I am no fan of lists; however, lists, especially those of the year-end kind, are similar to social conventions (falling into herd behavior) in that they are simultaneously helpful and dangerous to the individual. Lists can be practical and efficient, yet dangerously distracting.
Before I digress completely away from the intention of this particular post, I was recognized in one of those "best of" lists. Normally, I would dismiss this as a pretentious and selfish act, on the part of the blogger supplying the list, as a means of attracting traffic (by way of self-flattering mentions at the receiving bloggers' blog sites).
After giving it a bit of thought, however, I guessed that you (the reader) might be at least curious as to what post from The Financial Philosopher might make one of these lists.
The list, called "The Ultimate Personal Growth Guide: 100 Best Posts," by Mary Jaksch at GoodLife Zen, is actually well-done and worth a look. For quick reference, posts are sectioned into categories and readers can scroll over a title to get a thumbnail of the post so there is little time wasted in finding something of interest.
Also, I was recognized twice -- once in two separate categories. The first post mentioned, Man's (Career) Search for Meaning, made the "Business & Career" list, and is a recent post here that aids readers in discovering meaning in life and how to align this meaning with a career pursuit, along with some helpful tools.
The other post, The Interception of Entropy, which hit the top spot on the "Leadership" list, came as somewhat of a delightful surprise. It is an older (August 2008) post, but one that I especially enjoyed writing (and reading again 18 months later). The subject is based upon entropy, which is essentially a scientific term for useless energy, that most of us are guilty of in our lives, whether we realize it or not. For this reason, we must identify entropy and "intercept" it before it causes harm.
Here a few others I enjoyed writing here at TFP, or at other blogs, for my "Non-Pretentious, Somewhat Useful" list of blog posts I authored in 2009:
The Greatest Deception in the History of Finance was actually a post I wrote for (and was published at) The Big Picture blog, which is part of the reason it gained so much attention from readers and links from other noteworthy blogs. Author Barry Ritholtz has over 100,000 readers!
Hell is Other People: This is a personal favorite of mine based upon the philosophy of Jean-Peal Sarte. Here's an excerpt: Why is hell other people? Because, as Sartre has explained, "…when we think about ourselves, when we try to know ourselves, … we use the knowledge of us which other people already have." In other words, if we are not recognized, or if our individual pursuits and dreams are not validated by other people's approval, we often feel that our existence has less meaning or even that it is worthless.
All We Have to Fear is Fear Itself is a timely piece because it was published just a few days before the lowest point of the recent Bear market, March 9, 2009, when fear was the dominating emotion (stocks have climbed over 70% since that date). The post highlights the fact that our imaginations will fill in the empty spaces of uncertainty using colors of the most prominent emotion felt at the moment. Uncertainty can be horrifying but it can also be embraced as an opportunity.
I'll end this list with 5 Reasons to Avoid Lists (& 1 Reason to Read Them). Ironically (and intentionally) it's a list! I wrote the post for a blog called PickTheBrain. It's a fun but illuminating piece on why the brain prefers shortcuts and why lists are more marketing and distracting than useful and efficient -- lists are paradoxical.
Thanks again for a wonderful 2009! I think I will finally drag myself into 2010 now!