So, What Are You Reading?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Ted Heiks, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    A while back I saw this documentary on nurses in Nazi Germany and how they reconciled their "do no harm" oath with the killings they oversaw. They really believed, due to the widespread acceptance of eugenics that they were helping to build a stronger, healthier Germany.
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  2. Tireman 44444

    Tireman 44444 Well-Known Member

    The book is...tough..just tough...
  3. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

    Do you know what is strange? When you re-read books of your youth several years later. I, for example, re-read a book about a girl in her puberty which had anorexia nervosa and the pain of growing up (not translated into English). Today, I still understand her, but can't identify with her any more and think that she is a spoiled, self-centered brat.
  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Maybe the conditions (anorexia and being spoiled) are mutually dependent, maybe they aren't. A professional has to treat the whole person - and you don't have to like her, to empathize and appreciate the seriousness of what she goes through, with anorexia. I wouldn't worry about yourself if you no longer like her as a person. You can't like everyone, and you don't have to treat her. Those who have to, will do their best for her, whether they like her or not.

    If this were real life, successful treatment might turn her into a person you'd like. Or maybe not.

    I went through somewhat the same kind of feeling about the late singer, Amy Winehouse. Her singing was amazing. Amy was gloriously talented, but her well-known addictions led her into bizarre behavior and let-downs for her fans etc. I didn't like what I heard of those addictions and their effects on her and her music - at all. I don't sit in judgment of Amy here - but I can't "like" addicts - and I can't ever be around them. No matter who. I can tell you it didn't stop me loving her music.

    I wish Amy could have recovered - but it wasn't to be. She died at age 27, in 2011, of alcohol poisoning. Am I sad? Yes, still. Do I need to like her (and particularly her problematic side) to feel regret and sympathy? No.

    Mac - don't worry about it. You're perfectly OK. You're a good person. :)
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  5. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Hollowing out the Middle: The Rural Brain Drain and What it Means for America

    This was a good read. The authors spent a year living in a northeastern Iowa community of 2000 people and interviewed more than 100 people.

    Their conclusions were that the rural brain drain is as a result of several factors:
    - Schools focus most of their attention on the "achievers", the kids they think will leave town, and actively encourage them to "get out of dodge" and make something of themselves, thus accelerating the decline of their town
    - "Stayers" are ignored or actively streamed into low-skill jobs, preventing them from moving into the middle class because they lack the technical education required in the modern economy
    - The lack of investment by communities in "economic gardening", building high-quality jobs using the assets a community already has
    - Failing to integrate immigrants into a community, who can grow the tax base and reinvigorate failing communities

    As someone who lives in a community of 2000 people in southeastern Iowa (though not born), I recognized so much in this work in my own experiences.
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  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I believe it. So, Dustin - do you plan to "Get out of Dodge," or will you stay for a Showdown at the Corral? :)
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
  7. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    My getting out of dodge was when I moved from a suburb of Toronto to this tiny town in Iowa! I was able to get my driver's license and nearly triple my salary by coming here so I'm pretty pleased. Thanks to the much lower cost of living I was also able to buy a house and finish my Bachelor's degree ahead of schedule too.

    I think America provides unlimited opportunity to some, in exchange for many people who get no opportunities. As opposed to Canada where the top don't do as well as the American top, but the bottom also don't do as badly as the American bottom.
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  8. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    A very astute observation. Glad things are working out so well. :)
  9. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America (what a mouthful) by Andrew Yang. Published in 2014, it advocates that smart people (he defines smart as university graduates early on but then focuses exclusively on the Ivy League) should, instead of going into financial services or management consulting, build companies. Those companies can provide more value, financially and socially, than pushing papers on large corporate mergers.

    It also goes into Yang's personal life story and how he became CEO of Manhattan GMAT before leaving to found Venture for America, kind of an incubator. I felt it made a good pitch, but it was light on solutions. How do we help people start new businesses? And how do we break their fall when they inevitably fail (as he notes multiple times, virtually all entrepreneurs do at least once before getting it right)?
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    People who deserve to succeed in business are self-starters. You can't give or teach someone that. They will source and / or take or bargain for what they need to start - including money, where that is indispensable. That's what makes an entrepreneur, I think. A high degree of self-belief and, above all, persistence. The best thing that can be done is for individuals - and systems - to try not to get in the way - too much. And an unbroken fall of this type doesn't have to leave a crippling injury. But it is a good lesson. A better and less punishing lesson, perhaps, than a 30-40 year Student Loan for a degree that did someone no good or was never completed.

    My take: You can teach someone the "ropes" of business. You cannot make an entrepreneur out of anyone. If they have it, it will come out. Just keep out of the way when it does!

    Daddy said "Let that boy boogie-woogie, 'cos it's in him and it got to come out!" - John Lee Hooker (Boogie Chillun)
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    There's an awful lot of "impostor syndrome" out there, particularly in women and minorities. There's nothing wrong and a lot right with encouraging young people to consider entrepreneurship.
  12. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I've thought something similar about all the very smart young people who go to Washington, D.C. after college to take entry level positions at policy centers and Congressional offices. It's a ton of talent that could be going into actually building things.
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Encouraging them to consider it is a good thing. I don't think it will make anyone an entrepreneur, though. But by all means encourage people to have a look. If they "have it" it will come out.

    I see good stuff all the time, in this regard. Two nights ago, I was reading up on the Droidscript IDE for Chromebooks, as I'm getting one soon. Two partners, who were writing mobile apps with this IDE wrote:

    "Without this, we wouldn't have jobs. We're 16..." That's a good sign. :)
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
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  14. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    TV show Shark Tank while not a book, it encourages people, including young people to consider entrepreneurship.
    I like the TV show a lot.
  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I've been "Johann Unplugged" (no TV) for a while now, so I've not seen recent seasons. The following is from memory. Part of the Sharks' role is to dissuade some from being entrepreneurs - their idea is crazy, they have no business acumen etc. Most times, I agreed with the Sharks.

    I don't think the show (back when I saw it) offered much to people who have yet to become entrepreneurs. It succeeded more as popular entertainment. Lions and Christians in the forum. The grilling and wisecracks of the professionals etc. And the pros are vulnerable to mistakes too. They backed an expansion for a guy from my town - a food-truck operation. I shook my head then - who needs a $12 grilled cheese sandwich? I was wrong - they were lining up, big time. Then came COVID-19. I haven't seen those trucks in a year... who knew?

    If you let sharks invest - it's tough to stay in the driver's seat; and don't make them angry - they can eat the whole thing, and you in the process. They're omnivores.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
  16. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Just finished Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. It details the meteoric rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos. It's amazing how she managed to con so many people, including former Secretaries of State, military generals (James Mattis!) and even a Stanford Professor of Chemical Engineering, Channing Robertson. In the end, I think she really did think she could build the technology as she described but when it didn't come as fast or as easy as she thought she started faking things and cutting corners.

    It also didn't help that she made several errors easy to spot in retrospect, like instead of focusing on getting a working prototype of her finger-stick blood analyzer that was large and bulky and miniaturizing it later, she forced the engineers to start with the constraint that it be small upfront.
  17. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    The McKinsey Way by Ethan Rasiel is supposed to teach you how strategy consultants like those at McKinsey solve problems. It's very high level. Too high level, actually. It notes "use frameworks" and "be MECE" (mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive) when generating solutions, but provides very little in the way of which frameworks to use or specific analytical techniques that one might adopt. It teases at them with one paragraph in Chapter 2: "McKinsey...has developed a number of problem-solving methods and given them fancy names: Analysis of Value Added, Business Process Redesign, Product-Market Scan, and so on." It lauds the benefits of those techniques, and then continues, never to mention them again. Underwhelming.
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I think because people sell this stuff, authors don't want to give it all away up front. Google will take you to any slice of McKinsey jargon and you can get a fuller esplanation. Here's a sample. I think I googled "McKinsey Business Process Redesign." You get a heck of a lot of results from any search. Functions/McKinsey Digital/Our Insights/Introducing the next-generation operating model/Introducing-the-next-gen-operating-model.ashx

    McKinsey report? I think the Kinsey Report was more interesting, old as it is. :)
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
  19. Mac Juli

    Mac Juli Well-Known Member

    Yes. Because it is an example how not to write a report, methodically. At least, it is told this way by German popular authors Hesse / Schrader.
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Not a bad way to write a good-selling paperback, years ago, though. I used it a bit, along with many other authors in college Psych classes back in the 80s. I took every Psych. class then offered in extension. For some reason I never did fully analyze, a considerable proportion of the papers and presentations I wrote dealt with various aspects of sex...
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2020
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