Good Reading -- March 2021
Philip C. Ordway
Facts & Figures
More than 42,000 Americans were killed in car crashes in 2020, an increase of 8% over 2019 levels despite a drop in miles driven of 13%. Among other factors, less traffic meant more speeding. Tragic, unexpected consequences of the pandemic are everywhere…
The United States will soon have spent approximately $5.5 trillion fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. World War II cost the U.S. about $4.8 trillion (in 2021 dollars).
“Only 3.7% or 4,264 of recorded address changes in five Bay Area counties went out of state, suggesting "exodus" is mostly hype. 72% stayed in Bay Area.”
In 2020, “2,246 people filed a permanent address change from Manhattan to Miami-Dade County and 1,741 went to Palm Beach County. Together they account for 9% of the out-of-state moves from the borough, up from 6% in 2019. More Manhattanites relocated to Jersey City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Hoboken, New Jersey, than they did to either Miami or Palm Beach."
~1.9 trillion shares — the volume of OTC “penny stocks” traded in February 2021, up roughly 20x over the level of February 2020.
“Everyone wants to get rich. Any they want to get rich quick.” — Jordan Belfort
The Hot Hand: The Mystery and Science of Streaks — Ben Cohen wrote an interesting book here. His columns on basketball in the WSJ are good too. If you liked many of the best sports analytics/statistics/decision-making books of the past decade you’ll enjoy this one too.
Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business — This book was published in 2006. I got it as a gift for presenting at a conference in 2013. It gathered dust until a sharp reader (thanks, Elliot!) recommended it recently. It’s always a good sign when a book still resonates after more than a decade.
Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World — I like to read one or two books in a row on the same theme, and I got this book recently as a gift (thanks, Adam S.!). I’m definitely not a foodie, and a lot of the details were lost on me. This book is kind of weird and rambling, but it was not formulaic or boring, I’ll say that much.
The Erosion of Deep Literacy — A long, interesting article about how technology has short-circuited our ability to read, think, pay attention, reflect, notice change, etc. There is a lot of food for thought here. (Thanks to Alix for sending this!)
This Book Is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It. — “Thinking, Fast & Slow” is a Hall-of-Fame book, for sure, but it’s interesting how this started drawing so much attention more than a decade after it came out…
Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook 2021 — A can’t-miss springtime tradition.
Wall Street A-Listers Fled to Florida. Many Now Eye a Return. — The “NYC is toast” narrative will go down as one of the very dumbest in a long list of dumb narratives caused by the pandemic.
Snowflakes as you’ve never seen them before — This is a really cool article with some stunning photographs.