This week’s highlights: Lance Armstrong, Dirty Money, and Self-Checkout

panoramic view of people in bicycles

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Issue 340

by David Wells – Nashville TN
Happy Friday Everyone,

And just like that, summer is officially over.  Metro Nashville schools return to session next week, and the rest following shortly thereafter.

What I’m Reading Now:

  • Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland  This is a book that is going to be tremendously important.  While quite entertaining, Sutherland’s depth of insight into human behavior is truly astounding.

    “Based on thirty years of field work inside the largest experiment in human behavior ever conceived—the forever-unfolding pageant of consumer capitalism—Alchemy, the revolutionary book by Ogilvy advertising legend Rory Sutherland, whose TED talks have been viewed nearly seven million times, decodes human behavior, blending leading-edge scientific research, absurdly entertaining storytelling, deep psychological insight, and practical case studies from his storied career working on campaigns for AmEx, Microsoft, and others.”

Best,

David


Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  BusinessWeek – Lance Armstrong’s Podcast Is Making Cycling Fans Forget About the Doping

Why It Matters:   While we all love a comeuppance, do we love a comeback even more? “Banned from sports and dropped by sponsors, the former cyclist is back, with a hit podcast and a new athletic brand.”

Consider as well:

  1. FarnamStreet – Cracking the Code of Love with Psychologist and EFT Pioneer, Dr. Sue Johnson  This podcast interview is just fantastic.  Dr. Sue Johnson is a researcher, clinical psychologist, and the developer of EFT or Emotionally Focused Therapy.
  2. TheAtlantic – The Slackification of the American Home  Stretched for time, some households are starting to operate more like businesses.
  3. FastCo – Instagram’s design gave rise to the influencer economy. It may also be its downfall  When everyone is an influencer, no one is an influencer—and Instagram’s user interface is partly to blame.
  4. TLW – Every decision my kids made me make in one day

Business/Economics:

Top Read of the Week:  Bloomberg – Dirty Money Spotlights Role of Family Offices as Enablers

Why It Matters:   I am not sure “family offices” are to blame here, seems like they just create a more sensational headline.  That said, this is a wild story of global money laundering.  “Jahangir Hajiyev was convicted of looting millions of dollars from a bank in Azerbaijan. Lawyers, investment advisers and a family office in London helped him spend his money.”

Consider as well:

  1. Fortune – How Automation Is Cutting Into Workers’ Share of Economic Output
  2. BVI – How I Spotted a Fraud (Before It Was Too Late)  “And then I had it: the management team was manipulating earnings to make them seem much larger than they really were, and I had just figured out exactly how they were doing it.”
  3. Bloomberg – Rhinos Come to the Bond Market, and Other Species May Follow An interesting use of social impact bonds.
  4. Barron’s – Why a GMO Strategist Is Bearish on U.S. Stocks but Positive on Modern Monetary Theory  MMT is getting a lot of press.  While I do not profess to understand it fully, this was one of the first ‘bull’ arguments I’ve read that made some degree of sense.

Culture/Tech/Science:

Top Read of the Week:  TheAtlantic – The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery

Why It Matters:  Maybe the average person is not as ethical as we want to give them credit for. “Anyone who pays for more than half of their stuff in self checkout is a total moron.”

Consider as well:

  1. NYT – Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.  Bob Ross painted more than 1,000 landscapes for his television show — so why are they so hard to find? We solve one of the internet’s favorite little mysteries.
  2. Curbed – The budget furniture dilemma  As companies like Wayfair face criticism, is buying from them the right thing to do?
  3. Vice – America’s DIY Phone Farmers  Ordinary Americans are using armies of phones to generate cash to buy food, diapers, and beer through ad fraud.
  4. FastCo – Why millennials are flocking to Nashville  Robyn Donnelly and Katie MacLachlan, co-owners of the bar Walden in East Nashville, on why they decided to call Music City home.