Street Smarts – Jim Rogers: (Part 1) Personal Developments Advice

Last month, I
finished reading Jim Rogers Street Smarts. The book was published in 2013. I
started the draft of this article long time ago, but its so hard to find time to finish it lately. The busy work and traveling schedule are the culprits. 
This is Rogers
second book I had read. The first is “A Gift to My
.  I enjoyed
reading Jim Rogers’ books. To me, the content is so insightful with great
philosophical views about the world and life in general. Moreover, his book is
so easy to read and comprehend.
Jim Rogers is the
co-founder of Quantum Fund together with George Soros. Rogers travelled around
the world three times in 1980, 1990-1992 and 1999-2002. For more about Jim
Rogers and his journey, please refer to his website here.
Below is the summary
of teachings from Street Smarts. I am going to split it into few parts. This article is
the first part focusing on Personal
Successful Vs Smart – Hardwork and
Persistence Makes the Difference
Rogers think that hardwork and persistence is what makes the difference of
being successful, and not just being smart.
“There is no such thing as
enough. You just keep studying, or keep working, or keep researching, whatever the
task happens to be.”
“We all know smart people who are
not successful; we all know talented people who are not successful. Persistence
is what makes the difference.”

Importance of Bi-lingual
Similar to Lee
Kuan Yew’s book “The Big Ideas”, Jim Rogers emphasized
the importance of being Bi-lingual and to know the culture of the language
origin. For instance, both his daughters are educated in Singapore and speak
perfect Mandarin and English. 
 “I was
adamant that my children not just be proficient in a foreign language, but they
speak it like natives.”
“Being bilingual will not make dishwashers
successful. But being bilingual is a skill that many people including me do not
have, and that to smart, motivated, persistent people, it will be a great
Study History and Philosophy
Jim Rogers also
think that profound knowledge of history will let us have a macroscopic view of
the world and let us understand what forces drives the market and how
occurrences in one country affect the other.
The study of
philosophy is also extremely important to enable you to think better for
“You know yourself better, if
you want to accomplish anything in life – you must learn to think at a deeper,
more profound level if you want to understand the truth. – the study of
philosophy helped to develop these skill. Help to trained think for myself,
outside the establish framework. Examine things in depth; examine every concept
and fact, thinking around corners, to see what is missing!”
Importance of Having a Paying Job
as a Teenager
university study show that the single most important predictor of a happy life
in adulthood was having a paying job as a teenager.

Decide if
it is the Right Job – Not the Money
“Before asking how much you are going
to get paid for a job, first decide whether it is the right job, whether it is
the right place for you, because if it is the right place and you do the job
right, the money will come. The money will find you, I assure you. The money should
be the least of your questions.”
Importance of Apprenticeship
“I often explain to young people,
I benefited from being an assistant. To learn by watching closely others.
Nothing like an on job training. Many people coming into a job market think
that they had done well for themselves if they manage to leapfrog an
apprenticeship. The wise course is to start by working for someone else and to
keep one’s eyes and ears open.”
To be Lucky – Do Your Homework
Rogers think that the only way to be lucky is to do your homework well.
“Luck favours only the mind
that is prepared!” – Louis Pasteur
Be Alert to the World
from the traveling widely, you need to be alert of the happenings, cultures, history,
of the country, and speak to the natives. Not just admiring touristic monuments
from places of interest.
“Always be alert to what’s going
on in the world. My antennae are always up!”

Be a Visionary
– See Long Term
people always see very far down the road – 15 years or more.
“Be a visionary. People with
vision are people who can see fifteen years or more down the road. Visionaries
are often ridiculed but they are the one that is going to be successful.”
“I have learned enough of myself to know that I am
usually a year or two, maybe 3 years early. This was notable exception.”
Rolf’s View
What is the meaning of Street Smart (noun)? I had checked
the web and realize that there is no single definite meaning. Below are some of
the definitions.  
1) “The experience and
knowledge necessary to deal with the potential difficulties or dangers of life
in an urban environment.” 2) “The ability to manage or succeed in difficult or
dangerous situations, especially in big towns or cities” 3) “Shrewd awareness of how to survive or succeed in any situation,
especially as a result of living or working in a difficult environment, as a
city ghetto neighbourhood.”
ex-boss said this to me in the first year of my career.
“Go and see the world. There are mountains to climb and rivers to
irrelevant, but below is a picture of me on the roads in China more than a year
left is the picture of a very heavy fog I encountered during a car ride in
China. It is an extremely dangerous journey with heavy trucks and double deck buses
on the roads, traveling almost without line of sight. Any accidents can result
in our vehicle being thrown into the Bohai Sea.
right picture, is the GPS map from my phone at that time, showing my trip from
Tianjin to Yantai? What is supposed to be a 6-7h car ride of >600 km route, turned out to be
10-11h due to the thick fog. Crazy….
My Definition of Street Smart

To me, “Street Smart” is “being smart on the streets to survive and thrive – things that you does not necessary learn from books or in the classrooms.”

I encourage each and everyone of you (adults) now to stop staying at home and go out on the streets to learn more about our world and the people in this planet. 
What is your definition of Street Smart?


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