Every Friday I highlight the most interesting or entertaining items from my media diet from the past week. These weekly lists will include a variety of media—articles, blog posts, forum threads, podcasts and videos—from a range of sources. It’s a personal bookmark archive of sorts but if it's helpful to others, that’s great too.
- Garbage Language: Why Do Corporations Speak the Way They Do? (vulture.com): “The hideous nature of these words—their facility to warp and impede communication—is also their purpose.”
- To Get Good, Go After the Metagame (commoncog.com): “Every sufficiently interesting game has a metagame above it. This is the game about the game. It is often called ‘the meta’.”
- How a Hot $100 Million Home Design Startup Collapsed Overnight (medium.com): Another cautionary tale about a delusional CEO with an oversized ego and penchant for style over substance.
- How to Write Usefully (paulgraham.com): Entrepreneur and investor Paul Graham offers his insights on the practice of essay writing.
- National Champs or National Chumps: US Big Business vs. China (substack.com): Matt Stoller suggests a better strategic option for the U.S. vis a vis China: state capitalism combined with liberal democracy. A situation in which government has a strong role in regulating the market against monopolistic concentration of corporate power.
- Paris Mayor: It’s Time for a ’15-Minute City’ (citylab.com): Mixed-use zoning may get a big boost in the City of Lights with the mayor’s new proposal.
- Suspicious Discontinuities (danluu.com): A look at discontinuities across a range of topics and the underlying factors contributing to them.
- The Untold History of Facebook’s Most Controversial Growth Tool (medium.com): An exclusive excerpt from Steven Levy’s new book on the company looks at one key figure in the company: Chamath Palihapitiya and the impact of one of his growth initiatives, the “People You May Know” feature.
- The Video Game that Lets You Make Video Games (newyorker.com): The creative force behind the hit series Little Big Planet and the new console game “Dreams” has an overarching mission to make it easier for regular people to make games and unlock a wealth of creativity.
- A Visual Overview of Typography (thinkingwithtype.com): Excellent primer on the basics of typography. This is how visual explainers should be done.
- Warren Buffet’s 2019 Letter to Berkshire Shareholders (berkshirehathaway.com): The Oracle of Omaha’s annual letter to shareholders.
- Wikipedia is the Last Best Place on the Internet (wired.com): Fascinating look at the open, online encyclopedia and how its army of amateur volunteers has amassed the most complete repository of human knowledge.
- Baseball’s Biggest Scandal in a Century (wsj.com): Jared Diamond explains the story behind the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme and the impact it’s having on America’s pastime.
- Malcolm Gladwell and “Magical Technical Fixes” (sticher.com): Fun episode from legal scholar Noah Feldman’s Deep Background podcast with guest Malcolm Gladwell on the American proclivity to “game the rules” in in politics.
- If Russ Ackoff Had Given a Ted Talk (youtube.com): Video of a talk from 1992 by a pioneer in the field of systems thinking. Good overview on how to approach ideas from a systems model of the world.
- How Three-Act Screenplays Work (And Why It Matters) (youtube.com): Film critic Lindsay Ellis provides an excellent overview on Three-Act structure. Her video channel is a font of wisdom when it comes to storytelling wisdom and insights.