Category Archives: General

Five Links for September

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

Understanding Jane Street by Byrne Hobart
Should the smartest students continue going into prop trading instead of trying to cure cancer? Everyone’s heard of Jane Street but do you understand what they really do?

Listen: Sheila Heen: How to Navigate Difficult Conversations
Difficult conversations are challenging and necessary. Life is filled with them, yet most people don’t know how to navigate them effectively. Here are tactics to get better at difficult conversations.

Status, Vulnerability, and Status Vulnerability by Erik Torenberg
Cancel culture, tall poppy syndrome, and a holistic look at how our personal motivations play out on a global scale as status games. Very useful advice for how to escape the status rat race.

Listen: Terry Kawaja: The Future of AdTech
The AdTech world changes every 18 months driven by new regulations and technology changes. But the current downturn may have a lasting impact on the landscape.

The Midwit Trap
Why are we so dismissive of simple solutions? Sometimes the smartest people are the first to complexify a solution when the simple solution is the best answer.

Bonus: The Inside Story of Carlos Ghosn’s Brazen Escape From Japan
The James Bond-esque lead-up to smuggling former Nissan exec Carlos Ghosn out of Japan in a musical instrument case.

Bonus Listen: Founders podcast by David Senra
My new favorite podcast. Senra gives a good summary of biographies of entrepreneurs.
HT: Patrick O’Shaughnessy

Graph of the Month: The best founders are both Smart and Positive.
… but most smart people are negative

Books:

The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate (fiction) by Ted Chiang (must read)
I don’t normally read fiction but this short-story (18-pages) by Ted Chiang is amazing. Highly recommend.
HT: Tenzing Shaw

The Seven Sins of Memory by Daniel Schachter (really interesting)
HT: Sheila Heen

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
HT: Marissa Shandell

Build by Tony Fadell
HT: Tony Fadell

Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation by Yossi Klein Halevi

Bloodchild (fiction) by Octavia Butler
HT: Mary Therese Jackson

Tweet of the Month:

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links

Five Links for August

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

Beliefs are Fashions by Erik Torenberg
People don’t choose beliefs based on logical value or merits, but based on how much status they can garner in their tribes.

Little Ways the World Works by Morgan Housel
If you find something that’s true in more than one field, it’s probably important. A look at the rules from statistics, philosophy & evolutionary biology and the broader truths we can learn from them.

Listen: David Epstein: Never Underestimate the Generalist
In a complex world, thinking broadly is more important than ever yet society increasingly values narrow subject expertise. Explore the pitfalls of specialization and how to think about your own career.

Geographic mobility is one secret of successful immigration by Tyler Cowen
Without hometown roots, immigrant families are more likely to move to areas with higher opportunity, resulting in better outcomes than their native-born economic peers.

Correlations go to One, in Good Ways and Bad by Byrne Hobart
Markets, both in the economic sense and the financial one, are machines for producing valuable information about how the probabilities of different events are connected. There is no free lunch.

Bonus (Listen): Gary Marcus: The Failed Promise of Artificial Intelligence
Is AGI really right around the corner? What will it take for AI to reach the next threshold of capability? Gary Marcus offers some insight and a critical perspective in a complex field. 

Graph of the Month: Quality of AV systems don’t scale with wealth

Books:

The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes (Must Read)
(this is a really long book but one of the best books i have read in the last 20 years)
HT: Matt Clifford

The End of the World is Just the Beginning by Peter Zeihan
HT: Johnnie Moore

Lights Out by Thomas Gryta and Ted Mann
HT: Marc Andreessen

Spy Wars by Tenent Begley

Tweet of the Month:

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links

Five Links for July

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

The Current Thing
Why is everyone up in arms about something new every month? Due to mimetic desire, social psychology, and social media, the mainstream converges to an intellectual monoculture.

Listen: Liv Boeree: Developing a Probabilistic Mindset
Probability seeps into every aspect of our lives, yet most people don’t apply it all to their daily activities. Liv lays out frameworks everyone should apply to life, society and science.

The Purpose of Technology
Technology’s proximate purpose is to provide leverage and do more with less – effectively reducing scarcity. But its long-term purpose is to reduce mortality, the main source of scarcity.

Optimism
It’s a lot easier to sound smart as a cynic than as an optimist. But the upside of optimism is unlimited, it’s like a call option on society. So why do so many people choose to be pessimistic?

Trying Too Hard
Being a novice can be more valuable than being an expert. Everyone wants to be an expert, whether it’s law, medicine or investing. But often, the best answer is the simple, obvious one.

Bonus (Advice): 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I had Known
Life advice from one of the greatest optimists. An invaluable list covering abstract and tactical topics that would certainly make everyone a better person.

Bonus (Listen): Antonio Garcia Martinez: A New Approach to Regulation
Regulation which appears great on paper often has many unintended consequences. This is especially true when it comes to big tech and privacy regulation.

Graph of the Month: Trust your gut, but only sometimes

Books:

Range by David Epstein
HT: David Epstein, Brett Sylvia

Team of Vipers by Cliff Sims
HT: Cliff Sims

The Bond King by Mary Childs

Why We Fight by Christopher Blattman
HT: Tyler Cowen

Investing: The Last Liberal Art by Robert Hagstrom

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links

Five Links for June

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

The New Science of Alt Intelligence
The perceived objective of AI has always been to mimic human behavior. But most researchers today don’t want this. Instead, they’re focused on building what’s called “alt intelligence”.

Listen: Glenn Fogel: The Greatest Acquirer in History
M&A is messy and most of it fails. Fogel has somehow managed to complete several successful acquisitions while building Booking Holdings. What does he know that others don’t?

Perspective: What people get wrong about political polarization
While it may feel like polarization is at an all-time high, that democracy is crumbling and that misinformation is destroying society, a closer look at history may suggest otherwise.

Why don’t nations buy more territories from each other?
You can count all the transactions involving the sale of land from one country to another in the past century on one hand. Why don’t more countries sell off land? Tyler Cowen explores why.

Listen: Barry Nalebuff: A Radical New Way to Negotiate
Most negotiations are unfavorable for all parties because more time is spent bargaining for a larger slice of the pie and not enough time is spent defining the pie. Defining the pie can unlock win-win scenarios in most negotiations.

Bonus (Adorable): Coco: Investment Committee Memo
Dogs are undoubtedly the highest returning investment for most people. Here’s a very compelling memo explaining why.

Bonus (Listen): Introduction to Mimetic Theory
Most people want what others have. Rene Girard coined the term Mimesis, the desire to imitate one another, and concluded that it was Mimesis that drove most of society’s problems.

Graph of the Month: Slack is great… until it’s not

Books:

The Machiavellians by James Burnham (must read)
HT: Marc Andreessen

The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber & David Wengrow
HT: Sashi McEntee, Pete Zajonc, Roy Bahat

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne
HT: Russ Thau

Tweet of the Month:

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links

Five Links for May

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

Did Making the Rules of War Better Make the World Worse?
The rules of war have changed dramatically over the last half a century. Improvements in military technology have given us fewer civilian casualties… but prolonged wars. 

Listen: David Perell: Building a Personal Monopoly
It’s more important than ever to play your own game in a society where everyone is imitating one another. The secret may lie in biblical and philosophical texts. 

Heresy
Heresy, while medieval in origin, manifests in modern western society in inconspicuous ways. Paul Graham provides heuristics on how to navigate conflicts of heresy in today’s world. 

Like America, The Sunshine State Also Rises
Florida (and in particular, Miami) has been dubbed as the new home of ambition. But Florida has a long history of ambitious endeavors. The state will only become more important over time.

Listen: Sebastian Mallaby: The Greatest Storyteller in Venture Capital
Venture Capital is evolving as we speak. New players are playing very different games from traditional VCs. Mallaby paints the picture of how we got to where we are today. 

Bonus: Demystifying the SafeGraph Facts
SafeGraph sells facts about places and our mission is to democratize access to data. Part of this mission means making it available in a self-serve way. But of course, making data accessible also has drawbacks.

Bonus (Listen): It’s Our Moral Obligation to Make Data More Accessible
In case you didn’t get to read my essay last month, here’s an audio version. Most of the world’s data is sitting on a shelf. This data, if properly used, could solve the world’s biggest problems.

Graph of the Month:

Books:

The True Believer by Eric Hoffer (must read)
HT: Garrett Johnson, Jack Franson, Francisco Dao

The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
HT: Keith Rabois, Jason Cook

How Rights Went Wrong by Jamal Greene

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
HT: Russ Thau

Tweet of the Month:

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links

Five Links for April

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

It’s our moral obligation to make data more accessible
The deep truths of humanity are at our fingertips. But we remain unwilling as a society to harness the power of our greatest asset: Data.

The Future of the European Union
The EU has all the makings of a global superpower: size, population, GDP and military. But why has it been left behind over the past 2 decades? Ukraine might be the catalyst to change this.

Listen: Daniel Gross: Why Energy is the Best Predictor of Talent
Spotting talent is really hard and identifying A-players can feel impossible. Daniel Gross (CEO, Pioneer) explains how to distinguish between good and great employees & what makes a 10xer.

Deep Learning is Hitting a Wall 
Despite all the innovation in artificial intelligence, we’re still very far from where we thought we’d be. This is largely due to inherent limitations of deep learning. 

Google Search is Dying
If you’ve also had a terrible experience searching on Google, you’re not alone. People are looking for authentic content and SEO is killing search. Reddit may be an alternative solution.

Bonus (Listen): Tyler Henritze: Thematic Investing to Predict the Future
Tyler has worked on over $100bn of transactions at Blackstone Real Estate. He shares how Blackstone predicted the future with large concentrated bets that paid off. 

Bonus (Personal Growth): Managing people
Most people are terrible managers (I too am trying to improve every day). Andreas Klinger shares very tactical advice on how to be a better manager. 

Graph of the Month:

Books:

Talent by Tyler Cowen and Daniel gross (must read)
Great read on how to identify talent that can transform an organization

Amp It Up (must read)

Functional Medicine by Kevin Hoffarth

Tweet of the Month:

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links

Five Links for March

Every month I try to share the most mind-expanding links to read/watch/listen. If you find these interesting, please do share with your friends.

Here are five links worth reading…

The Economics of Data Businesses
A deep dive into what makes data businesses special.  A must read if you enjoyed my DaaS Bible.  HT Abraham Thomas.

Listen: Tyler Cowen: Identifying Talent and Measuring Organizational Capital
Tyler needs no introduction.  He breaks down how to spot promising talent and why our allocation of our time (our most valuable resource) would be one of the most powerful datasets. 

Theses on Sleep
A controversial perspective on sleep. The author suggests that it is healthy to sleep less.

Listen: Niall Ferguson: Writing History with Data
Technology drives many societal transformations.  Yet, very few people working in technology spend time studying the past.

Slow-Motion Suicide in San Francisco
Over the past two years, 2x more people have died from drug overdose in San Francisco than from COVID. 

Bonus (Serious): I Thought I Was Prepared for Grief. Then I Lost My Dad
Grief is more complicated than anyone ever imagines.  And nobody is ever fully prepared for it. 

Bonus (Inspirational): ‘Manhattan Phoenix’ Review: From Grit to Greatness
The story behind the catalyst for the explosive development of Manhattan in the 19th century.

Graph of the Month:

Books:

The Power Law by Sebastian Mallaby (must read)
The best history of venture capital

The World for Sale by Javier Bias & Jack Farchy (must read)

Comrade J by Pete Earley (must read)
HT Josh Steinman
Fantastic story about the art of spying for the KGB/FSB

The King of Content by Keach Hagey
Story of Sumner Redstone

Fall by John Preston
Story of Robert Maxwell

Tweet of the Month:

Join the 100,000+ subscribers to Five Links