There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.


When the server brings your food to your table and says, “this dish is very hot, don’t touch,” do you instinctively touch the dish, just to confirm?

Empirical knowledge is just one of those things. It is blatant, and (in most cases) wholly unnecessary, so why do we insist on putting ourselves into the situation of touching the hot plate?

Do we each believe that we know better, so it is wiser for us to know for certain, rather than to accept the advice of another who is determined to warn us?

When your friends tell you not to date that person because they see something that you do not see, do you still date them?

When a specific business opportunity arises in which your colleagues are clear that this is foreboding, are you still determined to do it anyway?

I think the reason for people to not accept that which is shared with them is a mixed combination of variables. For some, it is just sheer ignorance. Those are going to pee on the electric fence for themselves. So be it.

But for others, it is a combination of growing and watching that not everything everyone else claims as a truism, is actually true. I have made a collection of countless truisms that proved to be false over time. I study them because they continually reinforce for me that perhaps life is much more than what others are willing to project as being so.

For example… Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society said in 1895, “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse said in 1872, “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” And Dr. Lee DeForest, Father of Radio and Grandfather of Television, (who himself had already defeated other naysayers with his own inventions) said, “Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances.”

So at one point do we have to stop reading, stop learning by observation and resort to empirical knowledge? I think that is really an individual perspective. From all of the naysayers I have collected over time, I have learned that just because I read what they say, does not make what they say to be true. When someone tries to put a limitation on anything that I am postulating, I ignore their limits and view them as them presupposing that just because they cannot figure it out, does not make me any less capable of doing it.

I always touch the plate when the waitstaff tells me hot, don’t touch. Guilty as charged. But… you are never going to catch me peeing on an electric fence!

Happy Saturday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!