To have a debate, though, you need to show up.

— Mark Bergen and Austin Carr “Where in the world is Larry Page?” Bloomberg Businessweek




This speculative flourish recalled the famous question that John Stuart Mill said he asked himself as a young man: If all the political and social reforms you believe in came to pass, would it make you a happier human being? That is always an interesting question.

— Louis Menand “Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History” The New Yorker



In American culture today it’s seen as acceptable to use your 20s to find yourself. I firmly disagree with this idea. Your 20s are your most valuable working years: You often have very few obligations (no family), a very low burn rate (you’re used to living in a dorm), and you are still young enough to meet new people and learn new skills. Use college to to get the partying out of your system and spend your 20s working hard.

— Michael Seibel “A Letter to College Students” Y Combinator Blog


Americans are devoted to the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, research shows that many of us don’t actually know what makes us happy, so we end up pursuing the wrong things.

The good news is that self-experimentation can help us figure it out, allowing us to pursue the right things before it’s too late. Personalization is currently a buzzword, as companies like Amazon and Netflix promise to improve our choices by offering highly personalized recommendations based on our past preferences. However, given the errors that plague many of these preferences, it’s clear we can’t just rely on algorithms. If our past choices have been flawed, then these future recommendations will be no better.
— Shlomo Benartzi “It’s Time to A/B Test Your Financial Life” The Wall Street Journal


For two days they unveiled power-points drenched in Greek letters, algorithms and jargon, like a cult speaking a secretive holy language. But as the presentations unfolded, it was clear that very few investors or regulators — or even the bankers themselves — truly understood how the products worked. To the outside world the revolution seemed to be driven by computers; but it was also driven by blind trust.

— Gillian Tett “Have we learnt the lessons of the financial crisis?” Financial Times