Funny But True: Lessons from A.I.G.

05/07/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

These are real pamphlets of wisdom put out by A.I.G. (Apparently the artwork is from Highlights.)

Fittingly, I found them on the curb, with other items left over from one of the many yard sales springing up in this recession.


The advice given in these booklets "Life 101" and "Aesop's Fables" has been so shockingly ignored by the leaders of this organization, I don't even know where to begin, nor am I certain it bears belaboring. Such as #30: "Live Practically," or #78: "Do not turn one blunder into two," or #95: "Have no careless days," or #45: "Always act as if others were watching." It goes on.

At the same time, there are pearls of wisdom that might have been emphasized too much by the A.I.G. execs. Like #32: "Get used to the failings of those around you," or #87: "Know how to ask" (presumably asking for million dollar bonuses at the decadent exec retreat paid for by taxpayers), or #9, "Know how to withdraw" (as in withdrawing said millions).


My favorite aphorisms are the ones which come already highlighted on each page. The most inspired being #101: "In times of prosperity, prepare for adversity."

As a filmmaker who directs documentary and comedy, I appreciate humor in reality. Each of these morals are just so outlandishly funny given what we now know, I kind of think they are punchlines written a decade ago before the world knew what a joke A.I.G. really was.

I strongly encourage you to download these booklets of very expensive wisdom. Maybe if you ignore them, you, too, can walk away with millions for catastrophic failure.


(and no, you don't have to be "punch drunk" to think this is funny.)