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A Personal Development, Self-Awareness, and Applied Game Theory Newsletter



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Q. Lewis, tell me about Intentional Living Communities, the philosophy of lifehacking, and what would be the value of using barter instead of cash in getting what we need?

A. There are 3 three questions here, and many ways to answer them. Said simply, intentional living, lifehacking, thrift, and downshifting are all ways of harnessing unused value. Unused value, also as known as a wasted value, is something trending now in the subsistence culture.


Unused value refers to the time over which products, services, and talents lay idle. This idle time is wasted value that business models and organizations that are based on collaboration and the sharing economy can potentially utilize.

The classic example of wasted or underused value is the automobile.  The average car is unused 95% of the time. This wasted value can be a significant resource, and hence an opportunity, for sharing economy car solutions.

Here is a list of 16 of the most important concepts being explored by those interested in living well, Intentional Living, barter, lifehacking, and wasted value

  • Alternative housing,
  • Tiny houses,
  • Downshifting as a strategy for living the simple life ,
  • Subsistence agriculture and Sustainable living,
  • Self-sufficiency vegetarianism and radical self-reliance,
  • Bartering as a tool for thrift and frugal low-cost living,
  • Simple intentional living and work-life balance,
  • Low technology and the good life,
  • Lifehacking as the cure for affluenza,
  • Degrowth and deep ecology in prepperism,
  • How to reduce an ecological footprint,
  • Consumerism and appropriate technology,
  • Food miles and green anarchism
  • Sustainability and global warming,
  • The Prepper Movement and Intentional Living,
  • Heirloom design
  • Bartering as a way of defining what unused value happens to be available to you.
  • Self-sustainability, self-sufficiency, and collaborative living


My path to this way of thinking is a wonderful one and goes back almost half a century. In 1976 I met Helen Nearing.  She and her husband Scott Nearing and their book Living the Good Life had a major impact on my development of the HAGT (Harrison’s Applied Game Theory) philosophy. Later the economist E. F. Schumacher and his book Small is Beautiful, took me to the next level in this way of thinking

I then began my life as a professional Barter broker. Many individuals involved in intentional living only have a superficial understanding of the core 24 Resources and the power of barter.  In the 21st century, the master of barter has a greater understanding of the concept of unused value that a person who primarily uses “cash” money to conduct business may not understand.

There is also significant unused value in “wasted time.  Clay Shirky in his analysis of the power of “crowds” connected by information technology addresses this head-on.  According to Shirky, an American journalist, consultant, and teacher on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies, many people have unused capacity in the course of their day. With social media and information technology, such people can donate small slivers of time to take care of simple tasks that others need doing. Examples of these crowdsourcing solutions include the Repair Café Movement, the for-profit Amazon Mechanical Turk,  the non-profit Ushahidi, and the multi-billion dollar network of registered barter and reciprocal trade brokers

Let’s return to the idea of self-sustainability and self-sufficiency. These are overlapping states of being in which a person or organization needs little or no help from, or interaction with, others. Self-sufficiency entails the self-being enough (to fulfill needs), and a self-sustaining entity can maintain self-sufficiency indefinitely. These states represent types of personal or collective autonomy. A self-sufficient economy is one that requires little or no trade with the outside world and is called an autarky. Being a loner this idea was attractive to me, and yet I know that collaboration takes us all to a higher level. Then there is the issue that for the most part humans are social creatures.

It is important in all of this, to always keep in mind that one person’s waste is usually another person’s gold. For most of us, waste is commonly considered as something that is no longer wanted and needs to be discarded. The challenge with this point of view is that much of what we define as waste still has value that, with proper design and distribution, can safely serve as “nutrients” for follow-on processes, unlocking new levels of value in increasingly scarce and expensive resources. One example is “heirloom design” as articulated by physicist and inventor Saul Griffith. Griffith the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant in 2007  has spent a lot of time thinking about how to make useful things, often out of things that were considered useless.

For instance, Griffith is known for having developed a comprehensive carbon calculator called WattzOn, energy-producing kites, and innovative designs for low-cost prescription glasses, and many other important innovations.

Griffith has been arguing that we need to stop buying things and then throwing them away so quickly. In short, we need more “heirloom design.” According to Griffith “an object with ‘heirloom design’ is something that will not only last through your lifetime and into the next generation, but that you also desire to keep that long because it’s beautiful, functional, and timeless”.

According to Griffith, an enormous amount of the energy we use [industrially] is locked up in “embodied energy.” It’s trapped, or embodied, in the materials our stuff is made of. It’s the energy that we use to mine materials and process them into products. While we can choose materials that have less embodied energy for any given product, it’s much better to choose objects that last two or three, or preferably 10 times, longer.” Heirloom products enable us to figure out how to live the best quality of life while using much less energy. Living in this way can help us address climate change and carbon dioxide problem. From an aesthetic and spiritual perspective, heirloom design enables us to reduce what we don’t really need or even want. With a life less cluttered we can more appreciate the beauty around and experience greater joy.



Collaboration is an important approach to barter, intentional living, and a work-life balance


In order to design an heirloom product, we have to think in new ways concerning what we really want versus what we need and appreciate. This ultimately leads to a shift in how we view function, materials, and aesthetics.

According to Griffith, ultimately  “the principal and only way to make an heirloom product are to design something that people will need not just this year, but for the next 50 or 100 years. Choose good materials that will last that long; but in essence, don’t even bother making fad-products. If you have to design something, choose things that we need as opposed to frivolous things…” He adds, “In many respects, designing heirloom products means saying no to designing consumer crap that you know will not last very long.”


Ultimately, it is all about intention. If you can live simply, make wise choices, and surround yourself with effective, efficient, productive, and self-aware people it is easy to not just survive but to prosper.


Speaking of intentional living, I believe that it is important to use cash in small ways to maximize my potential in those few times when I require urgency and specificity. It is here that I use gamer psychology and game theory. I invest a small amount of time and money in using sports analytics to predict winners and losers in Fantasy sports. This may not be your thing but if you like to integrate many approaches living well. Here is a link to a free video and information about Sports Betting and FIFA Fantasy Football. This is an introduction to one of my favorite systems. If you want to use predictive skills to explore this Complete Analytics-Driven Sports Fantasy Football and Sports Betting System. It’s based on the ideas presented in the book and movie Moneyball. Press on the URL below or the photo of the soccer players  below.




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