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jerryking : biographies   38

Where Power Stops, by David Runciman
September 2, 2019 | Financial Times Review by Giles Wilkes.

Where Power Stops: The Making and Unmaking of Presidents and Prime Ministers, by David Runciman, Profile, £14.99
biographies  books  book_reviews  character_traits  iconoclastic  impotence  leaders  political_biographies  political_power 
september 2019 by jerryking
Bagehot by James Grant — an engaging biography of a purveyor of punditry
August 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Plender

Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, by James Grant, WW Norton, RRP£19.99/$28.95, 368 pages
19th_century  biographies  books  book_reviews  economics  financial_crises  financial_history  journalists  magazines  paradoxes  politicaleconomy  pundits  Victorian  Walter_Bagehot 
august 2019 by jerryking
An Impeccable Spy — a thrilling biography of Stalin’s secret agent
March 22, 2019 | Financial Times | by Victor Sebestyen.

An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent, by Owen Matthews, Bloomsbury, RRP£25, 448 pages

He was defeated by a problem spies have faced from the Battle of Actium to modern-day Iraq. Often leaders hear only what they want to hear and act on information they find politically useful to them. As such this is a highly relevant book for today.

Richard Sorge was the Soviet spy who stole one of the biggest secrets of the second world war: the precise details of Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Through brilliant espionage “tradecraft” that involved penetrating the highest military and political levels in Germany and Japan, Sorge supplied Moscow with the battle plans of Operation Barbarossa weeks before it happened.

History is full of what ifs. Sorge and his spy ring might have changed the direction of the war. But Stalin would not believe Hitler was planning to invade. Though he was also receiving similar warnings from other Soviet sources, as well as British and US ones, the most suspicious of men would not see he could be betrayed.

The Soviet leader distrusted Sorge, convinced his most able and loyal agent was a traitor on the verge of defecting. Stalin relied more than most dictators on secret intelligence but seldom trusted his spies — especially if they told him something he didn’t want to hear.
biographies  books  book_reviews  espionage  Joseph_Stalin  Nazis  security_&_intelligence  spycraft  WWII 
march 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | An Antidote to Idiocy in ‘Churchill’ - The New York Times
By Bret Stephens
Opinion Columnist

Dec. 14, 2018

historian Andrew Roberts’s “Churchill: Walking With Destiny.” A review last month in The Times called it “the best single-volume biography of Churchill yet written,” but it’s more than that. It’s an antidote to the reigning conceits, self-deceptions, half-truths and clichés of our day...We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. Think of Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain and the hard-core Brexiteers. Or of what used to be called the Republican establishment and Donald Trump.

We also live in an era in which the counterexamples are few and far between. “In defeat, defiance” is another great Churchillian maxim, and it’s hard to name a single political figure today who embodies it — as opposed to, say, “in defeat, early retirement to avoid a difficult primary.”
biographies  books  Bret_Stephens  gift_ideas  Winston_Churchill 
december 2018 by jerryking
Tristan Walker on the Roman Empire and Selling a Start-Up to Procter & Gamble - The New York Times
By David Gelles
Dec. 12, 2018

Tristan Walker founded Walker & Company, a maker of health and beauty products for people of color, in 2013. On Wednesday, the company was acquired by Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed sum. The deal represents a successful exit for Mr. Walker and his investors. It also signals an effort by Procter & Gamble, the maker of Gillette, to reach new markets with its shaving products. But while many start-up founders make a hasty exit after getting acquired, Mr. Walker is planning to stay on and grow Bevel, his men’s shaving brand, and Form, his women’s hair care brand. “We’re a team of 15 with very grandiose ambitions,” he said of Walker & Company, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., but will move to Atlanta as part of the deal. “We want this company and its purpose to still be around 150 years from now.”

What’s that book you’ve got there?

It’s “Parallel Lives” by Plutarch. I’ve really been getting into Greek and Roman mythology. I’m reading something right now about the history of Rome during the 53 years when they really came into power, and this idea of the Roman state growing, the Greek state growing, and the differences therein fascinate me beyond belief. I’ve just been devouring it for the past few weeks now.

Walker attended the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn. And from there, he got to see how the other half lived. It completely changed his life. He got to see what success could look like. He got to see what wealth was. And it completely changed his worldview.

How so?

I would walk down the halls and see last names like Ford, go to some classes and realize they’re Rockefellers. These are names that were in my imagination. It taught me the importance of name and what that can mean, not only for you but your progeny. When I started at Hotchkiss, I didn’t know what a verb was. So I spent all of my time in the library studying. I spent all of my time thinking about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

What are your priorities as you keep building the company?

I’m dedicating my life to the demographic shift happening in this country. Not only for Silicon Valley. Not only for business. But for this country’s competitiveness. It’s changing. And folks need to respect that and they need to celebrate it.
African-Americans  Bevel  biographies  books  demographic_changes  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  exits  Form  insights  long-term  P&G  Romans  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  Tristan_Walker  wealth_creation  black-owned  brands  consumer_goods  personal_care_products  personal_grooming  founders 
december 2018 by jerryking
Thomas Cromwell: the man who made modern England
September 13, 2018 | Financial Times | by Kate Maltby.

Thomas Cromwell: A Life, by Diarmaid MacCulloch, Allen Lane, RRP£30, 728 pages
biographies  books  book_reviews  Hilary_Mantel  Protestant_Reformation  Tudors  United_Kingdom 
september 2018 by jerryking
5 books worth reading this summer
May 21, 2018 | | LinkedIn| Bill Gates

Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson. I think Leonardo was one of the most fascinating people ever. Although today he’s best known as a painter, Leonardo had an absurdly wide range of interests, from human anatomy to the theater...... A worthy follow-up to Isaacson’s great biographies of Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs.

Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved, by Kate Bowler.

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Abraham Lincoln, but this novel made me rethink parts of his life. It blends historical facts from the Civil War with fantastical elements—it’s basically a long conversation among 166 ghosts, including Lincoln’s deceased son.

Origin Story: A Big History of Everything, by David Christian.

Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Ronnlund.
billgates  books  booklists  Abraham_Lincoln  biographies  cancers  facts  Hans_Rosling  Leonardo_da_Vinci  origin_story  polymaths  summertime  Walter_Isaacson  Geoge_Saunders 
may 2018 by jerryking
Review: New biography Leonardo da Vinci examines the archetypal Renaissance Man - The Globe and Mail
MICHAEL HARRIS
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 3, 2017

Da Vinci was the archetypal Renaissance Man, ignoring the borders of science and art. His promiscuous curiosity was – well, the stuff of genius......Isaacson argues that da Vinci is history's greatest creative genius and, given the evidence amassed in this 600-page work, one would be hard-pressed to argue.....da Vinci's genius springs from his disregard for categories. Whereas a visual artist today would be encouraged by a hundred confounding factors to "stay in her lane" and pursue visual art for its own sake, da Vinci would have been disgusted by such constraints. Science was no distraction; in fact, science fed his paintings.....da Vinci had a reverence for the wholeness of nature and a feel for the harmony of its patterns, which he saw replicated in phenomena large and small."......Da Vinci's was a world where life held knowable patterns. Dig deep enough, expend enough honest curiosity, and the mysteries of the universe began to unfurl. .....The book – as approachable as it is enlightening – achieves something similar; it inspires the reader to become more curious about the patterns underlying its subject – just as da Vinci was curious about the patterns underlying everything else.
biographies  books  book_reviews  creativity  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Medici  patterns  pattern_recognition  polymaths  Renaissance  Renaissance_Man  transgressiveness  Walter_Isaacson 
december 2017 by jerryking
Biographer Walter Isaacson explains what made Leonardo da Vinci a genius - The Globe and Mail
RUSSELL SMITH
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED DECEMBER 4, 2017

What we can learn from Leonardo constitutes the peculiar last chapter of this otherwise sober and cautious biography. At its end Isaacson moves from his role as historian into something closer to self-help guru. He lists a set of Leonardish attributes for us to emulate that sound a lot like advice to tech startups: "Retain a childlike sense of wonder… Think visually… Avoid silos… Collaborate…" Add this to repeated comparisons to Steve Jobs, a previous biographee of Isaacson's, and one is reminded that this is a very American biography (Isaacson was managing editor of Time magazine for years), one that sees "creativity" as primarily a corporate asset.
Russell_Smith  books  biographies  genius  Leonardo_da_Vinci  Walter_Isaacson  Steve_Jobs  polymaths  foxes  hedgehogs  renaissance  cross-disciplinary  cross-pollination  generalists  curiosity  creativity  collaboration  silo_mentality 
december 2017 by jerryking
Giving Away Your Billion
JUNE 6, 2017 | The New York Times | David Brooks.

Recently Brooks has been reading the Giving Pledge letters. These are the letters that rich people write when they join Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge campaign. They take the pledge, promising to give away most of their wealth during their lifetime, and then they write letters describing their giving philosophy......Most of the letter writers started poor or middle class. They don’t believe in family dynasties and sometimes argue that they would ruin their kids’ lives if they left them a mountain of money. Schools and universities are the most common recipients of their generosity, followed by medical research and Jewish cultural institutions. A ridiculously disproportionate percentage of the Giving Pledge philanthropists are Jewish.......What would David Brooks do if he had a billion bucks to use for good? He’d start with the premise that the most important task before us is to reweave the social fabric. People in disorganized neighbourhoods need to grow up enmeshed in the loving relationships that will help them rise. The elites need to be reintegrated with their own countrymen. .....Only loving relationships transform lives, and such relationships can be formed only in small groups. Thus, I’d use my imaginary billion to seed 25-person collectives around the country.....The collectives would hit the four pressure points required for personal transformation:

Heart: By nurturing deep friendships, they would give people the secure emotional connections they need to make daring explorations.

Hands: Members would get in the habit of performing small tasks of service and self-control for one another, thus engraving the habits of citizenship and good character.

Head: Each collective would have a curriculum, a set of biographical and reflective readings, to help members come up with their own life philosophies, to help them master the intellectual virtues required for public debate.

Soul: In a busy world, members would discuss fundamental issues of life’s purpose, so that they might possess the spiritual true north that orients a life.
social_fabric  David_Brooks  philanthropy  moguls  high_net_worth  Warren_Buffett  elitism  collectives  personal_transformation  plutocracies  plutocrats  disorganization  daring  relationships  emotional_connections  soul  North_Star  virtues  engaged_citizenry  civics  Jewish  biographies  friendships  self-reflective  giving 
june 2017 by jerryking
David McCullough’s History Lessons
April 14, 2017 | WSJ | By Alexandra Wolfe.

David McCullough thinks that the country isn’t in such bad shape. It’s all relative, says the 83-year-old historian and author of such books as the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographies “Truman” (1992) and “John Adams” (2001). He points to the Civil War, for instance, when the country lost 2% of its population—that would be more than six million people today—or the flu pandemic of 1918, when more than 500,000 Americans died. “Imagine that on the nightly news,” he says.

History gives us a sense of proportion, he says: “It’s an antidote to a lot of unfortunately human trends like self-importance and self-pity.”.....see history “as an aid to navigation in such troubled, uncertain times,”.....[McCullough] thought back to something that the playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder had said while a fellow at Yale during Mr. McCullough’s undergraduate days. When Wilder heard a good story and wished to see it on the stage, he wrote the play himself. When he wanted to read a book about an interesting event, he wrote it himself.....Even today, Mr. McCullough doesn’t use a computer for research or writing. He still goes to libraries and archives to find primary sources and writes on a typewriter. ...History, he adds, is “often boiled down to statistics and dates and quotations that make it extremely boring.” The key to generating interest, he says, is for professors and teachers to frame history as stories about people.
archives  authors  biographies  Civil_War  contextual  David_McCullough  DIY  flu_outbreaks  Harry_Truman  historians  history  John_Adams  libraries  self-importance  self-pity  sense_of_proportion  storytelling  Pulitzer_Prize 
april 2017 by jerryking
A Reading List of Tell-Alls, Strategic Plans and Cautionary Tales in Finance - The New York Times
JULY 4, 2016 | DEALBOOK | Andrew Ross Sorkin

(1) “Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley,” by a former Facebook executive, Antonio García Martinez.
(2) “The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability, and Avoiding the Next Collapse” by Mohamed A. El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and chairman of President Obama’s Global Development Council.
(3) “Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business” Rana Foroohar
(4) “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” Adam Grant
(5) Bloodsport: When Ruthless Dealmakers, Shrewd Ideologues, and Brawling Lawyers Toppled the Corporate Establishment” by Robert Teitelman,
(6) “Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism,” by Jeff Gramm, owner and manager of the Bandera Partners hedge fund and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School.
(7) “Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country” by the journalist Alex Cuadros.
(8) a biography of Alan Greenspan titled, “The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan.” It is by the journalist Sebastian Mallaby, an adroit writer who also published a brilliant book on hedge funds several years ago, called “More Money than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite.”
(9) “To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History” by Lawrence Levy, the former chief financial officer of Pixar.
Rana_Foroohar  books  booklists  summertime  Andrew_Sorkin  Pixar  Mohamed_El-Erian  hedge_funds  central_banks  finance  dealmakers  Silicon_Valley  Brazil  biographies  Adam_Grant  cautionary_tales 
july 2016 by jerryking
Book Review: ‘The Talmud: A Biography’ by Harry Freedman - WSJ - WSJ
By JEREMY DAUBER
Updated Nov. 2, 2014

THE TALMUD: A BIOGRAPHY

By Harry Freedman
Bloomsbury, 243 pages, $26
Judiasm  books  religion  biographies 
november 2014 by jerryking
Stories of espionage: Spies like her
Aug 25th 2012 | The Economist

The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville. By Clare Mulley. Macmillan; 426 pages; £18.99. To be published in America by St Martin’s Press. Buy from Amazon.co.uk
espionage  WWII  book_reviews  books  security_&_intelligence  biographies  nonfiction 
august 2012 by jerryking
The Weekend Interview with Robert Caro: Political Power—How to Get It and Use It - WSJ.com
May 4, 2012 | WSJ | By BRIAN BOLDUC

Robert Caro: Political Power—How to Get It and Use It
Lyndon Johnson's famed biographer talks about what he's learned studying America's 36th President and Robert Moses.
book_reviews  LBJ  Robert_Moses  political_power  political_biographies  biographies 
may 2012 by jerryking
Hoover's Institution
July 20, 2005/ WSJ/ op-ed by LAURENCE H. SILBERMAN on the corruption within the FBI.
history  FBI  security_&_intelligence  corruption  lessons_learned  politics  biographies 
may 2011 by jerryking
Book Review: Beetle - WSJ.com
* OCTOBER 23, 2010 By ANTONY BEEVOR. There have been countless
biographies of the generals of World War II, and many are excellent.
This biography of Walter Bedell Smith, Eisenhower's chief of staff, is
one of the best. Smith has never received the attention and the credit
that he deserves. A chief of staff is perhaps bound to be an unsung
hero, but "Beetle" Smith was far more than just a tough and able
administrator. In the words of a fellow officer, he possessed "all the
charm of a rattlesnake." Yet the bad-cop routine—one he used almost
entirely with fellow Americans and not with Allies—was forced upon him
because Eisenhower, his supreme commander, desperately wanted to be
liked by everybody.
book_reviews  WWII  U.S._Army  chief_of_staff  generalship  warfare  war  Dwight_Eisenhower  biographies 
october 2010 by jerryking
Book review: Harperland, by Lawrence Martin
Oct. 09, 2010 | The Globe & Mail | Reviewed by Peter C.
Newman. Martin praises Stephen Harper as “one of the more talented
Canadian political leaders to come along in decades. His range of
knowledge, the precision of his mind, his degree of discipline, his
capacity to strategize, to work his way through whatever maze stood
before him, was of an unusually high standard.” But the author also
issues a warning.

“It was no small wonder that Canadians feared what Harper might do with a
majority government,” Harperland concludes. “With that kind of power he
could establish a hegemony the likes of which Canadians could not
imagine.”
Stephen_Harper  book_reviews  Lawrence_Martin  biographies 
october 2010 by jerryking
Corner Office - The Onion’s C.E.O. - If Plan B Fails, Try C, D or E - Interview - NYTimes.com
May 14, 2010 New York Times | ..This interview with Steve
Hannah, chief executive of The Onion, was conducted and condensed by
Adam Bryant. "Never, ever do anything to deprive a human being of their
dignity in work, in life. Always praise in public and criticize in
private. You might be tempted, for example, when you’re letting someone
go, to say something that would diminish the value of their work. Don’t
ever do that.

And he taught me that when you’re faced with something that’s really
difficult and you think you’re at the end of your tether, there’s always
one more thing you can do to influence the outcome of this situation.
And then after that there’s one more thing. The number or possible
options is only limited by your imagination. “Imagination is enormously
important, enormously important.”
CEOs  interviews  imagination  dignity  next_play  optionality  Plan_B  praise  biographies  deprivations  resourcefulness  arduous 
may 2010 by jerryking
Books of The Times - Miranda Carter’s ‘George, Nicholas and Wilhelm’ and World War I
March 23, 2010 | NYTimes.com | By DWIGHT GARNER. Book review
of GEORGE, NICHOLAS AND WILHELM
Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I By Miranda Carter. This
is a book about ideas as well as history, and the big question Ms.
Carter poses is this one: To what degree can close personal
relationships, between royals or other world leaders, prevent war?

Illustrated. 498 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $30.
WWI  book_reviews  royal_courts  personal_relationships  biographies 
march 2010 by jerryking
Louis R. Harlan, Historian of Booker T. Washington, Dies at 87 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com
January 29, 2010 | New York Times | By WILLIAM GRIMES.
“Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader, 1856-1901” was
published by Oxford University Press in 1972 and won the Bancroft Prize
the following year. “Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee,
1901-1915,” published by Oxford in 1983, won both the Bancroft Prize and
the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1984. “It was the first really
three-dimensional work that went into the secret life, the private
world, of the most famous black man of his time,” said Mr. Smock, the
author of “Booker T. Washington: Black Leadership in the Age of Jim
Crow” (Ivan R. Dee, 2009).
Booker_T._Washington  historians  obituaries  biographies  Pulitzer_Prize 
january 2010 by jerryking
"Born to see; meant to look" - Forbes.com
"Born to see; meant to look"
03.10.97

Say this for Peter Drucker: He has always known his own mind. He calls this kind of self-knowledge "intellectual integrity." It is one of his favorite phrases (see story). But of course for him the term also has a moral dimension.
biographies  intellectual_integrity  Peter_Drucker  self-awareness  self-knowledge 
october 2009 by jerryking
40 ideas we need now -- Unlearning the tyranny of facts
Nov. 2006 | This Magazine | DAVID NAYLOR. Engage in critical
thinking. Pinpoint flaws in logic, dissect rhetorical flourishes away
from the core of an argument, examine issues from different perspectives
and differentiate science from pseudo-science...We are still very
focused on facts—arrayed in patterns, conveyed passively, or uncovered
more or less predictably through cookbook experimentation and
unchallenging exploration. That emphasis seems incongruous. With
computers able to store and search vast amounts of information, facts
are cheap [JCK:the Web is really a source of "external knowledge"]...What might the next generation of learners do instead of
memorizing facts, you ask? Among other things, they could read and play
music. Play more sports. Write prose and poetry. Acquire a skeptic’s
toolkit of sound reasoning skills. Debate highly-charged issues and
learn the lost art of rational and respectful discourse. Study
inspirational biographies, not to memorize facts, but to promote
understanding of how one might lead a more meaningful life.

[From my own note: the presence of facts does not mean that the truth is present. The "truth" is a more complicated thing than mere facts alone]
agreeably_disagree  argumentation  biographies  commoditization_of_information  critical_thinking  David_Naylor  disagreements  external_knowledge  facts  ideas  infoliteracy  inspiration  logic_&_reasoning  poetry  public_discourse  rhetoric  skepticism  sports  uToronto 
may 2009 by jerryking
Raising Bill Gates - WSJ.com
APRIL 25, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | by ROBERT A. GUTH
Microsoft  billgates  family  profile  parenting  biographies 
april 2009 by jerryking
The Politician as Biographer - WSJ.com With William Hague
JUNE 4, 2008 By TUNKU VARADARAJAN. Interview with William Hague of the British Conservative Party
interviews  William_Hague  biographer  abolition  abolitionists  politicians  biographies 
february 2009 by jerryking

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