The Absurdity of Grapefruit and Ice Cream

Happy Friday,

It’s been a while since the previous blog, and unfortunately, that may be a recurring theme.

The semester is great and for once, I’m loving both classes! What a relief that is :-)

One of my many assigned readings is Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan, a fantastic and entertaining breakdown of the economic turmoil that we’ve found ourselves in recently. He also does a great job interpreting basic economic principles for those who are less inclined to economic theory.

In one of his many entertaining chapters, he refers to a fad diet which swept a sorority house at the university he attended. Ice cream and grapefruit in mass consumption was going to solve all of the body issues of the young twenty-somethings. Clearly, it didn’t work out as common nutritional wisdom will tell you. His point was that we as humans do some really, really irrational things! In our conquest to maximize our utility (economic term for benefit) we do things that can be mind-numbing ridiculous at times! Economics is rooted in the principle that we look out for ourselves first, in all regards, and all others follow suit. To this day, that has yet to be disproved.

This story relates to life in this way… there is NO QUICK FIX for getting rich (or losing weight) or doing anything for that matter. Oh, how I would pay dearly for a quick fix to get into Ironman racing condition. Instead, I’ve spent seven years getting ready… that’s time well spent, but time nonetheless.

We often are in such a hurry to maximize our benefits to self that we do something outrageous or take the nice and easy road that we think will get us to the pot of the gold. Wouldn’t you rather buy some easy DVD that guarantees you a ripped physique instead of putting in the hours in a gym and solid nutrition? Of course you would, because it’d be nice to spend that saved gym time doing fun things like video games, watching movies, traveling the world, etc. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. We have to earn our achievements and work hard at maintaining them. Our human capital (what makes us, us) is our greatest possession and something that must be fostered, tended to, and persevered towards.

Wheelan closes with one piece of advice…

…it’s the things that aren’t predictable that matter in life. Have a great weekend!

Picture credit 1. Picture credit 2.



  1. Well said.

    Unfortunately it’s too true that today’s youth are expecting instant gratification. I think that’s brought on by all the shoot-em-up games and by ads that encourage “buy now” and lazy parenting that think they deserve more, too–the parental attitudes just flow downstream to the kids. You know more vehicles, more entertainment outlets, more money, more vacations.

    We need a sweeing new trend of parents naming their kids, “Les” (short for ‘Lester” and ‘Leslie” and symbolizing, “Less stuff”)

    The ramifications of this self-centeredness sure play out in businesses today:
    * poor work ethic
    * selfishness—many that hire in (if you can find a good one) think the employer owes them something just because they show up—not because they have an obligation to fulfill to earn the pay. May act like the public owes them free benefits (like food stamps, right to vote, etc.) even if they aren’t legal tax-paying citizens.

    Nothing has changed since the beginning of time, we are all born self-centered. It’s just gotten worse.

    But this is your blog, Russ—not mine so I’ll stop ranting (for now and right here, anyways)

  2. Haha, it’s true that instant gratification is something they expect, however, I don’t know that you can blame shooting games :-) I’m far too attached to Halo to throw it under the bus. The concerns of a poor work ethic and selfishness run very deep. We run into that issue all the time at work!

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