Michael Lewis ’82, the author of such best-sellers as Liar’s Poker and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, is one of the country’s most respected business writers. Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), manager of the Dunder Mifflin paper company for seven years on the hit TV show The Office, is a fool. Lewis delivered this year’s Baccalaureate address. Carell addressed seniors on Class Day. Given the upside-down nature of current economic news, it might be hard to distinguish trenchant financial analysis from raw parody. Here, then, are sayings and writings by Lewis and the fictional Scott. See if you can tell whose words they are. (Answers below.)
- In Monopoly, you go bankrupt, you lose.
- I thought instead of a good rule for survival on Wall Street: Never agree to anything proposed on someone else’s boat, or you’ll regret it in the morning.
- If it weren’t for the fact that I can do anything I want around here, I’d quit.
- Stupid customers ... were a wonderful asset, but at some level of ignorance they became a liability — they went broke.
- In joining equities we could be a part of something far larger than ourselves. I’m not sure we could conceive of anything much larger than ourselves.
- Everyone who was trying to sell something was wearing a tie.
- Inventory is boring. In the islands they don’t make you do stuff like take inventory. Why do you think so many businesses moved to the Caymans?
- If I can get them depressed, then I’ll have done my job.
- What are the odds that people will make smart decisions about money if they don’t need to make smart decisions — if they can get rich making dumb decisions?
- Money’s not everything. But you know what is? Joy.
(Answers: Lewis quotes: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9. Scott quotes: 1, 7, 8, 10.)
“Senior year has been a lesson in contradictions — at once a victory lap and a mad sprint to the finish, a last opportunity to try something for the first time and an endless stream of doing things for the last time.”
— Class Day speaker Spencer Gaffney ’12
“If certain aspects of Princeton are disappointing, I’ll say this: Perhaps these disappointments — grade deflation, constant comparison to your incredible peers, one-ply toilet paper — are the reason we become halfway decent at anything. They make us stronger ... .”
— Class Day speaker Clayton Raithel ’12
“A society requires citizens who are steeped in history, literature, languages, culture, and scientific and technological ideas from ancient times to the present day. They need to be curious about the world, broadly well-informed, independent of mind, and able to understand and sympathize with what Woodrow Wilson referred to as ‘the other.’”
— President Tilghman, in her Commencement address
“Think of your Princeton transcript as your fingerprint: Nobody else has the same one, and your complete list of classes — including that random one that you took senior year because it looked like fun — helps define your unique intellectual identity.”
— Valedictorian Nathaniel Fleming ’12
“We will come together again and again at Reunions, so that we may rejoice in Bacchus bringing sweet memories.”
— Salutatorian Elizabeth Butterworth ’12, translated from the Latin