Non-financial: January - March 2020 articles archive home
 
Social utopia
“We can’t look at history to tell us what might happen next. We can, though, use history as a guide to predict the kind of behaviours people are susceptible to when faced with a similar event. And that’s where there is a historical map,” says Morgan Housel at Collaborative Fund. “It’s World War II.”
Friday, March 27, 2020 ... more
 
 
Jewish wisdom
“Tell me,” said the officer, “why are you Jews so good at business?” “I'm sorry but I can't,” said the peddler. “I've been sworn to secrecy.” “I’ll give you ten rubles,” the officer said excitedly. “What secret is worth ten rubles?”
“OK I'll give you a hundred rubles.” The officer pulled out a crisp hundred ruble note and held it in front of the peddler.
Friday, March 20, 2020 ... more
 
 
Latte myth
It's a basic fact of life that many of the things that we’re told turn out to be wrong. Take the myth of the “latte factor” popularised by David Bach in the late ‘90s, that we could resolve our financial woes by simply eschewing a daily coffee at Starbucks.
Friday, March 13, 2020 ... more
 
 
Tall trees
We are faced with having to learn again about interdependency and the need for rootedness after several centuries of having systematically-and-proudly dismantled our roots, ties and traditions. We have grown so tall we thought we could afford to cut the roots that held us down, only to discover that the tallest trees need the most elaborate roots of all.
Friday, March 6, 2020 ... more
 
 
Close-comms bias
"You’re not listening!” “Let me finish!” “That’s not what I said!” These are among the most common refrains in close relationships. Here’s something incredibly ironic about interpersonal communication: The closer we feel toward someone, the less likely we are to listen carefully to them.
Friday, February 28, 2020 ... more
 
 
False savings
There are men who think that economy consists in saving cheese-parings and candle-ends, in cutting off two pence from the laundress' bill and doing all sorts of little, mean, things. Economy is not meanness. The misfortune is, also, that this class of persons let their economy apply in only one direction. They fancy they are so wonderfully economical in saving a half-penny where they ought to spend two pence, that they think they can afford to squander in other directions.
Friday, February 21, 2020 ... more
 
 
Muddy waters
We live in a media ecosystem that overwhelms people with information. Some of that information is accurate, some of it is bogus, and much of it is intentionally misleading. The result is a polity that has increasingly given up on finding out the truth.
Friday, February 14, 2020 ... more
 
 
Meaner
Paul Piff, a sociology professor at the University of California, in his studies of inequality rigs the game of Monopoly so that one player has no chance of winning – and what matters most is money.
Friday, February 7, 2020 ... more
 
 
Stories
Twitter has 310 million active users. In my experience it attracts two groups of people like magnets: Those who want their views confirmed, and those who are easily persuaded with vague and unsourced ideas. In other words, the two groups that are most interested in stories over statistics.

Friday, January 31, 2020 ... more
 
 
Like a bonfire
Fire is not magic. Fire is not somehow separate from science or rigorous human examination. We know how to start fires. We know how to grow and diminish fires. We know how to put fires out. But you’d never think that you could possess an algorithm that predicts the shape and form of a bonfire.

Friday, January 24, 2020 ... more
 
 
Yak shaving
Yak Shaving is the last step of a series of steps that occurs when you find something you need to do. “I want to wax the car today.” “Oops, the hose is still broken from the winter. I’ll need to buy a new one at Home Depot.” “But Home Depot is on the other side of the Tappan Zee bridge and getting there without my EZPass is miserable because of the tolls.” “But, wait!
Friday, January 17, 2020 ... more
 
 
Competive disavantage
Whenever a once-powerful thing loses an advantage it once had it is tempting to ridicule the mistakes of its leaders. But it’s easy to overlook how many forces pull you away from a competitive advantage once you have one, specifically because you have one
Friday, January 10, 2020 ... more
 
 
Some of the best
Extracts from some of the best commencement speeches of all time: "You cannot win improv and life is an improvisation. You have no idea what is going to happen next and you are mostly just making up things as you go along." – Stephen Colbert at Northwestern University (2011).
Friday, January 3, 2020 ... more
 
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