Ten Pieces of Inspiration #114

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well.

This past week, our family has been talking about places in the world that we’d like to visit. As I often do, I pulled out a bunch of photographs of things I wanted to see in the world to show to my children. Six of them are present here.

1. King’s College Chapel, Cambridge

king's college chapel, cambridge 1446-1515.

The fan vaults on the ceiling here are, for me, the most beautiful architectural feature I’ve ever seen.

Thanks to Seier and Seier for the image.

2. Bruce Lee on simplicity

“Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” – Bruce Lee

The simpler you make something, the more people it reaches and affects.

3. The Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Beijing, Tiantan, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

Depicted above is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. I find something deeply beautiful about the great works of various religious faiths in the world. Religion can reach such beautiful artistic heights.

Thanks to Arian Zwegers for the image.

4. John Steinbeck on advice

“No one wants advice – only corroboration.” – John Steinbeck

This is one of the trickiest parts of giving advice to people. Generally, they want reinforcement of the plan they already have in their head. If you don’t give them that, then your advice will largely be ignored. I try to seed any advice I might give with hard principles that people might draw on later.

5. Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Arc de Triomphe

Not only is this an amazing work, it is also the home of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for World War I, and WWI is something that I’ve studied and been deeply affected by over the last several years.

Thanks to Stephen Carlile for the image.

6. Mount McKinley, Alaska

Mount McKinley_2007 08 05_011

This is the one place that my wife seems intimidated to go for some reason. I’ve suggested several times that we take a getaway to Denali National Park, just the two of us. I’d really like to just take a road trip there, or perhaps fly and acquire some camping gear upon arrival. It’s a dream of mine.

Thanks to Harvey Barrison for the image.

7. Coco Chanel on life’s progress

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.” – Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel inhabited a cultural area that I have little interest in, yet I find her very interesting as a person.

8. Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

This is a place that I’ll almost assuredly never gain access to. Not only is it rather difficult to get to, they don’t just let you in for a visit when you get there (hence the photo of the door). This is the “fail safe” for crop seeds in the world. It’s probably a sign of my quirkiness that I’d rather visit this place than any other “secure” place in the world.

Thanks to Dag Endresen for the image.

9. Stephen Jay Gould on obscurity

“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” – Stephen Jay Gould

I suspect that the greatest minds humanity has ever produced, the ones that could have solved many of humankind’s problems, were left to waste because of a lack of opportunity. The most brilliant people in the world will never achieve great things if they don’t have good food and water and they don’t have access to challenging education.

10. Teotihuacan, Mexico


I’ve actually visited this place before, but it has stuck in my memory more powerfully than perhaps any location I’ve ever visited. I’m not sure why. I want to take my family here someday.

Thanks to fklv for the image.

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