Good Reading -- April 2017
Good Reading -- March 2017
Philip C. Ordway
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival — This is a strangely compelling story about the remote, bizarre, and fascinating wilderness of far southeastern Russia. I don’t know many books that combine biology, ecology, geography, sociology, economics, and history in a package that resembles a well-written crime novel.
I thought I think I first saw it recommended on this good blog by Patrick O’Shaughnessy, and thanks to Mike Dore who also mentioned it more recently to me..
The 1 Hour China Consumer Book: Five Short Stories That Explain the Brutal Fight for One Billion Consumers -- Jeff Towson has written an update to his book (previously mentioned here) and I liked this one even better. It still delivers on the promised brevity and the anecdotes/stories are really interesting. (Disclosure: the author sent me a complimentary copy of the book.)
Facts and Figures
From "Cash is Dead. Long Live Cash.": Hard currency as a percentage of U.S. GDP is now at 8.6%, the highest level since the early 1950s.
The number of $100 bills in circulation, totaling $1.15 trillion, is up 76% since 2009.
CEO Pay Is Out of Control. Here's How to Rein It In -- And to think Roger Lowenstein wrote this before it came to light that Marissa Mayer was going to make $186 million dollars from the sale of Yahoo...
Two other great articles from Lowenstein that I'd missed in the prior month or two: This is Why Everyone Loves Conspiracy Theories and A Great Business Movie Is Getting Snubbed at the Oscars
Robert Cialdini on How Persuasion Works in Business and Politics (transcript) -- Some very interesting thoughts from the author of "Influence" and "Pre-Suasion" in this interview with Alphachat.
Dyson Is the Apple of Appliances (and Just as Secretive) -- An interesting short NYT ($) profile of Dyson and its £2.5 billion in sales, 25% pre-tax margins, massive R&D budget, and unique culture.
David Rockefeller profile by Fortune's Carol Loomis -- After the recent news of David Rockefeller's passing, Fortune reposted this July 1977 profile written by the great Carol Loomis.
Be sure to click through to the other article for a retrospective on her career (from more than 10 years ago!) Amazing historical perspective about her career and many important business leaders and topics over the years. Does anyone know if a compilation of all her Fortune articles exists?
Money Stuff -- I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I should have because . Matt Levine's daily column is brilliant. It's been around a few years already and I read it (almost) every day. Good journalism isn't dead, it's just rare -- here you can find good, insightful writing with plenty of humor too.
"You're Too Busy. You Need a 'Schultz Hour.'" -- ($) Good food for thought:
When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called: “My wife or the president,” Shultz recalled. Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest. And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.The psychologist Amos Tversky had his own version of this point. “The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed,” Tversky said (as Michael Lewis describes in his latest book). “You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”
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