☝️ Upwarding #17: Intelligent Overreaction, Retin-A, Do Nothing, and Parasites.

Welcome to this week's Upwarding newsletter. Issue #17. My blog, with more in-depth content, can be found here.


A big lesson I’ve learned in business and life: intelligently overreact, early. You just have far more options earlier.

Take COVID-19. Italy’s case rate has been growing about 20% per day. They currently have 15,000 cases. If they can’t stop the spread, simple math suggests 500,000 people have it by the end of the month. They’ve put in place some draconian measures, but they are probably too late.

South Korea has pulled out all of the stops, ramrodding through privacy concerns. For example, they track the GPS data from COVID-19 positive people’s cell phones and then publicly post where those people have been. They are also incredibly aggressive about testing. South Korea COVID cases are growing at only a few percent per day…if they continue they will end up with maybe only 15,000 cases at the end of the month – Growth rate matters, a lot.

Again: overreact intelligently, early. The options and costs of actions now are dramatically lower than they will be in a couple of weeks. WRT COVID-19 I’m in favor of closing schools, shutting down travel, stocking up on food now, etc. It will be expensive, but it’s also expensive to have 500,000 cases burdening your hospitals.

Stay well.


I’d love to help you find a mindfulness practice that fits. Here’s another way to get present: calming background music. Try out this Devi Prayer.


Billions and billions spent on fancy face creams for anti-aging, most of which are garbage. The average female spends $225,360 over the course of her lifetime on skin care products, most of which don’t work.

My take: just use Retin-A. Check out this oldie but goodie from the New York Times called “The Thing About Retin-A: It Works”.


It’s a crazy stock market out there, so I’m keeping in mind these two quotes:

  1. Benjamin Graham says the primary reason individuals fail as stock market investors is “they pay too much attention to what the stock market is doing currently”.

  2. “Investing is like a bar of soap, the more you handle it, the smaller it gets”.

Try to avoid the temptation to “do something”!

Another tip to stay calm – remember that INCOME in a portfolio is remarkably more consistent than the headline prices. See my article about this here.

Final tip: remember that each bucket of money needs to serve a purpose. Don’t mix together (either literally or in your mind) a retirement account and a cash account. We discuss this a bit in risk #3 in this post.

Random Thought

I disagree with Bernie Sanders on billionaires being the problem. Here’s an image that made sense to me.


Feeling trapped?

“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.” – Mark Batterson

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