How Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Cancer Expert, Spends His Sundays
"BOOKWORMS All of us are big readers. In fact, I think our apartment is one giant bookstore with stacks of books everywhere. I read maybe two books a week and multiple ones at the same time. We tend to hit bookstores on Sunday afternoons so we can buy books to add to our collection. Books of Wonder has great children’s books, and I love 192 Books, an independent store which sells all varieties of books. By 4, we’re back home, and a silence falls over the house while everyone is buried in reading."
from instapaper
4 days ago
Love, Happiness, and Time
"Rovelli continues:

The difference between things and events is that things persist in time; events have a limited duration. A stone is a prototypical “thing”: we can ask ourselves where it will be tomorrow. Conversely, a kiss is an “event.” It makes no sense to ask where the kiss will be tomorrow. The world is made up of networks of kisses, not of stones.

Will it be more rewarding and useful to conceptualize love and happiness like time? An event, not a thing. A kiss, not a stone.

If you think of love like a stone—to be fair, we often do—it is a thing that you attain. You may have an expectation that it will persist and continue to exist. So when you and your partner fight, and it seems the love disappears for an evening, you panic. The love is gone! The thing that connects you wasn’t permanent at all. What does that say about your relationship?

If we change our thinking to love being an event, like a kiss, then a burden is lifted. It’s an event we experience with our partners many times, but not always. And then we can focus on creating the conditions that the event of love requires, even if it might not come to pass every moment of every day."
from instapaper
4 days ago
Everyone Wants to ‘Influence’ You - The New York Times
We like to think of our characters as fixed: We have our beliefs and our morals, religions and parties, states and countries, friends and enemies. We are inevitably ourselves — inescapably ourselves. We should be able to resist this kind of manipulation. But a steady stream of social-science studies suggests otherwise, demonstrating again and again how easily social pressures can affect the things we say, believe, do, think, eat. Our anxiety over influence goes back to the same fear Thomas Aquinas had, the same doubt families of alcoholics or cult members have. In the face of powerful influences, how can you locate and hold onto that original, irrefutable spark of self, your free will, your character, even your soul? That’s the fear that the idea of influence lays bare: that you can’t. Or that it might never have existed in the first place.
Power&Politics  influence  persuasion 
18 days ago
Forget Trying to Craft a 'Genius' Daily Routine. Do Like Billionaire Sara Blakely and Worry More About Your Weekly Routine
""There are certain days that I have segmented. Wednesday is always meeting day. I have meetings with my direct reports and key people I'm involved with in the business all day Wednesday. Monday is my think day. I usually clear my entire calendar for Monday, unless something urgent comes up. I use that day to create and think. Thursdays, I spend a lot of time with the product and creative team. Tuesday and Friday, as things come up, each can be a little different," she reports."
from instapaper
18 days ago
A Saudi Prince’s Quest to Remake the Middle East
"M.B.S.’s appointments also allowed him to display his apparently irrepressible ambition. In April, 2016, when President Obama paid his final visit to Saudi Arabia, he and King Salman sat facing each other, with their aides grouped around them. Obama’s advisers noticed that, each time the President spoke, Salman, who was eighty, paused before answering, while M.B.S., several seats to his left, typed on an iPad. When M.B.S. finished, the King read from an iPad of his own and then responded to Obama. “The chances of that being a coincidence are quite low,” a former national-security official told me."
from instapaper
25 days ago
A Saudi Prince’s Quest to Remake the Middle East
"In the seventy years since Saudi Arabia began exporting oil at scale, it has grown into the largest economy in the Middle East, with a welfare state whose benefits include free education and health care, along with subsidized food, electricity, and housing. But the economy relies overwhelmingly on oil; the country exports almost nothing else, and imports almost everything else, from food to freshwater. The welfare state was built on the expectation that the price of oil would remain at historic levels of at least a hundred dollars a barrel. It is now about sixty-two dollars, and is widely predicted to keep falling. “If you are the guy driving the Saudi bus, my advice would be to get off it as soon as you can,” Jan Stuart, an energy economist in New York, told me. The former defense official put it even more starkly: “In five to seven years, at current trends, they’re broke.”

The economic pressures on the Saudi state are likely to get worse. Close to seventy per cent of the population is under thirty years old. Every year, the government pays for as many as seventy thousand young people to study in the United States. Those students return home wanting jobs and, often, at least some of the freedoms that they enjoyed in the West."
from instapaper
25 days ago
Productivity
"I find most meetings are best scheduled for 15-20 minutes, or 2 hours. The default of 1 hour is usually wrong, and leads to a lot of wasted time."
from instapaper
26 days ago
Productivity
"I am relentless about getting my most important projects done—I’ve found that if I really want something to happen and I push hard enough, it usually happens.

I try to be ruthless about saying no to stuff, and doing non-critical things in the quickest way possible. I probably take this too far—for example, I am almost sure I am terse to the point of rudeness when replying to emails."
from instapaper
26 days ago
Productivity
"make sure to leave enough time in my schedule to think about what to work on. The best ways for me to do this are reading books, hanging out with interesting people, and spending time in nature."
from instapaper
26 days ago
History will judge Colombia’s outgoing president kindly
"Why do more Colombians not recognise Mr Santos’s achievements? A stable but recently mediocre economy has made them grouchy. The president often over-promised, on everything from roads to peace. He lacks the popular touch. But he is right, at least in part, to blame the implacable and often disloyal opposition of Mr Uribe, who repeatedly accused him of handing Colombia over to communism."
from instapaper
27 days ago
History will judge Colombia’s outgoing president kindly
"But history, and Colombians, will remember Mr Santos for one thing: the agreement that, after almost five years of talks, put an end to more than 50 years of fighting by the FARC, a leftist guerrilla army, and which won him the Nobel peace prize. The accord has seen some 10,000 former fighters disarm and begin to enter civilian life. Provided their leaders confess to their crimes before a special tribunal, which began its work this month, they will face only symbolic punishment. On July 20th ten former FARC leaders took their seats in Colombia’s Congress.

These concessions are unacceptable to many Colombians, who think the FARC’s commanders belong in jail. Mr Santos narrowly lost a referendum on the peace agreement in 2016. The government then sat down with the leaders of the No campaign, including Mr Uribe, and acted on most of their suggestions to renegotiate many details of the accord. Nevertheless, Mr Duque promises to undo parts of it. Mr Santos is confident that it cannot be reversed. Others are less sure."
from instapaper
27 days ago
https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Academy-Is-Largely/245080/
"Q. You get asked about your productivity a lot. I gather it’s a question you don’t like.

A. I sometimes say to people — this is like a 1930s thing to say, you can picture Barbara Stanwyck saying it in a noir film — it’s like complimenting a girl on her personality. It’s not about "You do good work," it’s about "You do a lot of work."

For a lot of people writing is an agony; it’s a part of what we do as scholars that they least enjoy. For me writing is a complete and total joy, and if I’m not writing I’m miserable. I have always written a lot. For years, before I wrote for The New Yorker, I wrote an op-ed every day as practice and shoved it in a drawer. It’s not about being published, it’s about the desire to constantly be writing. It’s such a strongly felt need that if it was something socially maladaptive it would be considered a vice."
from instapaper
28 days ago
https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-Academy-Is-Largely/245080/
"Q. How is the academy implicated in or imperiled by this moment of epistemological crisis?

A. The academy is largely itself responsible for its own peril. The retreat of humanists from public life has had enormous consequences for the prestige of humanistic ways of knowing and understanding the world.

Universities have also been complicit in letting sources of federal government funding set the intellectual agenda. The size and growth of majors follows the size of budgets, and unsurprisingly so. After World War II, the demands of the national security state greatly influenced the exciting fields of study. Federal-government funding is still crucial, but now there’s a lot of corporate money. Whole realms of knowing are being brought to the university through commerce.

I don’t expect the university to be a pure place, but there are questions that need to be asked. If we have a public culture that suffers for lack of ability to comprehend other human beings, we shouldn’t be surprised. The resources of institutions of higher learning have gone to teaching students how to engineer problems rather than speak to people."
from instapaper
28 days ago
Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
"In exchanges like these, I was struck by what a paralyzing and vicious cycle unhappiness and abstinence can be. The data show that having sex makes people happier (up to a point, at least; for those in relationships, more than once a week doesn’t seem to bring an additional happiness bump). Yet unhappiness inhibits desire, in the process denying people who are starved of joy one of its potential sources. Are rising rates of unhappiness contributing to the sex recession? Almost certainly. But mightn’t a decline in sex and intimacy also be leading to unhappiness?"
from instapaper
28 days ago
Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
"Maybe choice overload applies a little differently than Slater imagined. Maybe the problem is not the people who date and date some more—they might even get married, if Rosenfeld is right—but those who are so daunted that they don’t make it off the couch. This idea came up many times in my conversations with people who described sex and dating lives that had gone into a deep freeze. Some used the term paradox of choice; others referred to option paralysis (a term popularized by Black Mirror); still others invoked fobo (“fear of a better option”).

And yet online dating continues to attract users, in part because many people consider apps less stressful than the alternatives. Lisa Wade suspects that graduates of high-school or college hookup culture may welcome the fact that online dating takes some of the ambiguity out of pairing up (We’ve each opted in; I’m at least a little bit interested in you). The first time my husband and I met up outside work, neither of us was sure whether it was a date. When you find someone via an app, there’s less uncertainty."
from instapaper
28 days ago
Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex?
"Teenagers, for one. An intriguing study published last year in the Journal of Population Economics examined the introduction of broadband internet access at the county-by-county level, and found that its arrival explained 7 to 13 percent of the teen-birth-rate decline from 1999 to 2007."
from instapaper
28 days ago
Christian Wiman’s stubborn, slippery faith
"The ultimate subject of He Held Radical Light is faith. Wiman accepts the practical need for religion, for “communal ritual and meaningful creeds.” Yet he much prefers the amorphous nature of faith, so he fears the trouble of religion is that “to define is to defile. One either lives toward God or not.” We need faith because poetry (and art in general) “is not enough.” Wiman writes,

Those spots of time are not enough to hang a life on. At some point you need a universally redemptive activity. You need grace that has nothing to do with your own efforts, for at some point—whether because of disease or despair, exhaustion or loss—you will have no efforts left to make.

For a poet who once wanted to write an eternal poem, that is a nice humility. Wiman returned to faith after his cancer diagnosis, but he has also described the slippery nature of that faith. “It has been my experience,” Wiman testifies, “that faith, like art, is most available when I cease to seek it, cease even to believe in it, perhaps, if by belief one means that busy attentiveness, that purposeful modern consciousness that knows its object.” He Held Radical Light captures that dogged, hypnotic stubbornness of faith."
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
How “Silicon Valley” Nails Silicon Valley
"Before writing the episode, Judge and Berg spent a weekend at TechCrunch Disrupt, in San Francisco. “That’s the first thing you notice,” Judge said. “It’s capitalism shrouded in the fake hippie rhetoric of ‘We’re making the world a better place,’ because it’s uncool to just say ‘Hey, we’re crushing it and making money.’” After the scene aired, viewers complained about the lack of diversity in the audience. Berg recalled, “A friend of mine who works in tech called me and said, ‘Why aren’t there any women? That’s bullshit!’ I said to her, ‘It is bullshit! Unfortunately, we shot that audience footage at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.’”"
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Call them power skills, not soft skills | LinkedIn
"Here's the thing. Look at what is in the bucket of soft skills: team management, interpersonal communication, empathy, conflict resolution, critical thinking, perspective-taking. The so-called “soft skills” are neither easy nor are they out of place in an organisation. The origin of the dichotomy comes from a US Army assessment between 1960-1970. Hard skills were hard because they were well-defined and straightforward. Soft skills were soft because “we don't know much about the physical and social environments in which the skill occurs and...the consequences of different ways of accomplishing the job function”.

In fact, the hard skills are actually the easy ones to grasp. You can wrap your head around them. Advanced calculus, or understanding the chain rule, or fiddling with a Gantt chart is really teachable and manageable once you know how. What is truly tough is persuading a child to do something they don't want to do. Or resolving a conflict between two, three or more people. Or motivating a recalcitrant team to follow you, even when the data doesn't support it. Or deciding that even when the data suggests it, something shouldn't be done. That's hard."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
The Case Against Running With Headphones
"Our sport seems mindless only to people who never run long enough for any thought to form other than “When can I stop running?” But the only way to succeed as a long-distance runner is to do it mindfully, to be aware of the body and the world it is moving through."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Burn the boat – Peter Bromka – Medium
"And yet, as a husband and a father, this pursuit cannot and should not be my entire focus. I’ve heard of people putting their running ahead of their marriage and their children, just that idea breaks my heart. Our task is to maximize our spirit and our speed while life allows."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Are You an Ethical Leader?
"What does happen?

Shotts: If you want to live according to a set of values, that’s a legitimate reason to push for regulation, to say, “You know, we’re going to be at a competitive disadvantage if other firms do bad, unethical practices, and we would like the government to step in.” And if you can’t get the government to do it, maybe approach activist groups and say, “You know, we’re happy to work with you to monitor our competition and shine the light on them if they’re doing stuff wrong.”"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Are You an Ethical Leader?
"In your class, you mention how regulations force companies to abide by societal values. In the U.S., we’re seeing deregulation in everything from the environment to finance. What does that mean for a values-based leader?

Shotts: Deregulation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It doesn’t occur without the participation of companies. Governments set the rules, and companies influence the rules. First, it’s incumbent upon business leaders to think about whether it’s ethical for them to push for a certain set of rules, and second, whether they should hold themselves as a firm or an industry to some higher standard than what the law requires.

There can be reasons to hold one’s self to a higher standard. They might be the values of the employees within the company. A great example is the pharmaceutical industry, where a lot of people work in the industry because they care about health care. In the industry’s traditional business model, if you get a successful drug, you have to exploit that IP as much as you can. This created a big conflict around 2000 with the global AIDS epidemic, when the pharmaceutical companies charged a fortune for their drugs. They got all this negative flak for it, partially because people within the companies were dissatisfied. They’re like, “We’re trying to improve people’s health. What are we doing with this pricing?”"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Are You an Ethical Leader?
"Shotts: We need to use both the gut and analytical approaches to decisions, particularly for high-stakes stuff. And we need to do analysis well. I can come up with a spreadsheet and rig it so it aligns with my gut instincts. One of my best friends did this when he was trying to decide where to go to college. He kept jiggering the spreadsheet until it gave him the answer he wanted.

Malhotra: Very high-functioning people don’t often understand that they use their intellect to rationalize their gut. The story of Supreme Court decisions, for example, is basically extreme intellectual rationalization of gut reactions.

How do we counteract that?

Shotts: Take time. If we have to do something quickly, our gut is the only thing we can use. It’s only possible to use both our gut and reason if we take time. Also, rely on other people. This requires setting up an organizational structure where it’s OK for the person in charge to be disagreed with or criticized. Highly functioning organizations do that well, while dysfunctional organizations penalize people who disagree.

Malhotra: Powerful people typically don’t perceive that other people are agreeing with them because of their role. They have to learn to recognize that."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
2018 New York Marathon is the race of a lifetime for Allie Kieffer
"In August, Kieffer acknowledged the skepticism head-on and read the LetsRun comments aloud in a series of Instagram videos. One by one, she ticked them off. Then she addressed the camera directly.

"Unfortunately, I'm the type of person who actually cares what people on these message boards write about them," she said. "The words that I'm too old and I'm too big and I'm doping? Those hurt." She was seething with anger now. She knew she couldn't stop the chatter at this point in the year. But in November, New York would come back around again.

New York would be her answer. She would speak through her body. From now on, she would control the message.

"I'm going to use your words as ammunition -- to prove you wrong," she said into the camera. "Because I'm not too old. And I'm not too big. And I'm not doping. I'm here to stay.""
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
What’s All This About Journaling?
"If you’re distressed about something, Dr. Pennebaker advises, set aside three to four days to write for 15 to 20 minutes a day about it. If you don’t find a benefit from it, he says, “stop doing it. Go jogging. See a therapist. Go to a bar. Go to church.”"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
An Aging Marathoner Tries to Run Fast After 40
"Running faster always feels good, but running faster when you’re getting old feels good in a different way. When we’re young we wake up in the morning knowing that we’re probably stronger, taller, and faster than the day before. We want to be older because we want to be at our peak.

At some point, that desire fades, and then it flips. We wake up knowing we’re weaker and slower, and we have to work hard to stay in the same place as the day before. It’s all partly an illusion: We get a day older, whether we spend it running up a mountain or lying on a couch. Still, going faster means we’re doing something right.

I know, though, that it all has to end at some point. My joints will give out, my back will start to ache, or maybe reason will prevail. There are advantages to finding hobbies that don’t depend on exhaustion and obsession. Still, I don’t think I’m quite ready. One of the perversities of the sport is that, like gambling, it’s very hard to quit after you’ve done well."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Why Science Can’t Tell Us How to Live
"But in the end, any account of moral reasoning that omits a Christian understanding of right and wrong is destined to fail. For Christians, the fundamental problem with the quest for a scientific understanding of morality is the attempt to establish moral law while explicitly ruling out the possibility of a moral lawgiver. Unless those seeking a common morality through the humanities are open to the idea of grounding that morality in something higher than human beings themselves, they will founder on the same shoals that wrecked attempts to arrive at morality through science. Even the very best history, literature, and philosophy won’t build a reliable bridge between “is” and “ought.”"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Why Science Can’t Tell Us How to Live
"Science can tell us the way things are but not the way things ought to be. In the language of philosophy, it can’t derive an “ought” from an “is.”"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Opinion | The Ambition Explosion
"Capitalism on its own breeds people who are vaguely aware that they are not living the spiritually richest life, who are ill-equipped to know how they might do so, who don’t have the time to do so, and who, when they go off to find fulfillment, end up devoting themselves to scattershot causes and light religions.

To survive, capitalism needs to be embedded in a moral culture that sits in tension with it, and provides a scale of values based on moral and not monetary grounds. Capitalism, though, is voracious. The personal ambition it arouses is always threatening to blot out the counterculture it requires."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
What I Learned About Life at My 30th College Reunion
"Every classmate who became a teacher or doctor seemed happy with the choice of career.
Many lawyers seemed either unhappy or itching for a change, with the exception of those who became law professors. (See No. 2 above.)
Nearly every single banker or fund manager wanted to find a way to use accrued wealth to give back (some had concrete plans, some didn’t), and many, at this point, seemed to want to leave Wall Street as soon as possible to take up some sort of art.
Speaking of art, those who went into it as a career were mostly happy and often successful, but they had all, in some way, struggled financially.
They say money can’t buy happiness, but in an online survey of our class just prior to the reunion, those of us with more of it self-reported a higher level of happiness than those with less."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Twitter
Brad designed my deck and absolutely crushed it. Thanks, !
from twitter_favs
7 weeks ago
The Importance of Meeting In-Person
a great visualization of the network at Automatic following meetups
network 
8 weeks ago
WHO DISPLAYS ETHICAL LEADERSHIP, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? AN EXAMINATION OF ANTECEDENTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF ETHICAL LEADERSHIP
In the present research, we examine antecedents
of ethical leadership by testing whether one source
of motivation for leaders to exhibit ethical behav-
iors arises from a self-defining knowledge structure
that several writers (e.g., Aquino & Reed, 2002;
Blasi, 1983, 2004; Damon & Hart, 1992; Lapsley &
Narvaez, 2004) refer to as moral identity . Our the-
oretical model posits that moral identity motivates
leaders to act in ways that demonstrate some re-
sponsiveness to the needs and interests of others,
an orientation that many philosophers (e.g., Kant,
1948) and psychologists (e.g., Eisenberg, 2000; Gil-
ligan, 1982) consider a defining characteristic of
moral behavior. We also explore consequences of
ethical leadership at the work-unit level by draw-
ing on social learning theory (Bandura, 1977, 1986).
We focus on unit-level outcomes because group
members exposed to similar cues in an environ-
ment regarding norms for appropriate behavior
tend to behave in a fairly homogeneous manner
(e.g., Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978). The specific out-
comes we examine include unethical behavior (i.e.,
behavior that is morally unacceptable to the larger
community [Jones, 1991]) and relationship conflict
(i.e., interpersonal strife associated with differ-
ences in personalities or matters unrelated to a job
[Jehn, 1995]).
ethics  Power&Politics 
8 weeks ago
How Do We Make the Long-Term Decisions That Matter?
"What are the habits of people who excel at long-term thinking? One of Johnson’s thought-provoking points is that they read novels, which are ideal exercises in mental time travel and empathy. I think he’s right. That said, I’ve also found value in other evidence-based techniques for catapulting our brains into the future, like coming face-to-face with an image of ourselves digitally aged to make us look 30 years older. And I finished this book curious about whether looking farther into the past is another way to paint a richer portrait of the future."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Even light drinking increases risk of death | The Source | Washington University in St. Louis
Although some earlier studies have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, Hartz said the new study shows that those potential gains are outweighed by other risks. Her team evaluated heart disease risk and cancer risk and found that although in some cases, drinking alcohol may reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking increased cancer risk and, as a result, mortality risk.

“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” she said. “With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”
alcohol 
9 weeks ago
Drawing is the best way to learn, even if you’re no Leonardo da Vinci
"But we’ve been thinking about drawing all wrong, says the design historian D.B. Dowd. In his illuminating new book, titled Dowd argues that putting a pencil to paper shouldn’t be about making art at all.

“We have misfiled the significance of drawing because we see it as a professional skill instead of a personal capacity,” he writes. “This essential confusion has stunted our understanding of drawing and kept it from being seen as a tool for learning above all else.”

Put another way: Drawing shouldn’t be about performance, but about process. It’s not just for the “artists,” or even the weekend hobbyists. Think of it as a way of observing the world and learning, something that can be done anytime, like taking notes, jotting down a thought, or sending a text."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"On the other hand, leaders are not just born, they are also made, and we have to look at the circumstances of Johnson’s burning ambition. When he was an adolescent, Johnson’s parents went bankrupt. So Johnson lived his life in poverty. More to the point, he spent his boyhood in humiliation. To be a Johnson was to be a figure of ridicule in the Texas Hill Country. He lived in this little town in the middle of nowhere, and that was his whole world. His father was a laughingstock, a quixotic bankrupt rancher, ridiculed by one and all. His brother, Sam, once said to me that “the most important thing for Lyndon was not to be like Daddy.” When you hear that, then you understand an awful lot about Lyndon Johnson. He did some wonderful things and he did some terrible things, and they all came out of the same place. He was driven by demons and those demons were real. It wasn’t just the poverty he grew up in, it was the loneliness, the terrible loneliness of his youth. When it comes to a great leader like Lyndon Johnson, I would have to say that heredity and humiliation combined to produce his extraordinary drive to succeed. Out of that came the civil rights program. We got the War on Poverty and the Great Society. We also got Vietnam."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"For Johnson, all men were tools, and to use them he had to know their weaknesses. Of course, most people don’t voluntarily show their weaknesses, and he had to employ all manner of stratagems to get people to expose them. For instance, he believed that what a man said with his mouth was less relevant than what he said with his eyes. So he taught his staff to read people’s eyes. Another of his favorite gambits was to keep a conversation going. He knew that what a person wants to tell you is never as important as what he doesn’t want to tell you, and the longer he could keep a conversation with someone going, the better he could see what that person was avoiding. Not surprisingly, Johnson was a great conversationalist. He seldom read books, but he did know how to read people."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Most senators—maybe all senators but Lyndon Johnson—come to the Senate and look for the most powerful, the most prestigious committee to get on. That’s not what Johnson did. Once he knew that Russell was the power in the Senate, he checked to see what Russell’s committee was. It was Armed Services. So Lyndon Johnson asked to be on the Armed Services committee. And because nobody else wanted to be on that committee, he got straight in."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"With powerful men, he made himself what his friends called a “professional son.” In each institution in which he worked, he found an older man who had great power, who had no son of his own, and who was lonely. In Austin, it was the powerful state senator, Alvin Wirtz; in the House of Representatives, it was the Speaker, Sam Rayburn; in the Senate, it was the leader of the Southern block, Richard Russell of Georgia. In each case, he attached himself to the man, kept reminding him that his own father was dead and that he was looking on him as his new “Daddy.” Rayburn and Russell were bachelors; Johnson made them part of his family, constantly inviting them over for meals. Sundays were very important in this technique: On Sundays, Johnson would have Russell to brunch, Rayburn to dinner. He wouldn’t have them together because, as one of Johnson’s friends put it: “He didn’t want his two daddies to see how he acted with the other one.”

With older men of authority in general, Johnson would do literally what the cliché says: sit at the feet of an older man to absorb his knowledge."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Very much so. Johnson not only voted against civil rights legislation in the House and Senate, he voted against it every single time for 20 years. And he didn’t just vote against civil rights—he actively worked against it. But did that mean he was really opposed to civil rights? No, because when he consolidated his power, the first thing he did was pass a civil rights bill. Johnson’s early opposition to civil rights stemmed from his realism: He saw things as they were, not as he wanted them to be. Now, that sounds like a really simple thing, and I’m sure they teach you that in business school. But the truth is that it’s not simple because every aspect of human nature militates against it. We all hear what we want to hear. We go to a doctor and don’t want to learn that we have terminal cancer. We want to hear that there is a way of curing it. Johnson never made that kind of mistake. He realized that he would never amass the power to pass civil rights unless he got close to the people who were already powerful. In the Senate, the powerful senators were almost all Southerners. Given the realities of power at that time, that meant he had to oppose civil rights. So that’s what he did. Once again, this showed his pragmatism—not only his pragmatism but his absolute pragmatism."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"It’s 1957, and Johnson wants to pass the civil rights bill. It’s a daunting challenge. Because of the Senate’s rules governing filibusters, the bill’s opponents need to get only 33 votes to kill it, which is why no civil rights bill has been passed since Reconstruction. The South has 22 votes by itself, and if you include the Midwest and Republican conservatives, you get up to 33 very fast. After trying for months to get a bill through, Johnson seems to give up. He goes back to Texas, and if you look at the telephone logs for that time at the ranch, you see that he’s not getting many telephone calls. Nobody in Washington can help him—in fact, they’re telling him to give up. There comes a time in the life of a leader when nobody can help you out but yourself. Only you can figure out how to go forward—and 99% of people can’t do it. Johnson figured it out."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"A lot of politicians delude themselves in counting votes—fool themselves. They’re overly optimistic. They hear what they want to hear; if some senator seems to be agreeing with them, they think he will vote with them in the crunch. Lyndon Johnson never fooled himself. When one of his staffers would come back and say he “thought” he knew which way a senator would vote on an issue, Johnson would say, “What good is thinking to me? Thinking isn’t good enough. Thinking is never good enough. I need to know.”"
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Yes. And that’s what makes his life a study in leadership. Johnson liked power. Of course, you could say with Johnson, in some ways power meant being able to bend people to his will and to ruin their careers and their personal reputations, if necessary. And he could certainly do that. Here’s another thing Lyndon Johnson said about himself: “I’m just like a fox. I can see the jugular in any man and go for it.” My books on Johnson contain more than a few instances of him destroying men by figuring out their weakness and using it against them. But with Johnson it was more than that. He had a plan.

With a lot of people, when they get power, there’s nothing there but the desire for power. They have no agenda but to dominate other men. Lyndon Johnson also sought power to accomplish goals. His drive for power was inseparable from what he wanted power for. As I just said, power reveals, and it’s significant to me that when he got it he turned into a great social reformer. At heart he really did care. When I was learning about him, I found this strain of compassion and found that it ran through his whole life."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"As far as I’m concerned, biography is a tool for understanding power: how it is acquired and how it is used. I never had any interest in writing about a man or woman just to tell the life of a famous person. All my books are about power and about how leaders use power to accomplish things. We’re all taught the Lord Acton saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But the more time I spend looking into power, the less I feel that is always true. What I do feel is invariably correct—what power always does—is reveal. Power reveals. When a leader gets enough power, when he doesn’t need anybody anymore—when he’s president of the United States or CEO of a major corporation—then we can see how he always wanted to treat people, and we can also see—by watching what he does with his power—what he wanted to accomplish all along. And if you pick the right subject—like Lyndon Johnson—you can also see through a biography how power can be used for very large purposes indeed."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Lessons in Power: Lyndon Johnson Revealed
"Successful leaders somehow manage to do both—accumulate power and use it to some great end. And few leaders have done both so well as the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson. For most of his career, Johnson was an archetypical politician, trading favors and flattery in generous measure. He was manipulative and devious, searching out and exploiting the weaknesses of colleagues and rivals alike. Yet once Johnson achieved the power he so ruthlessly sought, he seemed to undergo a sea change, turning into a visionary of breathtaking scope. It was Johnson who first put civil rights on the statute books and who launched the War on Poverty. But then, of course, there was Vietnam. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s possible to imagine that Johnson saw this, too, as some kind of statesman’s crusade, with communism rather than poverty as the enemy. If so, it was a crusade gone too far, and Johnson ended up destroying the political capital he had so expertly built up over the years."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Unpublished and Untenured, a Philosopher Inspired a Cult Following
"This type of character, though unusual, is not unheard-of in philosophy. Unlike, say, history or sociology, philosophy has long reserved a place for the occasional talent who struggles or declines to publish. The tradition dates back to Socrates, who not only didn’t write but also disparaged writing as too rigid a medium to capture “the living, breathing discourse of the man who knows.” (Plato’s words, of course.) Even as recently as the second half of the 20th century, many philosophy departments still employed a resident Socratic figure — a nonpublishing legend like Sidney Morgenbesser of Columbia or Rogers Albritton of Harvard — as if to provide a daily reminder that the discipline’s founding virtues of intellectual spontaneity, dialectical responsiveness and lack of dogmatism did not lend themselves naturally to the settled view of a treatise."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Opinion | A Complete National Disgrace - The New York Times
What we saw in these hearings was the unvarnished tribalization of national life. At the heart of the hearings were two dueling narratives, one from Christine Blasey Ford and one from Brett Kavanaugh. These narratives were about what did or did not happen at a party 36 years ago. There was nothing particularly ideological about the narratives, nothing that touched on capitalism, immigration or any of the other great disputes of national life.
politics  ideology 
10 weeks ago
The world’s youngest continent
"This is no accident. Sixty percent of Africans are under the age of 25. The median age is 19. (By comparison, in North America it’s 35.) And the number of young people in Africa is expected to grow in the decades ahead.

The other thing that always strikes me during my trips to Africa is the unbridled optimism of this young generation. Even in the face some tough health and development challenges, most of the youth I meet have a positive outlook about the future."
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Elite Law Schools Turn Against Conservatism
"Far more significant, though, is the fact that much of the new wealth that is being created in the United States is in the hands of investors and entrepreneurs committed to cosmopolitan liberalism, for whom a more populist and nationalist right represents a grave threat. I don’t doubt that students and faculty members at elite law schools are sincerely committed to left politics. Yet the often-strident social liberalism of Silicon Valley and other citadels of wealth helps ensure that the cost of embracing left politics, in professional opportunities and social opprobrium, is lower than it’s been in decades. One could argue that the cost of wearing traditionalist convictions on your sleeve is, in the uppermost strata of American society, certainly, heading in exactly the opposite direction. To be a Federalist Society stalwart at an elite institution today means something sharply different than it would have a decade ago."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
Twitter
Let’s be clear, you never want to schedule a Friday afternoon meeting with . He’s got a /2hr p…
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11 weeks ago
Do boring speakers really talk for longer?
Dull talks at conferences can feel interminable. Or could it be that they really do go on for longer?

I investigated this idea at a meeting where speakers were given 12-minute slots. I sat in on 50 talks for which I recorded the start and end time. I decided whether the talk was boring after 4 minutes, long before it became apparent whether the speaker would run overtime. The 34 interesting talks lasted, on average, a punctual 11 minutes and 42 seconds. The 16 boring ones dragged on for 13 minutes and 12 seconds (thereby wasting a statistically significant 1.5 min; t-test, t = 2.91, P = 0.007). For every 70 seconds that a speaker droned on, the odds that their talk had been boring doubled. For the audience, this is exciting news. Boring talks that seem interminable actually do go on for longer.

To avoid banality, speakers should introduce their objectives early on and focus on pertinent information. They should avoid trite explanations, repetition, getting bogged down by irrelevant minutiae and passing off common knowledge as fresh insight.
Research 
11 weeks ago
What Are the Biggest Problems Facing Us in the 21st Century?
"What does Harari think we should do about all this? Sprinkled throughout is some practical advice, including a three-prong strategy for fighting terrorism and a few tips for dealing with fake news. But his big idea boils down to this: Meditate. Of course he isn’t suggesting that the world’s problems will vanish if enough of us start sitting in the lotus position and chanting om. But he does insist that life in the 21st century demands mindfulness — getting to know ourselves better and seeing how we contribute to suffering in our own lives. This is easy to mock, but as someone who’s taking a course on mindfulness and meditation, I found it compelling."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
What Are the Biggest Problems Facing Us in the 21st Century?
"He deploys, for example, a clever thought experiment to underscore how far humans have come in creating a global civilization. Imagine, he says, trying to organize an Olympic Games in 1016. It’s clearly impossible. Asians, Africans and Europeans don’t know that the Americas exist. The Chinese Song Empire doesn’t think any other political entity in the world is even close to being its equal. No one even has a flag to fly or anthem to play at the awards ceremony."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
Eliud Kipchoge Is the Greatest Marathoner, Ever
"But perhaps what is most unusual about Kipchoge, 33, and his diet of monastic extremes is the one thing he does not do: overextend himself in training. He estimates that he seldom pushes himself past 80 percent — 90 percent, tops — of his maximum effort when he circles the track for interval sessions, or when he embarks on 25-mile jogs.

Instead, he reserves the best of himself, all 100 percent of Kipchoge, for race day — for the marathons he wins, for the records he chases."
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.
"Last year, Vanessa received a tax return of around $5,000, which included earned-income and child tax credits. They helped raise her income, but not above the poverty line. If the working poor are doing better than the nonworking poor, which is the case, it’s not so much because of their jobs per se, but because their employment status provides them access to desperately needed government help. This has caused growing inequality below the poverty line, with the working poor receiving much more social aid than the abandoned nonworking poor or the precariously employed, who are plunged into destitution."
from instapaper
september 2018
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.
"Since 1973, American productivity has increased by 77 percent, while hourly pay has grown by only 12 percent. If the federal minimum wage tracked productivity, it would be more than $20 an hour, not today’s poverty wage of $7.25.

American workers are being shut out of the profits they are helping to generate. The decline of unions is a big reason. During the 20th century, inequality in America decreased when unionization increased, but economic transformations and political attacks have crippled organized labor, emboldening corporate interests and disempowering the rank and file. This imbalanced economy explains why America’s poverty rate has remained consistent over the past several decades, even as per capita welfare spending has increased. It’s not that safety-net programs don’t help; on the contrary, they lift millions of families above the poverty line each year. But one of the most effective antipoverty solutions is a decent-paying job, and those have become scarce for people like Vanessa. Today, 41.7 million laborers — nearly a third of the American work force — earn less than $12 an hour, and almost none of their employers offer health insurance."
from instapaper
september 2018
Americans Want to Believe Jobs Are the Solution to Poverty. They’re Not.
"In May, Vanessa finally secured a spot in public housing. But for almost three years, she had belonged to the “working homeless,” a now-necessary phrase in today’s low-wage/high-rent society. She is a home health aide, the same job her mother had until her knees and back gave out. Her work uniform is Betty Boop scrubs, sneakers and an ID badge that hangs on a red Bayada Home Healthcare lanyard. Vanessa works steady hours and likes her job, even the tougher bits like bathing the infirm or hoisting someone out of bed with a Hoyer lift. “I get to help people,” she said, “and be around older people and learn a lot of stuff from them.” Her rate fluctuates: She gets $10 an hour for one client, $14 for another. It doesn’t have to do with the nature of the work — “Sometimes the hardest ones can be the cheapest ones,” Vanessa said — but with reimbursement rates, which differ according to the client’s health care coverage. After juggling the kids and managing her diabetes, Vanessa is able to work 20 to 30 hours a week, which earns her around $1,200 a month. And that’s when things go well."
from instapaper
september 2018
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