I find myself moving more and more towards the perspective that aspects of capitalism are broken. Pushing stock prices up no matter what the cost, the huge gap in compensation between the highest and lowest paid workers in an organization, the slanting of financial laws towards the rich, and the increasing fraction of our economy that is based on businesses that make nothing (Financial, Legal, etc.).
Three books that are worth a read about how this happens on a day-to-day basis in corporations and how people are quickly or slowly corrupted, or how their decisions slip down a very dark path.
Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by Carreyrou is the latest about the fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes which is in the current news. I saw her speak once at a conference to a small group of IT CIOs. She was being interviewed by Meg Whitman who was running HP at the time. I’m not quite done with this book, but I can already highly recommend it. It is absolutely captivating in how morally bankrupt some people can be.
Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Holiday which is the story of Gawker and its business model and the work done to take it down.
And no such list would be complete without The Smartest Guys in the Room by McLean and Elkind about Enron and how that model worked. I lived through part of that story where the company I worked and friends in California lived through rolling power outages one summer that Enron employees were causing to happen.
I don’t know the answers (or probably some of the right questions) here. It just seems that aspects of our model and way of doing things are breaking down. Broken.
I’ve found myself reading much less lately and instead, listening to books and podcasts. The shift for me has been dramatic.
I listen while driving all the time and while running and working in the yard.
I don’t listen much when I’m at home, however. And I don’t read that much anymore. I don’t follow as many sites online these days either.
My first choice for books is now Audible. If not on Audible, then I’m unlikely to buy it. And, I always play the book at faster than normal, like 125% of real time.
I’m wondering if this is more of the Shallows effect.
What are you doing these days?
From the book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Schultz, the following quote to think about:
A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.
There is a wonderful article to read and think about regarding our mindsets and how we think about our own limitations. Everything is not rosy all the time and for many life is hard, but for all of us, there are limitations that are self-imposed. It is probably important for us to be aware of this way of thinking and that for some of the things we think about ourselves, we are limiting ourselves and nothing else is limiting us.
I wrote a few week ago about my recent experiences in note taking on an iPad and Pencel. I’ve continued using this toolset and have not drifted back to pen and paper as of yet.
I’ve been fascinated with Sketchnotes and have purchased his book and worked through it. I wrote back in 2015 about my struggles and ideas with notetaking. I’m trying to get more visual and sketch in notes and I’m definitely capturing pictures and dropping them into my notes. The key to making this work with these tools is to be able to fast and relatively effortlessly (little friction) so you can capture the information on the fly while the talk/event is underway in real time. Related I read an interesting note about Da Vinci and how he took notes.
I find that I take the notes, but then rarely go back to them. I think the process of taking the notes is what keeps me focused while listing and helps me organize the thoughts I’m hearing. Very rarely do I go back and look at the notes. But sometimes I do…
How do you take notes? Do you take a lot of notes? Do you sketch as you take notes? Are you using any electronic tools to do this? What have you learned about how to do this?
I just finished the book The Ultra Mindset: An Endurance Champion’s 8 Core Principles for Success in Business, Sports, and Life by Travis Macy and if you are interested in endurance topics, not quitting, grit and pressing on through hard things, then this is the book for you. I’m a runner and I’ve done 4 marathons and just PR’d this past December in Dallas. I’m not fast at all and I know one of my weaknesses is my mental toughness. I’ve read a few books on the mental side of running and this one is by far the best. If you are interested in pressing on through hard things, then this book is highly recommended.
My current favorite podcast is The Knowledge Project: A Farnam Street Podcast which is full of interesting interviews with interesting people. Recommended. You should sign up for their email newsletter too.
My home state of Oklahoma has a dysfunctional legislature and executive branch. I heard one of our state legislators speak the other day about the most recent failure and she (a Republican) indicated that until we vote out people who are ideologues, nothing will improve. We need people who can think and compromise and move government forward in a constructive fashion. She took shots at the Republicans who wouldn’t raise taxes no matter what and she took shots at the Democrats who were willing to ‘let the state burn down’ in order to hopefully get more Democrats elected next time. We need to vote these people out. And, we need to know what our own legislators are voting and engage with them.
I saw this sign the other day while on a run. A friend suggested it was so the birds would know where to land. Another friend pointed out that this an example of our government dollars at work.