This 60-second game take about three minutes to learn and then complete. It’s a teaser to interest you in sharpening your brain fitness – not that you seem in any way slow to me. Full disclosure: as long-time readers know, I own a sliver of the company that makes these products (and sells them with a 90-day money-back guarantee).

The truth is, if my own brain were fitter, I’d have remembered to post these next two items late last month, when they were freshly responsive. (As you may recall, I had said something dismissive about speedboats, which led to a little nautical banter . . . and, separately, we had been talking about “how to know how much to bet,” which led to a book recommendation. Sound familiar? No? Well, here they are anyway, three weeks delayed.)


Bill B:Speaking of boats . . . reading your chapter on what to do if you inherit a million, or better yet, two (fortunately I did!), and advised, emphatically, ‘Do not buy a boat.’ For me, no further explanation was necessary, as I have been around boats all my life, and know how expensive and maintenance extensive they are. . . . In spite of your advice, I bought a boat! It has been a joy to live aboard my 56-foot motor yacht for the past twelve years, and I wouldn’t have missed it. But, alas, your words come back to haunt me when I am writing checks to maintain, insure, and pay slip rent for it. I figure it is at LEAST twice as expensive as living ashore comfortably, but I am stuck on the lifestyle even though it is vastly more expensive than even I imagined. I jokingly advise friends who have large boats to never add up all the costs, for they will want to sell immediately. When I tell people I live on a boat they almost always comment what a relief it must be not to have to pay property taxes. Believe me, I would much rather pay property taxes! . . . I do not regret the decision I made years ago. The pleasures of boating are well worth the cost as long as you can afford it comfortably. Lately, however, I have been keeping a close eye on my (floating) housing budget. One thing I did not consider when I purchased the boat is what a letdown it will probably be to move ashore again. I try to discourage my nieces and nephews from becoming too fond of boats.”


Stephen Willey: “Until we were barred in 1979 from Resorts International, Bally’s Park Place and Caesars in Atlantic City, I used to play blackjack with the late Ken Uston and others. He, you might already know, was a stock trader and vice-president of the Pacific Stock Exchange before becoming a full time card counter. Anyway, Edward O. Thorp from MIT [the subject of the book you recommended, Fortune’s Formula] was indeed the grandfather of counting and his theories were further developed by Stanford Wong (not real name), Lawrence Revere and Ken Uston. One of the most critical concepts was called the ‘element of ruin’ factor which we continuously needed to calculate as our bankrolls fluctuated in order to determine our maximum bet size. Despite our advantage over the house in the long run, if we bet too much, we still might end up bankrupt if short run fluctuations went against us. What we called the ‘element of ruin factor’ is what you call ‘playing with money you can truly afford to lose.’ ”


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