What do you see in the pictures below?
If you are like most people, you see two men. If you are like most Americans, you probably see Middle-Easterners, but you may not be able to tell much more than that. In Brotherhood of Warriors, Aaron Cohen, a former Israeli Special Forces counter-terrorism solder explained what he sees. He wrote:
There are different types of dress in various parts of the [Palestinian] territories. The red-and-white keffiyehs are dominant in some parts, black-and-white or green-and-white in still others. Red-and-white means the neighborhood supports Hamas; black-and-white means it supports Fatah; green-and-white, which can be seen much less frequently, means Hezbollah. We would know in advance which areas we’d be going into on a mission, and if the color of our keffiyehs wasn’t correct, we’d have gotten [expletive deleted] up quick (p. 148).
The point of this article is that the more you know, the more you see. Aaron Cohen saw enough to avoid danger. Where we sees keffiyehs, he saw the equivalent of Palestinian gang colors.
By the way, a FBI agent sees something else. He would see Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Juhani (left) and Muhammad Sa’id Ali Hasan (right). The are both wanted by the FBI.
What do you see here?
This time, you see an X-ray of a human body. Do you see a 70 Year old? Do you see the prostate cancer? How about the hypercalcemia and diffuse osteoblastic bone metastases? Follow the arrows. Still don’t see it? Your doctor sees it.
The more you know, the more you see.
Read the list below:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.
We all see this as a list of 10 items. Some will realize that it is a political agenda. Closer inspection will reveal that we have already accomplished #2 and #10 and we are actively working on #3, #5, and #7.
The political scientist or well-trained economist (or perhaps a sharp history teacher) will realize that this is directly from the end of Chapter 2 of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.
Again, the more you know, the more you see. It works the same way in any field–the military, medicine, politics, or business.
Sam Wyly was a serial entrepreneur who founded University Computing Company (UCC), owned Bonanza Steakhouse, bought Michael’s Arts and Crafts, and co-founded Maverick Capital.
In his book, 1000 Dollars and an Idea: Entrepreneur to Billionaire, Sam Wyly recounts the story of a skeptic who questioned how he could have made a 199% return on an investment. He wrote:
I answered, “I read a lot.” The questioner laughed. But I wasn’t joking. It’s true. I do read all the time. What I’m trying to say is that having good timing is a result of paying attention to the ideas and trends floating around out there, studying them, coming to some intellectual conclusions, and then, ultimately, listening to your own gut about how to apply your conclusions to the business ventures you elect to pursue (p. 224).
Buffett famously quipped: “Some men read Playboy. I read annual reports.”
What Sets Some People Apart From Others?
There is no mystery or magic here. Insight comes from investigation. What do you need to see? What are you doing to learn about the subject?
November 30, 2012
Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University