Recommended Reading

They served us breakfast.

That might not sound weird, but it happened at 9:30 at night, an hour before we landed in Los Angeles, it’s like Air France can’t buck its own system, wherein you get fed dinner, go to sleep and then wake up at your destination rearing to go. And many people did sleep, the plane left at 7:25 PM, but before I took a nap I read a couple of articles I want to hip you to, that I think you should read.

Now I understand you’re overloaded, that you’ve got no time and you want to be judicious in your choices. Furthermore, you’re being inundated with recommendations. But I’m not selling you anything here but a good time, one that feeds your brain before your heart.

“Marc Andreesen on “Why Optimism is Safest Bet”

“The other thing you could say is that recorded music was an oligopolistic cartel. The only reason why musicians were getting paid what they were getting paid in the 1990s off CDs was because the record labels were price-fixing. CDs didn’t cost $16 because that was the floating market price. They cost $16 because the five record labels got together and fixed prices. And who ate it on that? Consumers. And why did consumers react so positively to digital music when it first came along? Because it broke the cartel. Book publishers are the same thing. Amazon broke that wide open. So would you rather live in that world or would you rather live in this world?”

I know which world you’d like to live in. My inbox is inundated with those lamenting the new model, insisting we just jet back to the old.

I’ve realized I’m a pretty optimistic guy. You keep calling me a hater, but the truth is I just want the best. I don’t want to waste time on either the mediocre or the merely good, I’m searching for excellence. And the truth is as we march forward things keep getting better and better.

You can keep thousands of songs in your pocket.

You can not only make music for nearly free, you can distribute it for nearly free and market it for free. That’s a good thing.

Baby boomers hate change.

“Let’s suppose that we’d be better off if the jobs didn’t change. We have this new magic machine that cleans hotel rooms, but we’re not going to use it because we want to keep the maids in business. Well, in the old days there used to be a job at the hotel called the guy who lights the coal fire. Should we get rid of heating systems and bring back the guy who starts the coal fire? Before refrigeration, there was an entire field of people who cut and delivered ice. Should we go back to storing food on ice that’s cut and delivered by hand? If you believe that machines are an enemy, then you should want to go back and unwind, right? If you follow that logic, you would unwind all the way back to where it all started, which was subsistence farming. We’d be better off if we were making our own clothes.”

The future is here. it’s only going to get better. Are there going to be losers along the way? Absolutely. But you cannot try and protect the past, it’s a loser’s game.

I won’t say I agree with everything Marc Andreesen has to say here. But at least he’s thinking about the issues. The problem today is no one is thinking, everybody believes money grows on trees and there’s no thought behind making money, you just throw marketing dollars at something and that’s it. But that’s wrong.

You want to read this article. Because it’ll get your brain humming. And that’s very stimulating.

“The Empire of Edge: How a doctor, a trader, and the billionaire Steven A. Cohen got entangled in a vast financial scandal.”

Now the funny thing is “New York” made me think Steve Cohen was innocent. But after reading this article in the “New Yorker” I know he is not.

You need to read this. It starts slow, but then it builds and the twists and turns are better than any movie playing at the multiplex.

What exactly do they do at the hedge fund?

Make bets. Very few of them. Make good ones and you’re handsomely compensated, make bad ones and they kick your ass out. It’s just that simple. At the hedge fund they might play with pension money, but there’s no safety net for the traders.

It’s all about edge. And that’s code for inside information.

You’ll be horrified at the illegality.

But you’ll be more horrified at the lying and cheating of Matthew Martoma. The son of immigrant parents, his father presented him with a plaque that said “Son Who Shattered His Father’s Dream” when he didn’t get into Harvard.

But his wife thinks he did.


That’s right, Martoma was sentenced to jail but his family believes he’s innocent.

We have the fantasy that everybody rich and successful earned it. But the truth is so many have cut corners, this article will illuminate that.

“Should Airplanes Be Flying Themselves?”

This was the best article I’ve read all year. It raises the issue of whether we’ve become subservient to the machines, and whether that’s to our advantage.

What it’s really about is the Air France crash. You remember, the one in the Atlantic, the Airbus flying from Rio.

Sure, the main pilot was running on almost no sleep, having partied with his girlfriend the night before. And the second pilot was a newbie. And the third pilot was a desk jockey maintaining license.

But the truth is most pilots only fly four hours a year.


That’s how much time they’re truly in control of the plane. The rest of the time, HAL is in control.

And I was on Air France last night. And whenever the plane did something weird, which happened a couple of times, I thought of this article.

But I made it home safely.

You should read the above three articles, in the above order.

Because I said so.

And you trust me.

I feel pressured to make it brief, to grab you before you go, but the truth is advancement and satisfaction are all about putting in the time. And if you read these three articles you will be wiser and possibly richer, time will tell.

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