I am so sick of my advice | Penelope Trunk Careers
"I am a good drunk. I could be an alcoholic and then write about it. Which brings up the fundamental problem of blogging. This blog works best when I am telling you what I’m learning, while I’m learning it, because then it’s so raw that I don’t have the time or energy or wherewithal to cover it up."
penelope-trunk  blogging  learning  writing 
july 2017
After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight - The New York Times
"There is always a weight a person’s body maintains without any effort. And while it is not known why that weight can change over the years — it may be an effect of aging — at any point, there is a weight that is easy to maintain, and that is the weight the body fights to defend. Finding a way to thwart these mechanisms is the goal scientists are striving for. First, though, they are trying to understand them in greater detail."

"Slower metabolisms were not the only reason the contestants regained weight, though. They constantly battled hunger, cravings and binges. The investigators found at least one reason: plummeting levels of leptin. The contestants started out with normal levels of leptin. By the season’s finale, they had almost no leptin at all, which would have made them ravenous all the time. As their weight returned, their leptin levels drifted up again, but only to about half of what they had been when the season began, the researchers found, thus helping to explain their urges to eat."

"But Dr. Ludwig said that simply cutting calories was not the answer. 'There are no doubt exceptional individuals who can ignore primal biological signals and maintain weight loss for the long term by restricting calories,' he said, but he added that 'for most people, the combination of incessant hunger and slowing metabolism is a recipe for weight regain — explaining why so few individuals can maintain weight loss for more than a few months.'"
dave-gets-fit  ny-times  biggest-loser  science  research  weight  weight-loss  food  health  diet 
may 2016
Rio 2016 organizers clamp down on costs amid Brazil recession - Oct. 7, 2015
"Organizers are also keenly aware of mass protests that broke out in 2013 aimed at generous spending on the 2014 World Cup."
developing-considerations  brazil  olympics  recession  protests 
january 2016
What China’s slowdown means for BRICS | Russia & India Report
"The decline in consumption of steel in China, which accounts for over 57% of world consumption of iron ore, would hit Brazil badly as rough estimates suggest that every 1% increase in Chinese steel consumption translates into a 0.4% increase in the quantity of iron ore exported by Brazil. It is likely the slowdown in China will hurt iron ore exports from Brazil."
developing-considerations  brazil  china  exports  commodities  recession  globalization  macro  economics 
january 2016
Brazil’s fall | The Economist
"Brazil’s crisis managers do not have the luxury of waiting for better times to begin reform. At 70% of GDP, public debt is worryingly large for a middle-income country and rising fast. Because of high interest rates, the cost of servicing it is a crushing 7% of GDP. The Central Bank cannot easily use monetary policy to fight inflation, currently 10.5%, as higher rates risk destabilising the public finances even more by adding to the interest bill. Brazil therefore has little choice but to raise taxes and cut spending."
developing-considerations  brazil  econ-mag  government  policy  austerity  recession  inflation  debt  crisis  h/t  tyler-cowen 
january 2016
What is the anti-austerity recommendation for Brazil?
"Too often, at the popular level, there is a confusion between 'austerity is bad' and 'the consequences of running out of money are bad.'"
developing-considerations  tyler-cowen  marginal-revolution  government  politics  Brazil  austerity 
january 2016
Seigniorage Definition | Investopedia
"The difference between the value of money and the cost to produce it - in other words, the economic cost of producing a currency within a given economy or country. If the seigniorage is positive, then the government will make an economic profit; a negative seigniorage will result in an economic loss."
developing-considerations  investopedia  central  banking  currency 
january 2016
Economic Issues No. 24 -- Full Dollarization

Summing up, the main pros and cons of dollarization are as follows:


- Dollarization avoids currency and balance of payments crises. Without a domestic currency there is no possibility of a sharp depreciation, or of sudden capital outflows motivated by fears of devaluation.
- A closer integration with both the global and U. S. economies would follow from lower transaction costs and an assured stability of prices in dollar terms.
- By definitively rejecting the possibility of inflationary finance through dollarization, countries might also strengthen their financial institutions and create positive sentiment toward investment, both domestic and international.


- Countries are likely to be reluctant to abandon their own currencies, symbols of their nationhood, particularly in favor of those of other nations. As a practical matter, political resistance is nearly certain, and likely to be strong.
- From an economic point of view, the right to issue a country's currency provides its government with seigniorage revenues, which show up as central bank profits and are transferred to the government. They would be lost to dollarizing countries and gained by the United States unless it agreed to share them.
- A dollarizing country would relinquish any possibility of having an autonomous monetary and exchange rate policy, including the use of central bank credit to provide liquidity support to its banking system in emergencies."
developing-considerations  foreign  currency  exchange  central  banking 
january 2016
Fed rate hike to put pressure on emerging market corporates in 2016
"Emerging market companies with debt in dollars and revenue in sinking local currencies could struggle as the US Federal Reserve begins what is expected to be a series of interest rate increases after years of easy money policies."
developing-considerations  finance  banking  macro  economics  capital  markets 
january 2016
"A remittance most commonly refers to the funds an expatriate sends to their country of origin via wire, mail, or online transfer. These peer to peer transfers of funds across borders are economically significant for many countries that receive them.

Since the year 2000, remittances have played an increasingly large role in the economies of small and developing countries. Since the late 1990s, remittances have exceeded development aid, and can often make up a full third of a country's GDP, for example, Nepal and Maldova. Remittance payments make up for a substantial amount of the flow of capital between countries. In 2014, $583 billion in USD was transferred between countries, $436 Billion of which was received by developing countries."
developing-considerations  investopedia  remittance  macro  economics 
december 2015
Emerging markets to receive $440 bn in remittances this year
"The work of overseas workers and their remittances have helped advance human development in both source and destination countries, it said, adding that between 1990 and 2013 the number of international migrants worldwide rose more than 92 million to 247 million with most of the growth between 2000 and 2010."
developing-considerations  remittances  finance  macro  economics  politics 
december 2015
Micro observations and the long, unglamorous road
"A few quirks I’ve noticed over the past months –

Focus related
– Listening to music on headphones helps my mind focus a lot more than listening to music on speakers
– A closed door or closed space helps with focus more than an open space
– Spaces with nice views of the outdoors (preferably with a lot of green) improve thinking by a huge degree

Insecurity related
– Lack of sleep is correlated with feeling more insecure/unsure of myself (this likely has a causal relationship – I’m not sure yet)
– On days when I feel insecure/unsure of myself, I literally feel colder and prefer having an extra layer on

Productivity related
– The more hurried I feel in the morning, the less mindful I am through the day – getting the morning right is critical
– The best way to get large projects done is to schedule small bits of thinking time well in advance – it doesn’t matter that I don’t solve any problems, it matters that I begin thinking about it

Reading related
– Audio books, Kindle books and physical books work for different kinds of reading (this is probably a blog post in itself)

I thought I’d share this random collection of micro observations to illustrate two points.

First, it is that the journey to self awareness involves collecting small micro insights such as these. Insights like this go a long way in helping us design a life that works for us. For instance, you will never catch me walking around without headphones. They enable me to focus wherever I want. Similarly, I’ve learnt to be very protective about my sleep schedule and morning routine. I also find leading indicators of days I feel insecure/unsure of myself really useful. These are days when I double down on being mindful, do the simple things right (e.g. exercise, eat well) and work to get back on right mentally.

Second, if it isn’t evident already, the road to self awareness is long and unglamorous. Often, when you reflect on this stuff, you don’t find stuff that delights you. You see behaviors that occasionally make you cringe because you catch yourself acting on some bizarre insecurity or you see random quirks which make very little sense. The point, of course, is awareness. With awareness comes acceptance and action."
a-learning-a-day  rohan  productiviy  perspective 
december 2015
What Clinton's Capital Gains Plan Won't Do - Bloomberg View
Mutual funds do have leeway on which stock they sell. If the fund has a big pile of Verizon stock, and some of it was purchased eight years ago, while some of it was purchased three months ago, they can say "I'm selling this vintage old stock, not that shiny new stock over here." And, according to a securities lawyer to whom I just popped this question, that is, in fact, what they typically do. This will tend to vitiate the effect of your new capital gains rule.
megan-mcardle  hillary-clinton  taxes  capital  capital-gains  bloomberg  view  politics  economics  finance  investing 
july 2015
When Bread Bags Weren't Funny - Bloomberg View
"There's a scene in one of the books where Laura is excited to get her own tin cup for Christmas, because she previously had to share with her sister. Think about that. No, go into your kitchen and look at your dishes. Then imagine if you had three kids, four plates and three cups, because buying another cup was simply beyond your household budget -- because a single cup for your kid to drink out of represented not a few hours of work, but a substantial fraction of your annual earnings, the kind of money you really had to think hard before spending."
megan-mcardle  bloomberg  view  economics  wealth  progress  rich 
january 2015
How to Be Polite — The Message — Medium
"People silently struggle from all kinds of terrible things. They suffer from depression, ambition, substance abuse, and pretension. They suffer from family tragedy, Ivy-League educations, and self-loathing. They suffer from failing marriages, physical pain, and publishing. The good thing about politeness is that you can treat these people exactly the same. And then wait to see what happens. You don’t have to have an opinion. You don’t need to make a judgment. I know that doesn’t sound like liberation, because we live and work in an opinion-based economy. But it is. Not having an opinion means not having an obligation. And not being obligated is one of the sweetest of life’s riches."
paul-ford  medium  the-message  polite  manners 
january 2015
Don't Be a Jerk. Buy Life Insurance. - Bloomberg View
"1. Stand firm, buy term. Do not go to an insurance agent, who will try to sell you some sort of complicated product. These go under various names -- “guaranteed return of premium,” “whole life,” “universal life.” All of them are also known as “a bad deal.” You don’t need insurance that doubles as a savings account; you need insurance that functions as actual insurance, providing a safety net against the catastrophic loss of your income. That’s called “term insurance,” because you buy it for a set number of years, and then it expires. You won’t get any money back at the end, but the premiums are much lower. If you just pop the difference into a mutual fund every month, you’ll come out well ahead. The only people who benefit from whole life insurance are engaged in complicated estate tax arbitrage, and if you are rich enough to need whole life, you probably don’t need it for the insurance.

2.Factor in future raises. If you’re 40 and buying insurance, you’re probably not going to want to try to buy another policy in 10 years, because insurance starts to get expensive in your 50s, especially if you develop a health problem between now and then. So remember that the next 15 years are likely to be your peak earning period, and factor in the loss not just of your current income, but also your future, higher income, and the retirement funds you’d expect to save out of it. That will keep you from having to go into the market again at 52 to buy more insurance. You may also want to adjust for inflation, though at current rates, I wouldn’t adjust much.

3. Think about how long your spouse will need the money. Say you are a 35-year-old high-paid lawyer, and your spouse is a social worker. They’re not going to top up their insurance by going back to work; they are working, at something that doesn’t pay well. If you die suddenly at 42, they’re probably going to be left with a much grimmer financial future than either of you expected, especially if you have kids at home. You need a longer term on your insurance and an amount that will replace your income while protecting against inflation. That means your spouse can’t touch the principal, or even all of the return -- which in turn means it needs to be a pretty big pile of cash.

4.Use an insurance broker. Sites like AccuQuote and Zander let you shop for policies from multiple insurers. But don’t just go for the cheapest rate; make sure it’s a highly rated insurer, information that is easily available online.

5. Know your state’s guaranty limits. Basically, each state has a reinsurance pool that guarantees at least a portion of your policy if your insurer goes out of business. Find out what that limit is, and if you’d be over it, split the policies up between two companies.

6. Be reasonable. Now that I have encouraged you to buy a ton of insurance, one caveat: Insurers are not going to want to write a $4 million policy on someone who earns $40,000, which seems like an invitation to fraud or spousicide. If you have a nonworking spouse, or one who makes substantially less money than you, then you probably need at least 10 times your annual income in insurance. But insurers will not let you push that to unreasonable ratios, and neither will your budget.

7. Don’t lie on your application. It’s tempting to shave some of the stats or maybe not mention a recent diagnosis in order to get a better rate. This is stupid in multiple ways. First, an insurer will generally want to give you a medical exam (or charge you an exorbitant rate). And second, if they find out you lied, they can cancel the policy or refuse to pay out.

8. If you’re uninsurable, don’t panic -- save. Some people are not able to buy term life insurance because they have a pre-existing condition that makes them a poor risk. (You didn’t think health insurers invented pre-existing conditions, did you?) If you are uninsurable and your spouse has limited earning power, then you need to put more of your income toward savings than someone with a nice, comforting pile of insurance money behind them. If you make it to 62 without dying or getting divorced, I give you permission to use some of that pile to go on the most amazing vacation in the history of the planet. But don’t boost your lifestyle now at the risk of leaving your spouse impoverished."
megan-mcardle  bloomberg  view  life  insurance  personal-finance  money 
january 2015
Seth's Blog: Law and order
At some point, the world (the project, the moment) becomes so chaotic or dangerous that we sacrifice law in exchange for order.

The question is: when.

When is it time to declare martial law? (or your version of it)

When do you abandon your project plan because the boss is hysterical? When do you go off the long-term, drip-by-drip approach to growth because cash flow is tight? When do you suspend one set of valued principles in order to preserve the thing you set out to build in the first place?

When Richard Nixon was at his most megalomaniacal, he was willing to suspend any law in his way to preserve what he saw as order. Failed entrepreneurs and project leaders fall into the same trap: it feels as though this time, it truly is the end of the road, and throwing away principles is tempting indeed.

You've probably met people who declare this sort of emergency ten times a year.

History is filled with examples of people who pushed the order button too soon... but few instances where people stuck with their principles for too long.
seth-godin  work  business  philosophy  values 
september 2014
10 years ago – at this time | A Learning a Day
So, let’s take this moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the last 10 years. If, like me, you’ve performed way above your own expectations, good for you. I’m sure it was a combination of luck and skill. If it didn’t, well, now is the best moment to change things so things look better when we ask this question 10 years later.
rohan  learning  reflecting  philosophy  happiness 
september 2014
The day I left my son in the car - Salon.com
I made a split-second decision to run into the store. I had no idea it would consume the next years of my life
kim-brooks  culture  parenting  salon 
august 2014
We Are Spending Way Too Much to Raise Our Kids - Bloomberg View
What we have, in other words, is a collective-action problem that is steadily ratcheting up the amount we spend on our kids.
megan-mcardle  bloomberg  kids  money  education  parenting 
august 2014
Seth's Blog: Clarity vs. impact
"Sometimes you can have both, sure, but often, being crystal clear about categorization, topic sentences and the deliverable get in the way of actually making an impact.

If you can make change with a memo containing three bullet points, then by all means, do so.

The rest of the time, you might have to sacrifice the easy ride of clarity for the dense fog of telling stories, using inferences, understanding worldviews and most of all, engaging in action, not outlining the details. of a hypothetical interaction.

It turns out, humans don't use explanations to make change happen. They change, and then try to explain it."
seth-godin  philosophy  communication 
june 2014
Seth's Blog: The proven way to add value
"Do extremely difficult work.

That seems obvious, right? If you do something that's valued but scarce because it's difficult, you're more likely to be in demand and to be compensated fairly for what you do.

The implication is stunning, though: When designing a project or developing a skill, seek out the most difficult parts to master and contribute. If it's easy, it's not for you."
seth-godin  work  business  career 
may 2014
Seth's Blog: Set a date
"If you haven't announced a date, you're not serious.

Pick a date. It can be far in the future. Too far, and we'll all know that you're merely stalling. A real date, a date we can live with and a date you can deliver on.

If your project can't pass this incredibly simple test, it's not a project.

Deliver whatever it is you say you're working on on the date you said you would, regardless of what external factors interfere. Deliver it even if you don't think it's perfect. You picked the date.

And as a professional, the career-making habit is this: once you set a date, never miss a date."
seth-godin  work  business  career  deadline  project 
may 2014
Seth's Blog: Speedometer confusion
"The number on the speedometer isn't always an indication of how fast you're getting to where you're going.

You might, after all, be driving in circles, really quickly.

Campbell's Law tells us that as soon as a number is used as the measurement for something, someone will get confused and start gaming the number, believing that they're also improving the underlying metric, when, in actuallity, they're merely making the number go up."
seth-godin  work  business  career  philosophy  numbers 
may 2014
Make three claims when trying to persuade
"How many positive claims should be used to produce the most positive impression of a product or service? This article posits that in settings where consumers know that the message source has a persuasion motive, the optimal number of positive claims is three. More claims are better until the fourth claim, at which time consumers’ persuasion knowledge causes them to see all the claims with skepticism. The studies in this paper establish and explore this pattern, which is referred to as the charm of three. An initial experiment finds that impressions peak at three claims for sources with persuasion motives but not for sources without a persuasion motive. Experiment 2 finds that this occurs for attitudes and impressions, and that increases in skepticism after three claims explain the effect. Two final experiments examine the process by investigating how cognitive load and sequential claims impact the effect."
persuasion  psychology  marginal-revolution  tyler-cowen 
may 2014
There's only one sensible way to measure economic inequality, Scott Sumner | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty
"You cannot put the burden of a tax on someone unless you cut into his or her consumption. If the Obama tax increases did not cause Gates and Buffett to tighten their belts, then they paid precisely 0% of that tax increase. Someone else paid, even if they wrote the check. If they invested less due to the tax, then workers might have received lower wages. If they gave less to charity then very poor African's paid the tax. I have no idea who paid, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Gates and Buffett."
econ-blogs  scott-sumner  macro  economics  wealth  taxes  growth 
april 2014
The Moral Is the Practical
"No one goes to the barricades for efficiency. For liberty, equality or fraternity, perhaps, but never for efficiency."
marginal-revolution  alex-tabarrok  tyler-cowen  immigration  policy  politics 
march 2014
How online investment advisers add value | Felix Salmon
The big picture here is that none of these products are bad. Vanguard is the elephant in the room: it has massive economies of scale, it is certainly going to be around for decades to come, and it’s the gold standard which any other investment product should be judged against. It’s never a bad choice. Betterment and Wealthfront both have higher fees than Vanguard, but give you real value in return for those fees. Wealthfront’s value is more quantifiable, and the company makes an extremely strong case that it delivers more than 25bp in value for the money that it’s charging. But Betterment’s value is also important. There’s a large and distressing difference between investment returns and investor returns: investment returns assume a perfectly rational buy-and-hold investor, but humans don’t behave that way. That’s one reason why Pimco spends a lot of money hedging tail risk in its RealRetirement products. If Betterment’s behavioral-finance based user focus can substantially narrow the gap between investment returns and investor returns, that could be just as valuable as all of Wealthfront’s bells and whistles.
personal-finance  felix-salmon  investing  vanguard  betterment  wealthfront  retirement  savings 
january 2014
The Gangs of Chicago - Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Atlantic
"When the officer wanted us to move, there was a very easy way to handle the situation. You step our your car. You introduce yourself. You ask questions about what we're doing. If we are breaking the law, you ask us to move. If we are not breaking the law and simply making your life hard, we are likely to move anyway. You are the power.

The cop did not speak to us as though he were human. He spoke to us like a gangster, like he was protecting his block. He was solving no crime. He was protecting no lives. He was holding down his corner. He didn't even bother with a change of uniform. An occupied SUV, parked at an intersection, announces its masters intentions."
chicago  police  ta-neshi-coates  atlantic-mag 
january 2014
Seth's Blog: Broken English
"Our ability to communicate with one another isn't nearly as sophisticated or error free as we think it is.

You will be misunderstood. If it's critical that we understand you, say it more clearly. Say it twice. Better yet, act it out, live it, make it an action, not merely a concept."
communication  business  seth-godin  language  speech 
january 2014
Claudia Goldin on the gender pay gap
"What, then, is the cause of the remaining pay gap? Quite simply the gap exists because hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous. That is, in many occupations earnings have a nonlinear relationship with respect to hours. A flexible schedule comes at a high price, particularly in the corporate, finance and legal worlds."
economics  gender  econ-blogs  marginal-revolution  tyler-cowen  claudia-goldin 
january 2014
Seth's Blog: Understanding sponsorship
it's worth thinking a little bit about why organizations buy sponsorships.

1. It might be a substitute for advertising. How many people see it? How much does it cost per person? (this is the cpm, but instead of cost per thousand page views or magazine readers, it's cost per thousand impressions, which come in a myriad of ways). I think this is the film festival/book fair model. It's a reasonable way to reach a hard to reach, high value group.

2. It might be a bragging rights thing. This means that the sponsor isn't focused on tonnage, but instead wants the affiliation that they can mention to others. Sort of a reverse endorsement. The thing being sponsored isn't a media outlet, then, but a license by affiliation. An example of this might be sponsoring a speaker coming to town. Clearly, the 500 people in the audience don't constitute a useful CPM, but the fact that you did it gains you authority with those that notice what you did.

3. It might be a chance to influence the organization being sponsored. This would explain why big corporations are willing to sponsor political conventions.

4. It might be a useful way to inspire and focus your internal organization. When the people who work for you see you sponsoring a worthy charity or a thoughtful opinion leader, it changes how they do their job or how they focus their efforts.

5. It makes the CEO happy and earns the organization a seat at certain sorts of tables. I think this is the model for sponsoring a sports stadium, an act that has never been shown to have any value at all as a mass media choice.
marketing  sponsorship  business  seth-godin  finance 
january 2014
Seth's Blog
Answering, "anyone who pays us money," is a cop out.

Almost as bad is describing your customers by demographics. It's only a little interesting to know that they are, on average, 32 year old, white, male, lacrosse fans.

No, what we need to know is:

What do they believe?

Who do they trust?

What are they afraid of and who do they love?

What are they seeking?

Who are their friends?

What do they talk about?
business  marketing  seth-godin  customers 
january 2014
Make It Your Job : zenhabits
"When you’re feeling resentful or angry about something, it’s worth stopping to consider why."
zen-habits  leo-babauta  family  happiness 
november 2013
Seth's Blog: On owning it
"If you announce what you want, if you are clear about what's on offer, if you set goals...

the chances of accomplishing your goal go up, and so does...
the chance that you will be disappointed
For many people, apparently, it's better to not get what you want than it is to be disappointed. The resistance is powerful indeed.

Every time you use waffle words, back off from a clear statement of values and priorities and most of all, think about what's likely instead of what's possible, you are selling yourself out. Not just selling yourself out, but doing it too cheaply.

Own your dreams. There is no better way to make them happen."
seth-godin  work  philosophy  Motivation  inspiration  Goals 
october 2013
Be Yourself, but Carefully - Harvard Business Review
"1. Build a foundation of self-knowledge.
2. Consider relevance to the task.
3. Keep revelations genuine.
4. Understand the organizational and cultural context.
5. Delay or avoid very personal disclosures. Intimate stories strengthen relationships; they don’t establish them."
hbr-org  career  work  business  authenticity  lists 
october 2013
Four Tips for Better Strategic Planning - Ron Ashkenas - Harvard Business Review
"Insist on experiments to test the assumptions you’ve made.

Banish fuzzy language.

Escape from template tyranny.

Ask provocative questions."
ron-askenas  hbr-org  business  strategy  planning 
october 2013
The Five Cognitive Distortions of People Who Get Stuff Done
"1. Personal Exceptionalism
2. Dichotomous Thinking
3. Correct Overgeneralization
4. Blank Canvas Thinking
5. Schumpeterism"
business  psychology  success  Lists  work  career 
september 2013
How To Make Your Life Better By Sending Five Simple Emails Read more: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/07/make-your-life-better/#ixzz2eUBi9kE0
"At the end of the week, send your boss an email and sum up what you’ve accomplished.
They probably have no idea what you’re doing with your time. They’re busy. They have their own problems.
For your boss, this let’s them know what you’ve been up to without having to ask and saves them from wondering and worrying. They’ll appreciate it and probably come to rely on it.
For you, it’s proactive and shows off your efforts, which Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer says is the key to success in any organization:
…you should make sure that your performance is visible to your boss and your accomplishments are visible. Your superiors in the organization have their own jobs, are managing their own careers, are busy human beings. And you should not assume that they’re spending all their time thinking about you and worrying about you and your career."
lists  emails  work  personal  business  happiness 
september 2013
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