Chinese Businessmen: Let Reality Be The Teacher


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Notes

  • Ng Teng Fong: Singaporean businessman who never went to school but has built largest real estate development company in Singapore
  • There are two basic approaches to problem solving: trial and error, and theory and insight. It’s difficult to overstate how much we are driven towards theory and insight by the formal education we receive.
  • The optimal strategy for learning in business is trial and error, because business changes too quickly for there to be immutable rules. Traditional Chinese businessmen are thus the product of trial and error. The children who run their parent’s businesses are themselves taught via this principle of learning.
  • If someone makes a mistake, takes a hit — as Ng Teng Fong did — but remains in the game, what matters is what they learn from it.
  • Successful Chinese businessmen are better because they are better at trial and error. They use less cycles to learn the right lessons.
  • It works because it can be as thoughtful as the person who does ‘thinking and insight’; it works because trial and error never lies. It lets reality become the teacher.