1. Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.
2. Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.
3. It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.
4. Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.
5. Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.
6. Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.
7. Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).
8. Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.
9. Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.
10. Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.
“Attack, attack, attack—never defend”
“Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”
“When I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my revolver.”
“The Democrats are the party of slavery; the Republicans are the party of freedom.”
“Folks want to get government out of the boardroom and the bedroom.”
“No one ever built a statue to a committee.”
“There is only one party—the Green Party.”
“White shirt + tan face = confidence.”
“Lay low, play dumb, keep moving.”
“Never pass up the opportunity to have sex or be on television.”
“Nothing is on the level.”
“Hate is a stronger motivator than love.”
“Get your carbs from booze—not potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread.”
“Use a cutout.”
“The only thing worse in politics than being wrong is being boring.”
If I were to choose one of them as a teacher, it wouldn't be Stone.