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Michael Lewis為2012年普林斯頓大學畢業生演講

Michael Lewis 2012 Commencement Speech at Princeton University

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Michael Lewis

2012年6月3日演講

 

翻譯:洪曉慧

編輯:朱學恆

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

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閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講(來源World News.com

Michael Lewis是1982年普林斯頓大學畢業生及《老千騙局》和《魔球》等書的作者,於2012年普林斯頓畢業典禮演講〈別吃那塊幸運餅乾〉。

 

關於Michael Lewis(來源Wikipedia

Michael Lewis(生於1960年10月15日)是美國非小說類圖書作家和財經記者。他的暢銷書包括《大賣空:預見史上最大金融浩劫之投資英雄傳》、《老千騙局》、《以新致富的矽谷文化》、《魔球:逆境中制勝的智慧》、《攻其不備:麥克歐爾躍升足球巨星的故事》、《恐慌》等。他於2009年起擔任《浮華世界》雜誌特約編輯。

 

Michael Lewis為2012年普林斯頓大學畢業生演講

 

我從不曾上來這裡。(笑聲)

 

謝謝Tilghman校長、校董會委員和各位來賓;謝謝2012年畢業生家長,無論你們坐在哪裡。2012年畢業生,你們何不給自己一陣熱烈的掌聲?(歡呼聲)(掌聲)。很好(掌聲)。下次當你在一所教堂裡,看見大家都穿著一身黑衣時,這麼做就很尷尬了(笑聲)。好好享受這一刻吧!(笑聲)

 

三十年前,我坐在你們所坐的位置,我肯定也聽過某位前輩分享他的人生經歷,但我連一個字也記不得了,甚至連演講者是誰都想不起,你們以後大概也不會記得。唯一令我記憶猶新的是畢業這個事實。大家都說我應該感到興奮或如釋重負,因為終於能離開學校。或許你們都有這種感覺,但我沒有。當時我十分憤怒。我來到這裡,給了學校我人生中最美好的四年,我得到的回報卻是如此-被踢出校門。在那個時刻,我肯定的只有一件事:我對校外的世界來說沒什麼經濟價值。我主修藝術史,即使在當時,這也被視為瘋狂的行徑(笑聲)。我幾乎可以肯定,我對就業的準備比你們差多了。然而,不知怎麼的,我竟成了富翁和名人(笑聲)(掌聲)。算是吧!(笑聲)我想簡要說明這是怎麼回事,因為我希望在你們踏出校門、展開自己的事業之前,能明白職業生涯是多麼令人難以捉摸。

 

我從普林斯頓大學畢業時,不曾在任何刊物上發表過一個字;我不曾為《the Prince》或任何人寫過文章。但在普林斯頓研讀藝術史期間,我頭一次興起對文學的雄心,這發生在我撰寫畢業論文時。我的指導教授William Childs是一位才華洋溢的人,我的畢業論文內容是試著解釋義大利雕刻家Donatello如何借鑒了希臘和羅馬的雕塑風格。其實這跟今天的主題完全無關,但我一直想提這件事(笑聲)。天知道Childs教授對這個主題有何看法,但他的指導令我全心投入。事實上,不僅是投入,簡直是癡迷。當我交出論文那一刻,突然領悟到自己這輩子想做什麼-我想寫論文(笑聲)。或者,換句話說,寫書。然後我參加了論文口試,地點離這裡不遠,就在McCormick Hall藝術博物館。我期待聽見Childs教授稱讚我的論文寫得多棒,但他沒有(笑聲)。因此,大約45分鐘後,我忍不住問他,「那麼,你覺得我寫得如何?」

 

「這麼說吧,」他說,「千萬別靠寫作吃飯。」(笑聲)

 

於是我打消念頭-也不盡然;我做了所有大學畢業後不知該做什麼的人所做的事-唸研究所。

 

我每晚孜孜不倦地寫作,但沒什麼進展,主要是因為我根本不知道該寫什麼。某天晚上,我受邀參加一場晚宴,正好坐在某位華爾街投資銀行大亨的夫人身旁-所羅門兄弟公司。她算是向她丈夫拗了一份工作給我。當時我對所羅門兄弟公司一無所知,但所羅門兄弟公司碰巧處於華爾街轉型的前線,轉變成如今大家所熟知及熱愛的華爾街(笑聲)。當我進入那家公司時,幾乎是隨機地被分派到得以觀察那場瘋狂轉型的最佳位置。公司將我培養成金融衍生產品專家。一年半後,所羅門兄弟公司付我數十萬美元薪水,擔任為專業投資者提供金融衍生產品諮詢的職務。現在我有題材可寫了-所羅門兄弟公司。華爾街已瘋狂到支付剛從普林斯頓大學畢業、對金錢毫無概念的小毛頭高薪,讓他們假裝是金融專家。我就這麼誤打誤撞地找到下一篇論文題材。

 

我打電話給父親,告訴他我打算辭掉這份或許能讓我賺上數百萬美元的工作,來寫一本只有四萬美元預付款的書。電話另一頭沉默了許久。「你或許該好好考慮一下,」他說。(笑聲)

 

「為什麼?」我問道。

 

「你可以先在所羅門兄弟公司打拼十年,賺一筆錢,然後再寫書。」他說。

 

但我根本不需要考慮,我知道對知識的熱情是什麼感覺,因為我曾經在這裡-普林斯頓感受過,我希望能再次擁有這種感受。當時我26歲,如果我真的等到36歲,就不可能完成這個夢想了。我會忘了那種感覺,我會覺得太冒險。

 

我寫的這本書叫《老千騙局》,賣了100萬冊。當時我28歲,擁有一份事業、一點名氣、一小筆財富和嶄新的人生道路。突然間,所有人都說我是天生的作家(笑聲)。實在荒謬透頂(笑聲)。即使連我都看得出還有另一個更實在的解釋,那就是運氣。剛好遇上以下情況的機率有多少?在那場晚宴中,正好坐在所羅門兄弟大亨夫人身旁;進入華爾街最棒的投資公司,因此撰寫了一本描繪當代的故事;正好處於觀察這個轉型的最有利位置;正好擁有這樣的父母,沒和我斷絕關係,只是嘆口氣說,「如果你堅持的話,就去做吧!」正好遇上激發我「非做不可」那份熱情的普林斯頓藝術史教授;最初有幸能進入普林斯頓就讀。

 

這不是什麼假謙虛,而是有道理的假謙虛(笑聲)。我的例子顯示了世人對成功的一貫看法。人們確實不喜歡將成功歸因於運氣的說法,特別是成功人士。當他們隨著年齡增長,逐步邁向成功時,會認為自己的成功是理所當然,他們不願承認運氣在他們生命中扮演的角色。這是有原因的;因為這個世界也不願承認這一點。事實上,我寫了一本探討這一點的書,書名叫《魔球》。表面上是寫棒球的故事,但事實上卻蘊含更深的意義。

 

職棒界中有貧窮和富有的球隊,他們花在球員身上的錢簡直是天壤之別。我寫這本書時,職棒界最富有的球隊是紐約洋基隊,當時它花在25名球員身上的錢大約是1.2億美元;最窮的球隊是奧克蘭運動家隊,花費大約是3000萬美元。然而,奧克蘭隊贏球的場次卻比洋基隊多,或和它差不多;也比其他較富有的球隊多。這應該是不可能發生的事。理論上來說,富有的球隊應該能買到最佳球員,成為常勝軍。但奧克蘭隊發現一個別隊不曾發現的秘密:富有的球隊並不真的瞭解誰是最佳球員;球員的潛力被錯估了。他們被錯估的最大原因是,專家們對運氣在贏球中扮演的角色並未給予足夠的重視。球員們獲得的讚賞與其他球員的表現息息相關:投手的身價取決於勝投場次;打擊者的身價取決於上壘率。球員們因某些完全不在他們掌控中的情況而受到褒貶,例如被擊中的球剛好落在場中哪個位置。

 

先不提棒球和運動。某些年薪數百萬的人,他們做的工作跟同行長久以來所做的完全一樣。在數百萬人眼中,他們每一位都認為自己是眼光精準的專家,他們在工作中所做的每一個決定都有統計數據支持,但依然會發生錯估的情形,因為這廣大的世界忽略了運氣因素。所以我認為你們應該質疑,如果身價數百萬的職業球員都可能被錯估,還有誰不會讓人看走眼?如果菁英主義至上的職業體壇都無法分辨運氣和實力因素,還有誰能分辨?

 

《魔球》這個故事具有實用意義:如果你使用更恰當的數據,就能得到更準確的估計值;市場上總是有缺陷可以利用等等。但對我來說,它還蘊含一個更廣義、但不是那麼實用的訊息:不要被人生的成就所矇騙。人生的成就,雖然並非完全隨機,卻蘊含大量的運氣成份。最重要的是,你必須意識到,若你獲得成功,必定也受到幸運之神的眷顧。伴隨運氣而來的是義務。你有所虧欠,不僅是對你所信仰的神,也對那些運氣不佳的人有所虧欠。我提出這一點的原因是,就跟這場演講一樣,這是某種你很容易就遺忘的道理。

 

我目前住在加州柏克萊。幾年前,在離我家幾個街區的地點,兩位加大心理系研究人員進行了一個實驗。他們找了一些像你們這樣的學生當做實驗對象,他們將學生按性別分組,每組三位男生或三位女生,然後將這些小組帶入一個房間,隨機指定其中一位擔任組長,讓他們處理一些複雜的道德問題。例如該如何處理作弊行為,或如何管控校園飲酒問題。當他們開始處理問題30分鐘後,研究人員會打斷各組的討論,拿著一碟餅乾進入房間。四塊餅乾。小組裡有三位成員,餅乾卻有四塊。顯然每位成員都能分到一塊餅乾,但剩下第四塊餅乾留在盤中。這本來應該是個尷尬的情況,但卻非如此;結果展現了令人難以置信的一致性:那個被隨機指派為組長的人拿起第四塊餅乾,然後吃了它。不但吃了它,還吃得津津有味、咂咂作響、狼吞虎嚥、口水直流(笑聲)。最後,那塊多出來的餅乾只剩下組長衣服上的碎屑。這位組長並沒有什麼特殊貢獻,也沒什麼過人之處,他只是30分鐘前被隨機選派的。他的地位只是僥倖得來,但他仍覺得第四塊餅乾應該屬於他。

 

這個實驗有助於解釋華爾街年終獎金和總裁高薪的現象;我確信也能解釋許多人類行為。這是人們沒意識到自己的幸運時所做出的行為,但這也和你們-普林斯頓畢業生有關。因為以某種程度來說,你們已被任命為領導者。你們的任命或許並非完全隨機,但現在你們必定已意識到其中的隨機成分。你們是少數幸運兒:有幸能擁有這樣的父母;有幸能生在這樣的國家;有幸存在普林斯頓這樣的地方,使幸運者共聚一堂,並將他們介紹給其他幸運者,增加他們獲得更多好運的機會(笑聲);有幸能生活在歷史上最富裕的社會,身在一個沒有人會期待你為任何事犧牲個人利益的時代。

 

你們都曾經有機會獲得那塊多出來的餅乾,你們將來還會遇上更多機會。有一天你會發現,你很容易就會認為那塊多出來的餅乾是你應得的。就我所知,你們或許確實有資格獲得那塊多出來的餅乾,但你會更快樂、感到人生更加美好,如果你至少假裝那不是你應得的(笑聲)。

 

所以,請銘記在心:為國奉獻,為世界奉獻。

 

謝謝,祝大家好運。(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About The Talk

Michael Lewis, a member of Princeton's Class of 1982 and author of such books as "Liar's Poker" and "Moneyball," speaks at the 2012 Baccalaureate in a speech called "Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie."
 
 
About Michael Lewis
Michael Monroe Lewis (born October 15, 1960) is an American non-fiction author and financial journalist. His bestselling books include The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, Panic, Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood and Boomerang. He has been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 2009.
 
 
About The Transcript
Thank you. President Tilghman. Trustees and Friends. Parents of the Class of 2012. Above all, Members of the Princeton Class of 2012. Give yourself a round of applause. The next time you look around a church and see everyone dressed in black it'll be awkward to cheer. Enjoy the moment.
 
Thirty years ago I sat where you sat. I must have listened to some older person share his life experience. But I don't remember a word of it. I can't even tell you who spoke. What I do remember, vividly, is graduation. I'm told you're meant to be excited, perhaps even relieved, and maybe all of you are. I wasn't. I was totally outraged. Here I’d gone and given them four of the best years of my life and this is how they thanked me for it. By kicking me out.  
 
At that moment I was sure of only one thing: I was of no possible economic value to the outside world. I'd majored in art history, for a start. Even then this was regarded as an act of insanity. I was almost certainly less prepared for the marketplace than most of you. Yet somehow I have wound up rich and famous. Well, sort of. I'm going to explain, briefly, how that happened. I want you to understand just how mysterious careers can be, before you go out and have one yourself.
 
I graduated from Princeton without ever having published a word of anything, anywhere. I didn't write for the Prince, or for anyone else. But at Princeton, studying art history, I felt the first twinge of literary ambition. It happened while working on my senior thesis. My adviser was a truly gifted professor, an archaeologist named William Childs. The thesis tried to explain how the Italian sculptor Donatello used Greek and Roman sculpture — which is actually totally beside the point, but I've always wanted to tell someone. God knows what Professor Childs actually thought of it, but he helped me to become engrossed. More than engrossed: obsessed. When I handed it in I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: to write senior theses. Or, to put it differently: to write books. 
 
Then I went to my thesis defense. It was just a few yards from here, in McCormick Hall. I listened and waited for Professor Childs to say how well written my thesis was. He didn't. And so after about 45 minutes I finally said, "So. What did you think of the writing?"
 
"Put it this way" he said. "Never try to make a living at it."
 
And I didn't — not really. I did what everyone does who has no idea what to do with themselves: I went to graduate school. I wrote at nights, without much effect, mainly because I hadn't the first clue what I should write about. One night I was invited to a dinner, where I sat next to the wife of a big shot at a giant Wall Street investment bank, called Salomon Brothers. She more or less forced her husband to give me a job. I knew next to nothing about Salomon Brothers. But Salomon Brothers happened to be where Wall Street was being reinvented—into the place we have all come to know and love. When I got there I was assigned, almost arbitrarily, to the very best job in which to observe the growing madness: they turned me into the house expert on derivatives. A year and a half later Salomon Brothers was handing me a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars to give advice about derivatives to professional investors.  
 
Now I had something to write about: Salomon Brothers. Wall Street had become so unhinged that it was paying recent Princeton graduates who knew nothing about money small fortunes to pretend to be experts about money. I'd stumbled into my next senior thesis.
 
I called up my father. I told him I was going to quit this job that now promised me millions of dollars to write a book for an advance of 40 grand. There was a long pause on the other end of the line. "You might just want to think about that," he said. 
 
"Why?"
 
"Stay at Salomon Brothers 10 years, make your fortune, and then write your books," he said.  
 
I didn't need to think about it. I knew what intellectual passion felt like — because I'd felt it here, at Princeton — and I wanted to feel it again. I was 26 years old. Had I waited until I was 36, I would never have done it. I would have forgotten the feeling.   
 
The book I wrote was called "Liar’s Poker."  It sold a million copies. I was 28 years old. I had a career, a little fame, a small fortune and a new life narrative. All of a sudden people were telling me I was born to be a writer. This was absurd. Even I could see there was another, truer narrative, with luck as its theme. What were the odds of being seated at that dinner next to that Salomon Brothers lady? Of landing inside the best Wall Street firm from which to write the story of an age? Of landing in the seat with the best view of the business? Of having parents who didn't disinherit me but instead sighed and said "do it if you must?" Of having had that sense of must kindled inside me by a professor of art history at Princeton? Of having been let into Princeton in the first place?
 
This isn't just false humility. It's false humility with a point. My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck — especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don't want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either. 
 
I wrote a book about this, called "Moneyball." It was ostensibly about baseball but was in fact about something else. There are poor teams and rich teams in professional baseball, and they spend radically different sums of money on their players. When I wrote my book the richest team in professional baseball, the New York Yankees, was then spending about $120 million on its 25 players. The poorest team, the Oakland A's, was spending about $30 million. And yet the Oakland team was winning as many games as the Yankees — and more than all the other richer teams.  
 
This isn't supposed to happen. In theory, the rich teams should buy the best players and win all the time. But the Oakland team had figured something out: the rich teams didn't really understand who the best baseball players were. The players were misvalued. And the biggest single reason they were misvalued was that the experts did not pay sufficient attention to the role of luck in baseball success. Players got given credit for things they did that depended on the performance of others: pitchers got paid for winning games, hitters got paid for knocking in runners on base. Players got blamed and credited for events beyond their control. Where balls that got hit happened to land on the field, for example.
 
Forget baseball, forget sports. Here you had these corporate employees, paid millions of dollars a year. They were doing exactly the same job that people in their business had been doing forever.  In front of millions of people, who evaluate their every move. They had statistics attached to everything they did. And yet they were misvalued — because the wider world was blind to their luck. 
 
This had been going on for a century. Right under all of our noses. And no one noticed — until it paid a poor team so well to notice that they could not afford not to notice. And you have to ask: if a professional athlete paid millions of dollars can be misvalued who can't be? If the supposedly pure meritocracy of professional sports can't distinguish between lucky and good, who can? 
 
The "Moneyball" story has practical implications. If you use better data, you can find better values; there are always market inefficiencies to exploit, and so on. But it has a broader and less practical message: don't be deceived by life's outcomes. Life's outcomes, while not entirely random, have a huge amount of luck baked into them. Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with  luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your Gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky.
 
I make this point because — along with this speech — it is something that will be easy for you to forget.
 
I now live in Berkeley, California. A few years ago, just a few blocks from my home, a pair of researchers in the Cal psychology department staged an experiment. They began by grabbing students, as lab rats. Then they broke the students into teams, segregated by sex. Three men, or three women, per team. Then they put these teams of three into a room, and arbitrarily assigned one of the three to act as leader. Then they gave them some complicated moral problem to solve: say what should be done about academic cheating, or how to regulate drinking on campus.
 
Exactly 30 minutes into the problem-solving the researchers interrupted each group. They entered the room bearing a plate of cookies. Four cookies. The team consisted of three people, but there were these four cookies. Every team member obviously got one cookie, but that left a fourth cookie, just sitting there. It should have been awkward. But it wasn't. With incredible consistency the person arbitrarily appointed leader of the group grabbed the fourth cookie, and ate it. Not only ate it, but ate it with gusto: lips smacking, mouth open, drool at the corners of their mouths. In the end all that was left of the extra cookie were crumbs on the leader's shirt.
 
This leader had performed no special task. He had no special virtue. He'd been chosen at random, 30 minutes earlier. His status was nothing but luck. But it still left him with the sense that the cookie should be his.  
 
This experiment helps to explain Wall Street bonuses and CEO pay, and I'm sure lots of other human behavior. But it also is relevant to new graduates of Princeton University. In a general sort of way you have been appointed the leader of the group. Your appointment may not be entirely arbitrary. But you must sense its arbitrary aspect: you are the lucky few. Lucky in your parents, lucky in your country, lucky that a place like Princeton exists that can take in lucky people, introduce them to other lucky people, and increase their chances of becoming even luckier. Lucky that you live in the richest society the world has ever seen, in a time when no one actually expects you to sacrifice your interests to anything. 
 
All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you'll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don't. 
 
Never forget: In the nation's service. In the service of all nations.
 
Thank you. 
 
And good luck.   

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好讚!

Anonymous, 2012-11-30 23:16:02

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