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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 
6 weeks ago 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 
10 weeks ago by jerryking
How China’s formidable cyber capabilities sparked a tech cold war
July 22, 2019 | | Financial Times | Geoff Dyer.

Chinese Spies: From Chairman Mao to Xi Jinping, by Roger Faligot, translated by Natasha Lehrer, Hurst, RRP£30, 568 pages.... the mercantilist mindset of the US administration and partly in the insecurities of a section of Washington’s foreign policy establishment, prompting the search for new demons to slay. But it is also an inevitable reaction to the aggressive intelligence and surveillance capabilities that China has installed.
Roger Faligot’s history of spying in the Chinese Communist party highlights the turbocharged growth in the nation’s intelligence services......Spying has been baked into the fabric of the Chinese Communist party since its earliest days......Faligot’s subject is the Chinese Communist party and its efforts to develop what he describes as the largest intelligence service in the world. He places particular emphasis on the state security ministry, known as the Guoanbu, the biggest of the non-military spying agencies......The central figure was Zhou Enlai, China’s premier from 1949 to 1976. Zhou’s early career is known more for the diplomatic skills he demonstrated during the second world war but he also developed a taste for clandestine activities as a young man in his twenties in Paris.
......Returning to China in 1928 after a spell at the GRU spy school in the Lenin Hills outside Moscow, Zhou established a series of intelligence networks which, Faligot writes, have a “direct link” with “today’s service”......Two themes, in particular, come through. First, right from the outset, China’s spy agencies latched on to the internet — both as a powerful weapon and as a tool for greater social control....As well as overseas intrusion, the intelligence agencies have been “given a mission to organise a vast system of control of the Chinese population”. Many of the new techniques were first developed in Xinjiang and Tibet, including the compulsory registration of internet users, which has been used to root out cyber-dissidents. ....The second theme is the way that these capabilities have now been harnessed by one all-powerful leader............Xi has conducted a sweeping anti-corruption drive whose biggest scalp was Zhou Yongkang, who in 2015 became the first ever former member of the politburo standing committee to be convicted of serious crimes and sentenced to life in prison. Arresting Zhou allowed Xi to take out a political rival. But it also allowed him to orchestrate a putsch of the security services, which Zhou had been in charge of in the previous administration. During his period as China’s effective spy chief, Zhou had set up what Faligot calls a “parallel diplomacy service” and had also been snooping on all the other senior Chinese leaders. The purge of “the old Zhou Yongkang system,” Faligot concludes, allowed Xi “to retake control of the CCP, the PLA and the secret services.”
books  book_reviews  China  Chinese_Communist_Party  Cold_War  cyberattacks  cyber_warfare  GRU  Guoanbu  new_tech_Cold_War  security_&_intelligence  Tibet  turbocharge  U.S.-China_relations  Xi_Jinping 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Review: A reminder of why 1999 was the best movie year ever
June 22, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by BARRY HERTZ.

Brian Raftery’s new book, Best. Movie. Year. Ever: How 1999 Blew Up the Big Screen, both an exciting and dubious proposition. We are barely halfway through 2019, and yet I feel as if I’ve already read everything that I could possibly need to know about the cinema of two decades years ago. (Admittedly, this is because I’ve written more than a few thousand words about the era myself. Hey, these pages aren’t going to fill themselves.) By this point, don’t we all know why Galaxy Quest and Go and Run Lola Run and American Beauty are important to today’s cultural firmament, in one way or another? Thankfully, the answer is: no.
'90s  anniversaries  annus_mirabilis  books  book_reviews  cultural_touchpoints  films  generational_touchstones  movies  popular_culture 
june 2019 by jerryking
The Art of Statistics by David Spiegelhalter
May 6, 2019 | Financial Times | Review by Alan Smith.

The Art of Statistics, by Sir David Spiegelhalter, former president of the UK’s Royal Statistical Society and current Winton professor of the public understanding of risk at the University of Cambridge.

The comparison with Rosling is easy to make, not least because Spiegelhalter is humorously critical of his own field which, by his reckoning, has spent too much time arguing with itself over “the mechanical application of a bag of statistical tools, many named after eccentric and argumentative statisticians”.

His latest book, its title,
books  book_reviews  charts  Communicating_&_Connecting  data  data_journalism  data_scientists  Hans_Rosling  listening  massive_data_sets  mathematics  statistics  visualization 
may 2019 by jerryking
How Spotify’s algorithms are ruining music
May 2, 2019 | Financial Times | Michael Hann.

(1) FINAL DAYS OF EMI, By Eamonn Forde, Omnibus, RRP£20, 320 pages
(2) SPOTIFY TEARDOWN, By Maria Eriksson, Rasmus Fleischer, Anna Johansson, Pelle Snickars and Patrick Vonderau, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 288 pages
(3) WAYS OF HEARING, By Damon Krukowski, The MIT Press, RRP£14.99, 136 pages

In April, the IFPI — the global body of the recording industry — released its latest annual Global Music Report. For the fourth consecutive year, revenues were up, to a total of $19.1bn, from a low of $14.3bn in 2014. Nearly half those revenues came from music streaming, driven by a 33 per cent rise in paid subscriptions to services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal...... It is worth remembering that 20 years ago, the IFPI reported global music revenues of $38.6bn. Today’s “booming” recording industry is less than half the size it was at the turn of the century.....The nadir for the recording industry coincided with the first shoots of its regrowth. ....In August 2007, the British record company EMI — the fourth of the majors, alongside Universal, Sony and Warner — was bought by private equity firm Terra Firma (Guy Hands, the fund’s founder and chairman) for $4.7bn; a year later, a Swedish company called Spotify took its music streaming service public. The former was, perhaps, the last gasp of the old way of doing things — less than four years after buying EMI, Terra Firma was unable to meet its debts, and ceded control of the company to its main lender, Citigroup. Before 2011 was out, the process of breaking up EMI had begun...EMI’s demise was foreshadowed before Hands arrived, with a blaze of hubris in the early 2000s. Forde, a longtime observer and chronicler of the music business recounts the “disastrous and expensive” signings of that era......Handspreached the need to use data when signing artists, not just the “golden ears” of talent scouts; data are now a key part of the talent-spotting process.

* to qualify as having been listened to on Spotify, a song has to have been played for 30 seconds.
* hit songs have become increasingly predictable, offering up all their pleasures in the opening half-minute. Their makers dare not risk scaring off listeners.
* for all the money that the streaming services have generated for the music industry, very little of it flows back to any musicians except the select few who dominate the streaming statistics,

.......On Spotify, music consumption has been reorganised around “behaviours, feelings and moods” channelled through curated playlists and motivational messages......The data Spotify collects enable the industry to work out who its market is, where it lives, what else they like, how often they listen to music — almost anything, really. It’s the greatest assemblage of information about music listeners in history, and it has profoundly altered the industry: it has made Spotify music’s kingmaker......when an artist travels abroad to promote a new album, the meeting with the local Spotify office is more important than the TV appearances or the newspaper interviews. ...Spotify enables artists to plan their band’s set lists so they can play the most popular song in any given city.............So what? What does it matter if one model of music distribution has been replaced by another.....It matters because Spotify has profoundly changed the listener’s relationship with music....Older musicians often wax about how, when you had to buy your own music as a kid, you listened to it until you liked it, because you wouldn’t be able to afford a new album for another month. Now you simply skip to the next one, and probably don’t give it your full attention. Without ownership, there’s no incentive to study...........Faced with the impossibly wide choice of Spotify, it becomes easier to return to old favourites — easier than when flicking through your vinyl or CDs, because the act of looking through your own music makes things you had not thought of in years leap out at you. Spotify actually makes people into more conservative listeners, a process aided by its algorithms, which steer you towards music similar to your most frequent listening.....The theme of Krukowski’s book is that the changes in the way the music industry works have been about controlling and eliminating excess noise. That’s in a literal sense and in a metaphorical one, too. Streaming has stripped music of context, pared it back to being just about the song and the moment....but noise is the context of life. Without noise, the signal becomes meaningless......The world of the old EMI was one of both signal and noise; where myths and legends could be created: The Beatles! Queen! The Beach Boys! Pink Floyd! It was never all about the signal. The world of Spotify is one of signal only, and if you don’t appreciate that signal within the first 30 seconds of the song...all may be lost
abundance  algorithms  Apple_Music  books  book_reviews  business_models  curation  cultural_transmission  data  decontextualization  EMI  gatekeepers  Guy_Hands  hits  indoctrination  iTunes  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_industry  music_publishing  noise  piracy  platforms  playlists  royalties  ruination  securitization  signals  songs  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  talent  talent_scouting  talent_spotting  Terra_Firma  Tidal  transformational 
may 2019 by jerryking
In ‘Stony the Road,’ Henry Louis Gates Jr. Captures the History and Images of the Fraught Years After the Civil War
April 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nell Irvin Painter.

STONY THE ROAD
Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
By Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Illustrated. 296 pp. Penguin Press. $30.

Vergangenheitsbewältigung = coming to terms with the past — and it carries connotations of a painful history that citizens would rather not confront but that must be confronted in order not to be repeated.
20th_century  African-Americans  bigotry  books  book_reviews  Henry_Louis_Gates  historians  history  Jim_Crow  John_Hope_Franklin  KKK  lynchings  memorabilia  racial_politics  Reconstruction  stereotypes  torture  white_nationalism  white_supremacy  imagery  Vergangenheitsbewältigung  W.E.B._Du_Bois  iconic 
april 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
Goldman Sachs | Careers Blog - 2017 Back-to-School Reading List
============================================
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
With three children under four coupled with a career in investment banking, I find it challenging to find time for reading books. But, I also struggle to find good books to read to my children, especially books for my daughters that aren’t about princesses and living happily ever after. I received “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” from a good friend who also has two daughters. Comprising a few hundred short stories depicting strong female leaders from recent history, the book provides great female role models for my daughters that aren’t princesses.
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The Three-Body Problem, by Liu Cixin
I’ve been a science fiction fan my entire life but had never read any Chinese works until this book. The plot is super-ambitious; since I don’t want to spoil anything I’ll just say it starts off with a wave of scientist suicides in the wake of experimental particle physics results that suggest science is broken.
=====================================================
Network Thinking: Beyond Brockhaus Thinking, by Ulrich Weinberg
An unusual roadshow to the most innovative locations and people around the world. Where network thinking drives actions. The book leads behind the scenes of large corporations that are leaving the analog 20th century “Brockhaus Thinking” mode, but also to small companies that never practiced it. It shows how a network thinking approach can make corporates and individuals extremely successful.
books  booklists  book_reviews  Edith_Cooper  fiction  Goldman_Sachs  nonfiction  science_fiction 
march 2019 by jerryking
The Curse of Bigness by Timothy Wu — why size matters
NOVEMBER 15, 2018 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar
The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age, by Timothy Wu, Columbia Global Reports, RRP$14.99, 170 pages.

The hero of the book is Louis Brandeis, the advocate, reformer and Supreme Court Justice who grew up around the mid-to-late 1800s in Louisville, a diverse and decentralised mid-sized American town that Brandeis praised as “idyllic” and free from the “curse of bigness”...... It was a place where small farmers, retailers, professionals and manufacturers all knew each other, worked together, and had the sort of shared moral framework that Adam Smith believed was a key to well-functioning markets.

But by the time Brandeis himself became a lawyer in Boston, oligarchs such as John D Rockefeller and JP Morgan were building empires more powerful than governments (indeed, they often had paid politicians in their pockets — President William McKinley actually acknowledged that Wall Street rather than Washington had control over the economy). Their growing ventures — like Morgan’s railroad monopoly or Rockefeller’s oil dynasty — were neither moral nor even efficient. But the tycoons ....had bought the legislatures, and there was no one powerful enough to reel them in. Brandeis took them on, via a case against Morgan’s New Haven Railway, and exposed the underside of monopoly power — cartel pricing, bribes to officials, accounting fraud and so on....Brandeis believed giant corporations tended to rob people of their humanity....This approach, which was brought into the mainstream by conflicted trust buster Teddy Roosevelt (who both loved and loathed power, but wanted to see corporations curbed by government) lasted through the 1960s. But with the rise of conservative Chicago School academics, in particular Robert Bork, the federal justice who turned the “consumer welfare” ideology of his mentor Aaron Director into a new antitrust philosophy with his book The Antitrust Paradox in 1978, the notion that too much corporate power alone was problematic was abandoned. Antitrust become technocratic and weak, pegged to the idea that as long as companies reduced prices for consumers, they could be as big as they wanted.

That has, of course, allowed any number of industries, from airlines to media to pharmaceuticals, to reach unprecedented levels of concentration.
antitrust  books  book_reviews  Chicago_School  corporate_concentration  FAANG  Rana_Foroohar  Robert_Bork  Tim_Wu 
december 2018 by jerryking
Book review: Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill by Jeffrey Gitomer
NOVEMBER 30, 2018 | | Financial Times | by Isabel Berwick.

Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill, with foreword, actions and annotations by Jeffrey Gitomer, Amazon Publishing, RRP$19.95.

[See also The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the grandfather of the prosperity gospel. ]

Napoleon Hill was one of the founders of the American self-improvement movement. Born poor in Virginia in 1883, by the time of the first world war he had developed a set of principles for success in advertising and sales......Hill — who died in 1970 — was a staggeringly effective cheerleader for himself and his philosophy and that is exactly what one would expect from a self-help guru.

The book that made him famous, Think and Grow Rich, distilled Hill’s thinking and analysed the strategies of hundreds of the US’s most famous and successful businessmen. Published in 1937, it has sold in the tens of millions, making it one of the best-selling books of the 20th century. It offered optimism and the idea of the American dream to those suffering in a post-crash economy. The appetite for Hill’s particular brand of self-belief remains strong......Hill's message endures: Hard work, imagination, honesty and service....Hill's insight is that getting oneself into the right frame of mind to become rich and successful — emphasizes having a positive attitude and self-confidence......Jeffrey Gitomer, a US sales trainer and motivational speaker, adds notes and annotations. Gitomer writes in the foreword (ambitiously titled “The First Thoughts of the Father of American Achievement and Wealth”) that he was first exposed to Hill’s writing in 1971, as a sales trainee: “I read Think and Grow Rich 10 times that year — studied and implemented both the principles and the directives. The result for me has been an unbreakable positive attitude and steadfast march toward success over the past 45 years.”

* Don't neglect to cultivate your ‘AMBITION’.
* “Take a plain sheet of paper, ordinary letter size, and write on it in large letters — the largest it will carry — I AM GOING TO BE A GREAT PERSON!”
* the magic key turns out to be “CONCENTRATION”.
* a timeless tip: “The great mass of people are demanding at least the necessities of life at a lower cost than they are now paying. If you can help solve this problem, even on one commodity, you can write your own salary price tag.”

While Christian Science and other outcrops of the New Thought movement have fallen from favour, Hill’s work endures, perhaps because he stresses the importance of happiness, self-confidence and other qualities now fashionable in the self-improvement sphere. Above all, the enduring popularity of Hill’s writing demonstrates that most in-vogue of all the modern mantras: resilience.
affirmations  book_reviews  books  perseverance  self-help  self-improvement  Jeffrey_Gitomer  resilience  the_American_dream  self-confidence  personal_enrichment  hard_work  honesty  imagination  positive_thinking 
december 2018 by jerryking
‘Farsighted’ Review: How to Make Up Your Mind - WSJ
14 COMMENTS
By David A. Shaywitz
Sept. 11, 2018

..mission planners first systematically widened their thinking to define their options as broadly as possible, seeking a “full-spectrum appraisal of the state of things and a comprehensive list of potential choices.” Then they coned down the alternatives by playing out multiple scenarios, exploring all the ways the mission could go wrong........When faced with complex choices we tend to frame problems in a narrow fashion. .......seek participation from as broad and diverse a group as possible.....a diversity of viewpoints isn’t enough. Citing the legal scholar Cass Sunstein, Mr. Johnson observes that, although “groups often possess a rich mix of information distributed among their members,” when they assemble “they tend to focus on shared information.” Thus it is important to design a process that exposes “unshared information”—by meeting individually with stakeholders, for instance, instead of merely convening a town hall. Similarly, he cites research revealing that two-thirds of organizational decisions never contemplate more than a single option. There is a “gravitational pull toward the initial framing of the decision.” To overcome it, he suggests considering what might be done if the presumptive path forward were suddenly blocked....“Uncertainty can’t simply be analyzed out of existence,” ...What scenarios and simulations can offer is a way to “prepare you for the many ways that the future might unexpectedly veer.”..... Linear value modeling, for example, weighs the relative importance of different goals, while a bad-outcomes approach examines worst-case possibilities........given the challenges of making high-stakes global decisions. How should we respond, as a planet, to the challenges of addressing climate change, communicating with alien life forms or managing computers with superintelligence? The answer seems to be: by convening diverse experts and hoping for the best. ....... Great novels matter because “they let us experience parallel lives, and see the complexity of those experiences in vivid detail.”........ fundamentally, choices concern competing narratives, and we’re likely to make better choices if we have richer stories, with more fleshed-out characters, a more nuanced understanding of motives, and a deeper appreciation of how decisions are likely to reverberate and resound.
books  book_reviews  Cass_Sunstein  choices  decision_making  far-sightedness  howto  narrow-framing  novels  presumptions  scenario-planning  shared_experiences  Steven_Johnson  systematic_approaches  thinking_tragically  uncertainty  unshared_information  wide-framing  worst-case 
november 2018 by jerryking
Why boring government matters
November 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 219 pages.

John MacWilliams is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who becomes the risk manager for the department of energy. He regales Lewis with a horrific catalogue of all the things that can go wrong if a government takes its eye off the ball, and provides the book with its title. Asked to name the five things that worry him the most, he lists the usual risks that one would expect — accidents, the North Koreans, Iran — but adds that the “fifth risk” is “project management”.

Lewis explains that “this is the risk society runs when it falls into the habit of responding to long-term risks with short-term solutions.” In other words, America will suffer if it stops caring about the unsung but vital programmes that decontaminate billions of tonnes of nuclear waste, fund basic scientific research and gather weather data.

That trap, he makes clear with instance after instance of the Trump administration failing to heed or even meet with his heroic bureaucrats, is what America is falling into now.

We should all be frightened.
books  book_reviews  boring  bureaucracy  bureaucrats  cynicism  government  Michael_Lewis  public_servants  risks  technocrats  unglamorous  writers  short-term_thinking  competence  sovereign-risk  civics  risk-management 
november 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
books  book_reviews  Hilary_Mantel  Reformation  Tudors  United_Kingdom 
september 2018 by jerryking
The midlife crisis — and how to deal with it | Financial Times
Emma Jacobs JULY 13, 2018

The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After Midlife, by Jonathan Rauch, Bloomsbury Publishing, RRP£18.99, 256 pages

There Are No Grown-Ups: A Midlife Coming-of-Age Story, by Pamela Druckerman, Doubleday, RRP£14.99, 288 pages

No One Tells You This: A Memoir, by Glynnis MacNicol, Simon & Schuster, RRP$26, 304 pages
books  book_reviews  mortality  aging  midlife  parenting 
july 2018 by jerryking
The decline of America’s middle classes | Financial Times
Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America, by Alissa Quart, Ecco $27.99, 308 pages

Rana Foroohar is the FT’s global business columnist.

the globalised, computerised, “always on” business world in which 40 per cent of Americans work non-traditional schedules driven by algorithmic efficiency. It’s just one of the challenges for a new class of Americans that Quart dubs the “Middle Precariat.” These people, who range from professors to nurses to caregivers to lawyers, aren’t destitute — they have some means, a degree or two, and have made decent life choices. And yet, they are struggling to stay ahead in an economy in which technology is exerting a deflationary effect on everything (including wages) except the things that create a middle-class life — namely affordable housing, education, healthcare and children.
Rana_Foroohar  books  book_reviews  downward_mobility  middle_class  on-demand  deflation  precarious 
june 2018 by jerryking
Ten Lessons from Michael Batnick’s Book ‘Big Mistakes’ – Ivanhoff Capital
The best way for investors to learn from mistakes is to let others make them, then read about it

In his first book, Michael Batnick outlines the big investing and trading mistakes of some of the most successful investors and brightest minds that are known to humankind. Most mistakes revolve around the same themes:
– being overleveraged and building too big positions in assets that were illiquid or suddenly became illiquid;
– venturing outside of expert zone when having to manage a much bigger amount of capital;
– overconfidence and hubris;
– normal mistakes that cannot really be prevented; they are part of the investing process;
– fear of missing out.
lessons_learned  mistakes  investing  investors  overconfidence  books  book_reviews  personal_finance 
june 2018 by jerryking
Secrets and spies: can espionage ever be justified? | Financial Times
John Lloyd JUNE 22, 2018

The Secret World: A History of Intelligence, by Christopher Andrew, Allen Lane, RRP£35, 896 pages

Principled Spying: The Ethics of Secret Intelligence, by David Omand and Mark Phythian, Georgetown University Press, RRP$32.95/£20, 304 pages

A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean, by Roland Philipps, Bodley Head, RRP£20, 448 pages.

States need information on what their enemies are thinking. But — since “hostile” and “allied” are fluid categories — this applies to friends too. Hence spying has been inseparable from civilisations......The ancient origins of intelligence networks are rarely discussed. ...In the 20th century, and into the 21st, intelligence became organised, routinised and massively funded, especially under the Nazi and Soviet dictatorships. That did not always deliver the intended benefits.
.
security_&_intelligence  espionage  books  book_reviews 
june 2018 by jerryking
Review: ‘The Book of Why’ Examines the Science of Cause and Effect - The New York Times
By Jonathan A. Knee
June 1, 2018

“The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect,”..Prof. Judea Pearl and the science writer Dana Mackenzie

Three ascending rungs of what he calls the “ladder of causation” serve as the central metaphor driving the narrative of “The Book of Why.” The “revolution” charted in the book, and in which Professor Pearl and his disciples played a crucial role, is what has allowed researchers across a vast range of disciplines to move beyond the first rung of the causal ladder, where they had been perennially stuck.

This lowest rung deals simply with observation — basically looking for regularities in past behavior. Professor Pearl places “present-day learning machines squarely on rung one.” While it is true that the explosion of computing power and accessible deep data sets have yielded many surprising and important results, the mechanics still operate “in much the same way that a statistician tries to fit a line to a collection of points.”

“Deep neural networks have added many layers of complexity of the fitted function, but raw data still drives the fitting process,” according to Professor Pearl. The causal revolution is what has enabled researchers to explore the higher rungs of the ladder.

The second rung of the ladder of causation moves from seeing to doing. That is, it goes from asking what happened to asking what would happen based on possible interventions. Professor Pearl notes that “many scientists have been traumatized to learn that none of the methods they learned in statistics is sufficient to articulate, let alone answer, a simple question like ‘What happens if we double the price?’” “The Book of Why” provides a detailed explanation and history of how and when a model alone can answer such questions in the absence of live experiments.

The top rung of the ladder involves something called “counterfactual” questions: What would the world be like if a different path had been taken? These are “the building blocks of moral behavior as well as scientific thought.” The ability to look backward and imagine what could have been governs our judgments on success and failure, right and wrong.
books  book_reviews  counterfactuals  causality  Jonathan_Knee  5_W’s  think_threes 
june 2018 by jerryking
Listening In: cyber security in an insecure age, by Susan Landau
April 8, 2018 | Financial Times | Kadhim Shubber 10 HOURS AG

Review of [Listening In: cyber security in an insecure age, by Susan Landau, Yale University Press, $25]

....so Landau’s latest work leaves the reader wishing for a deeper reckoning with these complex issues.

Landau is a respected expert in cryptography and computer security, with a long career both studying and working in the field. She was an engineer at Sun Microsystems for over a decade and is currently a professor in cyber security at Tufts University. Her clean, knowledgeable writing reflects the depth of her expertise — with just a trace of jargon at times — as she traces the tug of war that has played out between law enforcement and cryptographers in recent decades.....Landau persuasively argues that the increasingly digital and interconnected society and economy we inhabit creates vulnerabilities that we ignore at our peril.......Landau is an advocate for strong computer security, and uses this book to reject calls for “back doors” that would allow law enforcement access to encrypted hardware, like iPhones, or messaging apps, such as WhatsApp. But she also encourages governments to become better at proactive “front door” hacking. In the process, she warns, they should not rush to disclose security weaknesses they discover, which inevitably leaves them open for others to exploit......Yet we have seen that the government’s toolbox can also fall into the wrong hands. In 2016 and 2017, a powerful set of hacking tools built by the NSA were leaked by hackers.
Apple  back_doors  books  book_reviews  cryptography  cyber_security  FBI  hacking  nonfiction  Stuxnet  Tim_Cook  vulnerabilities 
april 2018 by jerryking
Risk Management Reports
This site can’t be reached
http://www.riskinfo.com/rmr/rmrdec97.html is unreachable.
Search Google for risk info rmr amrdec 97

December 1997 Volume 24, No. 12. The trick in risk management,
perhaps, is in recognizing that normal is not a (default) state of nature but a
state of transition, and trend is not destiny. . . ." (Sept. 1, 1997). Peter Bernstein
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
John Adams, author of Risk University College London Press, London, 1995
Peter_Bernstein  risk-management  risks  book_reviews  base_rates  ephemerality  transient  impermanence  trends  transitions  normality  quotes 
april 2018 by jerryking
We Are What We Manufacture - The New York Times
By BETH MACYMARCH 9, 2018

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books  book_reviews  manufacturers 
march 2018 by jerryking
1999 at the movies: The year of living dangerously - The Globe and Mail
BARRY HERTZ
PUBLISHED FEBRUARY 1, 2018

it is easy to call 1999 the last great year at the movies.

Or at least that's the (convincing) argument made by Canadian television writer Phillip Iscove and his American colleague Kenny Neibart in the pair's new project, Podcast Like It's 1999. The series, available now on iTunes, aims to dissect all 250 major releases of that wonderful, overwhelming year – before, as the pair put it in their debut episode, reality television, HBO and the internet divided everyone's attention.

"It just feels, and has for a while, like a seminal year for movies. It's undeniable,"

.....Which brings up the question of whether 1999 is a true watershed moment, or perhaps more of a generational touchstone for those currently active and wielding power in the creative industries......Raftery’s book is not satisfied until it delivers the definitive portrait of one astounding year at the movies from those who were there, watching along in the dark.
90s  anniversaries  annus_mirabilis  books  book_reviews  cultural_touchpoints  films  generational_touchstones  golden_age  movies  popular_culture  turning_points 
february 2018 by jerryking
‘The Wisdom of Finance’, by Mihir Desai
Review by Gillian Tett

JULY 17, 2017
The Wisdom of Finance offers a thoughtful explanation of how money works that recognises how perverted the industry can be, but which also argues that “there is great value — and there are great values — in finance”.

Desai does this by using a clever and unusual device: literature. Most notably, he explains how money works by citing stories ranging from Chaucer to Jane Austen to the 1988 film Working Girl. He knows that stories are a powerful narrative device. But the wider philosophical point is, Desai argues, that one of the great failings of our modern world is a “chasm” between the arts and science, and between finance and humanities. This prevents financiers from understanding the social context in which they operate. It also means that non-financiers do not understand how finance drives our world, or the fact that money encapsulates and crystallises social patterns and values. “
books  book_reviews  finance  Gillian_Tett  humanities  Mihir_Desai  non-financial  storytelling 
december 2017 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
Not if the Seas Rise, but When and How High - The New York Times
By JENNIFER SENIOR NOV. 22, 2017

The Water Will Come
Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World
By Jeff Goodell
340 pages. Little, Brown. $28

Political time now lags behind geological time: If we don’t take dramatic steps to prepare for the rising seas, hundreds of millions could be displaced from their homes by the end of the century, and the infrastructure fringing the coast, valued in the trillions of dollars, could be lost.....Unfortunately, human beings are uniquely ill-suited to prepare for disasters they cannot sense or see. “We have evolved to defend ourselves from a guy with a knife or an animal with big teeth,” Goodell writes, “but we are not wired to make decisions about barely perceptible threats that gradually accelerate over time.”....he visits cities in peril around the globe: New York; Lagos, Nigeria; Norfolk, Va.; Miami; Venice; Rotterdam..... every coastal city faces its own obstacles to adaptation, and the problems each one faces are different......It is, perhaps, the world’s poor who will suffer most. Goodell devotes a good deal of this book to contemplating their fate. Salty soil has already destroyed the rice crops of the Mekong Delta and Bangladesh. If the sea rises high enough, whole island nations could be washed away. The slum-dwellers of Lagos, Jakarta and other coastal cities in the developing world could be chased from their homes, many of which are already on stilts. The International Organization for Migration estimates there will be 200 million climate refugees by 2050.
climate_change  books  book_reviews  Miami  slowly_moving  sea-level_rise  coastal  imperceptible_threats  developing_countries 
november 2017 by jerryking
Silicon Valley and the limits of ‘leaning in’
SEPTEMBER 20, 2017 Emma Jacobs

Working at Kleiner removed the scales from her eyes. “You can’t always get ahead by working hard if you’re not part of the ‘in’ crowd.” The culture, she writes, is “designed to keep out people who aren’t white men . . . for all the public hand-wringing about how unacceptable this is, no one on the inside can honestly say the absence of diversity is a mystery or a coincidence; this is the way they set up the industry”. Despite Asians being well represented in Silicon Valley, she writes, the “bamboo ceiling” means they don’t make it to the upper echelons.

She was frequently told to be bolder. Now she wonders whether the reserve of “introverted, analytical people, often women” was undervalued. “What if our inclination to assess and avoid the outsized risk of certain ventures could be an asset to our teams? Why does it never seem to occur to anyone that it’s an option . . . for the men to actually listen to us?”

Inspired by the arguments of Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In that women should take their place at the table, Pao recalls taking the advice literally and installing herself in one of the “power seats” in a private jet, only to find the conversation turn to pornography and sex workers. Once off the plane, the men ditched Pao to socialise together.
Ellen_Pao  Silicon_Valley  book_reviews  books  women  diversity  Kleiner_Perkins  gender_gap  gender_discrimination  Asian-Americans  upper_echelons  white_men 
november 2017 by jerryking
American War by Omar El Akkad — north-south divide
OCTOBER 27, 2017 Randy Boyagoda.

American War, by Omar El Akkad, Picador, RRP£14.99/Knopf, RRP$26.95, 352 pages
Omar_el_Akkad  novels  book_reviews  books  civil_war  fiction 
november 2017 by jerryking
In Praise of the Black Men and Women Who Built Detroit
SEPT. 6, 2017 | The New York Times | By THOMAS J. SUGRUE

BLACK DETROIT
A People’s History of Self-Determination
By Herb Boyd
Illustrated. 416 pp. Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers. $27.99

In 29 chapters, spanning more than three centuries, Boyd offers an unusual retelling of Detroit’s past, with black voices on nearly every page. The arc of his narrative is a familiar one in which he traces the transformation of Detroit from a French trading outpost to the world’s automobile production center to a national symbol of urban decline and rebirth. Along the way, Boyd introduces us to some of Detroit’s key social movements: abolitionism, union organizing, civil rights and black power. But this book is not a conventional urban history. Boyd’s purpose is to celebrate the black men and women, the city’s “fearless freedom fighters,” who would otherwise remain on history’s margins.....Today Detroit, with vast sections of its 139 square miles lying in ruin, its black population moving in unprecedented numbers to inner-ring suburbs, its residents struggling with failing schools, joblessness and incarceration, is not a land of hope. Travel reporters highlight Detroit’s thriving art scene, trendy restaurants and influx of hipsters. But those changes have scarcely benefited the working-class and poor black Detroiters who make up more than 80 percent of the city’s residents. There are a lot of reasons to despair about the city’s future. But Boyd remains hopeful.
Detroit  history  African-Americans  books  book_reviews  Black_Power 
september 2017 by jerryking
On the money: a history of the Bank of England
SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 by: John Plender, the FT columnist and author of ‘Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets’ (Biteback)

Till Time’s Last Sand: A History of the Bank of England 1694-2013, by David Kynaston, Bloomsbury £35, 896 pages
An enduring theme is the friction that existed from the outset between the Bank and its main client, the government. The Bank’s original charter was granted so that it could provide finance for the Nine Years’ War against France. On each renewal, the terms were the subject of much haggling and in the interim the Bank was constantly pressed to advance more money than it felt prudent. ....Another constant theme is forgery and fraud, with some of the Bank’s most senior employees being caught with their fingers in the till. In marked contrast to today’s post-crisis financial world, punishment was harsh. Many miscreants were hanged at Tyburn while the lucky ones were condemned to transportation.

As the 19th century progresses, Kynaston’s story turns increasingly on the issue that preoccupied great Victorian writers on monetary policy such as Henry Thornton and Walter Bagehot: how to reconcile adherence to the gold standard with financial stability. Numerous financial crises, including those surrounding the rescue of Barings and the collapse of Overend Gurney and the City of Glasgow Bank, are retold here with panache.
Bank_of_England  history  central_banks  book_reviews  books  monetary_policy  slavery  Walter_Bagehot  financial_history  19th_century  Victorian  financial_crises 
september 2017 by jerryking
A chilling portrait of the world's mafias
August 14, 2017 | Financial Times | Book review by John Lloyd of

Mafia Life: Love, Death and Money at the Heart of Organised Crime, by Federico Varese, Profile Books £14.99

Two of the most chilling observations in this learned, fluent book is, first, that the mafias “put themselves forward as institutions of government, ultimately in competition with the legitimate state”. Second, that “mafias thrive in democracies”.

Totalitarian regimes, such as the Italian Fascists, suppressed the mafia almost to extinction; democracy restored, they grew again. Only now — with massive policing, greater ease of sentencing, increased surveillance and pentiti — is the Sicilian mafia facing, if not extinction, then severe reduction. But the Neapolitan Camorra and above all the Calabrian ’Ndrangheta across the straits of Messina have grown and grow still. Calabresi families are rich on the proceeds of the heroin trade from the container port of Gioia Tauro (unfortunately Varese doesn’t say much about them here).

Mafia life is often short and usually tense. The Russian vory v zakone (thieves-in-law), spawned in Soviet prison colonies, live more than any other by their own law, spurning contact with state and police, vicious in their feuds. The Japanese Yakuza, who like to trace their lineage back to the samurai (Varese thinks their origins are in late-19th-century gamblers), settle scores with a sword....
Mafias sometimes side with, and are used by, states. The Hong Kong Triads, facing pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014, took the side of the Chinese authorities in confronting the young demonstrators — and gained some credit with Beijing. Where mafia are powerful, as the drug cartels in Mexico and the Wa heroin refiners in Myanmar’s Shan and Kachin regions (said to process 45 per cent of world supply), they create their own “states” with laws, social provision and a savage punishment code.
organized_crime  drug_cartels  globalization  institutions  book_reviews  books  Japanese  Russians  Italians  mafia  gangs  viciousness 
august 2017 by jerryking
How Nature Scales Up
June 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Charles C. Mann

Review of SCALE By Geoffrey West; Penguin Press, 479 pages, $30
books  book_reviews  physicists  scaling  growth  innovation  sustainability  cities  economics  business  linearity  efficiencies  economies_of_scale  sublinearity  massive_data_sets  natural_selection 
june 2017 by jerryking
Review: How Laws of Physics Govern Growth in Business and in Cities
MAY 26, 2017 | The New York Times | By JONATHAN A. KNEE

Book review of “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” (Penguin), by Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist.....Mr. West’s core argument is that the basic mathematical laws of physics governing growth in the physical world apply equally to biological, political and corporate organisms.....The central observation of “Scale” is that a wide variety of complex systems respond similarly to increases in size. Mr. West demonstrates that these similarities reflect the structural nature of the networks that undergird these systems. The book identifies three core common characteristics of the hierarchal networks that deliver energy to these organisms — whether the diverse circulatory systems that power all forms of animal life or the water and electrical networks that power cities. First, the networks are “space filling” — that is, they service the entire organism. Second, the terminal units are largely identical, whether they are the capillaries in our bodies or the faucets and electrical outlets in our homes. Third, a kind of natural selection process operates within these networks so that they are optimized......These shared network qualities explain why when an organism doubles in size, an astonishing range of characteristics, from food consumption to general metabolic rate, grow something less than twice as fast — they scale “sublinearly.” What’s more, “Scale” shows why the precise mathematical factor by which these efficiencies manifest themselves almost always relate to “the magic No. 4.”

Mr. West also provides an elegant explanation of why living organisms have a natural limit to growth and life span following a predictable curve, as an increasing proportion of energy consumed is required for maintenance and less is available to fuel further expansion.

....Despite his reliance on the analysis of huge troves of data to develop and support his theories, in the concluding chapters, Mr. West makes a compelling argument against the “arrogance and narcissism” reflected in the growing fetishization of “big data” in itself. “Data for data’s sake,” he argues, “or the mindless gathering of big data, without any conceptual framework for organizing and understanding it, may actually be bad or even dangerous.”
books  book_reviews  physicists  scaling  growth  Jonathan_Knee  innovation  sustainability  cities  economics  business  linearity  efficiencies  economies_of_scale  sublinearity  massive_data_sets  natural_selection  physical_world  selection_processes 
may 2017 by jerryking
The Wordsmith Shares His Craft - WSJ
By Edward Kosner
May 17, 2017

DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?

By Harold Evans
Little, Brown, 408 pages, $27

Mr. Evans introduces a crisp curriculum of do’s and don’ts for the aspiring clear writer. He counsels the active voice over the passive, the parsimonious use of adjectives and the near banishment of adverbs. (Not as easily practiced as preached.) He also urges writers to cut fat, check their math, be specific, organize their material for clarity, accentuate the positive and never be boring.
active_voice  books  book_reviews  clarity  editors  parsimony  self-organization  words  wordsmiths  writing 
may 2017 by jerryking
The Special Trouble With Special Ops - WSJ
By Ian F.W. Beckett
April 24, 2017

Mark Moyar’s “Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces” demonstrates, traces the rise of various American special forces, which date from the formation of the Army First Ranger Battalion in 1942, now number 70,000 members. They have moved from being a secondary weapon to a primary weapon.......But, at best, unconventional units have offered tactical rather than strategic success. The one exception was the ousting of the Taliban from Afghanistan in support of the Northern Alliance immediately after 9/11; operations against al Qaeda in eastern Afghanistan were not as successful. There has been a litany of failures, including Operation Eagle Claw in Iran in April 1980 and Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia in October 1993. Successive presidents, however, have fallen under the spell of special forces, although their support has often been qualified and quickly withdrawn, as was the case with President Bill Clinton after Somalia......

It is Mr. Moyar’s contention that the problem has been that few incumbents of the White House have understood special forces’ limitations. Special forces, he says, are best suited to counterinsurgency. He sees little likelihood of future opportunities to use special forces in the strategic role they played in Afghanistan in 2001, for example. Indeed, he argues that given the persistence of conventional threats, “the best solution at the present time would be to expand conventional forces rather than special operations forces.” New roles and missions may evolve, but special forces must be properly integrated into broader strategic enterprises. Successive presidents, he writes, have made decisions about unconventional units “based on superficial and romanticized views.”....Following a policy preference instituted by Donald Rumsfeld, Barack Obama embraced “surgical strikes” as a substitute for a real strategy, because “they enabled him to show the American public that he was combating terrorism forcefully and efficiently.”.....
books  book_reviews  SAS  security_&_intelligence  counterinsurgency  SEALs  covert_operations  U.S._Special_Forces  unconventional_warfare 
may 2017 by jerryking
‘Locking Up Our Own,’ What Led to Mass Incarceration of Black Men - The New York Times
By JENNIFER SENIOR APRIL 11, 2017

LOCKING UP OUR OWN
Crime and Punishment in Black America
By James Forman Jr.
Illustrated. 306 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. $27

Part of the power of “Locking Up Our Own” is that it’s about Washington — not the swamp of deceit merchants and influence-peddlers that Donald J. Trump promised to drain, but a majority-black city that hundreds of thousands call home, regardless of whose bum is in the Oval Office. Washington only first got the chance to elect its own mayor and city council in 1975, and the city’s coming-of-age story — and the challenges it faced — in some ways mirrored that of other cities with large African-American populations, like Atlanta and Detroit.

“Locking Up Our Own” is also very poignantly a book of the Obama era, when black authors like Alexander and Bryan Stevenson and Ta-Nehisi Coates initiated difficult conversations about racial justice and inequality, believing that their arguments might, for once, gain more meaningful traction. (Often, in fact, they said things the president, burdened with the duty to represent everyone, might not have felt free to say himself.......Forman does not minimize the influence of racism on mass incarceration. And he takes great pains to emphasize that African-Americans almost inevitably agitated for more than just law-enforcement solutions to the problems facing their neighborhoods — they argued for job and housing programs, improvements in education. But their timing in stumping for social programs was terrible. “Such efforts had become an object of ridicule by 1975, a symbol of the hopeless naïveté of 1960s liberalism,” Forman writes.

One result: A wide range of African-American leaders championed tougher penalties for drug crimes and gun possession in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. It was the one option they consistently had, and it seemed a perfectly responsible, moral position. Wasn’t the safety of black law-abiding citizens a basic civil right?
mass_incarceration  African-Americans  men  books  book_reviews  penalties  prisons  unintended_consequences  criminal_justice_system  difficult_conversations 
april 2017 by jerryking
An Insider-Trading Tale That Reads Like a Thriller - The New York Times
By ANDREW ROSS SORKINFEB. 7, 2017

“Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street,”
nonfiction  hedge_funds  Andrew_Sorkin  books  slight_edge  insider_trading  informational_advantages  Wall_Street  Preet_Bharara  SAC_Capital  Steven_Cohen  book_reviews  white-collar_crime  Sheelah_Kolhatkar 
february 2017 by jerryking
We’re All Cord Cutters Now - WSJ
By FRANK ROSE
Sept. 6, 2016

Streaming, Sharing, Stealing By Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
MIT Press, 207 pages, $29.95

The authors’ point is not that the long tail is where the money is, though that can be the case. It’s that “long-tail business models,” being inherently digital, can succeed where others do not. Mass-media businesses have always depended on the economics of scarcity: experts picking a handful of likely winners to be produced with a professional sheen, released through a tightly controlled series of channels and supported by blowout ad campaigns. This, the authors make clear, is a strategy for the previous century.
book_reviews  books  digital_media  entertainment_industry  massive_data_sets  Amazon  Netflix  data  granularity  cord-cutting  clarity  Anita_Elberse  The_Long_Tail  business_models  blockbusters  Apple  mass_media 
january 2017 by jerryking
Review: ‘Winter is Coming’, by Garry Kasparov
NOVEMBER 8, 2015 | FT | Review by John Thornhill

‘Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped’, by Garry Kasparov, Atlantic Books, £16.99; Public Affairs, $26.99

"The price of deterrence always goes up"

the real power of Kasparov’s book lies in his argument that the west must pursue a more assertive and moral foreign policy, something that has faded out of fashion. In his view, the most moral foreign policy is also the most effective. It enhances international security by insisting on observance of law....one of the most important aspects of any moral foreign policy is its consistency. Western leaders should keep talking about human rights issues in good times as well as bad. Otherwise, these issues become just another chip on the “geopolitical gaming table”. Those leaders should also insist on raising these subjects with strong autocracies, such as China, as well as the weak.

in Kasparov’s view, US President Bill Clinton squandered the chance to advance the international human rights agenda in the 1990s, as the west took a holiday from history. And today the west is too “uninformed, callous, or apathetic” to assert its influence and values.

He, rightly, argues that one of the most important aspects of any moral foreign policy is its consistency. Western leaders should keep talking about human rights issues in good times as well as bad. Otherwise, these issues become just another chip on the “geopolitical gaming table”. Those leaders should also insist on raising these subjects with strong autocracies, such as China, as well as the weak.
books  Russia  Vladimir_Putin  book_reviews  authors  writers  dictators  dictatorships  deterrence  dissension  Ukraine  human_rights  strategic_thinking  autocracies  chess  authoritarianism  foreign_policy  geopolitics  liberal_pluralism  rogue_actors  Garry_Kasparov  consistency  exile 
january 2017 by jerryking
From Michael Lewis, a Portrait of the Men Who Shaped ‘Moneyball’ - The New York Times
By ALEXANDRA ALTERDEC. 3, 2016
Lewis decided to explore how it started.

The inquiry led him to the work of two Israeli psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, whose discoveries challenged long-held beliefs about human nature and the way the mind works.

Mr. Lewis chronicles their unusual partnership in his new book, “The Undoing Project,” a story about two unconventional thinkers who saw the world differently from everyone around them. Their peculiar area of research — how humans make decisions, often irrationally — has had profound implications for an array of fields, like professional sports, the military, medicine, politics, finance and public health.....Tversky and Kahneman's research demonstrating how people behave in fundamentally irrational ways when making decisions, relying on their gut rather than available data, gave rise to the field of behavioral economics. That discipline attracted Paul DePodesta, a Harvard student, who later went into sports management and helped upend professional baseball when he went to work for Mr. Beane.....Unlike many nonfiction writers, Mr. Lewis declines to take advances, which he calls “corrupting,” even though he could easily earn seven figures. Instead, he splits the profits from the books, as well as the advertising and production costs, with Norton. The setup spurs him to work harder and to make more money if the books are successful, he says.

“You should have the risk and you should enjoy the reward,” he said. “It’s not healthy for an author not to have the risk.”
Amos_Tversky  Michael_Lewis  Moneyball  books  book_reviews  unconventional_thinking  biases  cognitive_skills  unknowns  information_gaps  humility  pretense_of_knowledge  overconfidence  conventional_wisdom  overestimation  metacognition  behavioural_economics  irrationality  decision_making  nonfiction  writers  self-awareness  self-analysis  self-reflective  proclivities  Daniel_Kahneman  psychologists  delusions  self-delusions  skin_in_the_game  gut_feelings  risk-taking  partnerships 
december 2016 by jerryking
Movement politics: a guide to the new globalisation
NOVEMBER 24, 2016 by: Alan Beattie.

The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization, by Richard Baldwin, Harvard University Press, RRP£22.95/$29.95, 344 pages.

....Just as South Korea has changed, so newly industrialising countries are less keen on setting up entire industries at home and instead try to insert themselves into global supply chains. Sometimes this means changing, not just exploiting, their comparative advantage. Baldwin cites Vietnam, which joined Honda’s supply network by starting to manufacture motorcycle parts using production and technical expertise imported from the parent company. Thus Vietnam’s existing advantage of low-cost labour joined with the management and technical know-how of Japan to create a new specialism......

This framework explains a lot about current tensions around globalisation. For one, the stricken manufacturing towns of the American Midwest, many of whose poorer inhabitants switched to voting for Donald Trump, have experienced first-hand what it feels like rapidly to become a redundant link in a global value chain.

Second, it shows why modern trade deals, such as the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and EU, are centred on rules protecting patents and copyrights, and allowing foreign corporations to sue governments if they feel their investments are being expropriated. Multinationals are less concerned with goods tariffs, which are now generally low and belong to an earlier era of trade governance, than they are with trying to protect the specialist knowledge on which their global supply chains depend.

It also foresees the future of globalisation once technology has relaxed the third constraint, the movement of people. The easier it becomes to manage processes from afar — improved videoconferencing, remote-controlled robots — the more virtual immigration can substitute for actual and the specialisation of global supply chains proceed even faster.
books  book_reviews  supply_chains  Vietnam  Honda  international_trade  comparative_advantage  patents  videoconferencing  TTP  MNCs  redundancies  globalization  Midwest  Rust_Belt  industrial_Midwest  value_chains  copyright  transatlantic 
november 2016 by jerryking
Black Deaths Matter - The New York Times
By JOY-ANN REID NOV. 15, 2016
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books  book_reviews  Black_Lives_Matter  Joy_Reid 
november 2016 by jerryking
Chronicle of a war foretold | The Economist
Jun 27th 2015

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War.By P.W. Singer and August Cole.Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 404 pages; $28.
war  future  China  China_rising  PACOM  U.S._Navy  books  fiction  book_reviews  U.S.-China_relations 
november 2016 by jerryking
The Marvel of Electricity - WSJ
By R. TYLER PRIEST
July 15, 2016

THE GRID

By Gretchen Bakke
books  book_reviews  electric_power  power_grid 
july 2016 by jerryking
Review: The Rise of the ‘Matchmakers’ of the Digital Economy - The New York Times
By JONATHAN A. KNEE MAY 20, 2016
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books  digital_economy  platforms  book_reviews  network_effects  match-making  Jonathan_Knee 
may 2016 by jerryking
Bridled Vows - NYTimes.com
To save articles or get newsletters, alerts or recommendations - all free.
book_reviews  fiction  adultery  marriage 
july 2015 by jerryking
Mastering the Art of Problem Solving
When President Bill Clinton chose to intervene in the Somali civil war in 1993, the Battle of Mogadishu resulted in thousands of Somali citizens killed, two American Black Hawk helicopters shot down,…

WHAT ABOUT THE DATA?
Increasing amounts of data can be unmanageable, and the problem of sorting through data overloads may only worsen in this digital era. Rather than looking at each bit of information as a discrete data point, we want to look at our drivers and sort the data according to which driver it supports--on other words, sort the data into each of the half-dozen or so driver categories, so analysts have few piles to deal with rather than a thousand discrete data points.
decision_making  howto  problem_solving  problem_framing  security_&_intelligence  CIA  books  information_overload  analysis  interviews  critical_thinking  book_reviews  Philip_Mudd  frameworks  insights  sorting  analysts  thinking_backwards  problem_definition  intelligence_analysts 
may 2015 by jerryking
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