Chapter 6

The Value of Advice

There’s this type of bread in Afghanistan called dodday, and it’s a flatbread that looks like an American pizza crust with no toppings. It’s used in most meals there, especially to scoop up rice or other foods since most people don’t use forks or knives, at least in the area where we were deployed. At one point during our deployment we had a Brigadier General visiting Mehtar Lam. He was the commander of the Nevada Air Guard at the time, and we took him out into the city on a patrol. During that patrol, one of our sergeants went over to a bread vendor and bought five pieces of dodday for $5. He was happy because it seemed like a great deal. He was busy handing pieces out to others and generally enjoying his score. Our interpreter, Aimal Halim, was watching all of this and strolled over to the sergeant to ask for $2. We all watched while Aimal went over and bought 20 pieces of dodday and brought them over to us. Instead of the $1 per piece that our sergeant paid, Aimal walked away with 20 pieces of bread for 10 cents each.

That sergeant was a very smart and capable soldier, and we all thought that he got a great deal, but this story is an example of how we don’t really know what we don’t know. That’s true in so much of our lives. People make decisions every day, especially regarding their finances, without realizing that they don’t have all the information at hand that an expert on the subject might. People do investment allocations on their own, they ...

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