Links - 2018 Week 10

Tyler Cowen on why facism can't happen here

Thoughts on 'Skin in the Game'

Evolution in a bottle

Long read on a couple that successfully hacked the lottery

Always keep a margin of safety

Fear, or how to ride a bike in China


Corruption in gov't

Maybe the first positive thing I've read about Comcast

Should parents vote on behalf of their kids?

Growth mindset studies replicate successfully

Roll the dice

The biggest coffee company in the world and you've never heard of it

Cleaning the Glass profile

Good thoughts on schooling

Flight of the Cozy Coupe

How to fit a round peg in a square hole


Links - 2018 Week 9

Ah, skipped too many weeks, so many links.

Why competitive advantages die (complacency)

The benchmark is "my family are alive, safe and healthy" - everything else is a luxury.

More men cook now, which means more cooking gadgets

Software eats the world

"Perpetual" clock, so far

Spend less than you earn

On Supplements

Perception is reality

Profile of Nathan Myhrvold

Profile of Donald Glover

Berkshire Hathaway 2017 Annual Letter to Shareholders

How we learn

EPI research on wages in the last two decades (read the conclusion)

Boondoggles with Harvard's endowment

Links - 2018 Week 5

Dubious, but amusing

Ellen Pompeo on her career growth

The right kind of hedge fund

Really great tape

Trump in Davos

Bill Belichick + Nick Saban are friends!

Re: Jordan Peterson

Compelling take on the rule of law

Lessons from Phil Knight (Nike)

Compelling take on modern finance theory

Profile of D.E. Shaw (black t-shirts + cargo shorts)

John Williams!


Links - 2018 Week 3

Future of bananas at risk

We care so much about fresh but never apply it to spices

Netflix not only recommends shows, but selects cover art based on what you're most likely to click

Growth mindset in action

Dolphins are really smart (2003) via Julia Galef

Swiss Central Bank is doing OK

Many, many things I didn't know about Sammy Hagar

Penn Station is pretty, pretty bad


Variable rewards are powerful

What matters when you're buying eggs

African immigrants are great via Marginal Revolution

Pensions are in trouble


Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin

This book is true to it's name - it is in my pantheon and will join Meditations, Lessons of History and How To Win Friends and Influence People as the books I would give any high school graduate looking to better themselves. Filled with great summaries of cognitive fallacies and biases, math, physics and systems thinking - a fantastic overview of models and concepts that can be applied throughout life to great benefit.

A few favorite passages (quoted directly from the book):

  • Warren Buffett says on being informed of bad news: "We only give a couple of instructions to people when they go work for us: One is to think like an owner. And the second is to tell us bad news immediately - because good news takes care of itself. We can take bad news, but we don't like it late."
  • From Charles Munger: "I've gotten so that I now use a kind of two-track analysis. First, what are the factors that really govern the interests involved, rationally considered? And second, what are the subconscious influences where the brain at a subconscious level is automatically doing these things - which by and large are useful, but which often misfunction. One approach is rationality - the way you'd work out a bridge problem: by evaluating the real interests, the real probabilities and so forth. And the other is to evaluate the psychological factors that cause subconscious conclusions - many of which are wrong."
  • Charles Munger tells us about the Navy model - a rule with net benefits: "If you're a captain in the Navy and you've been up for 24 hours straight and have to go to sleep and you turn the ship over to a competent first mate in tough conditions and he takes the ship aground - clearly through no fault of yours - they don't court martial you, but your naval career is over. Napoleon said he liked luckier generals - he wasn't into supporting losers. Well, the Navy likes luckier captains. [...] It doesn't matter whether it was your fault or not. Nobody is interesting in your fault. It's just a rule we happen to have - for the good of all, all effects considered. [...] Considering the net benefit, I don't care if one captain has some unfairness in his life. After all, it's not like he's being court marshaled. He just has to look for a new line of work.

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I have not read a lot of literary fiction, but that said, East of Eden will stick with me and is one of the best books I've ever read, in that genre or otherwise. Steinbeck strikes a balance between the concise style of Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy (which I love) and the more typically wordy language you find in most literary fiction (which I like much less) and overall it was very enjoyable to read. I pushed through the first 20% (which in hindsight did a great job setting up everything else) and the rest was easy. I think most people will find this book deep and thought-provoking, which appears to have been his intention. I would recommend to anyone (probably most relevant to people that grew up in America vs. elsewhere), though I think people would appreciate it the most after their twenties, when they've gotten over any teen angst and early twenties naivete, and become more attuned to the reality of the world. Towards the end, provides as perfect a description of Americans as you could find.


Links - 2017 Week 52

More malls are dying

Tax loopholes forever

Health care costs due to political re-election bids

If you like tech, this is the best newsletter on the internet

Behind the scenes of Sesame Street via Kottke

LeBron is still good

Your email is keeping tabs on you

Using Amazon Prime for good

A spartan lifestyle in rural Maine

Things you didn't know about Kendrick Lamar

Misdirection the mainstream press employs about the new tax bill

You're not thinking outside the box