Cheeseburgers, AI and Habits – Weekly Roundup

I’ve had an intense week thanks to a scheduling snaffoo that essentially booked a meeting every hour, on the hour, several days this week. So my writing has been sporadic as has my reading. But where I’ve found the time I’ve devoted it to deeper topics. Here are some of my highlights of the week.


I finished reading The Power of Habit. I can’t recommend this book more. Since I listen to audiobooks now more than I read with my eyes, I don’t have the same voluminous highlights as I did when reading Kindle books. So when I finish I sit down and write a few notes that I want to remember from the book. Here are my notes from The Power of Habit.

This week I’m reading Fooled by Randomness. I can’t stop thinking about a character called Nero, a stock trader who chose a less glamorous (and less profitable) path in his career. And is generally happy with it. So far this book is a winner. Check out this passage:

Why isn’t Nero more affluent? Because of his trading style–or perhaps his personality. His risk aversion is extreme. Nero’s objective is not to maximize his profits, so much as it is to avoid having this entertaining machine called trading taken away from him. Blowing up would mean returning to the tedium of the university or the nontrading life. Every time his risks increase, he conjures up the image of the quiet hallway at the university, the long mornings at his desk spent in revising a paper, kept awake by bad coffee. No, he does not want to have to face the solemn university library where he was bored to tears. “I am shooting for longevity,” he is wont to say.

Continue reading “Cheeseburgers, AI and Habits – Weekly Roundup”

Thoughtful Weekend Reads – February 21

Hi everyone – I hope you had a great week.

This week I nerded out a bit more than usual, spending more time on topics that will make dinner guests think I’m incredibly weird.

As always I’d love to hear from you with your feedback or just a simple, hi!

If I am not for myself, who is? And when I am for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?

On The World

How a Basket on Wheels Revolutionized Grocery Shopping

This goes in the “things we use all the time but have no idea how they came to be” category. You guessed it, it’s the history of the shopping cart.I’m especially excited because the shopping cart’s creator and I are from the same small Oklahoma town.

New study finds clear differences between organic and non-organic milk and meat — ScienceDaily

As you might know I spend a lot of time focused on the science of nutrition. My overall opinion on organic foods is yes, it is better but it is expensive. If you have to decide, focus on organic “watery” fruits and underground vegetables and just keep your meats free of antibiotics.

This study is compelling because it’s a collection of 196 papers on milk and 67 papers on meat instead of the usual one-sided study.

It’s not that non-organics are BAD for you, but this is one of the first studies that finds material differences between the two in an area not related to pesticides. 

Renting is Throwing Money Away … Right?

The “American Dream” is a marketing construct of primarily Fannie Mae from a 1950s ad campaign to increase mortgage originations. In my view owning a home is choice between the freedom to move and the freedom to nest. It is not, however, simply a better financial decision than renting. This article is quite illustrative to that point. 

Sort of Business-y

The Secret to Moonshots? Killing Our Projects — Backchannel

Make sure to read this. Google X is Google’s (now Alphabet’s) long-term R&D lab. This article is an adaptation a TED talk delivered this week by Google’s leader, Astro Teller (yes, that’s his name). The stories and pictures are cool. They are the stuff of science fiction…but real. 

But what really blew my mind is their bias towards action. They just do things. They fail. In fact failure is the point. They ask daily “How are we going to try to kill our project today?” 

The lesson is push hard. Never let yourself sink into protecting and idea. Try as hard as you can to prove yourself wrong. That’s when the great discoveries are made.