Have a sofa in the kitchen

That is advice from Richard Branson:

10. Do what you love and have a sofa in the kitchen

You only live one life, so I would do the thing that you are going to enjoy. When life boils down, this might sound like a little much coming from me, I do have my own little island in the Caribbean, but when we are on that island, we tend to just live in the kitchen.

The rest of the advice, more pedestrian, is here, and the original pointer is from Tim Harford.


"Do what you love" is the classic nonsense recommendation and why millions of people are unemployed or under-employed.

We know since David Ricardo that you should find your comparative advantage. Your work will be relatively easier and better paid than the alternatives, and you'll have time and money left over for leisure.

"Do what you love" is excellent advice if you love coding, math, or business. It's terrible advice if you love clarinet, windsurfing, or Playstation. You usually hear it from a person who happens to love something very profitable.

You can make a living as a musician, if you are any good at all, heck even if you aren't you can if you practice enough. It may not be a good living but I know several musicians who manage it, several who are by no means especially gifted. It may not be all that comfortable or easy a life but many of these people are happy, happier than most of the office workers I know.

The thing is that you have to be willing to sacrifice to do what you love. The world is filled with people who work with very little reward when they are capable of other jobs and are basically happy. The problem is that people want to do what they love and expect to be rewarded for it.

No kidding.

Funny you should mention clarinet, as I know a young guy who just got a job playing clarinet for a major orchestra, at a starting salary of more than 200K. I myself took up a notoriously unremunerative occupation comparatively late in life and now make a secure 100+K. You can do what you love -- but you have to remember it's not about you. It's about whomever you're working for and how you can help that organization or client achieve its goals. That's what you get paid for.

$200K for a starting orchestral musician seems unlikely. A chart I found online prepared by the career development office of the Berklee College of Music lists starting salary at the Boston Symphony at $112,840 (as of 2010). The Chicago Symphony seems to be the best paid, with average salaries well over $150,000. So if your young guy is starting with the Chicago Symphony it is (although unlikely) possible that he is getting more than $200K, but that would be because he is one of the dozen highest paid orchestral clarinetists in the world. Conversely, there are probably, just in the U.S., more than a million doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and executives making more than $200,000.

I know a guy who makes millions with Playstation. Google pewdiepie

"do what you love" is Straussian advice. People who tell you this are not trying to give you any effective advice. They want to let you know how great their life is and how little effort they spent achieving their position in life.

"Love what you do" is more practical advice -- in terms of both life satisfaction and income.

I believe he has a much larger kitchen than I do.

Probably has a much larger sofa, too..

Didn't he just say something to the effect that climate change "deniers" should be imprisoned?

And this is relevant to this article how?

I wonder if I can fit a sofa into my cell...

How does he travel to the island mentioned in the article?

A plane. Paid for from the profits of his airline.

Highlighting a person's intellectual bankruptcy is always relevant.

Sanity of people giving advises is critical.

Because what I love is being a climate change denier.

Does it have to be a sofa in the kitchen, or can it be the other way around? I'd quite like a fridge (or at least a beer cooler) in the living room.


This one has a built in fridge and a massage feature.

Bless him. Can I be twenty-seven again, and playing scrum-half?

I have a chair in my kitchen. Do what I enjoy. Don't make any money doing it.

2.5 out of 3 ain't bad. Would have passed out with First Division if not distinction at IIT.

The very worst advise seems to come from the very most successful. I suspect those who are moderately successful have better advice.

The most successful people have luckiest person in the world syndrome. Of course they are talented, but also, everything in life broke right for them--they happened to be in the right place at the right time, etc. They tend to attribute this to their own ability and choices rather than luck and therefore have a very skewed view of what works in life.

I think that's right.

I also think that if you ask a regular Joe for his life advice he's going to give you his best advice.
When you ask a commercially successful person for his life advice, he's going to manufacture a product to sell you that he can profit from. That's what makes him commercially successful.
You will never see advice from Branson or Trump or etc. that doesn't conform to their brands.

If all he needs is a sofa in his kitchen and a bedroom, then why doesn't he use the rest of his money to save lives in Africa? He must not care very much about others given that he spent so much money buying an island that he apparently doesn't need.

Without knowing a thing about you, it's pretty safe to say that Richard Branson has done more to benefit humanity than you have, and by a factor exceeding the difference in his wealth and yours.

Without knowing you, I can say you almost certainly have no idea of the thousands of responses which would effectively convince an unprejudiced objective observer that you have little to no idea what you are talking about.

Big kitchen.

The point of that one is not to be middle class.

It's not a sentiment without merit in some cases, but when you live off the middle class it's pretty uncool to want to distance yourself so much from them. Although probably required in his field.

I remember a Belloc paragraph where he talks about the middle class obsession with cleanliness and neatness, then notes that when you can only afford two sets of clothes you are more careful with them, and the aristocratic disdain for the little niceties in life is not because they are so grand, it's because they can afford more easily to ruin their shoes.

I suspect most people don't have a couch in their kitchen because they do their own cooking, which requires standing up.

I don't need no damn sofa inna kitchen. Get me a sammich, beyotch.

Doin' what I love.

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