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.

Best Articles This Week – 06/07/19 Edition

This week’s highlights:  Life Auditing, Ad-Fraud, and Running


Fifteen on Friday – Issue 335

Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  NYT – The Surprising Benefits of Relentlessly Auditing Your Life

Why It Matters:  “We tend to think that good marriages and happy families are born of love and care, not spreadsheets. But what if that’s wrong?”

Consider as well:

  1. TheAtlantic – The Adults Who Treat Reading Like Homework  Not sure I see the problem here – “No one’s making them try to read 100 books a year.”
  2. NewYorker – How Football Leaks Is Exposing Corruption in European Soccer  While Rui Pinto sits in jail, his revelations are bringing down the sport’s most famous teams and players.
  3. BecMin – Please Stop Buying Plastic Crap for Kids  Toys are notoriously hard to recycle. That means nearly every plastic toy ever manufactured now lives in a landfill somewhere. Take a moment to visualize that.
  4. LifeHacker – Create a ‘Noticing Wall’ for Your Kid


Top Read of the Week:  FastCo – How the No.1 most creative person in business this year led the FBI to its biggest ad-fraud bust ever

Why It Matters:   The complexity behind the scenes of online advertising is breath-taking.  Blend that with criminals trying to take advantage of the system and the software company trying to stop them and you’ve got a really interesting story.

Consider as well:

  1. VanityFair – Can J. Crew Find Itself—and Its Customers—Again?
  2. BusinessWeek – The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich  Thirty-two-year-old French economist Gabriel Zucman scours spreadsheets to find secret offshore accounts.
  3. II – Private Equity Drove Two Canadians Crazy.  At BlackRock, They’re Trying to Fix It.   The world’s largest asset manager closes in on a potentially seminal deal.
  4. Jalopnik – Pogo Stick Sharing Micro Mobility Startup Cangoroo Is Truly Beyond the Pale


Top Read of the Week:  Outside – One Man’s Pointless Attempt to Rule a Strava Segment

Why It Matters:   One writer sacrificed (not even close to) everything to get to the top of the leaderboard.

Consider as well:

  1. Verge – Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry  It’s a crisis that has left, by some estimations, billions on the table unpaid to musicians
  2. GearPatrol – Counterpoint: In Praise of the One-Watch Collection  Not long ago I realized I am surrounded by collectors.
  3. Science – Researchers strapped video cameras on 16 cats and let them do their thing.
  4. NYT – Fish Cannons, Koi Herpes and Other Tools to Combat Invasive Carp  Researchers are experimenting with a Rube Goldberg-esque mix of tactics to control hearty, nonnative swimmers that re-engineer nutrient-rich Midwest waters.

Best Articles This Week – 05/31/19 Edition

Highlights:  Proximity in Housing, Blackrock’s Succession Question, and The Shaping of Taste


Fifteen on Friday – Issue 334

Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  TheAtlantic – Having a Library or Café Down the Block Could Change Your Life

Why It Matters:  The shape of the built environment we surround ourselves with continues to be confirmed as having powerful effects on health and happiness.  “Living close to public amenities—from parks to grocery stores—increases trust, decreases loneliness, and restores faith in local government.”

Consider as well:

  1. VF – Inside the Decades-Long Match Between Zuckerberg and the Winkleoss Twins  In this exclusive excerpt from Bitcoin Billionaires, Ben Mezrich traces the world’s biggest crypto cash-out back to a conference-room showdown featuring a booster seat, a handshake, and $65 million.
  2. NYT – Welcome to Galaxy’s Edge  Disney finds another way to take money from our pockets, but even at $199 a go, the build-your-own lightsaber workshop is bound to be a hit….”Disneyland’s “Star Wars” expansion is the biggest in the park’s history, and a bet that Wookiees and Stormtroopers will draw visitors as well as princesses.”
  3. TheStartup – Google’s Powerful Secret to be a Good Manager  Hint – it’s not technical ability
  4. Vox – The case for caseless iPhones  Fanatics of case-free phones say it’s about design, but could it really be about status?


Top Read of the Week:  II – The Race to Replace Larry Fink

Why It Matters:   Arguably no one has navigated this cycle in the financial markets better than Fink and Blackrock.  “He’s the Steve Jobs of the money game. Who will be his Tim Cook?”

Consider as well:

  1. Inc – This Startup Learned the Hard Way What It’s Like to Work With the Pentagon  What happens when a wildly ambitious young startup decides to work with the military? It’s complicated.
  2. Fortune – America’s 40 Richest Under 40 Sure, they’re poorer than last year (well, most of them). But they’ve still got you beat – Credit SB – Now almost 20 years later, these dollar amounts seem almost pedestrian.
  3. Vox – The controversy over WeWork’s $47 billion valuation and impending IPO, explained  A chorus of critics argue the high-flying startup is peddling financial snake oil.
  4. BothSides – Managing Your Startup Board — A Short Presentation


Top Read of the Week:  GQ – Meet Aurel Bacs, the Man Who Sparked the Vintage Watch Boom

Why It Matters:   Those who consider themselves to possess ‘taste’ arguably believe they arrived at their opinions through superior knowledge and judgement.  This interesting piece about the vintage watch market is an interesting look at the power that a single individual can have in shaping the views of the cognoscenti.  “Why are classic timepieces suddenly more sought-after, more Instagrammed, and more valuable than ever before? The answer has a lot to do with auctioneer extraordinaire Aurel Bacs.”

Consider as well:

  1. NYT – ‘It Was Like a Zoo’: Death on an Unruly, Overcrowded Everest.  The pictures in this article of lines up to the summit are breathtaking – has adventure-tourism gone too far?
  2. PS – The Many Health Benefits of Meth  In low, pharmaceutical-grade doses, methamphetamine may actually repair and protect the brain in certain circumstances. But stigma against the drug could be harming patients and holding back research.
  3. NYT – How Data (and Some Breathtaking Soccer) Brought Liverpool to the Cusp of Glory  The club is finishing a phenomenal season — thanks in part to an unrivaled reliance on analytics.
  4. WashPo – National Spelling Bee uses ‘octochamps’ in a sentence, crowning eight co-champions  In a stunning conclusion to the competition, event organizers took the unprecedented step of naming eight co-champions after they all withstood 20 rounds of increasingly difficult words.
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