Good Reading -- October 2019
“In 1971 the social scientist Herbert Simon anticipated the attention economy when he wrote that in an information-rich world, the most scarce resource is the one that information itself consumes: attention. ‘A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently.’” (Source: “All I Ever Wanted Was a One-Trick Pony”)
Facts and Figures
In 1996, 59% of SEC filers used non-GAAP figures; in 2017, 97% did. (Source: Audit Anaytics via WSJ)
The U.S. homicide rate fell 6.8% in 2018, the second consecutive annual decline. In the 30 largest cities, the aggregate decline was 7.5%. (Source: FBI)
At 17%, the average rate of interest on credit card balances is at a 25-year high. (Source: Fortune)
The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West — This book won a lot of praise and great reviews, and it’s a topic I find really interesting. The historical accounts are well researched, and the brutality is vivid, but the narrative was less than gripping and the overall book was somewhat underwhelming.
The Slow-Burning Success of Bob Iger — An interview that also previews his new book, which I plan to read.
Bog Iger’s Wild Ride — Another good feature that also previews the book.
The Renegade Executives of Houston Who Shook Up Sports Management — A great interview/profile of Jeff Luhnow and Daryl Morey.
Why Are Rich People So Mean? — This interesting article may have unintentionally answered its title question with this aside: “Researchers have concluded again and again that the single most reliable predictor of happiness is feeling embedded in a community.”
We Are All Confident Idiots — Enough said.
Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan — A long look at Bezos in light of the question, “Where in the pantheon of American commercial titans does Jeffrey Bezos belong?
Dyson and the art of making quick decisions — Avoiding painful decisions is a common problem, as companies prove almost every day. James Dyson, on the other hand, is “unsentimental about unsuccessful experiments” and he recently decided to abandon his long-held, expensive project to develop an electric vehicle. Danny Kahneman is quoted in this essay, but it’s actually a different quote of his that comes to mind and might be even more applicable: “When I work I have no sunk costs. I like changing my mind. Some people really don’t like it but for me changing my mind is a thrill. It’s an indication that I’m learning something. So I have no sunk costs in the sense that I can walk away from an idea that I’ve worked on for a year if I can see a better idea. It’s a good attitude for a researcher. The main track that young researchers fall into is sunk costs. They get to work on a project that doesn’t work and that is not promising but they keep at it. I think too much persistence can be bad for you in the intellectual world.”
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