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I was reviewing some notes for a talk and the last comment I had written was, “Use common sense.” This applies to more than just the topic of my talk, it applies to business, and life, in general.

It’s common for people to say society in general lacks common sense (pun intended). What it usually means, at least when applied to successful people (like those receiving this newsletter), is that we get too close to issues and lose perspective. It’s why outside advisors can be extremely valuable as they can see through the clutter.

A couple weeks ago a client was discussing a business, the offer he had made on it and the due diligence. This business has some nice features, it has some warts (as they all do) and as we discussed them my client said, about one of the two owners, “I just don’t trust him.”

Because he was so close to the issue this lack of trust was just another checkmark on one side of the ledger. Because I was looking at it from the outside, and with years of experience with these matters, my advice was, “Then it’s time to kill the deal,” which he did.

We all have common sense in some areas. It’s a sign of having good common sense when we know that we have to bring in assistance.

“What experience and history teach us is that people and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.” G.W.F. Hegel

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