With the holidays coming up, I thought I would focus on a more personal blog entry this week, especially as this was a special week for our family. In my upcoming book The Philosophical Investor: Transforming Wisdom into Wealth (March 17, 2015 publication date) I discuss the power of partnership and how one plus one can really add up to more than two. This not only applies to my business partners but with my wife Roneet as well. She has brought some incredible wisdom, courage, and great joy to my life and our family over our 25+ years together. In the book, I discuss two important life events that altered the trajectory of our family. The book focuses on these types of tectonic shifts and discusses how important it is to be as prepared for such shifts as much as we can mentally, emotionally, and financially. To get the full details of the important life altering events, you’ll have to get your hands on a copy of the book. The Readers Digest version is as follows.
Proud Papa Update for my Son Jacob
When my son Jacob was two he had a very serious medical issue that almost cost him his life. The road to recovery has been an arduous one at times. It’s required numerous surgeries, shots, physical therapy, occupational therapy, countless tutors, and an incredible amount of perseverance and dedication on his part and especially by Roneet. She gave everything she had to make sure Jacob had the best resources available to him to recover, grow, succeed in high school, and go to college. Well, Jacob is now 21 and as of this writing (12/19/14) he just completed his last final and is now a college graduate (technically he gets his diploma in May). He is now home and will be embarking upon a career as a basketball coach. He is the assistant freshman basketball coach at the high school he graduated from and is hoping to get a masters degree in coaching and sports administration. We are so proud of him.
The good news doesn’t stop there. Ever since I can remember our daughter Ariella has been obsessed with college. Growing up she was very intrigued by Yale because of their great writing program. Over the years, her college interests have changed but not her intense focus on finding a school that could challenge her and allow her to be with highly dedicated peers who took learning very seriously. In the book, an entire chapter is dedicated to the unconventional choices Roneet and I made to make sure Ariella attended a high school that could really challenge her. She is a very gifted writer, avid reader, and a voracious learner. After a lot of research and soul-searching Ariella determined that she wanted to go to a girls high school. She was initially very interested in a prep school in New York, but we concluded that was too far away from California and she was too young to go away. We discovered one of the nation’s premier high schools, let alone girls school, in Los Angeles. Ariella was fortunate to get in and has spent the last four years there doing some amazing things and deeply connecting with her passion for writing.
The school is populated by some amazingly talented and achievement-oriented girls. The average SAT scores place the school in the top twenty in the country. Needless to say, its college placements each year are usually quite impressive. College, particularly the elite schools, have gotten very challenging to get into as a growing college-bound population base combined with rapidly growing international demand, have made the best schools akin to Manhattan real estate: Limited supply and global demand. The end result is a smaller percentage of applicants get in each year on average while the costs keep rising as the schools have pretty strong pricing power.
Proud Papa Update for my Daughter Ariella
In any event, Ariella has studied colleges relentlessly for the last few years. She has vacillated between Yale, Brown, Penn, U Chicago, Wesleyan, and Johns Hopkins. Although she was a good candidate for Stanford she didn’t want to stay in California so that was out of the equation. She visited all of these campuses, among others, and after a lot of thinking and processing all of the information and experiences, she settled on the University of Chicago. She decided to apply early action, which, unlike early decision, is not binding. We kept saying to ourselves, “if not her, then who?” She had excellent test scores, strong grades, a great high school, a demonstrated commitment to a passion, writing, as well as very compelling essays.Yet, with all that with an acceptance rate of 8.4% and being the 4th ranked school in the country, the odds were still not necessarily in her favor. There have been countless qualified candidates that have not gotten into their top choices. I was actually feeling pretty good about her chances while Roneet was a nervous wreck. She described it as follows. She said she would be shocked if she got in and shocked if she didn’t.
Up until this point U. Chicago was the last very elite school to come out with their early decisions. Ariella’s classmates were doing pretty well which was encouraging. To give you some indication of how good her school is, in her english class two got into Yale, one Stanford, one Columbia, and one Duke. That is quite impressive if I must say so myself. Chicago said their decisions would be released in the afternoon of the 18th. Ariella was pretty sure that it would be at 1 pacific since that is when they were released last year. At exactly 1 her phone went off alerting to an email and she ran to it and Roneet said “Well?” It was from Oceania Cruise Lines and they both laughed. Then a minute later another alert took place. It was the moment we all had been waiting for, especially Ariella. I believe her email had two attachments. Ariella is a bit of a space cadet and opened the second one first which congratulated her for being a University Scholar and the school was offering her a partial scholarship if she chose to attend. Basically, Ariella learned she was a scholarship recipient before she officially learned she was accepted! As Deng Xiaoping said, “Black cat, white cat, whatever gets the rat.” We don’t care what she found out first as long as the end result was she got in. Needless to say, we were ecstatic and so proud of her. Her essays were quite extraordinary. If I can convince her to let me reprint them here I think you would find them very interesting.
The photo above is a picture from our celebration dinner. I look pretty haggard so please focus on her not her proud papa.
Over to You
You have all been part of this journey and I’d like to wish you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!