Oct. 26, 2020

Joe Lonsdale on Deuteronomy 32 – “Responsibility — from the Bible, and for Us” -

Mark is delighted to welcome “perhaps the youngest person to have ever earned the appellation ‘a legend’” to the podcast today. Joe Lonsdale truly is a legend in the fields of business, philanthropy, and public policy, and was the youngest member of the Forbes ‘100 Midas List’ in 2016 and 2017. As an investor in, and founder of, numerous businesses, Joe has found great success with such companies as Wish, OpenGov, 8VC, and Addepar, to name just a few. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark today is Deuteronomy 32.

Joe starts off by summarizing the passage, sharing why he chose it, and highlighting the notion of accepting blame that is found within it. He then goes on to discuss his experiences with both failure and blame, how self-criticism is needed now more than ever in society, and the discipline and framework that chess has taught him. Joe also offers his advice on what should be passed on to children, the current lack of gratefulness that he observes in his own generation, and the importance of criticism and how it is delivered. He concludes the episode with the lessons he has learned about humankind and his advice for young parents. Joe’s objective observations about his own failures are inspiring, especially considering the vast amount of success he has achieved in his life, and the lessons he derives from this prophetic passage, so very relevant to society today, reinforce yet again the role of the Torah as an eternal guidebook for us all.

Episode Highlights:

· Joe’s summary of the passage and why he chose it · Accepting blame and striving to do better · Joe’s experience with failures and blame · Avoiding Moses’ prophetic warning · Accepting blame in the world these days · What Joe has learned from playing chess · His perspective on the inheritance to pass on to children, and the current lack of gratefulness for American core values among those born in the 80’s and 90’s · The importance of criticism and how it is delivered · The things about humankind that Joe has learned · His message to young parents


“This is the last speech that Moses gives the people before they enter Israel.”

“When things are not going well, I think the first thing you should do is look at what you’ve done, and look at how you could be doing better yourself.”

“The only way you get better is rather than blame everyone around you, you blame yourself.”

“Most of the Torah is essentially reminders.”

“As soon as you start to tell yourself that you’re really good at something, that’s when you stub your toe.”

“When things are going well, become paranoid.”

“Acknowledge your own faults.”

“Whether you win or you lose, the discipline’s the same, right? You’re reviewing to see how you could have done better irrespective of the result.”

“The hardest things we have in life is when you have success, when…life is going really well because…those are the easiest times to forget your values and forget your principles.”

“Grateful am I.”

“Love involves criticism, or else it’s not love.”

“If you have to deliver the rain, deliver it with the dew.”

“People respond better when you actually see their strengths and you actually show confidence in them and believe in them than they do to criticism.”

Deuteronomy 32 - https://www.sefaria.org/Deuteronomy.32?lang=en&aliyot=0


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