I recently stumbled on Paul Graham, an entrepreneur, hacker and writer. He has a lot of wise things to say about start-ups, entrepreneurship, the source of wealth and a million other things. His writing style is forceful, extremely clear and he has a big brain that is happy to think in unusual ways. Very interesting guy. I just got his book, Hackers and Painters, and am looking forward to reading it. Many of the essays in it can be found here.
Start with "How to Make Wealth." An excerpt:
A surprising number of people retain from childhood the idea
that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world.
There is, in any normal family, a fixed amount of money at
any moment. But that’s not the same thing.
When wealth is talked about in this context, it is often
described as a pie. "You can’t make the pie larger,"
talking about the amount of money in one family’s bank
account, or the amount available to a government from one
year’s tax revenue, this is true.
If one person gets more, someone else has to get less.
I can remember believing, as a child, that if a few
rich people had all the money, it left less for everyone else.
Many people seem to continue to believe something like this
well into adulthood. This fallacy is usually there in the
background when you hear someone talking about how x percent
of the population have y percent of the wealth. If you plan
to start a startup, then whether you realize it or not, you’re
planning to disprove the Pie Fallacy.
Graham’s other essays include fascinating observations on procrastination, being a nerd, the stupidity of smart people and lots of other stuff.