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Bracken Bower Prize 2019: excerpts from finalists’ proposals | Financial Times
YESTERDAYPrint this page
Edited excerpts from the book proposals of the three finalists for the 2019 Bracken Bower Prize, backed by the Financial Times and McKinsey.
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(1)The Sinolarity
China’s quest to wire the world and win the future
By Jonathan Hillman

(2) Hacking Social Impact
How to change systems to tackle urgent problems
By Paulo Savaget

(3) InfoSec
Inside the world’s most secure organisations
By Ernesto Zaldivar
books  book_reviews  China  cyberattacks  cyberintrusions  cyber-security  FT  hacks  hackers  Huawei  McKinsey  networks  passwords  phishing  prizes  security_consciousness  teams 
22 hours ago by jerryking
Why the US economy isn’t as competitive or free as you think
November 14, 2019 | Financial Times | by Martin Wolf.

The Great Reversal: How America Gave up on Free Markets, by Thomas Philippon, Belknap Press RRP$29.95, 368 pages

It began with a simple question: “Why on earth are US cell phone plans so expensive?” In pursuit of the answer, Thomas Philippon embarked on a detailed empirical analysis of how business actually operates in today’s America and finished up by overturning much of what almost everybody takes as read about the world’s biggest economy.

Over the past two decades, competition and competition policy have atrophied, with dire consequences......America is no longer the home of the free-market economy, competition is not more fierce there than in Europe, its regulators are not more proactive and its new crop of superstar companies not radically different from their predecessors.

Philippon's argument:
(1) US markets have become less competitive: concentration is high in many industries, leaders are entrenched, and their profit rates are excessive.
(2) this lack of competition has hurt US consumers and workers: it has led to higher prices, lower investment and lower productivity growth.
(3) contrary to common wisdom, the main explanation is political, not technological: Philippon traces the decrease in competition to increasing barriers to entry and weak antitrust enforcement, sustained by heavy lobbying and campaign contributions.”....... the US economy has seen a significant reduction in competition and a corresponding rise in monopoly and oligopoly.

What should the US want? The answers, suggests Philippon, are: free entry; regulators prepared to make mistakes when acting against monopoly; and protection of transparency, privacy and data ownership by customers. The great obstacle to action in the US is the pervasive role of money in politics. The results are the twin evils of oligopoly and oligarchy. Donald Trump is in so many ways a product of the defective capitalism described in The Great Reversal. What the US needs, instead, is another Teddy Roosevelt and his energetic trust-busting. Is that still imaginable? All believers in the virtues of competitive capitalism must hope so.
antitrust  barriers_to_entry  books  book_reviews  campaign_contributions  Citizens_United  competitiveness_of_nations  crony_capitalism  dark_money  economics  economists  entrenched_interests  EU  FAANG  free_markets  French  gun_laws  healthcare  lobbying  market_concentration  monopolies  monopsony  oligopolies  oligarchs  regulators  Theodore_Roosevelt  uncompetitive 
5 days ago by jerryking
Can contracts use pictures instead of words? | Financial Times
Bruce Love OCTOBER 22 2019

* David Sibbet in "Visual Meeting"
* Dan Roam in "Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don’t Work" 
Both writers advocate the use of graphics and charts to better communicate ideas between people.

Visuals and plain language make an adversarial process more constructive.

Every contract the company writes represents a business relationship that a company would prefer to see fulfilled mutually.....unwieldy contracts stand in the way of harmony.....you spend  so much time building customer relationships that you don’t want a contractual negotiation to then dismantle that relationship brick by brick.....redraft contracts using as much plain English as possible......Making contracts more faithful to the relationships they represent is a popular goal with commercial contracts.....businesses should write contracts that specify mutual goals and governance structures to keep the parties’ expectations and interests aligned over the long term........especially for “highly complex relationships in which it is impossible to predict every ‘what if ’ scenario”.....a curious innovation gathering steam in the legal world: visual contracts that incorporate images alongside or even replace text. The underlying idea is that a picture paints a thousand words.....visual contracts can be used for simple and complex agreements.....there are growing libraries of contract terms that can be assembled as modules to build complete agreements. The goal is to provide businesses with best practice examples of the most frequent and least divergent contract clauses.....While there are many benefits to visual contracts, “simple is difficult”..... It is counterproductive for negotiators to codify every minute detail of a relationship when instead much can be ascribed to a spirit of agreement, more similar to a constitution or code of ethics.
books  charts  Communicating_&_Connecting  contingencies  contracts  deal-making  graphics  infographics  legal  negotiations  plain_English  visualization 
11 days ago by jerryking
The Man Who Solved the Market — how Jim Simons built a moneymaking machine
November 1, 2019 | | Financial Times | Robin Wigglesworth

The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution, by Gregory Zuckerman, Portfolio, RRP$30/£20, 384 pages

Jim Simons looked to math and computers as ways to eliminate the emotional ups and downs of investing. “I don’t want to have to worry about the market every minute. I want models that will make money while I sleep.”
algorithms  books  finance  hedge_funds  James_Simons  massive_data_sets  mathematics  moguls  quantitative  Renaissance_Technologies  talent_spotting  winner-take-all 
17 days ago by jerryking
Rising Seas Will Erase More Cities by 2050, New Research Shows - The New York Times
By Denise Lu and Christopher FlavelleOct. 29, 2019

John Wyndham's "Out of the Deeps" (UK version, "The Kraken Wakes") has alarming scenes of London and much of the UK inundated. In that novel, it's aliens, melting the Greenland glaciers.
books  cities  climate_change  coastal  dislocations  extreme_weather_events  floods  flood-risk  flood-risk_maps  floodplains  geopolitical-risk  infrastructure  internal_migration  mass_migrations  population_movements  refugees  sea-level_rise  societal_collapse  weather 
20 days ago by jerryking
Susan Rice Recounts Making Policy at the Highest Levels
Oct. 10, 2019 | The New York Times | By Abby D. Phillip.

TOUGH LOVE
My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For
By Susan Rice
Illustrated. 531 pp. Simon & Schuster. $30.

Tough Love is Susan Rice's memoir. Susan Rice doesn't allow herself to be defined by the events of September 2012 in Benghazi, Libya, after which she was demonized by the right-wingers in the U.S. ....Rice’s personal story is rooted partly in slavery in America and partly in economic migration to the United States.....Rice benefitted from privilege that gave her access to well-heeled private schooling, elite advanced degrees (i.e. Stanford University, and later was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford) and membership in the even more elite Washington society. Rice’s unflagging work ethic and drive stems from her family's belief that, "The only constraints we faced were our own ambition, effort and skill.” ......Early in her career at the National Security Council, Rice navigated some of the most difficult foreign policy challenges the country has faced in recent history, and in a pattern that continued into the Obama years her fate seemed constantly intertwined with Africa. The 1994 genocide in Rwanda provided an object lesson in the moral failures of inaction. Later, she dealt with another major crisis that would reverberate later in her career. The 1998 Nairobi embassy and Dar es Salaam embassy bombings.
Rice is clinical in her retelling of the foreign policy decisions of the Clinton and Obama administrations. And there is no attempt to neatly sew together an overarching narrative about her approach to foreign policy challenges based on her years of experience in government. In fact, that may be the lesson of her tale of “tough love.” Public policy, Rice argues, is pragmatic, and sometimes a little dark: “We did fail, we will fail. Our aim must be to minimize the frequency and the price of failure.”.....Rice's “assertiveness and relentlessness” has cost her reputation within the State Department as a difficult boss. Rice has considered--and ruled out--pursuit of elected office, preferring the comfort of policy-focused, behind-the-scenes roles.
African-Americans  APNSA  assertiveness  Benghazi  books  book_reviews  cost_of_inaction  failure  memoirs  NSC  Obama  policymaking  public_policy  relentlessness  Rhodes  Stanford  Susan_Rice  tough_love  U.S.foreign_policy  U.S._State_Department  women  work_ethic 
26 days ago by jerryking
Sleep Hygiene Instructions
* "No More Sleepless Nights" by Dr. Peter Hauri
* "Goodnight Mind" by Dr. Colleen Carney
* Sleepontario.com -Selfmanagement of Insomnia
best_practices  books  howto  insomnia  sleep 
26 days ago by jerryking
The management wisdom of Bill Campbell - Bartleby
May 23rd 2019

three Google executives—Eric Schmidt (a former director of The Economist), Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle—who have written a book in praise of their mentor, Bill Campbell. His influence on Silicon Valley was so profound that they have called the book “Trillion Dollar Coach”.

Most outsiders will not have heard of Campbell, who began his career as a college coach of American football. Later, he worked at Apple, heading the marketing campaign for the original Macintosh, and then became chief executive at Intuit, a financial-software company. But his most effective role, until his death in 2016, was in the background, as a board member at Apple (and close friend of Steve Jobs) and as a coach to companies backed by Kleiner Perkins, a venture-capital firm.

Google was one of Kleiner’s investments and when Mr Schmidt was appointed chief executive of the company in 2001, Kleiner’s John Doerr suggested that he recruit Campbell as his coach. Although Mr Schmidt was initially reluctant to accept the need for coaching, he learned to value Campbell’s advice. In 2004 Campbell helped to persuade the Google boss not to quit when his roles as chairman and chief executive were split.

Campbell acted as an unpaid mentor at Google until his death in 2016. He also coached executives at eBay, Facebook and Twitter, among others. In 2000 he advised the Amazon board not to replace Jeff Bezos as chief executive of the e-commerce company.

As a coach, Campbell’s role was not to be in charge of particular projects, or to make strategic decisions, but to make other people work better. Although he advised individuals, his focus was on ensuring that teams were able to co-operate properly. His motto was that “your title makes you a manager, your people make you a leader.”

While he was happy to dish out praise in group meetings, and was a generous man in his spare time, he was not a soft touch. He simply believed in giving harsh feedback in private, and was usually adept enough to make the recipient grateful for the telling-off.

When he talked to people, he gave them his undivided attention; the discussions were never interrupted and he never checked his smartphone. But coaching had to be a two-way process. Some people were temperamentally incapable of responding properly. To be coachable, Campbell believed, managers need to be honest, humble and willing to learn.

A sign of his unique personality is that he has not been replaced since he died. Instead Google is attempting to incorporate his principles into the way the company is run. All managers should, in part, be coaches. The idea seems to be gaining popularity. In their book, “It’s the Manager”, Jim Clifton and Jim Harter of Gallup, a polling organisation, include a whole section called “Boss to Coach”.

This is linked to the importance of employee engagement. Gallup cites research showing that when managers involve employees in setting their own work goals, the latter are four times more likely to report feeling engaged. Managers are responsible for 70% of the variance in how engaged employees were.

The primary job of any manager is to help people be more effective in their job. One benefit should be that workers will stay with the company; the main reason they change jobs, according to what they tell Gallup, is for “career growth opportunities”. Workers should get regular feedback from their managers—daily if possible, surveys show. An annual performance review is of little use.

But this approach will only work if it comes from the top down. Middle managers tend to emulate their superiors and to respond to incentives; they will coach underlings if this behaviour is reinforced and rewarded.

Of course, even the best coaches and managers have to give their employees scope to find their own way, and make their own mistakes.
advice  boards_&_directors_&_governance  books  book_review  coaching  Google  mentoring  Silicon_Valley  Bill_Campbell 
5 weeks ago by jerryking
He Grew Up on a Farm. Now, He Helps Protect Them.
Oct. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Norman Mayersohn.

Books: Warren Buffett biography, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist,”

Few livelihoods offer as many paths to failure as agriculture. Throughout history, farmers have been at the mercy of nature — be it weather, pests or crop diseases — even as the survival of people and livestock depended on their success...... Thomas Njeru, is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Microinsurance — think of it as an offshoot of the microloan programs that kick-start businesses in impoverished areas — provides protection for low-income individuals who do not have access to conventional coverage....Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest......People in Africa don't invest in agriculture because the chance of them losing their money due to the vagaries of the weather is huge.........Pula’s mission is to give farmers confidence by providing risk mitigation. Our solutions protect a farmer’s investment by pairing it with insurance. We build business cases to persuade Fortune 500 companies, seed and fertilizer suppliers, lending institutions, and governments in Africa, that embedded insurance will help deliver better results for both businesses and food security....The sad reality is that farmers are one drought or one disease outbreak away from sliding into absolute poverty......the penetration of agriculture insurance in Africa is less than 1 percent. The reason is that insurance companies’ business models are not set up to serve the unique needs of smallholder farmers......scaling Pula’s business model to the point that insured seed and fertilizer become ubiquitous in the market......The average annual insurance premium per farmer is about $3 to $5. This includes the cost of product development, pricing, underwriting, claim adjustment and, of course, the claim costs. We use artificial intelligence, mobile-based registration systems, remote sensing and automation tools...Agriculture insurance is a cemetery of pilots and trials..
Africa  agriculture  behavioral_change  books  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  crop_insurance  farming  insurance  Kenya  low-income  microfinance  mobile_applications  poverty  precarious  Pula  seeds  smallholders  start_ups  risks  risk-mitigation  Warren_Buffett  weather 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | My Father Wanted to Prove America Wrong About Race - The New York Times
By Susan E. Rice
Ms. Rice, a contributing opinion writer, is the author of the forthcoming memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” from which this essay is adapted.
African-Americans  books  Emmett_Rice  memoirs  Susan_Rice  tough_love 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
What meeting Bernie Madoff taught me about our inability to read others
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Books:
Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell.
The Human Swarm, by Mark Moffett.

Malcolm Gladwell, the writer, earned fame — and fortune — by producing books such as The Tipping Point (2000) that popularised human psychology. In his new study, Talking to Strangers, he looks at our propensity to misread other people. It is an increasingly pressing question for our polarised, fake-news era.

How should we interpret the signals we receive from others? This matters when it comes to detecting fraud, of course......It also matters in other ways. Today more than ever, we all suffer if we misread the signals we receive from different social groups. It is human nature to assume our own culture is the definition of “normal”, and to use this lens when we view others.....even traits that we assume are ­“universal”, such as [jck: visual cues] facial expressions, can vary hugely between cultures — and, of course, within societies that speak the same language.

Gladwell describes, for example, how social interactions between black and white communities in America are regularly marred by misunderstandings, with tragic consequences. “[This] is what happens when a society does not know how to talk to strangers,” he concludes.......Moffett then advances two broader points. First, he argues that humans (like ants) need a sense of tribal identity and belonging, with specialisations clearly defined; but, second, he insists that the way humans develop this tribal identity is crucially different from other animals.

Among some species, such as chimpanzees, trust only emerges through face-to-face contact between individuals in small groups; in others, creatures only co-operate if they can be instantly identified as coming from the same species. Ants kill anything that smells different.....what is amazing about humans – albeit rarely celebrated – is how we generally tolerate outsiders ­without instantly needing to kill them.

“Being comfortable around unfamiliar members of our society gave humans advantages from the get-go and made nations possible,” Moffett writes. “Chimpanzees need to know everybody [to ­tolerate them]. Ants need to know nobody. Humans only need to know somebody [for society to function.]” This achievement deserves far more attention, since it only works in two conditions. First, humans must feel secure in their own group (which they signal with symbols and rituals); second, “strangers” can only be smoothly absorbed if everyone learns to read different symbols too....If we want to “talk to strangers”, we need to teach our kids (and ourselves) to try to look at the world through strangers’ eyes – even if we must also recognise that we will never truly succeed.
assumptions   Bernard_Madoff   books  character_traits   cultural_identity  deception Gillian_Tett   lyassumptions  Bernard_Madoff  character_traits  deception  Gillian_Tett  group_identity  lying  Malcolm_Gladwell  misinterpretations  misjudgement  psychology  psychopaths  signals  strangers  tribes  trustworthiness  visual_cues  writers 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
Companies should learn from history to avoid repeating mistakes of the past
September 27, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HARVEY SCHACHTER.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. -George Santayana
*****************************************************************
BEST BUSINESS HISTORY BOOKS
If you want to improve your knowledge of business history, two good places to start might be Prof. Martin’s books, From Wall Street to Bay Street, the first overview of the Canadian financial system in half a century, co-written with Christopher Kobrak, and Relentless Change, the only case book for the study of Canadian business history. Beyond that, here’s three others he suggests you could benefit from:

* Northern Enterprise: Five Centuries of Business History by Michael Bliss;
* Historical Atlas of Canada, Volumes I to III with different editors;
* Madisson Database Project 2018 by The Groningen Growth and Development Centre, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
*****************************************************************

Joe Martin, a professor of Canadian business history and strategy at Rotman School of Management, is on a mission. He believes Canadians lack sufficient knowledge of history in general and business history in particular. But rather than seize upon Santayana’s famed quote about the value of history, he points to an anonymous businessman who said, “I study history so I can make my own mistakes.”.....We fail in business schools, where virtually no courses are offered (other than at Harvard Business School, which has included history programs since its founding in 1908 and now has about 20 historians affiliated to the school). And we fail in corporations, where new leaders think history begins with their ascension and the few histories produced on the organization tend to be heavily sanitized....Certain themes recur in business history, of course. Recessions are one. Some signs suggest we may be on the cusp of one now, but each time they hit many corporate leaders seem flabbergasted, as if nobody ever experienced this situation before....Then there’s boom-and-bust. In the dot-com heyday of the late 1990s, Prof. Martin notes in an interview, he was chairman of Angoss Software Corp. and watching his net worth go up $250,000 a week. It was glorious until it started going down $250,000 a week. It seemed new, but history is littered with equivalent situations. .....At the core of understanding the history of our economy should be the baseball diamond growth model developed at the Stern School at New York University. At home plate is government because an effective political system enables economic growth. First base is a sound financial system, to allow growth. At second base are enterprising entrepreneurs to build upon that. Third base is for sophisticated managers of large corporations......As for corporate histories, he prefers them done by historians, with full access to the material, including key players. ....“Learn from history so you don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. That’s critical,”
best_of  boom-to-bust  books  business_archives  business_history  Canada  Canadian  dotcom  Harvey_Schachter  history  Joe_Martin  lessons_learned  Michael_Bliss  quotes  recessions  Rotman 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
We need to be better at predicting bad outcomes
September 2019 | Financial Times | by Tim Harford.

A question some of us ask all too often, and some of us not often enough: what if it all [jk: our plan] goes wrong?.....we don’t think about worst-case scenarios in the right way......
The first problem is that our sense of risk is pretty crude. The great psychologist Amos Tversky joked that most of us have three categories when thinking about probabilities: “gonna happen”, “not gonna happen” and “maybe”.....It would be helpful if our sense of risk was a little more refined; intuitively, it is hard to grasp the difference between a risk of one in a billion and that of one in a thousand. Yet, for a gambler — or someone in the closely related business of insurance — there is all the difference in the world.....research by Barbara Mellers, Philip Tetlock and Hal Arkes suggests that making a serious attempt to put probabilities on uncertain future events might help us in other ways: the process makes us more humble, more moderate and better able to discern shades of grey. Trying to forecast is about more than a successful prediction......we can become sidetracked by the question of whether the worst case is likely. Rather than asking “will this happen?”, we should ask “what would we do if it did?”

The phrase “worst-case scenario” probably leads us astray: anyone can dream up nightmare scenarios.....To help us think sensibly about these worst-case possibilities, Gary Klein, psychologist and author of Seeing What Others Don’t, has argued for conducting “pre-mortems” — or hypothetical postmortems. Before embarking on a project, imagine receiving a message from the future: the project failed, and spectacularly. Now ask yourself: why? Risks and snares will quickly suggest themselves — often risks that can be anticipated and prevented.......Contingency planning is not always easy......woes that would result both as the “base case” (the truth) and a “worst-case scenario” (the government sucking in its stomach while posing for a selfie).
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In our increasingly airbrushed world, it becomes ever more necessary to ask the unfashionable questions like ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ - and then plan for it...
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Humanity's survival may well rely on the ability of our imaginations to explore alternative futures in order to begin building the communities that can forestall or endure worst-case catastrophes.
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Amos_Tversky  anticipating  base_rates  beforemath  books  contingency_planning  discernment  failure  forecasting  foresight  frequency_and_severity  humility  nuanced  predictions  preparation  probabilities  risk-assessment  risks  Tim_Harford  uncertainty  worst-case 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
Stephen Schwarzman: ‘I like to do things that are beautiful’
September 20, 2019 | Financial Times | by Lionel Barber.

Schwarzman’s fortune (net worth about $18bn) has bought him power and influence. He’s graduated from being a mega dealmaker to philanthropist, back channel in US-China relations and “Trump whisperer”. I want to explore these multiple roles, but also pin down why the man who has built one of the most successful financial businesses on the planet has never quite received the credit he believes he deserves......Blackstone started as a boutique advisory firm, with the goal of making enough money to start its own private equity fund. Private equity has attracted controversy because of alleged asset-stripping: buying companies, loading them with debt (“leverage”) and selling them off at a handsome profit, with favourable tax treatment.

Schwarzman casts himself as a long-term investor, not a scavenger in sheep’s clothing. He recounts with gusto the megadeals and the risk-taking involved in picking the right time to buy and sell assets, ranging from US Steel’s railroad network to the Waldorf hotel.

His skill is market timing. Blackstone has expanded into real estate and hedge funds and other “alternative assets”, with $545bn under management today. Blackstone funds are also the largest owner of real estate in the world. The firm’s rise epitomises the “buy side” revolution that favours asset managers at the expense of traditional banks trading liquid securities.

Schwarzman has written a book, which is part memoir, part Blackstone management primer called What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence. (A better title would be Whatever It Takes, I suggest.) ......Blackstone is a meritocracy, he says, where two iron rules apply: no internal politics and do not lose money. “I go from the premise that anybody of talent does not want necessarily to be a private in an army. The lowest they want is to be a lieutenant colonel and preferably they’d all like to be generals.”......We turn to Schwarzman’s generous philanthropy. In recent years, he has donated $100m to the New York Public Library, $150m to Yale, £150m to Oxford university, $350m to MIT. He’s also set up the Schwarzman scholars, a one-year masters programme on global affairs for top international students to study at Tsinghua University in Beijing.
Blackstone  books  dealmakers  philanthropy  private_equity  Stephen_Schwarzman 
8 weeks ago by jerryking
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 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
Two MIT Economists Share A Bold Plan To Jump-Start The Economy In New Book
April 9, 2019 | Boston Public Radio | By Arjun Singh

On paper, America’s economy seems to be excelling. In March, the economy added 196,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate sat at 3.8 percent. Meanwhile, American startups like Uber and Pinterest are expected to go public with multi-million or higher valuations. But MIT economists Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson believe this hides a darker truth about the American economy: It’s slowly falling behind the rest of the world.

In their new book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream,” Gruber and Johnson lay out their plan for how the United States can reclaim its mantle as a leader in not just gross domestic product, but also innovation and science. The key, they say, is government investment and encouragement in the scientific sector.......The economists are optimistic, however, that the United States can regain its lead and eventually develop a robust economy that sees economic growth and investment in the sciences. And not just in places like Boston or San Francisco, but throughout the rest of the country, where Johnson says there is a wealth of untapped talent and potential. They estimate there are at least 102 potential scientific hubs scattered across the U.S.

“The coastal superstar cities have become extremely expensive, but there’s a tremendous amount of talent spread across the U.S.,” Johnson said. “Good living conditions also matter. People also want to live in a place [with a] good climate, much better commute times than you have in the megacities, and low crime rates. Those are our very simple, transparent criteria.”..... public investments in research and development contribute to what the authors call the “spillover effect.” When the product of the research is not a private firm’s intellectual property, its impact flows across the economy.
books  breakthroughs  coastal  competitiveness_of_nations  economists  industrial_policies  innovation  jump-start  MIT  NSF  public_investments  R&D  science  Simon_Johnson  spillover  superstars  U.S. 
11 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion | I Was Wandering. Toni Morrison Found Me.
Aug. 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jesmyn Ward.
Ms. Ward is the author, most recently, of the novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing.”
African-Americans  authors  books  fiction  obituaries  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
400 years since slavery: a timeline of American history
Fri 16 Aug 2019 07.00 BST Last modified on Fri 16 Aug 2019 07.57 BST | News | The Guardian by Khushbu Shah and Juweek Adolphe

This article drew on a number of books about the American history of slavery, including The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E Baptist; American Slavery, 1619-1877 by Peter Kolchin; and Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy by Nikil Pal Singh. It also used census data available online at census.gov.
African-Americans  anniversaries  books  Great_Migration  history  Jim_Crow  reparations  slavery  timelines  voter_suppression 
august 2019 by jerryking
How Bill Gates reads books - YouTube
* Don't start a book you cannot finish.
* Concentrate. As you take in new knowledge, how does it attach to knowledge you already have?
* Dedicate at least an hour/day to the task of reading
billgates  books  howto  note_taking  reading 
august 2019 by jerryking
From sexsomnia to birdseed snacks, author Guy Leschziner explains the mysterious realm of sleep - The Globe and Mail
WENCY LEUNG HEALTH
PUBLISHED AUGUST 5, 2019

Leschziner’s new book, The Nocturnal Brain: Nightmares, Neuroscience, and the Secret World of Sleep, explores how the brain functions – and what happens when it doesn’t – through the remarkable stories of his patients.

The brain does not simply shut off when we sleep, and turn on again when we wake, he explains. Rather, various parts of this complex organ can be in different stages of sleep and wakefulness at the same time.
books  brain_chemistry  neurosciences  sleep 
august 2019 by jerryking
Toni Morrison Taught Me How to Think
Aug. 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Wesley Morris.

You need to be able to read to be able to read. Especially if Toni Morrison did the writing. [because Toni Morrison's writings demanded much of the reader as her evocative words painted a rich context and vivid imagery.......She was going to make us [you, the reader] work, not as a task, not for medicine, but because writing is an art and a reader should have a little art of his own.....Reading a Toni Morrison novel was group therapy. My aunts, my mother and her friends would tackle “Beloved” in sections then get on the phone to run things by one another......They admired the stew of a Morrison novel, the elegant density of its language — the tapestry of a hundred-word sentence, the finger snap of a lone word followed by a period, the staggering depictions of lust, death, hair care, lost limbs, baking and ghosts. Morrison made her audiences conversant in her — the metaphors of trauma, the melodramas of psychology. She made them hungry for more stew: ornate, disobedient, eerie literary inventions about black women, often with nary a white person of any significance in sight. The women in my family were reading a black woman imagining black women, their wants, their warts, how the omnipresence of this country’s history can make itself known on any old Thursday.....A life spent savoring Toni Morrison, both as a novelist and a scalding, scaldingly moral literary critic, makes clear that almost no one has better opening sentences......This is all to say that Toni Morrison didn’t teach me how to read. But she did teach me how to read. Hers is the kind of writing that makes you rewind and slow down and ruminate. It’s the kind of writing that makes you rewind because, god, what you just read was that titanic, that perception-altering, that true, a spice on the tongue. .......Morrison is dead now, her legend long secure. But what comedy to think how the writers and critics who loved her labored to get her mastery treated as majesty when she’s so evidently supreme. .....She did for generations of writers what Martin Scorsese did for generations of filmmakers — jolt them, for better and worse, into purpose. Morrison didn’t make me a writer, exactly. What she made me was a thinker. She made the thinking seem uniquely crucial to the matter of being alive......I have now by my bed is some novel by Toni Morrison, whether or not I’m reading it. A night light for my soul. And, in every way, a Good Book.
African-Americans  authors  books  craftsmanship  critical_thinking  howto  novelists  novels  obituaries  purpose  reading  Slow_Movement  soul-enriching  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers  writing 
august 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
FT business books of the month: August edition
July 30, 2109 | | Financial Times | by Isabel Berwick, Emma Jacobs, Jonathan Moules, Andrew Hill.
booklists  books  summertime 
july 2019 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 
july 2019 by jerryking
You’re Not Paying Attention, but You Really Should Be
July 14, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tim Herrera.

I called up Rob Walker, author of “The Art of Noticing.” In his book, Mr. Walker writes: “To stay eager, to connect, to find interest in the everyday, to notice what everybody else overlooks — these are vital skills and noble goals. They speak between looking and seeing, between hearing and listening, between accepting what the world presents and noticing what matters to you.”.... it’s just about trying to carve out and give yourself permission to have this time where you’re tuning into things, listening to your own curiosity and seeing where that leads you,”......Record 10 metaphor-free observations about the world this week. This is deceptively simplistic: Who couldn’t look at 10 things this week and write them down? The trick is the no metaphors hook. You’re just noticing, not comparing, analyzing or referencing. You’re forced to slow down and truly contemplate the world around you, rather than passively breezing through it.

Remember: It’s looking vs. seeing. Hearing vs. listening. Accepting what the world presents vs. noticing what matters to you.

“There’s nothing more important than the stuff you notice that no one else does,” Mr. Walker said. “That’s where every single innovation begins; that’s where all creativity begins. It’s honoring what you notice, what you tune into and what you care about.”
attention  books  focus  listening  mindfulness  overstimulation  pay-attention  noticing  Slow_Movement 
july 2019 by jerryking
Opinion | How Artificial Intelligence Can Save Your Life
June 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By David Brooks.
Opinion Columnist

In his book “Deep Medicine,” which is about how A.I. is changing medicine across all fields, Eric Topol describes a study in which a learning algorithm was given medical records to predict who was likely to attempt suicide. It accurately predicted attempts nearly 80 percent of the time. By incorporating data of real-world interactions such as laughter and anger, an algorithm in a similar study was able to reach 93 percent accuracy.....
algorithms  artificial_intelligence  books  David_Brooks  depression  diagnostic  doctors  medical  mens'_health  mental_health  op-ed  pattern_recognition  predictive_analytics  tools  visual_cues 
june 2019 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
Anthony Price, British author of thrillers with deep links to history, dies at 90 - The Washington Post
By Matt Schudel June 15

Add to my reading list saved on the Toronto Public Library (TPL)'s website.

his favourite Le Carré novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, was pipped to the 1974 Gold Dagger award by his own Other Paths to Glory.

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For two decades Price juggled careers as a newspaper editor, book reviewer and author, with his wife Ann acting as his unofficial business manager. The success of his first novel resulted in rapid election in 1971 to the Detection Club, where he met and befriended many of the authors he admired, including Eric Ambler, and gained international recognition with the Martin Beck award from the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy in 1978.

All his novels reflected his deep interest in military history, and sub-plots and background settings could contain elements of Roman legions on Hadrian’s Wall, the Camelot of King Arthur, Napoleonic warships and the battlegrounds of the American civil war and the first world war. In his research for Other Paths to Glory he visited western front battle sites well before there was an established visitor trail there, and taped interviews with survivors in the Oxford area.

The second world war got the Price treatment in two thrillers: The Hour of the Donkey (1980, Dunkirk) and Here Be Monsters (1985, D-day).

Price also used military history in his cold war spy thrillers as, in effect, long diversions, – almost “shaggy dog stories” – providing red herrings for the characters, and for readers. The actual espionage in his plots, which Price always insisted were straightforward and simple, would be resolved in last-minute flurries of action and recrimination. It was a technique which, as one reviewer pointed out, put him “in the upper IQ spy story bracket”. With such praise, and the constant use of the adjectives “ingenious” and “intelligent” by the critics, Price’s books were never likely to appeal to a mass readership, which preferred more blood with their thunder.
books  Cold_War  espionage  fiction  journalists  military_history  obituaries 
june 2019 by jerryking
The Mystery of the Miserable Employees: How to Win in the Winner-Take-All Economy -
June 15, 2019 | The New York Times | By Neil Irwin.
Neil Irwin is a senior economics correspondent for The Upshot. He is the author of “How to Win in a Winner-Take-All-World,” a guide to navigating a career in the modern economy.......
What Mr. Ostrum and the analytics team did wasn’t a one-time dive into the numbers. It was part of a continuing process, a way of thinking that enabled them to change and adapt along with the business environment. The key is to listen to what data has to say — and develop the openness and interpretive skills to understand what it is telling us.......Neil Irwin was at Microsoft’s headquarters researching a book that aims to answer one simple question: How can a person design a thriving career today? The old advice (show up early, work hard) is no longer enough....In nearly every sector of the economy, people who seek well-paying, professional-track success face the same set of challenges: the rise of a handful of dominant “superstar” firms; a digital reinvention of business models; and a rapidly changing understanding about loyalty in the employer-employee relationship. It’s true in manufacturing and retail, in banking and law, in health care and education — and certainly in tech......superstar companies — and the smaller firms seeking to upend them — are where pragmatic capitalists can best develop their abilities and be well compensated for them over a long and durable career.....the obvious disadvantages of bureaucracy have been outweighed by some not-so-obvious advantages of scale......the ability to collect and analyze vast amounts of data about how people work, and what makes a manager effective (jk: organizing data) .... is essential for even those who aren’t managers of huge organizations, but are just trying to make themselves more valuable players on their own corporate team.......inside Microsoft’s human resources division, a former actuary named Dawn Klinghoffer ....was trying to figure out if the company could use data about its employees — which ones thrived, which ones quit, and the differences between those groups — to operate better......Klinghoffer was frustrated that ....insights came mostly from looking through survey results. She was convinced she could take the analytical approach further. After all, Microsoft was one of the biggest makers of email and calendar software — programs that produce a “digital exhaust” of metadata about how employees use their time. In September 2015, she advised Microsoft on the acquisition of a Seattle start-up, VoloMetrix, that could help it identify and act on the patterns in that vapor......One of VoloMetrix's foundational data sets, for example, was private emails sent by top Enron executives before the company’s 2001 collapse — a rich look at how an organization’s elite behave when they don’t think anyone is watching.
analytics  books  data  datasets  data_driven  exhaust_data  Fitbit  gut_feelings  human_resources  interpretative  Managing_Your_Career  massive_data_sets  meetings  metadata  Microsoft  Moneyball  organizational_analytics  organizing_data  people_analytics  quantitative  quantified_self  superstars  unhappiness  VoloMetrix  winner-take-all  work_life_balance 
june 2019 by jerryking
How to Get the Best From Your Immune System - Smarter Living Guides
2019 | The New York Times | By Matt Richtel.

**“An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System.”"

The immune system is much less about exercising power than it is about finding balance. You can help train and maintain it. Here’s how:
(A) What Is the Immune System?
Our great defense system helps ward off the most dangerous of invaders......It is a common misconception that the immune system goes to war with every foreign organism. That would lead to scorched earth, nuclear winter. Instead, the job of the immune system is to take stock, monitor, assess and judge potential threats...if an invader is deemed a threat, the immune system has a narrow job: destroy the threat while doing as little collateral damage as possible. This response from the immune system is called “inflammation.” .....inflammation can feel like a stuffy nose, sore throat, tummy ache, fever, fatigue or headache. Yes, the symptoms of an immune response feel lousy, but you must suffer a little to keep the rest of your body healthy over the long term. And for your health and daily well-being, the key is to keep your immune system from underperforming or getting out of hand.
(B) IT’S ABOUT BALANCE
The immune system, often seen as a ruthless defender, seeks a steady state, not a police state.....a fiercely delicate combination of a bouncer and a ballet dancer. In fact, many molecules in this complex system are designed to send a signal that it should withdraw, pause an attack and stand down. Without these molecules, the state of inflammation that helps destroy threats would lay your body to waste..... Instead of boosting your immune system, you should be supporting it. And you should try to never undermine its delicate structures.
(C) The Immune System and the Beast
Let's take a moment to understand how (and why) our immune system acts in the face of a threat.....Our immune system took shape roughly 480 million years ago. All jawed vertebrates going back to the shark share its key properties. One property is priority setting.....an acute threat, e.g. a lion attack, the body’s network focuses wholly on that threat....the body goes into an emergency state known colloquially as “fight or flight.” During these periods, the body fires off powerful chemicals, including:

Epinephrine, which creates a kind of high for the body to subvert fatigue.
Norepinephrine, which also helps to subvert fatigue.
Cortisol, which helps the body maintain essential functions, like blood flow.

When these hormones are at work, we can feel generally O.K.,but .... the release of these fight-or-flight hormones dampens our immune response. ...it causes the immune system to withdraw.
(D) WHY THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITHDRAWS
During times of real, acute stress — like threat of being eaten by a lion — our bodies can ill afford to waste resources dealing with illness. Viruses and bacteria, while dangerous, pale in comparison to the gigantic beast with razor-sharp teeth chasing us across the savannah. In that moment, our body needs all our energy, non-essential functions be damned. Step one: survive lion. Step two: deal with head cold.
(E) Sleep Is a Magic Bullet
Both you and your immune system need rest. ...If you don’t sleep, you will die — sooner. Studies show that lack of sleep leads to premature death through diseases like cancer and heart disease, and the reasons have everything to do with the immune system,
(F) SLEEP KEEPS YOUR SYSTEM IN BALANCE
This might sound contradictory. How can sleep can weaken the immune system, but also lead to inflammation?

Your immune system does not work as a binary system. It is not either on or off. It is made up of many molecules that send different signals, some urging inflammation and others restraining it. Your goal is to create an environment that doesn’t require your immune system to lose its natural balance.

Sleeplessness tips your immune system out of balance, hinders homeostasis, and turns the once elegant system into reckless pinballs of powerful molecules bouncing off your body’s bumper rails, and sometimes through them.

More concretely, it is a hard pill to swallow knowing there is no pill to swallow. The most important steps to support your immune system require discipline and habit.
(G) Exercise, Food and Meditation
Ward off illness with these three staples of a healthy body. ...the best things you can do for yourself when you’re sick are rest, eat well, don’t turn little things into lions, and remember that your immune system, if given your support, will likely do a darn good job of keeping you at harmony with the world.
allergies  bacteria  books  defensive_tactics  exercise  food  habits  homeostasis  howto  immune_system  inflammation  meditation  mens'_health  mindfulness  priorities  self-discipline  sleep  sleeplessness  steady-state  threats  viruses 
june 2019 by jerryking
‘Spying on the South’ Review: The Forever Cotton Kingdom - WSJ
By Randall Fuller
May 21, 2019

Tony Horwitz has followed in Olmsted’s footsteps, traversing “the nation’s enduring fault line—between free and slave states in his time, and red and blue states in mine.” Despite his steadfast efforts to remain both a neutral and charitable observer, his portrait of the South is even less flattering than Olmsted’s.
books  the_South 
may 2019 by jerryking
Why You Should Try to Be a Little More Scarce
May 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Cindy Lamothe.

* Conventional wisdom tells us we should eagerly embrace every opportunity that comes our way, but playing a little hard to get has its advantages.
* Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence and the author of “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.”
* John Lees, a Britain-based career strategist and the author of “How to Get a Job You Love.”
* Liz Ryan, founder of Human Workplace and the author of “Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve.”
* Shirli Kopelman, author of “Negotiating Genuinely: Being Yourself in Business,”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Studies show that opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available.....the scarcity principle says that people are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability,”. The underlying principle is “reactance”: Essentially, when we think something is limited to us, we tend to want it more....it’s possible to harness this concept and increase our appeal in things like negotiations and career advancement.....if you find yourself becoming overzealous over every little opportunity that comes your way, here are a few ways to keep things in balance:

(1) Be less eager - Appearing readily available can work against you....This comes down to economics — if you’re in low supply and high demand, you’re worth more. Making something harder to get, “tends to increase at least the perception of the value, if not its actual value.”....tell people that you're “..selective with who you work with, but you would consider working with or for them.”... “Well, I do have a couple of other projects that I’m working on. However, I could prioritize this for you if you want.”

(2) Don’t jump the gun - It’s easy to become excited when an unexpected opportunity presents itself, Ms. Ryan said, but remember that your power in any negotiation is related to your ability to walk away. Once you have interest, channel that into due diligence, Mr. Lees said. “Research the organization as if you were going to invest half your life savings in it,” he said. It’s also important to continually check in with your gut, Ms. Ryan added, and remember: Don’t accept an offer before fully considering the terms.

(3) Know your market value - continually assessing our market worth, “so that if an unexpected opportunity comes up, you don’t have to rush and do a slack job on this crucial factor.”...Keep an updated spreadsheet on hand with a list of your skills and achievements so you can quickly review it when you have an offer. You also have to know how much to charge for your services beforehand. The idea is to plan ahead so you’re not scrambling in the moment.

(4) Adopt an abundance mind-set - Recognizing that there are unlimited possibilities can give you the security and confidence you need to create successful outcomes. ....reframe how we use scarcity and abundance in our own head before we can apply it outwardly. When you worry about all the things you’re going to lose out on if you don’t take a particular opportunity, you’re using the scarcity mind-set on yourself rather than as a persuasion strategy, he said. “You’re at a real disadvantage mentally.”

(5) Trust the process - appearing less available isn’t about limiting our enthusiasm or being unnecessarily hard on ourselves. It’s about trusting in our own self-worth so we can be proactive, experts say. This means mindfully aligning our excitement into strategy....“Emphasize the uniqueness of your resources and your collaborative approach"
abundance  bank_shots  books  conventional_wisdom  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  mindsets  opportunities  overeagerness  overzealous  preparation  scarcity  selectivity  self-worth  think_differently  unexpected 
may 2019 by jerryking
To Be a Better Leader, Ask Better Questions
May 9, 2019 | WSJ | By Hal Gregersen. Dr. Gregersen is executive director of the MIT Leadership Center, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of “Questions Are the Answer.”

1. Understand what kinds of questions spark creative thinking. The best questions really knock down barriers to creative thinking and channel energy down new, more productive pathways. A question that does has five traits. It reframes the problem. It intrigues the imagination. It invites others’ thinking. It opens up space for different answers. And it’s nonaggressive—not posed to embarrass, humiliate or assert power over the other party. Ask employees: “What are you wrestling with and how can I help?” Ask customers and supply-chain partners: “If you were in my shoes, what would you be doing differently than what you see us doing today?”
2. Create the habit of asking questions. in the early stages of building your questioning capacity, it’s helpful to start by copying other people’s questions. It’s the equivalent of practicing your scales. Once you’ve got the scales down, you can start to improvise..... management thinker Peter Drucker, liked to jump-start strategic thinking by asking: “What changes have recently happened that don’t fit ‘what everyone knows’ ”?

Another example: A leader in a consumer packaged-goods company constantly asks: “What more can we do to delight the customer at the point of purchase? And what more to delight them at the point of consumption?”......builds the habit of thinking in questions, which, in turn, leads to daily inquiry about matters large and small, and an organization that keeps pushing its competitive advantages forward.
3. Fuel that habit by making yourself generate new questions...... generate new and better questions, not to cap your questioning career at the level of playing flawless scales.
4. Respond with the power of the pause. When someone comes to you with a problem, don’t immediately respond with an answer. ........Instead, make it your habit to respond with a question—ideally one that reframes the problem, but at least one that draws out more of your colleague’s thoughts on the matter. ....not talking about the cop-out rejoinder of, “Well, what do YOU think we should do?” Help the person think through how the decision should be made, with questions like: “What are we optimizing for?” “What’s the most important thing we have to achieve with whatever direction we take?” Or: “What makes this decision so hard? What problem felt like this in the past?” You'll be teaching your colleagues the value of pausing to get the question right before rushing to the answer. And nine times out of 10, you’re going to wind up with a better answer than the one you would have blurted out with less deliberation.
5. Brainstorm for questions. Whenever you/ your team finds itself at an impasse, or there is a sense that some insight is eluding you regarding a problem or opportunity, just stop and spend four minutes generating nothing but questions about it--question bursts. Don’t spend a second answering the questions, or explaining why you posed a certain one. As in brainstorming, go for high volume and do no editing in progress. See if you can generate at least 15-20.
6. Reward your questioners. Bosses should reconceive what their primary job is. They aren’t there to come up with today’s best answers, or even just to get their teams to come up with them. Their job is to build their organization’s capacity for constant innovation.
Their enterprise’s future—and their own career trajectory—depends on their resolve to ask better questions.
books  brainstorming  creativity  creative_thinking  follow-up_questions  habits  imagination  innovation  leaders  nonaggressive  organizational_capacity  Peter_Drucker  Philip_Mudd  power_of_the_pause  problem_definition  problem_framing  questions  strategic_thinking 
may 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
Black Folk's Guide to Making Big Money in America
A primer on personal finance, business and real estate. It is truly comprehensive and a must read for anyone serious about improving their financial situation.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
First, Trower-Subira emphasizes the central importance of home ownership as a source of equity capital. He decried the usage of earned income and accumulated home equity to fuel (conspicuous) consumption binges. Trower-Subira got it right when he said that real estate should be the base asset for African Americans from which to build wealth. As long as you borrow against your home to acquire other, income producing assets, you are doing yourself a favor by pursuing homeownership.

Second, he stressed the importance of financial assets in building wealth. Trower-Subira puts forth a brilliant explanation of the types of assets that produce income and that African Americans in particular should endeavor to pursue (real estate is just one of several).

Third, Trower-Subira emphasizes the importance of continuing education combined with an asset-based approach to wealth building. Trower-Subira wrote in the context of his day, but now the game has shifted somewhat. That is not to say that the problems of his day are no more; indeed, many of the problems of his day still relentlessly follow the African American community, and in too many instances, the problem have actually gotten worse. Although we are presented with new opportunities, we also face new challenges- on top of the same old challenges that we have yet to vanquish.
'80s  advice  African-Americans  Amazon  books  business  home_ownership  mindsets  personal_finance  primers  real_estate  self-help  wealth_creation 
april 2019 by jerryking
Private Libraries That Inspire
April 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Katy McLaughlin.

Difficult to build and maintain, these elaborate spaces contain the passions and obsessions of their owners. Libraries That Inspire -- These spectacular rooms house the owners’ collections of books, antiques, art and ephemera representing their unique, life-long passions and interests.

Forget the Dewey Decimal System: Entrepreneur and inventor Jay Walker’s 25,000 books, manuscripts, artifacts and objects are organized in his personal 3,600-square-foot library “randomly, by color and height,” he said. When he walks into his library, part of his Ridgefield, Conn., home, the room automatically “wakes up,” glowing with theatrical lighting, music and LED-lit glass panels lining various walkways. He finds items to peruse by a system of memory, chance, and inspiration, he said.

The Walker Library of the History of the Human Imagination is a dramatic example of the rarest of residential amenities: A vast, personal, custom-built repository of intellectual stimuli. In the age of the e-reader, it is a status symbol on par with wearing a Patek Philippe watch when the cellphone already tells the time. For wealthy homeowners, personal libraries provide both a quiet refuge from the world and a playground for their minds—as well as a solution to the challenge of warehousing books from which they cannot bear to part......To create enough shelf space and to counteract the visual heaviness of walls lined with books, private libraries may aim for two or more open stories......The private library is a classic example of a highly personal amenity that is expensive for the builder of a dream home to create and hard to recoup upon resale. .......the library has stimulated new ideas that have translated into an array of inventions and helped him make many new friends.

For some private library owners, especially those who aspire to world-class book collections, the serious expenditure isn’t in the physical structure, but in the contents. “It is not uncommon for collectors at this level to be spending in excess of $1 million a year” on books ......
antiques  antiquities  art  bespoke  books  collectibles  collectors  curation  design  high_net_worth  ideas  inspiration  insurance  Katy_McLaughlin  life_long_learning  personal_libraries  physical_place  owners  passions  shelf_space  status_symbols  uniqueness 
april 2019 by jerryking
A preacher for Trump’s America: Joel Osteen and the prosperity gospel
APRIL 18, 2019 | Financial Times | Edward Luce in Houston.

Optimism, hope, destiny, harvest, bounty — these are Lakewood’s buzzwords. Prosperity too. Words that are rarely heard include guilt, shame, sin, penance and hell. Lakewood is not the kind of church that troubles your conscience.....the market share of US churches run by celebrity prosperity preachers such as Osteen, Creflo Dollar (sic), Kenneth Copeland and Paula White keeps growing. Three out of four of the largest megachurches in America subscribe to the prosperity gospel. Formal religion in the US has been waning for years. Almost a quarter of Americans now profess to having none. Among the Christian brands, only “non-denominational charismatics” — a scholarly term for the prosperity preachers — are expanding.......About the only book that Trump is known to have read from cover to cover is The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, the grandfather of the prosperity gospel. It has sold five million copies since it was published in 1952. His message is that the more you give to God, the more he will give back in return......The prosperity gospel is all about harvesting the seed. The more money you plant in God’s church, the greater your heavenly bounty. Wealth is a mark of God’s benevolence. Poverty is a sign of godlessness...........The more you consider Lakewood’s business model, the more it seems like a vehicle to redistribute money upwards — towards heaven, perhaps — rather than to those who most need it. Like all religious charities, Lakewood is exempt from taxes. All donations to it are tax deductible. It has never been audited by the IRS......On the left, the prosperity gospel is attacked for encouraging reckless spending by those who can least afford it. Among Lakewood’s night classes is Own Your Dream Home. Leaps of financial faith fit into Osteen’s view that God will always underwrite true believers.
.......Some of the home repossessions in the 2008 crash were blamed on irresponsible advice from the prosperity churches, which are concentrated in the Sun Belt. In her book Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, Kate Bowler says the churches have created a “deification and ritualisation” of the American dream.......people who are depressed should shun the company of other depressed people.... Addicts must steer clear of other addicts. The poor should avoid others who are poor.......“If you’re struggling in your finances, get around blessed people, generous people, people who are well off,” Osteen advises. Misery loves company, he says. Avoid miserable people.........Osteen’s idea of whether God would have hesitated before creating the universe. “He didn’t check with accounting and say, ‘I am about to create the stars, galaxies and planets,’” says Osteen. He just went ahead and did it. All that is holding the rest of us back is a lack of self-belief: “God spoke worlds into creation,”
........The more one listens to Osteen, the harder it is to shut out Trump. Their mutual guru, Norman Vincent Peale...Believe in yourself like others believe in their product, was Peale's message. “Stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding,” wrote Peale. “Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade.”
.........People often ask why so many blue-collar Americans still support Trump in spite of his failure to transform their economic prospects. They might need to widen their aperture. To many Americans, Trump’s wealth and power are proof of God’s favour. That alone is a reason to support him.
abundance  blue-collar  books  churches  Christianity  Donald_Trump  economic_downturn  Edward_Luce  Joel_Osteen  leaps_of_faith  mega-churches  pastors  positive_thinking  prosperity_gospel  religion  the_American_Dream  self-belief  tithing 
april 2019 by jerryking
Is ancient philosophy the future? - The Globe and Mail
DONALD ROBERTSON
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

* Stoic philosophy, of which Marcus Aurelius was history’s most famous proponent, taught its followers not to waste time on diversions that don’t actually improve their character.
* Ryan Holiday and Steven Hanselman’s The Daily Stoic.
* Stoicism offers rational solutions to human problems but it is especially effective in troubled times. Its offer is attractive: It doesn’t matter how crazy the world is, how “bad” others are, you can always keep your cool and flourish.
* Stoicism.....carefully distinguishes between things that are under our control and things that are not. We should learn to take more responsibility for things we do and to be less disturbed by events that happen to us.....Serenity Prayer.....“God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
* it’s not things that upset us but rather our judgments about them. ...modern cognitive therapy... teaches us to become more aware of the role our thinking, or cognition, can play in shaping our emotions.
* Stoic acceptance does not mean passivity....The ancient Stoics sought to reconcile emotional calm with deliberate action for the common welfare of mankind.
* remain committed to improving the world around us without having to become distressed when things fall short of our expectations.
adversity  beyond_one's_control  books  emotional_mastery  metacognition  mindfulness  personal_control  philosophy  Romans  sense_of_control  sense_of_proportion  span_of_control  Stoics 
april 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
At a Critical Time for U.S. Soccer, Abby Wambach Is on a Mission
April 15, 2019| WSJ | By Jocelyn Silver.

Wambach’s latest book, a feminist guidebook called Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game. The crisp, 112-page “rally cry” stems from a viral commencement speech that Wambach delivered at Barnard College in 2018, in which she recounted the story of how biologists reintroduced wolves into Yellowstone National Park, where they improved the park’s ecosystem. Wambach compares women to wolves, encouraging them to break out of fairytale narratives. “If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing it would be this,” she said in the address. “Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood. You were always the Wolf.”

At Plymouth Church, Wambach sports a shirt reading “Ain’t No Little Red.” Doyle opts for a “Wolfpack” hat and black patent leather Louboutins. She comes onstage with arms whirling, miming punches.

As a two-time Olympic gold medalist and the world’s all-time top goal scorer of any gender, Wambach retired in 2015, notching a World Cup title on her fourth try. Though she wrote a more traditional sports memoir shortly after, Wolfpack marks a shift into more clearly demarcated self-help. It traces an arc in her personal life.
Abby_Wambach  affirmations  athletes_&_athletics  books  commencement  domino_effects  empowerment  failure  inspiration  leadership  lessons_learned  mission-driven  quotes  rules_of_the_game  rule_breaking  soccer  speeches  sports  superstars  tokenism  women 
april 2019 by jerryking
How to funnel capital to the American heartland
April 15, 2019 | Financial Times | by Bruce Katz.
* The Innovation Blind Spot, by Ross Baird.
* Ways must be found to rewire money flows in order to reverse the export of wealth
* A federal tax incentive intended to entice coastal capital into the heartland may end up helping to keep local capital local.

Over the past year, economically distressed communities across the US have been engaged in an intense discussion about mobilising private capital. Why? As mayors, governors, real estate developers, entrepreneurs and investors have learnt, buried in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a provision that created a significant tax incentive to invest in low-income “opportunity zones” across the country......the law’s greatest effect, ironically, has been to unveil a treasure trove of wealth in communities throughout the nation. Some of the country’s largest investors are high-net-worth families in Kansas City, Missouri, and Philadelphia; insurance companies in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Milwaukee; universities in Birmingham, Alabama, and South Bend, Indiana; philanthropists in Cleveland and Detroit; and community foundations and pension funds in every state.

These pillars of wealth mostly invest their market-oriented equity capital outside their own communities, even though their own locales often possess globally significant research institutions, advanced industry companies, grand historic city centres and distinctive ecosystems of entrepreneurs. The wealth-export industry is not a natural phenomenon; it has been led and facilitated by a sophisticated network of wealth management companies, private equity firms, family offices and financial institutions that have narrow definitions of where and in what to invest.

The US, in other words, doesn’t have a capital problem; it has an organisational problem. So how can capital flows be rewired to reverse the export of wealth?

Three things stand out:

(1) Information matters. The opportunity zones incentive has encouraged US cities to create investment prospectuses to promote the competitive assets of their low-income communities and highlight projects that are investor-ready and promise competitive returns.

(2) norms and networks matter. The opportunity zone market will be enhanced by the creation of “capital stacks” that enable the financing of community products such as workforce housing, commercial real estate, small businesses (and minority-owned businesses in particular) and clean energy, to name just a few. Initial opportunity zone projects are already showing creative blends of public, private and civic capital that mix debt, subsidy and equity.

(3) institutions matter. Opportunity zones require cities to create and capitalise new institutions that can deploy capital at scale in sustained ways. Some models already exist. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, backed by patient capital from Procter & Gamble, has driven the regeneration of the Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood during the past 15 years.

More institutional innovation, however, is needed. As Ross Baird, author of The Innovation Blind Spot, has argued, the US must create a new generation of community quarterbacks to provide budding entrepreneurs with business planning and mentoring, matching them with risk-tolerant equity. These efforts will succeed if they unleash the synergies that flow naturally from urban density. New institutions will not have to work alone, but hand-in-glove with the trusted financial firms that manage this locally-generated wealth.
books  capital_flows  cities  coastal_elites  community  economic_development  economically_disadvantaged  economies_of_scale  high_net_worth  howto  industrial_policies  industrial_midwest  industrial_zones  institutions  investors  match-making  midwest  municipalities  networks  network_density  P&G  PPP  packaging  place-based  private_equity  property_development  prospectuses  Red_States  rescue_investing  rust_belt  tax_codes  venture_capital 
april 2019 by jerryking
After Israel’s election, the country is on a dangerous political path
April 10, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by ERNA PARIS.

Erna Paris is the author of The Garden and the Gun: A Journey Inside Israel

In her final work, The March of Folly, the late historian Barbara Tuchman defined her subject as “the pursuit of policy contrary to public interest.” Her criteria for folly were threefold: An alternative course of action was available; the actions were endorsed by a group, not just by a particular leader; and the actions were perceived as counterproductive in their own time.

Among Ms. Tuchman’s far-ranging examples were the Trojan Horse and the American war in Vietnam. Were she alive today, she might have included the increasingly dangerous trajectory of Israeli politics.
Barbara_Tuchman  books  Israel  Israeli  politics  fallacies_follies 
april 2019 by jerryking
Abby Wambach’s Leadership Lessons: Be the Wolf
April 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Maya Salam.

“So many of us can relate to playing by rules that were never set up for us to win.”
— Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion.

Abby Wambach, who led the United States women’s team to a World Cup championship in 2015, is focused on a new kind of goal: motivating women to become leaders.....In her new book, “Wolfpack,” Wambach, 38, shares lessons she learned from decades of training, failure and triumph on the field. It is based on the commencement speech she gave at Barnard College in New York in 2018.

“If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be this: ‘Abby, you were never Little Red Riding Hood; you were always the wolf,’”.......In “Wolfpack,” Wambach offers eight new rules to help women succeed professionally and personally. And she hopes her ideas trigger a domino effect. “When one person stands up and demands the ball, the job, the promotion, the paycheck, the microphone, that one gives others permission to do the same,”

Here are the four of her “new rules,” and the norms she hopes they’ll upend:
(1) “Champion each other.”
Old Rule: Be against each other.
New Rule: Be FOR each other.
“Power and success and joy are not pies,” Wambach writes. “A bigger slice for one woman doesn’t mean a smaller slice for another.”
(2) “Be grateful and ambitious.”
Old Rule: Be grateful for what you have.
New Rule: Be grateful for what you have AND demand what you deserve.
“I was so grateful for a paycheck, so grateful to represent my country, so grateful to be the token woman at the table, so grateful to receive any respect at all that I was afraid to use my voice to demand more,” Wambach writes. “Our gratitude is how power uses the tokenism of a few women to keep the rest of us in line.”
(3) “Make failure your fuel.”
Old Rule: Failure means you’re out of the game.
New Rule: Failure means you’re finally IN the game.
“Imperfect men have been empowered and permitted to run the world since the beginning of time,” Wambach writes. “It’s time for imperfect women to grant themselves permission to join them.”
(4) “Lead from the bench.”
Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.
New Rule: Lead now — from wherever you are.
“The picture of leadership is not just a man at the head of a table,” Wambach writes. “It’s also every woman who is allowing her own voice to guide her life and the lives of those she cares about.”
Abby_Wambach  affirmations  athletes_&_athletics  books  commencement  domino_effects  empowerment  failure  inspiration  leadership  lessons_learned  quotes  rules_of_the_game  rule_breaking  soccer  speeches  sports  superstars  tokenism  women 
april 2019 by jerryking
How to Organize Your Kitchen Like a Professional Chef
April 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Janelle Zara.

“Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” by chef Samin Nosrat focuses on those four elements as the pillars of flavor.

An exacting standard of organization......is what keeps fast-paced kitchens running smoothly. “When you have a place for everything, you don’t have to think twice,” she says, because there’s no searching for what you need. “It’s about not having to do the extra work.”....... organize your the cabinets, pantry and drawers in the kitchen — because, “just throwing things in a drawer is selling yourself short.”

All cookware should fall under the four pillars of “prep, cook, serve, store,” and should be divided accordingly. Drawers marked “PREP” includes tools like mixing bowls, mortar and pestle, a scale and a measuring glass, while the “COOK” drawer is full of pots and pans. Items for serving — plates, bowls and glasses — are in the cupboard, her resealable containers are all stacked in a drawer of their own, and never shall the four ever meet.

Sort by flavor and function

“Knowing there’s a zone for everything makes it easier to just go and find,” says Bennett, whose refrigerator contents have been grouped based on flavor profile and function: Asian sauces, American sauces, fruits, vegetables and pickled things each have a designated section. On the countertop, she keeps what she calls her “flavor station,” a reliable wooden bowl stocked with shallots, garlic and red onions. “They’re the raw materials,” she says, “the all-around the basics of good flavor.

Date and label

With all these identical containers, knowing what’s inside and when you bought it is essential. There are, however, no label makers here. “In a professional kitchen, everything is labeled with painters tape,” Bennett says, “but chalkboard paint with a chalkboard pen looks nice, and it’s also easier to read.”

Keep everything in plain sight

Bennett hates the guessing game of pulling knives out of a butcher block to see which is which. She prefers to keep them in a drawer or on a magnetic strip mounted to the wall. “It’s all about visibility and making it easily accessible,” she says. On the same note, she transfers her dry goods to labeled, transparent plastic or glass containers from Restaurant Depot or the Container Store so that she can always see what’s inside, a trick she learned from doing restaurant inventory.

Keep your gadgets to a minimum

The tools in your kitchen don’t need to spark joy, but you should toss the things you never use, no single-utility items.

Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket

Separating like items into different trays and baskets makes them easier to grab on the go: All of Bennett’s vitamins and medicine bottles are in one tray in the fridge; her utensils are divided up by open rectangular boxes in drawers;

Keep shopping bags in the car
That way you’ll never forget to bring them to the market.

Store essentials close at hand
“Counter space is precious real estate,” (jk: finite_resources ) says Bennett, so only the truly necessary basics get to stay there.
books  chefs  fast-paced  finite_resources  GTD  howto  kitchens  self-discipline  self-organization 
april 2019 by jerryking
What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
APRIL 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Elaine Moore.

Never mind the future: where are the books tackling Silicon Valley’s current challenges?

There is a myth that Silicon Valley is stuffed full of nerds who have never picked up a book in their lives. Like a lot of tales about the Valley, it is not true. The tech industry is acutely aware of the value of storytelling.......Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admires Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.....Jeff Bezos’s is taken by the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day......and Theranos' Elizabeth Holme is attached to Moby-Dick.

It’s true that reading lists on the West Coast tend to skew towards science fiction.......For Silicon Valley, the genre seems to offer both inspiration and validation. .......But the connection between tech companies and sci-fi novels runs deeper. To make their futuristic projects reality, some seek the help of the authors themselves......Less is made of its focus on the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world (jk: sci fi doesn't pay enough attention to the the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world). .....The affection tech founders feel for sci-fi often seems to lack this dimension.....If founders are not paying too much attention to cautionary sci-fi themes, at least some people are. Amazon Go shops can feel like a vision of the future as you pick up milk and walk away, without scanning anything. But cities such as San Francisco have begun to wonder whether cashless shops will end up marginalising the country’s poorest citizens, who do not have access to online bank accounts......does any sci-fi novel offers a way to think about Silicon Valley’s present, as well as its future? The singularity and inter-planetary travel are well covered in literature..... are there book out there that address privacy scandals, electric scooters and $100bn IPOs?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* Counting Heads' (2005) by David Marusek is a novel set in 2134.
* Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.
* Idoru" by William Gibson.
* Count Zero" by William Gibson.
* "Black Mirror" TV series Charlie Brooker.
* The Circle by Dave Eggers.
* ‘Minority Report’ Phil K Dick.
* Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
* Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

People who don't read science fiction (SF) are handicapped in today's world really, because usually they form part of the 99% of humans who are unable to look ahead more than a few months or so and see where society is going. ......Or the people that think Elon Musk is a visionary. He is not a visionary! He is just a smart person, which necessarily includes reading SF, and taking things from there. People who do not read SF think that Musk is the only person on the planet thinking about and developing our future society on Mars...  But there are millions - it's just that he is one of a few billionaires working concretely on it. For example, if you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, you'd realise that one of the reasons that Elon Musk now has a tunnel boring company is that we will NEED tunnels on Mars... You'd also realise that the TV rights of the trip to Mars will pay for (most of) the cost of the trip... etc. etc. etc.
Amazon_Go  augmented_reality  Ayn_Rand  authors  books  cautionary_tales  Elon_Musk  entrepreneur  fiction  founders  future  futurists  novels  pay_attention  reading_lists  San_Francisco  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  storytelling  virtual_reality  William_Gibson 
april 2019 by jerryking
Why the cult of the early riser still captivates
March 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Jo Ellison

Will getting up before the sun has cracked its first rays make you a better, more brilliant person? In his book, The 5am Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate your Life, “leadership guru” Robin Sharma argues the case. The book is the 13th publication in an oeuvre that also includes the titles Who Will Cry When You Die? and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which has sold more than three million copies to date......club members must get up as soon as the alarm goes off at 4.45am before launching into “The Victory Hour”, which breaks down into 20 minutes of movement and hard physical exercise, 20 minutes of “reflection”, such as prayer, meditation or journal writing, followed by 20 minutes of “growth”, during which you might listen to “a podcast about leadership” or “consume an audiobook”.

This magical hour of solitude, contemplation and sweat allows one to focus on one’s goals and optimise one’s schedule for the day ahead, which is then split into 60- and 90-minute bursts of intensely focused work, with 10-minute intervals for mental growth, during which time the brain should roam freely. Sharma saves the afternoons for meetings and “lower value work” before going home to enjoy a “portfolio of joyful pursuits”, family time and/or nature walks.
adaptability  books  buffering  early_risers  GTD  gurus  habits  productivity  slack_time 
march 2019 by jerryking
Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?
March 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nellie Bowles.

a new entrepreneurship-focused lobbying firm, the Cicero Institute.
Daily Stoic, a popular blog for the tech-Stoic community.
“Meditations,” by Marcus Aurelius
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William B. Irvine
Ryan Holiday’s life-hacking books on Stoicism.
Search for books by Ada Palmer.

The wealthy of Silicon Valley ought to be living their very best lives right now. John Doerr, an early Amazon and Google investor, calls their moment “the greatest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” And yet, the people of Silicon Valley seem determined to make themselves miserable. They sit in painful, silent meditations for weeks on end. They starve for days — on purpose. Cold morning showers are a bragging right. Notoriety is a badge of honor. So the most helpful clues to understanding Silicon Valley today may come from its favorite ancient philosophy: Stoicism. An ancient Greek school of thought, Stoicism argued that the only real treasures in life were inner virtues, like self-mastery and courage. The Stoics offered tactics to endure pain and pleasure without complaint.

* Is this really a thing? - Some executives in SV believe that our pleasing, on-demand life will make them soft. So they attempt to induce pain..... incorporate practices in our lives that “mimic” our ancestors’ environments and their daily challenges....Tim Ferriss wrote on his blog that Stoicism is “an ideal ‘operating system’ for thriving in high-stress environments.”.....there are the founders who may not call themselves Stoics, but who practice some of its tenets (e.g. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's C.E.O., who likes to walk five miles to work each day and meditates in silence 10 days each year.
* Why are they attracted to Stoicism? - Stoicism “a wonderful therapy against grief and the blinders of the rat race.” “So much of Stoicism is about achieving interior tranquillity,”
* Why does it matter? - The Cicero Institute comes at a time of tension in Silicon Valley.
books  courage  discomforts  emotional_mastery  endurance  founders  Greek  high-stress  inner-directed  inner_peace  John_Doerr  joyless  philosophy  Roman  self-deprivation  self-mastery  Silicon_Valley  Stoics  suffering  Tim_Ferris  tough-mindedness  virtues 
march 2019 by jerryking
A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp
by Edward Thorp, a mathematician who applied his skills, from Las Vegas to Wall Street, from the blackjack tables to the world of hedge funds.
books  hedge_funds  Las_Vegas  mathematics  quantitative  Wall_Street 
march 2019 by jerryking
DE Shaw: inside Manhattan’s ‘Silicon Valley’ hedge fund
March 25, 2019 | Financial Times Robin Wigglesworth in New York.

for a wider investment industry desperately trying to reinvent itself for the 21st century, DE Shaw has evolved dramatically from the algorithmic, computer-driven “quantitative” trading it helped pioneer in the 1980s.

It is now a leader in combining quantitative investing with traditional “fundamental” strategies driven by humans, such as stockpicking. This symbiosis has been dubbed “quantamental” by asset managers now attempting to do the same. Many in the industry believe this is the future, and are rushing to hire computer scientists to help realise the benefits of big data and artificial intelligence in their strategies........DE Shaw runs some quant strategies so complex or quick that they are in practice almost beyond human understanding — something that many quantitative analysts are reluctant to concede.

The goal is to find patterns on the fuzzy edge of observability in financial markets, so faint that they haven’t already been exploited by other quants. They then hoard as many of these signals as possible and systematically mine them until they run dry — and repeat the process. These can range from tiny, fleeting arbitrage opportunities between closely-linked stocks that only machines can detect, to using new alternative data sets such as satellite imagery and mobile phone data to get a better understanding of a company’s results...... DE Shaw is also ramping up its investment in the bleeding edge of computer science, setting up a machine learning research group led by Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science and engineering and author of The Master Algorithm, and investing in a quantum computing start-up.

It is early days, but Cedo Crnkovic, a managing director at DE Shaw, says a fully-functioning quantum computer could potentially prove revolutionary. “Computing power drives everything, and sets a limit to what we can do, so exponentially more computing power would be transformative,” he says.
algorithms  alternative_data  artificial_intelligence  books  D.E._Shaw  financial_markets  hedge_funds  investment_management  Manhattan  New_York_City  quantitative  quantum_computing  systematic_approaches 
march 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
How the modern office is killing our creativity
March 14, 2019 | | Financial Times | by Pilita Clark.

Roger Mavity and Stephen Bayley, the design guru, have published "How to Steal Fire", ....a book on one of the most eagerly sought qualities in the business world: creativity. Companies buffeted by a storm of digital disruption and competitive pressures have embraced the need for creative thinking with gusto in recent years, which marks a turnaround......CEOs have talked ....about the importance of innovation (i.e. the implementation of new ideas), but far less attention has been devoted to figuring out how to foster creativity itself.....“The first thing that helps creativity is solitude,” “Creativity is essentially an individual rather than a collective activity.” Sir Isaac Newton was a case in point....The great thoughts that helped him go on to formulate the theory of gravity came after the Great Plague closed his university (Cambridge) and he spent nearly two years shut away in his home in Lincolnshire......When he was running Microsoft, Bill Gates used to head off by himself to a secluded hideaway twice a year for what he called Think Week.....Mavity says: “If you need to produce an idea, isolating yourself can be enormously beneficial.”......“How you do that in a big open-plan office with 100 other people trying to be creative at the same time?.......Solitude is in hopelessly short supply at a time when companies are captivated by the financial allure of the open-plan office and its evil twin, hot-desking. ....The idea that great creative thoughts come from teamwork, brainstorming and the ever-present away day is one of the “great myths” of creativity......the Ringelmann effect, named after a French engineer, Max Ringelmann, who first observed that individual productivity falls as group size increases. Away days can be useful for helping people get to know each other better, but not for generating ideas, said Mr Mavity. As his book puts it: “Brainstorming produces, at best, a light, irritating drizzle of complacent mediocrity.”....smart companies understand the need for focused concentration....what should executives be doing to foster creativity?....“They have to walk the talk,” ....leaders need to set clear goals and then give people doing creative work the time, resources and autonomy to achieve them....Managers must be genuinely open to new thoughts and make sure good ideas are fostered. “None of it is rocket science or brain surgery,” “But you have to pay attention on a regular basis to whether people have these things.”
advertising  billgates  books  brainstorming  creativity  disruption  ergonomics  ideas  innovation  Isaac_Newton  myths  open-plan  pay_attention  solitude  teams  workplaces 
march 2019 by jerryking
How to keep creative geniuses in check and in profit
March 10, 2019 | Financial Times | by Andrew Hill.

The story of how Eastman Kodak invented a digital camera in 1975 but failed to develop it is one of the most notorious misses in the annals of innovation. (It’s more complicated than that, but never mind.)

Polaroid, the instant-photo pioneer, took a slower path to the technology: its first digital camera appeared only in 1996. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, 11 years before Kodak.
Polaroid’s founding genius, Edwin Land, could, though, have been first to the digital party. In 1971, as part of a secret panel advising the US president, he advocated digital photography, which the US eventually adopted for its spy satellites.
But Land was blind to the promise of digital cameras for the consumer.

This tale of failures of leadership, innovation and organisation is well told by Safi Bahcall, a physicist, former consultant and biotech entrepreneur, in Loonshots. There are four types of failure:
(1) Leadership failure. Edwin Land was guilty of leading his company into a common trap: only ideas approved by an all-powerful leader advance until at last a costly mis-step trips up the whole company.
(2) Innovation failure. Bahcall distinguishes between product-type and strategy-type innovation. Classic P-type innovators are the folks at innovation conferences conversing about new gadgets with less attention being paid to the analysis of innovative business models. Indeed, at some forums, P-type innovations also crowd the lobby. Delegates line up to try the latest shiny robot, electric car, or 3D printer.

(3) Organizational failure. Loonshots is based, refreshingly, on the idea culture does not necessarily eat strategy for breakfast. In fact, bad structure eats culture. Bahcall gives this a scientific foundation, explaining that successful teams and companies stagnate in the same way water turns to ice. A perfectly balanced innovative company must try to keep the temperature at the point where free-flowing bright ideas are not suddenly frozen by bureaucracy. How? Since the success of Bell Labs, companies have been told they should set up “a department of loonshots run by loons, free to explore the bizarre” separately from the parent. The key, though, is to ensure chief executives and their managers encourage the transfer of ideas between the mad creatives in the lab and the people in the field, and (the culture part) ensure both groups feel equally loved.

As for the assumption companies always ossify as they get larger, that risk can be mitigated by adjusting incentives, curbing office politics, and matching skills to projects, for which Loonshots offers a detailed formula.

Success also requires a special type of leader — not a visionary innovator but a “careful gardener”, who nurtures the existing franchise and the new projects. Though not himself an inventor, Steve Jobs, in his second phase at Apple, arguably achieved the right balance. He also spotted the S-type potential of iTunes. Even if Tesla’s Elon Musk is not losing that balance, in his headlong, top-down pursuit of loonshot after loonshot, he does not strike me as a born gardener.

Persuading charismatic geniuses to give up their role as leaders of organisations built on their inventions is hard. Typically, such people figure out themselves how to garden, as Jobs did; or they are coached by the board, which may install veteran executives to help; or they may be handed the title of “chief innovator” or “chief scientist” and nudged aside for a new CEO.

(4) They may find themselves peddling a fatally flawed product.
Bell_Labs  books  breakthroughs  business_models  creativity  digital_cameras  Edwin_Land  Elobooks  Elon_Musk  failure  genius  howto  incentives  innovation  inventors  Kodak  leaders  moonshots  office_politics  organizational_failure  organizational_innovation  Polaroid  product-orientated  Steve_Jobs 
march 2019 by jerryking
Goldman Sachs | Careers Blog - 2017 Back-to-School Reading List
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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.
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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
Canada must not be naive when dealing with China’s authoritarian regime
March 4, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HUGH SEGAL, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Claws of the Panda, Jonathan Manthorpe’s new best-selling book, a meticulous and well-researched highly readable history of decades of Canada-China relations, is important because it's a primer on the central challenge of our era – how democracies address the scope and depth of an authoritarian wave now picking up momentum.....The Communist Party of China, its presumption of sovereignty not only at home, but also over ethnic Chinese worldwide, is not about to relinquish or dilute its central and presumptive power and control. It certainly won’t do this as a result of peaceful entreaties from middle powers, however respectful or well-meaning.....while the People’s Republic of China has every right to manage its internal affairs without interference, we also have the right to pursue our own national interest without undue Chinese influence......Manthorpe’s work clearly underlines is the economic, social and political equation at China’s core: Prosperity is the result of central control, focus and a clearly defined Communist Party and state-driven purpose. Qualities we hold as important – the right of dissent, democratic pluralism, freedom from fear – are seen by the Chinese government as weaknesses in our democratic societies to be exploited in the new great game of global trade and diplomatic competition.......Our challenge, in terms of diplomatic, trade and strategic policy, is with the Communist Party and the government and forces it controls, not with the Chinese people.........In assessing the intent of any global competitor, contextual awareness is one of the first requirements for tactical understanding and strategic planning. The revelations of Claws of the Panda offer a clear set of contextual conclusions for a well meaning middle power like Canada......We need new rules of the road.

Our engagement with China must set aside the temptations of presuming fair minded universal intent on the part of Chinese state-controlled instruments, economic, diplomatic or military. We must be more focused on the protection of our own security and freedoms from Chinese subversion, including the freedoms of our fellow Canadians of Chinese extraction. Countries that wish access to our resources, technology and investment on normative terms do not get to launch cyber attacks against us, from military and intelligence units controlled by the state. We must invest more with our allies in counter-intelligence and joint naval, air and cyber capacity in the Asian Pacific, not to threaten China’s legitimate regional dominance, or peaceful global economic aspirations, but to preclude illegitimate adventurism which a Chinese communist authoritarian regime might well pursue if costs and risks to them are unclear.
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Claws of the Panda gives a detailed description of the CCP's campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia. The party's aims are to be able to turn Canadian public policy to China's advantage, to acquire useful technology and intellectual property, to influence Canada's international diplomacy, and, most important, to be able to monitor and intimidate Chinese Canadians and others it considers dissidents.
authoritarian  alliances  Asia_Pacific  authoritarianism  books  Canada  Canada-China_relations  centralized_control  China  China_rising  Chinese  Chinese-Canadians  Chinese_Communist_Party  counterintelligence  cyberattacks  economic_protectionism  history  Hugh_Segal  maritime  mercantilism  middle-powers  naivete  new_rules  primers  rules_of_the_game  situational_awareness  worldviews  influence  influence_peddling  intimidation  security_&_intelligence 
march 2019 by jerryking
How to Navigate Investing in A.I., From Someone Who’s Done It
March 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Katie Robertson.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent venture capitalist, said at The New York Times’s New Work Summit in California that he looked very carefully at A.I. ventures to see how they were making new, interesting things possible and how he could bet on them early. He said current machine learning techniques, which are transforming fundamental industries, gave an amazing glimpse of the future.

“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in three years is obvious or five years is obvious,” Mr. Hoffman said.....voiced some concerns around how A.I. could transform the global landscape, likening it to the shift from the agricultural age to the industrial age.

“You’ll see enormous changes from where the bulk of people find jobs and employment,” he said. “The first worry is what does that transition look like. That intervening transition is super painful.”....Mr. Hoffman recently released the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies,” which details his theory that the rapid growth of a company — above almost all else — is what leads to its success.
artificial_intelligence  blitzscaling  books  competitive_landscape  machine_learning  Reid_Hoffman  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Michael Moritz, the tech investor backing books
March 1, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters.

Michael Moritz, the biggest individual investor in funds managed by Sequoia Capital, the blue-chip venture capital firm where he has worked since 1986. Forbes estimates his wealth at $3.4bn, but Moritz himself puts it “a bit higher”.

Some of that wealth was put to work this week when Crankstart, the charity he set up with his wife, Harriet Heyman, agreed to provide financial backing for the Booker Prize, one of the top awards for English language fiction, for the next five years......Moritz continues to court controversy, writing approvingly in the Financial Times of the relentless pace of Chinese tech start-ups, where workers put in so many hours they barely see their children. He contrasted them with “soul-sapping” debates about work/life balance in the US, calling them “concerns of a society that is coming unhinged”.

It is tempting to ascribe his success as an investor to tireless networking, luck and timing....entrepreneur Randy Adams tipped him off to Yahoo, which was creating one of the first web indices. That led him to Google. He took over leadership of Sequoia from Don Valentine — one of Silicon Valley’s first start-up investors — in the mid-1990s.

The firm then moved well beyond its venture capital roots, setting up arms to manage family endowments and handle public market investments. While he was at the helm, it became the most successful foreign start-up investor in China. “We understood that the world had changed and that Silicon Valley was not going to be the centre of the universe for the next 50 years,”....he still works full time making investments and sits on 10 corporate boards.

Through Crankstart, Sir Michael and his wife have made substantial gifts to education, including £75m in 2012 to fund scholarships for the poorest students at Oxford university, where he was an undergraduate. He said that the financial support his father had been given after fleeing Nazi Germany as a teenager was his motivation.....After funding some of the world’s most disruptive companies, it might seem perverse that Sir Michael is now backing something as traditional as a literary prize. But he says: “Like music and video, I think the future is brighter than the past.” Printed book sales are rising again, and audio books allow readers to consume them in new forms. “The novel is the underpinning of many forms of entertainment,” he says. “I don’t think anyone’s lost their appetite for good storytelling.”
books  charities  contrarians  Don_Valentine  fiction  Google  investors  Man_Booker  Michael_Moritz  Oxford  novels  philanthropy  prizes  Richard_Waters  Sequoia  sponsorships  venture_capital  vc  Yahoo 
march 2019 by jerryking
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