for social conduct, and the practice of a serious but quiet faith. For example, youth were expected to respect their elders, but elders were expected to exhibit grace, strength, and wisdom.

The Puritans were more concerned with literal Biblical interpretation and moral behavior, while Virginians were more interested in property rights and fulfilling English common law in a godly way. As the New England Historical Society states, Puritan “people were less likely to be punished for larceny than to be punished for blasphemy, idolatry, drunkenness, lewdness, fornication, cursing or smoking.”

In their early days, both colonies struggled with starvation, disease, drought, harsh winters, maintaining order, infighting, and Indians, yet each slowly but surely overcame hardship in ways unique to her people. But with triumph come intruders, hangers-on, and co-opters. And in 1655, the first non-native agitators to meddle with the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s success were the Quakers – a people on fire for spreading the beliefs of their Society of Friends.

Puritans were merciless in protecting their faith, smashing competing theologies, and keeping out dissenters, so Quakers were systematically shunned and persecuted. They eventually fled to other more religiously tolerant emerging colonies, like Rhode Island Plantation, which was founded in 1636 by Massachusetts-banished Puritan Roger Williams as a haven based in freedom of conscience, and became the site for the literal first Baptist church in America; and the Province of Pennsylvania, which was established as a refuge for oppressed Quakers by William Penn in 1681.

I must say, as a libertarian, I don’t have problem with the English Puritans seceding from institutions and governance they saw as counter to their own freedoms, beliefs, and pursuits. Nor do I have a problem with the early American Puritans trying to maintain their principles through community standards and by kicking out trespassers.

Yet, it was these very same New Englanders who would become the intruders and invaders of the Southern colonies. It was these Puritan-steeped navel-gazers of the North who campaigned and crusaded beyond their own borders, conquering the “impure” Dixie rebels via political, economic, and military force, gathered the spoils, and then reconstructed their lessers, all in the name of God.

In part 2 of this series, I’ll try to unpack how the Puritans actually perpetuated their theology/ideology throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and why the Southern people considered it so pernicious a foreign influence that they were willing to secede from it and then take a stand against it for four bloody years … and beyond. Stay tuned, y’all.

Source: Dissident Mama – Puritans, part 1: Coming to America

Perusing the Political Theater: “Skinny Repeal,” Russian Sanctions, “Calexit,” and the “New World Order” Ep. 21

The State’s illusion of legitimacy is maintained by a careful charade: the political theater. While the performance is intended as a diversion, a peek behind the golden curtain may reveal something resembling the truth. In Episode 21, we do just that by analyzing the three biggest story lines currently being showcased for our amusement.

Episode 20 is brought to you by:

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Show Notes:

Thoughtcrime Thursdays: If You’re Listening FBI, Please Give Us More Downloads Ep. 8

Senate Releases Full Text of “Skinny” Obamacare Repeal Bill, Vote Expected After Midnight

John McCain Kills Obamacare Repeal With Single Decisive Vote

Trump Confirms he will Sign Russia Sanctions Bill

Americans Pay More In Healthcare as percentage of GDP

Tom Woods Show Ep. 481 “How Capitalism Can Fix Health Care (Cash Clinic)

Government Medicine: Court Declares Child Should Die Rather Than Receive Privately-Funded Health Care

New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato: Charle Gard

Topher Field: YouTube

NHS Emergency Room Commentary: Beginning 21 mins

Demographic Dysphoria Looms As Doctors Discover Sperm Counts In Western Men Plummeted Nearly 60%

“Calexit” Referendum Question Is One Step Closer To Appearing On 2018 Ballot

Intro Sample: Jeff Deist–The Silver Lining to the 2016 Election

The post Perusing the Political Theater: “Skinny Repeal,” Russian Sanctions, “Calexit,” and the “New World Order” Ep. 21 appeared first on Liberty Weekly.

Source: Liberty Weekly – Perusing the Political Theater: “Skinny Repeal,” Russian Sanctions, “Calexit,” and the “New World Order” Ep. 21

Internet = Anarchism

In the Internet age, many users have failed to decode and decipher the grammar and mathematics of the world wide web.

There could be many reasons. One of the common reasons, which is frequently cited is “the internet is chaotic and incomprehensible”. 

Let’s not track the history of the internet, lest we bring up Al Gore’s spurious claims, but rather let’s explore the structural function of it. 

The ever-expanding and changing lattice work of billions and billions of inputs and outputs from millions and millions of users all over the planet boils down to one thing:

The internet is anarchism

Because the order – which it follows – is spontaneous.

The world wide web is not a function of the imposed order system. The whole spiritual feature of the internet is very much in sync with the autopoiesis (self-control). Continue reading “Internet = Anarchism”

Episode 34 – Watchmen (1:30:36)

The Afro Libertarian joins us once again to discuss Watchmen. This is our third time having Ryan on the show and he keeps showing us new perspectives on movies, comics, libertarianism and society. This is a lot of fun and both Robert and Ryan can totally nerd-out.  I try to keep up. by ActualAnarchy

Google Description

In an alternate 1985 America, costumed superheroes are part of everyday life. When one of his former comrades is murdered, masked vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) uncovers a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his retired associates, only one of which has true powers, Rorschach glimpses a far-reaching conspiracy involving their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the world’s future.

Continue reading “Episode 34 – Watchmen (1:30:36)” | Extreme Productivity

Robert Pozen is one of those rare individuals who truly seem to have more hours in the day than the rest of us.

For instance, he would teach a full course load at Harvard Business School while serving as the full-time chairman of a global financial-services firm.

He wrote Extreme Productivity to teach us how he did it, and how we can squeeze a little more out of our day too.

Today I read a summary of the book Extreme Productivity by Robert Pozen.

I learned that the world’s most productive people focus on doing the right things instead of doing more things.

Here is an idea and an exercise to consider this week, inspired by the book:

The Two Column Calendar
Most people fill their calendars with meetings and other tasks without thinking about whether or not they are the most impactful things they can do to get closer to their long-term goals.

To combat this, the world’s most productive people use a two column calendar – with the events and todos listed on the left hand side, and the justification for each activity on the right.

Eventually, events and todos that don’t serve your long-term goals will start disappearing from your calendar, and you’ll become much more productive.

For one or two days this week use the two column calendar. After you’ve done that, make note of how many of your events and todos you struggled to connect to your long-term goals. Then, come up with a game plan for how you’ll deal with these events in the future.

If you want more, you can read a summary of this book here today (you’ll need to create a free account first):

This link offers you a free Membership (daily summary by text only), which is regularly $9.99/month.

FPF #72 – Debunking A Washington Post Neocon

Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to debunk Marc Thiessen’s article in the Washington Post. The article is linked here so you can follow along. Will and Kyle take down the article and expose several common lies about US interventionism. Will’s notes for today’s show can be found here. [Link] Will’s notes provide citations for his arguments. 


Will Porter is a journalist and commentator with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and Mid East affairs.

He is a staff writer for the Daily Sheeple, and some of his freelance work can be found at the Libertarian Institute and

Source: Foreign Policy Focus – FPF #72 – Debunking A Washington Post Neocon

Seasteading, Determinism, and Cocaine – ABS021

We discuss seasteading and determinism this week. And, how to do drugs with Scott and Adam starting with cocaine.

Adam is having car trouble and Scott and his daughter have been sick. What a week!

John McAfee said that if Bitcoin doesn’t hit $300,000 in the next three years that he’ll eat his dick on live television. We’d love to see that.

Your new favorite Ancap Barber Shop segment, How to Do Drugs With Scott and Adam!

We start with cocaine this week.

Cocaine is bad for your heart and can cause strokes. It is also very addictive as well. Please use cocaine responsibly if you’re going to use it.

Make sure to check out the Harm Reduction Coalition for more information.

What is seasteading and why is it important? “Seasteading is the concept of creating permanent dwellings at sea, called seasteads, outside the territory claimed by any government.”

We talk about a couple of articles from Steemit. The first is “The value of creating micro-nations on the oceans – a simple case for Seasteading.”

The other article from Steemit is “Why All Seasteads will be Anarcho-Capitalist.”

Will all seasteads be anarcho-capitalist?

We also talk about the Marinea Project. They have a podcast out talking about the project.

Make sure to check out The LAVA Flow!

Tanner from episode 19, Net Neutrality and AI, joins us to talk about determinism. Determinism is the belief that all events that happen, either in our brain or they happen to us, are caused by past events so that nothing other than what occurred could have occurred. Using this argument this means we have no control or free will.

What is the difference between determinism and fatalism? How do you view evil people if everything they do is pre-determined?

Source: The AnCap Barbershop – Seasteading, Determinism, and Cocaine – ABS021