Friday Finds (Book, Buffett, Paradise, Art, Learning)


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Hi friends,

Greetings from The Bahamas!

We've been on a retreat all week planning the next phase of Write of Passage, so we've basically been without screens all week. It's been a blast. The more I think about remote work, the more I think it should be paired with retreats focused on team building, big-picture planning, and having tons of fun together too.

We're still in the brainstorming phases and I'll share details with you once they become concrete, but our vision for this company is legitimately 5x bigger than it was at the start of the year. Watching these ideas come to life had me dancing like a six-year-old this morning.

Here's what I want to share this week:

  1. The Book You Need to Read: I published this article a few weeks ago, but for some reason, the view count only started to crank today. The premise is simple: The best-selling book of all-time is widely ignored and rarely recommended. What's going on?
  2. The Never-Ending Now: Communication technologies come with a bias. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the world had a space bias. Now, it has a time bias.


Today's Finds

Buffett’s Reading Obsession: Many people look at the way Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day and try to do the same. The problem is that the things that made him successful on the way up aren’t the things that keep him successful now that he’s made it. This article goes into the things that made Buffett successful on the way up. He obsessed over the biographies of people he admired, interrogated executives to understand the mechanics of business, and hosted friends for a bi-annual conference in what eventually became known as “The Buffett Group.”

How Narratives Drive Prices: The public markets increasingly resemble private ones in the way that revenue multiples continue to spread. Founders who can articulate their company’s vision and persuade the public markets that they have a bright future have cheap access to capital. Elon Musk and Tesla is the perfect example. The author writes: “Thus Tesla’s PE ratio is in many ways self-fulfilling. If Tesla could get people to extend the access to capital it needs for long enough, it will be successful. If it could not, then it would have collapsed. Ironically, this means that far from Elon’s antics being distracting, his ability to maintain these high PE ratios might be the most important driver of the company’s ability to succeed.” The better a company can tell its narrative, the cheaper it can access capital and the higher its price-to-earnings ratio can become.

Mechanical Paradise: How did the machine transform human consciousness? At first, the Eiffel Tower promised unlimited control over the world. Standing at the top made humans feel like birds and, by extension, guardians of the future. The view from the top was as breathtaking as the sight of the Earth from the moon almost 80 years later. Around the turn of the century, Ford rolled out the car, Edison invented sound recording, and Einstein invented the Theory of Relativity — the basis of the largest change in humanity’s view of the universe since Newton. As this documentary shows, the perspective shift is most evident in the art of the age. Specifically, in two shifts: one from nature to machine, and another from impressionism to cubism.

The Lost Tools of Learning: A talk from poet Dorothy Sayers, given at Oxford University in 1947. In it, she argues that education began to lose its way in the Middle Ages. By bringing back the three lost tools of learning — grammar, logic, and rhetoric — we can foster self-directed learners instead of sleepwalking automatons.

Manufacturing Intellect: This is the best place I’ve found to discover old interviews. While the rest of the Internet is focused on the here and now, it offers a chance to disconnect from the never-ending now and explore the wisdom of brilliant but oft-forgotten figures like Joan Didion and Susan Sontag.

Have a creative week,

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