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Best Reads This Week – 05/02/19 Edition

This week’s highlights:  The Michael Milken Project, Mutual Fund Tax Avoidance, and a Core Casual Wardrobe


Fifteen on Friday – Issue 330

Happy Friday,


Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  II – The Michael Milken Project

Why It Matters:  How did a 70-year-old ex-con barred for life from Wall Street become one of its most respected men?

Consider as well:

  1. VanityFair – Mark Ronson Is Ready to Make More Hits  As the Grammy and Oscar-winning producer prepares to release his fifth solo record, he reflects on his collaborations with Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, and Bruno Mars, and his own new creative path.
  2. NYT – These Ads Think They Know You  While targeted ads may be familiar by now, how they work — and the power they have — often seems invisible.
  3. Vox – Can anyone tame the next internet?  Forces have been unleashed that seem out of control. But is it the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end?
  4. HBR – The Art of Blooming Late  Mozart was a celestial genius, but he struggled like a mere mortal during his teens and early twenties.


Top Read of the Week:  Bloomberg – Vanguard Patented a Way to Avoid Taxes on Mutual Funds

Why It Matters:  What happens when you take an interesting tax feature of ETF’s and bolt it onto a mutual fund structure?

Consider as well:

  1. NYT – The Raisin Situation  One man wanted to change the raisin industry for the better. He got more than he bargained for.
  2. Verge – How Microsoft Learned From The Past To Redesign Its Future
  3. II – Inside Texas’s Exclusive, Bizarre Enclave of Family Offices
  4. Entrepreneur – Chick-fil-A Makes More Per Restaurant Than McDonald’s, Starbucks and Subway Combined … and It’s Closed on Sundays  Why a restaurant that’s closed on Sundays makes more per restaurant than any other fast food restaurant in the country.


Top Read of the Week:  PermanentStyle – Men Need a Core Casual Wardrobe 

Why It Matters:  While normally I wouldn’t say this article is a top-read, over 6 years of curating Fifteen on Friday has taught me one fact – there is a huge demand for articles about how to help men dress better.

Consider as well:

  1. Curbed – Can Notre Dame be rebuilt with 3D printing?  oncr3De explores how to 3D-print the cathedral’s gargoyles from crumbled limestone and ash
  2. Wired – The Science Behind Nike’s New, Even Faster Marathon Shoe
  3. NYT – Horse Deaths Are Threatening the Racing Industry. Is the Sport Obsolete?  A Kentucky family in the horse business for decades says action to address the health of the animals is overdue. The consequences of inaction could be catastrophic.
  4. Donut – Honda Accord – Everything You Need to Know.  This ridiculous and hilarious ten minute video tells you everything you wanted to know about the history one of America’s top sellers.

Top Articles This Week – 4/26/19 Edition

This week’s highlights:  A Conversation with a Senator, Tech Enabled Salads and Water-less Detergent.


Fifteen on Friday – Issue 329

Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  TheTrinityForum – An Evening Conversation with Senator Ben Sasse in Nashville, TN 

Why It Matters:  The junior Senator from Nebraska, Sasse is something of an enigma.  Harvard educated, with a PHD in history, Sasse is a busy Senate member, prolific author having written 2 books in the last 2 years, and apparently is a part-time Uber driver when he’s back home (talk about an interesting way to meet constituents).

In this non-partisan and non-political address, Sasse discusses his new book – Them – Why We Hate Each Other and How to Heal.  He seeks to answer the question of “Why in the midst of peace and prosperity are we increasingly angry, pessimistic and fearful.”  I had the privilege of attending this event, and cannot say enough good things about his remarks.

Consider as well:

  1. FiveThirtyEight – The Man Who Solved ‘Jeopardy!’  James Holzhauer has taken the game to its logical conclusion.
  2. Vogue – The Awakening of Kim Kardashian West  Admittedly I was skeptical when I started reading this piece, and yet I was surprised to learn about her justice work and how she’s studying to take the bar exam – seriously.
  3. NPR – The Affluent Homeless: A Sleeping Pod, A Hired Desk And A Handful Of Clothes
  4. THR – “He Just Knows What’s Funny”: Hollywood’s Secret Comic Whisperer Finally Gets His Own Spotlight  Neal Brennan co-created one of the greatest sketch series of all time. Now, a decade and a half after the acrimonious end to ‘Chappelle’s Show,’ the go-to guru to Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Seth Meyers and more is emerging as a major force in his own right.


Top Read of the Week:  Inc – Can Any Company Be a Tech Company? Inside the Unlikely Journey of Cult Salad Brand Sweetgreen

Why It Matters:  The profitable salad chain Sweetgreen was on track to IPO. So why did its founders decide to pivot to tech?

Consider as well:

  1. Fortune – How the Kleiner Perkins Empire Fell  Once the very embodiment of Silicon Valley venture capital, the storied firm has suffered a two-decade losing streak. It missed the era’s hottest companies, took a disastrous detour into renewable energy, and failed to groom its next-generation leadership. Can it ever regain the old Kleiner magic?
  2. Digiday – How BarkBox beat Amazon at its own game
  3. Fortune – Radical Programming School ’42’ Still Solving for the Skills Gap
  4. Recode – Tesla’s 2020 self-driving car promise sounds too good to be true because it is


Top Read of the Week:  FastCo – The shockingly simple way to make packaging more sustainable  

Why It Matters:  This is rapidly gaining some popularity – apparently P&G is working on its own interpretation of this trend with its Tide brand of detergents.  “Your home cleaning products have a major carbon footprint. Several startups want to popularize a clever solution: remove the water.”

Consider as well:

  1. TheAtlantic – Workers Love AirPods Because Employers Stole Their Walls  In the open-plan office, wireless headphones are the new cubicles.
  2. Medium – The Truth About the Scooter Economy — An Insider’s Perspective
  3. Jalopnik – Formula E’s New App Lets You Ghost Race Against Drivers in Real Time  Fans will be able to download the Virtually Live Ghost Racing: Formula E app and turn it on during this Saturday’s Paris ePrix to race against all 22 FE drivers.
  4. Nautilus – How to Survive Solitary Confinement
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