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Bracken Bower Prize 2019: excerpts from finalists’ proposals | Financial Times
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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 
november 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
Open books, open borders
OCTOBER 20, 2017 | FT| Janan Ganesh.

The globalised Booker also confirms this medium-sized country’s knack for cultural decorations — degrees from its universities, air time on the BBC — that are coveted worldwide. The unfakeable emotion from Saunders and Beatty upon receipt of the prize was a larger compliment to Britain and its soft power than a Booker for one of its own would have been.....There is a strategic imperative to open up that goes beyond the aesthetic one. As the gap narrows between the superpower and the rest, it becomes more important for America to understand the outside world. Better foreign news coverage can help, but mere politics is downstream of culture. The real prize is to comprehend another country’s thought patterns, speech rhythms, historic ghosts and unconscious biases — and these seep out from the stories it tells and the way it tells them....Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker cites the spread of literacy as a reason for the long-term decline of human violence. To read another person’s story is to end up with a larger “circle of sympathy”. But even if America’s concern is the narrowest raison d’état, rather than world peace, it would profit from reading beyond its borders.

The minimum return is that more American readers would have more fun. The headiest writing tends to come from places that are ascendant enough to matter but raw enough to retain some measure of dramatic chaos: 19th-century Britain and Russia, mid-20th-century America, and now, perhaps, early 21st-century Asia. It is not just in economics that protectionism stifles.
books  cosmopolitan  cross-cultural  cultural_products  empathy  fiction  George_Saunders  Janan_Ganesh  literature  Man_Booker  middle-powers  national_identity  novels  open_borders  open_mind  parochialism  prizes  protectionism  reading  soft_power  storytelling  United_Kingdom  writers 
november 2017 by jerryking
Thomas Friedman’s Guide to Hanging On in the ‘Age of Accelerations’ - Bloomberg
by Paul Barrett
November 11, 2016,

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28)....the wisdom of pausing.... take time “to just sit and think”— a good reminder for the overcommitted.....Friedman's “core argument,” is his description of our disruptive times. By “accelerations,” he means the increases in computing power, which are enabling breakthroughs from 3D printing to self-driving cars. Meanwhile, globalization is creating vast wealth for those who capitalize on innovation and impoverishment for populations who don’t. All of this sped-up economic activity contributes to rising carbon levels, feeding the climate change that threatens civilization.....Friedman relishes catchphrases like “the Big Shift,” borrowed in this case from the HBR. He deploys B-school jargon to explain it, but the definition boils down to companies making the move from relying exclusively on in-house brainpower, patents, and data to exploiting “flows” of knowledge from anywhere in the world.... Friedman makes the case for changed policies to respond to the accelerations he chronicles.
accelerated_lifecycles  sustained_inquiry  Tom_Friedman  books  slack_time  reflections  3-D  globalization  impoverishment  climate_change  in-house  talent_flows  information_flows  GE  prizes  bounties  innovation  contests  contemplation  patents  data  brainpower  jargon  thinking  timeouts  power_of_the_pause 
january 2017 by jerryking
Violently Wrought, Kaitlyn Greenidge interviews Marlon James - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
Kaitlyn Greenidge interviews Marlon James
November 3, 2014

Guernica: When you are inside the big book, how do you map out structure?

Marlon James: I have note sheets. I use Moleskine notebooks. I’m analog like that. I have a plot chart. I have different columns for the character, rows with different times of day, because even though it’s a big book, each chapter takes place basically in a day. So I need to know where Nina Burgess is at nine o’clock, and where she’ll be at ten. It allows me to be spontaneous. It’s sort of like how knowing prosody really liberates a poet.

If you know you have a backbone, you can bend and contort. That’s what allowed a lot of the freedom in the book. Because half of that stuff in that chart I didn’t follow. Because characters become real and they don’t take crap from you. But also because I always knew where the return line was. You can always go so far out on a limb and know you have to come back to this point. Plot charts and diagramming also stopped me from playing favorites. Because everybody had to get equal time.
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Marlon James: Because I want dialogue. But to come back to it—Josey Wales, for example, is slightly older than Weeper [both two gang enforcers in a ghetto of Kingston]. Josey Wales doesn’t like reggae, he doesn’t like dance hall, whereas Weeper is a street kid. He’s a nerd. He has nothing but bitterness and meanness. But they do not talk the same. In a novel that’s told by characters, your nightmare is that they end up sounding alike. Working out how different generations talk was really the challenge. Remembering things like values. It’s their value system that governs how they talk.

Guernica: In the novel, power dynamics are constantly shifting. But there’s never a sense that one character has complete or absolute power.

Marlon James: If anyone has the upper hand, then your novel loses tension. I hope I wrote a very tense novel. Tension happens because dynamics are always changing. Even if you don’t have the upper hand, you have the upper hand in an argument. You have the moral right. Especially these characters, since a lot of them are pushed into corners and make desperate decisions. I don’t buy into the all-knowing, all-smart character. Even characters who you think are minor still end up being overshadowed or beaten.
Marlon_James  writers  Caribbean  culture  violence  fiction  books  Jamaica  '70s  profile  authors  teachers  Bob_Marley  writing  analog  spontaneity  Moleskine  plot_charts  diagramming  Man_Booker  prizes 
january 2016 by jerryking
A brief history of seven killings : James, Marlon, 1970- : Book, Regular Print Book : Toronto Public Library
by James, Marlon, 1970-
Year/Format: 2014, Book , 560 pages.

Marlon James won against stiff competition. His book was up against a short-list that included a veteran American author, Anne Tyler, and the bookmaker’s favourite, US author Hanya Yanagihara’s “A Little Life”. It is reported that each of the five judges independently chose James’ book as their preferred winner.
books  Jamaica  TPL  fiction  assassinations  reggae  Caribbean  Bob_Marley  Marlon_James  Man_Booker  prizes 
october 2015 by jerryking
Hilary Mantel: Bringing Up the Books - WSJ.com
October 25, 2012 | WSJ | By JAVIER ESPINOZA.
Bringing Up the Books
Hilary Mantel on the Man Booker, Tudor Tales and Polishing Off Her Trilogy
Hilary_Mantel  writers  novels  profile  Tudors  protagonists  Thomas_Cromwell  historical_fiction  Man_Booker  prizes 
january 2013 by jerryking
Hilary Mantel Wins a Second Booker Prize - NYTimes.com
October 16, 2012, 5:01 pm 47 Comments
Hilary Mantel Wins a Second Booker Prize
By SARAH LYALL
novels  Hilary_Mantel  england  royal_courts  fiction  Tudors  protagonists  Thomas_Cromwell  historical_fiction  Man_Booker  prizes 
october 2012 by jerryking
Prizes for Solutions to Problems Play Valuable Role in Innovation
January 25. 2007 | WSJ | By DAVID WESSEL.

Prizes aren't a panacea. They won't replace corporate R&D labs or universities. Some problems -- a cure for cancer -- are just too big. Some require too much upfront investment. Some scientists are reluctant to admit defeat and surrender a problem.

Moreover, the secrecy on which businesses insist to protect intellectual-property rights has its downsides: "People are in a black hole," says Harvard's Mr. Lakhani. "They don't know anything beside whether they won or lost." Losers' knowledge isn't widely shared.

But prizes work in ways that conventional R&D doesn't, and finding ways to spur innovation is crucial to improving how well we -- and our children and grandchildren -- live.
David_Wessel  innovation  InnoCentive  Netflix  incentives  contests  problem_solving  prizes  bounties 
may 2012 by jerryking
10 Million Reasons To Give Barrick A Hand With Its Silver
September 19, 2007 Canadian Press article by ANDY HOFFMAN
discussed how Barrick is offering $10-million (U.S.) to anyone who can
help the company extract the 180 million ounces of silver at its
Veladero gold mine in Argentina. Barrick's problem at Veladero is no
laughing matter. The gold in the deposit is relatively easy to mine but
the silver is sheathed in an impermeable layer of silica and has
resisted traditional processing methods such as leaching with cyanide.
Barrick  mining  silver  gold  prizes  bounties  innovation  contests 
february 2009 by jerryking

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