Good Reading -- May 2019
New writing effort I'm writing about once a month on a range of business- and investing-related topics. I'm trying to improve my writing and all feedback is welcome. I will post everything on the website and on Medium (https://medium.com/@pordway), and I'll also distribute via email. Thank you in advance for the help!
“My books are an examination of what power does to people. Power doesn’t always corrupt. But what power always does is reveal.” -- Robert A. Caro
Working: Researching, Interviewing, Writing -- I read Caro's short new book in two sittings, and I'll read it again some day. It is excellent, and even though some of the material has been published elsewhere, it's worth having it all put together in this format.
There are plenty of reviews and author interviews out there, but don't miss this gem: A Fan's Love, Requited at Last: Conan O'Brien Lands Robert Caro
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York -- I'm ashamed to admit that I hadn't read this book, but I'm atoning now. I'm only a few hundred pages into this beast (which runs to almost 1,200 pages) but it is incredible in many ways.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup -- Late as usual, but I finally read “Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou. It is excellent. I waited to read it because I’d read all of the WSJ articles as they came out, but the book adds several layers and is well worth the read. It is an incredible time capsule of the era. The shear audacity of the story – and its duration – never cease to amaze across 299 pages that read like a well-written business thriller. The irony is unspeakable. George Schultz’s grandson joining the company, only to turn whistleblower, but after being forced to sing a “happy birthday” song in public. The random Valeant connection. The original puff piece in the WSJ, the source of the ultimate undoing. This is also another chance to highlight how stupid it is for people to claim that reading newspapers – even/especially old copies – is useless. It is the opposite of useless.
The Day the Dinosaurs Died -- "A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth."
How the Milwaukee Bucks and a Former Wedding DJ Won the T-shirt Cannon Arms Race -- Yes, you read that right, and yes, this article is awesome. (Thanks to Pat for sending this!)
Michelin restaurants and fabulous wines: Inside the secret team dinners that have built the Spurs' dynasty -- This is a great article on many, many levels. It's also a great reminder that talent and numbers matter, but people and culture matter too. About team-building "Popovich says the key is to take people out of their element, have them experience new things, and learn from it together." The result? Players who play better ("Dinners help us have a better understanding of each individual person, which brings us closer to each other -- and, on the court, understand each other better."); players who might have otherwise gone elsewhere (Manu Ginobli); and multiple people whose lives are changed through simple acts (the coach who gets his first job, the sommelier who gets a huge promotion, the restaurateur who says, "I cannot possibly express the respect that I have for that man.")
Kidnapping: A Very Efficient Business -- This is a short, fascinating review of two books (that I haven't yet read) about kidnapping. Interesting and disturbing to say the least.
A Bull Market in Bluff: Why Guff and Baloney are on the Rise -- This is a great article that highlights not only a funny topic, but a serious and pervasive problem. Make sure to also read the related prior article by Lucy Kellaway How I lost my 25-year battle against corporate claptrap and the original masterpiece by Harry Frankfurt On Bullsh*t.
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