Japan–a ‘glorious sense of decay’?

Unlike Naples however, there’s little worry of bronzed boys on scooters ripping your tote bag off your shoulder as the only urchins to be found in this region will most likely be in a locally produced bowl of delicate uni linguine. Spend a bit more time traveling around the island of Kyushu sampling the fine cuisine, visiting spa towns and dropping in on craftsmen and it’s also not too hard to imagine Japan as the Italy of the Pacific: comfortable, chic, bursting with culture, handy with a football and a world leader in a variety of industrial sectors.

Get a little closer and the similarities become startling: stifling bureaucratic, a carousel of governments, a frustrated electorate, confused policies and a glorious sense of decay.

– Tyler Brûlé ‘Stand Deliver–Japan’ Monocle

I love words. I’m in this business for words to begin with and that’s what I love doing. That’s the number one good thing about it.

– Luke Crisell interview from Wannabe Hacks


Believe in yourself


I get a lot of emails from entrepreneurs or people thinking about being entrepreneurs and many of them share their idea with me and ask me if it is good. I tell them all the same thing.

It doesn’t matter if I think it is good. It matters if they think it’s good, because they are investing their time in it.

And you have to believe in yourself and your idea or nobody else ever will.

I often do share my views on the idea but only after walking them through that because I never want someone telling me they wasted five years of their life on something because I told them it was a good idea.

– Fred Wilson ‘Is this a good startup idea?

I hated tipping…. This time I had a $10 bill in my pocket, which I put on the counter after I paid, sort of casually and by-the-way, full of shame, because I was treating her as a servant.

Then I realized he must have taken my silence personally. He must have thought I didn’t find it worth my time talking to him.

I wrote back and asked him if he’d seen any Bergman movies? No one talks there either. And Finland was even worse; there, no one ever said anything to each other. I wrote that I’m always like this, that I never say anything to people I don’t know, even when they’re having dinner at our house. He never answered.


“It’s deeply un-American, you know, not to make small talk. It’s a very important part of the culture of this country. You remind me a little of my dad. He didn’t know how to make small talk, either, when he first got here. Or maybe he didn’t want to. But he does now.”

– Karl Ove Knausgaard ‘My Saga, Part 1: Karl Ove Knausgaard travels through North America‘ The New York Times

Higher calling, and too many degree-seekers in China

Faced with a cadre of young workers who say they want to make a difference in addition to a paycheck, employers are trying to inject meaning into the daily grind, connecting profit-driven endeavors to grand consequences for mankind.

In part, professionals are demanding more meaning from their careers because work simply takes up more of life than before, thanks to longer hours, competitive pressures and technological tethers of the modern job. Meanwhile, traditional sources of meaning and purpose, such as religion, have receded in many corners of the country.

– Rachel Feintzeig I Don’t Have a Job. I Have a Higher Calling Wall Street Journal



– 张化桥 ‘大学生太多,硕士博士太多‘ 财新博客


Most of China’s undergraduates, master’s and doctoral students will never (ever) recover their monetary investment, the time they’ve wasted, or the cost of suffering.

I think our government and education leaders have a moral obligation to frankly tell the people, especially the poor: “Living frugally and even going into debt to support your children to get a degree will likely have a negative impact on the economy. Saving face has its price.”

– Prominent Hong Kong businessman Huaqiao Zhuang ‘Too many undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students’ Caixin Blog)

Just writers

I think most of what is called “elitist” is a mask for anti-intellectualism — I mean, there is such a thing as excellence.

Therefore, it was so natural to me to take the attitude that these were writers — in other words, Emily Dickinson isn’t a “woman poet” any more than Walt Whitman is a “male poet” — they’re just both poets. George Eliot isn’t a “woman writer,” whereas, let’s say, Dickens is just a “writer” — they were just writers. . . .

– Susan Sontag via Brain Pickings

I strongly oppose audit the Fed.

– Janet Yellen

Goal: Never to be laughed at again

I saw a drive in him and put him in studio band.

I was there to push people beyond what’s expected of them.

I believe that is an absolute necessity. Otherwise we’re depriving the world of the next Louis Armstrong, the next Charlie Parker.

He practices and he practices and he practices with one goal: Never to be laughed at again.

There are no two words more harmful in the English language than ‘good job.’

The next Charlie Parker would never be discouraged. The truth is,  I never had a Charlie Parker. But I tried. And I will never apologize for how hard I tried.

– Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) Whiplash

As hapless as they were in their quests for love, they at least seemed to recognize a rule of the mating game: Pollyanna’s romantic prospects are better than Debbie Downer’s.

– John Tierney ‘According to the Words, the News Is Actually Good‘ The New York Times

Stand, more than conquerors

It is all very well to have vision, but we must also have practice so that when we find ourselves in a tight place we are equipped to meet the emergency. One of the greatest difficulties in war is to find a man who can keep his head when everyone else is losing theirs. It is only done by steady practice. ‘Therefore take up the whole armor of God’ — not to fight, but to stand. We are not told to attack or to storm the efforts of darkness. We are told to stand, unpanicky and unbudged, more than conquerors.

– Oswald Chambers If you will ask: Reflections on the power of prayer

It is time to call a spade a spade, and not to be so dainty.

– ANDRÉE SEU PETERSON ‘Weaning ourselves off mother’s milkWORLD 


And what do you read?

However annoying they may be, hipsters help the poor. Their vintage shops and craft-beer bars generate jobs and taxes. So if you see a bearded intruder on a fixed-gear bike in your neighbourhood, welcome him.

– ‘Bring on the hipsters: Gentrification is good for the poor‘ The Economist

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

– John 3:16-18

There’s an old joke about what the newspaper you read — remember reading newspapers? — said about you:

The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country, the New York Times is read by the people who think they run the country, the Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country, the Boston Globe is read by people whose grandparents used to do a damned fine job of running the country, the San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure whether there is a country or if anybody’s running it, and the Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country. But running the country is a modest ambition — what do you read if you want to be one of the people who run the world?

– Kevin D. Williamson ‘For the New Emperors: Monocle, the bible of cosmopolitan elites, turns seven‘ National Review