What I Have Been Reading – February 2019

Reading Is A Cheat Code

Improving what you consume is the fastest way to accelerate your pace of progress.
Time is scarce, so you can’t read everything. You have to make tradeoffs. As you choose what to read, you walk a balance between thinking differently and knowing more than others. 


A Hack For Selective Reading

“Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

“Did Last.fm Just Hand Over User Listening Data to the RIAA?”

This story is a great demonstration of my maxim that any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word “no.” The reason why journalists use that style of headline is that they know the story is probably bullshit, and don’t actually have the sources and facts to back it up, but still want to run it



Messi And Ronald Are Out Of This World

No Text. The Graph Should Be Enough


The Evolution Of Warren Buffett

When he started the Buffett Partnership in the late 1950s, Warren Buffett’s investment approach was very similar to that of his teacher, Benjamin Graham. The focus was on the value of the business right now, either based on assets on the balance sheet or due to the earnings power of an established business with a long track record of similar results.

The next phase in Buffett’s evolution as an investor was to place a far greater emphasis on the intangible assets of a business.



Investor Amnesia

“What’s fascinating about investor amnesia is that it not only causes long-term investors to forget their gains, but that it also has them forget about the pain they endured to receive them.



An Analysts Take On Apples Release Of The IPOD

Clearly Apple is following Sony’s lead by integrating consumer electronics devices into its marketing strategy, but Apple lacks the richness of Sony’s product offering. And introducing new consumer products right now is risky, especially if they cannot be priced attractively



The Hidden Value Of Intangible Assets

Intangible assets now make up 84 percent of the market value of the S&P 500. That’s up from just 17 percent in 1975. We investors clearly value things like investment in brands, new business processes, skills development for employees, R&D, etc., as drivers of future value. In other words, we believe these investments will create revenues in the future. But accounting can’t figure out how to value those non-tangible assets, so it treats those investments as expenses. That just doesn’t make sense.



Why Coca Cola Is Different

Here’s Warren Buffett: “Cola has no taste memory. You can drink one at 9am, 11am, 5pm. You can’t do that with cream soda, root beer, orange, grape. You get sick of them after a while. The average person drinks 64 ounces of liquid per day, and you can have all 64 ounces of that be Coke.”




The world will build an entire New York City every month for 40 years. The world’s building stock is expected to double by 2060. Manufacturing the cement and steel needed for all that construction will emit a lot of greenhouse gases. To solve climate change, we need to get to near-zero emissions on all the things that drive it, including making building materials




A month before Williams’s arrest in February, D’Andrade sent her his Social Security check.
“I normally use that to psy [sic] my phone and utility bills which is over due,” he wrote. “I will see if o [sic] can get a few days extension on them.”

Williams was on a trip to Italy at the time, staying at five-star hotels in Florence, Rome and Venice. Estimating she spent about $200,000 on the trip, she told a friend, “It’s worth every penny, the memories and the beauty and culture of other places is priceless.”



Wikipedia Legend

Steven Pruitt has made nearly 3 million edits on Wikipedia and written 35,000 original articles … one-third of all English language articles on Wikipedia have been edited by Steven.




A 90s study showed that women preferred the scents of men whose immune systems were most different from their own immune-system genes. Evolutionarily this makes sense as, children should be healthier if their parents’ genes vary, protecting them from more pathogens.


The Health Economy

“Wellness has morphed, culturally, from a luxury into a responsibility. And companies who sell that sense of responsibility also sell a sense of accomplishment. The idea that you are taking care of yourself, that your weight — even if it’s not where you want it to be — is something that you’re working on.”



Impatience And The Modern World

As a culture — you’re right. We seem somehow bored with thinking. We want to instantly know. And there’s this epidemic of listicles. Why think about what constitutes a great work of art when you can skim the “20 Most Expensive Paintings in History?” And I’m very guided by this desire to counter that in myself because I am, like everybody else, a product of my time and my culture. And I remember, there’s a really beautiful commencement address that Adrienne Rich gave in 1977 in which she said that an education is not something that you get but something that you claim.

And I think that’s very much true of knowledge itself. The reason we’re so increasingly intolerant of long articles and why we skim them, why we skip forward even in a short video that reduces a 300-page book into a three-minute animation — even in that we skip forward — is that we’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it. I mean, the true material of knowledge is meaning. And the meaningful is the opposite of the trivial. And the only thing that we should have gleaned by skimming and skipping forward is really trivia. And the only way to glean knowledge is contemplation. And the road to that is time. There’s nothing else. It’s just time. There is no shortcut for the conquest of meaning. And ultimately, it is meaning that we seek to give to our lives.


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