What is Fifteen on Friday?

Fifteen on Friday (Fof) is a weekly newsletter that is delivered every Friday afternoon directly to your inbox.  The goal is to curate a thoughtful list of the most interesting pieces of the week, across a wide range of subjects from arts, culture, economics, science, technology and occasionally fashion.

The Week’s Best Articles – 02/16/18

This week’s highlights:  Meritocracy, Luxury Trucks, and Prepping Fido for Instagram Fame.

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Fifteen on Friday – 02/16/18 – Issue 273

Meritocracy at what cost?

In his 2000 best seller, Bobos In Paradise, David Brooks noted that among the most consequential changes in American society was an ill-noticed shift in the late 1950s by the then-President of Harvard to begin prioritizing achievement on the SAT as a key admissions criteria, even super-ceding social standing and legacy status at times.

This choice arguably may mark the beginning of the great educational arms race.  Here we are over 60 years later, and society has shifted in meaningful ways as a result.  The first two articles featured this week explore the long-run impacts of this change at the societal level and in the life of an individual child with much to consider for us all.

Enjoy the weekend,

David

Food for Thought:

  1. Economist – Meritocracy and its discontents.  A book published 60 years ago predicted most of the tensions tearing contemporary Britain apart.
  2. ScientificAmerican – The Case for the “Self-Driven Child”.  In a new book, an argument for giving children more of a sense of control over their lives.
  3. WakeForestMag – First Among Equals How the black minister of a First Baptist church and the white minister of the other First Baptist church in Macon, Georgia, are working to heal racial divisions and transform community.
  4. VanityFair – When Old Hollywood’s Doors Opened for Tom Brokaw. When Brokaw moved to Los Angeles to become the 11 o’clock anchor, he found Hollywood’s doors magically open. Half a century later, he writes about getting to know the likes of Cary Grant, Bob Hope, and Rosalind Russell.
  5. The Globe and Mail – I have forgotten how to read. For a long time Michael Harris convinced himself that a childhood spent immersed in old-fashioned books would insulate him from our new media climate – that he could keep on reading in the old way because his mind was formed in pre-internet days. He was wrong.

Business/Economics:

  1. Wired – Inside the Two Years That Shook Facebook – And The World How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all.
  2. NYT – More Luxury Buyers Ditch the Imports and Pick Up a Truck  The priciest S.U.V.s and trucks are selling fastest. The high-end Lariat, King Ranch and Raptor models make up more than half of all F-150 sales,
  3. ProPublica – How VW Paid $25 Billion for Dieselgate — And Got Off Easy.  Volkswagen paid huge government penalties in the U.S., but virtually nothing in Europe. Two things now seem clear: Some very senior officials knew of the wrongdoing — and they’re not likely to face meaningful prison time.
  4. Economist – The next generation of wireless technology is ready for take-off Whizzy 5G tech has everything going for it barring a strong business case.
  5. SN – I Bought An Entire Outfit From Instagram Ads.  This interesting Youtube video looks at how Instagram and Facebook use your preferences from ‘likes’ and data from tracking your web movements to serve you ads in hopes to answer the question of how well their algorithms really know you.  Note – must speak fluent Millennial to watch.

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. ODD – The Best Way to Lose $5 Billion Dollars.   What NOT to Do to Stay Rich, Courtesy of the Vanderbilts
  2. SWA – After School Special – Credit BF – How one group of New Yorkers is changing the world of adult education, one free beer at a time.
  3. NYT – Is Your Dog Ready for Instagram?
  4. NYP – Oprah’s iconic ‘You get a car!’ moment was crazier than you thought
  5. NYT – Carolina Herrera’s Last Bow.  The designer is waving goodbye to the runway and hello to a new job. Whatever you do, don’t use the word retirement.

The Week’s Best Articles – 02/09/18

This week’s highlights:  Vulnerability, The Banana Trick, and The Fastest Path to the Corner Office.

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Fifteen on Friday – 02/09/18 – Issue 272

Happy Friday Everyone,

While completely unplanned, this week’s issue has ended up with a number of articles focused around the theme of work/success/identity.   They explore the relationship we all have with success and failure, corporate advancement and escape.  Even the likely patron saint of work-life balance, Jimmy Buffett, isn’t immune as the thoughtful profile from the NY Times reveals.  I hope you will find them as thought-provoking as I have.

All the best,

David

Food for Thought:

  1. WashPo – I finally learned to accept my own vulnerability as a man. It helped.  “Not long ago, I gave a talk about what gives us meaning and satisfaction in life. When I finished, a woman who appeared to be in her mid-70s rose with a question. “I had a good career,” she said. “I was a college professor, and for a number of years, I was the chair of my department. But I’ve also loved my retirement. Most men my age seem lost when they stop working. Why do you think that is?”
  2. HBR – If You’re So Successful, Why Are You Still Working 70 Hours a Week? “My research, published in my new book about leadership in professional organizations, shows that our tendency to overwork and burn out is framed by a complex combination of factors involving our profession, our organization, and ourselves. At the heart of it is insecurity. “
  3. NYT – Jimmy Buffett Does Not Live the Jimmy Buffett Lifestyle
  4. Economist – Crafting a Life  White-collar workers are fleeing their desks to become brewers, bakers and pickle-makers. Ryan Avent reckons the artisanal boom points to the modern economy’s failings, and maybe its future as well
  5. Guardian – The awful truth about family WhatsApp groups.  This is coming out of the UK – but I think it holds true for family iMessage groups as well.  “If you have a family WhatsApp group, you can guarantee there’s a fringe group in existence, too. My fringe group is called “Family Moans”. Here is where we comment on annoying things said in the main family WhatsApp group.”

Business/Economics:

  1. NYT – For Millennial Investors, a Harsh Lesson in Market Gyrations.  I have long distinguished between early and late Millennials.  Early Millennials (born pre-1990) can distinctly remember the Dotcom crash and were in or near the workforce in 2008.  For late Millennials, this week maybe their first bout with a little volatility.
  2. NewYorker – How Delivery Apps May Put Your Favorite Restaurant Out of Business
  3. TheAtlantic – The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery “Anyone who pays for more than half of their stuff in self checkout is a total moron.”
  4. CIO – Kentucky Lawmakers Propose Casinos to Fix Ailing Pension.  When off balance sheet liabilities move on-balance sheet…
  5. Bloomberg – The Death of Clothing.  The apparel industry has a big problem. At a time when the economy is growing, unemployment is low, wages are rebounding and consumers are eager to buy, Americans are spending less and less on clothing.

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. NYT – When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office
  2. TG  – Want To Become A Multi-Millionaire? Do These 15 Things Immediately.  Unlike most people, who simply wait and wish for luck, you can seek to become the kind of person equipped with the skills and abilities to do brilliant things.
  3. BBC – Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle
  4. HBR – The Fastest Path to the CEO Job, According to a 10-Year Study
  5. WashPo – Winter Olympics TV schedule and highlights
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