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 Reads – 09/15/17

This week’s highlights: The Perils of Free Speech, private aircraft, and what makes Britain British.

Fifteen on Friday – 09/15/17 – Issue 253

Food for Thought:

  1. BI – A study of 36,000 students just backed Bill Gates’ favorite style of education
  2. Vulture – In Conversation: John Cleese.  The comedy legend on Monty Python’s legacy, political correctness, and the funniest joke he ever told.
  3. AP – Attacked in bed, safe a few feet away: Cuba mystery deepens – Credit JC – AP has learned that so-called health attacks in Havana indicate some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.
  4. Economist – Arguments over free speech on campus are not left v right.  As Reed College in Oregon shows, left v left clashes can be equally vitriolic
  5. BecMin – “Does It Spark Joy?” Is the Wrong Decluttering Question


  1. NYT – As Amazon Pushes Forward With Robots, Workers Find New Roles
  2. ChemarkCap – Airkrafts.  It’s not about cutting all costs in business, it’s about dramatically reducing the non-strategic costs, so you can powerfully invest in the strategic ones.
  3. Kitces – Predicting Wealth Building Behavior 
  4. FastCo – This T-Shirt Sewing Robot Could Radically Shift The Apparel Industry.  In a soon-to-open Arkansas factory, 21 production lines manned by the Sewbot will be capable of making 1.2 million T-shirts a year–and the ripple effects will soon be felt in garment factories in the developing world
  5. GI – Avoiding the Family Business Wealth Evaporation Trap


  1. TechCrunch – Why the iPhone X is the new iPhone you’ll want now
  2. Economist – To understand Britain, read its spy novels.  The nature of the establishment, the agonies of decline, the complicated tug of patriotism: spy novels explore what makes Britain British
  3. QZ – The college lecture is dying. Good riddance.
  4. USN – Ford Self-Driving Test Van ‘Talks’ to Pedestrians Via Light Signals
  5. AOM – A Man’s Guide to Dressing Sharp and Casual in His 50s

The Week’s Best Reads – 09/08/17

This week’s highlights: Nature and Kids, Beyond Amazon, and Running with Strava


Fifteen on Friday – 09/08/17 – Issue 252

Food for Thought:

  1. NYT – The Urban Revival Is Over.  As it turns out, the much-ballyhooed new age of the city might be giving way to a great urban stall-out.
  2. FR – How to Become Insanely Well-Connected.  The best way to be highly influential is to be human to everyone you meet.
  3. VF – Meghan Markle, Wild About Harry!  Battered by the tabloids—to the point where her boyfriend, Prince Harry, issued a statement defending her—actress and activist Meghan Markle has largely ignored the media storm. And as Markle tells Vanity Fair about her bi-racial background, her romance, and her hit series, Suits, it seems that this 36-year-old American may be just the woman for Britain’s iconoclastic royal.
  4. AOM – How to Get Your Kids to Love Nature (Even if You Live in the Burbs)  “The effects of nature are such an enormous boon to physical, emotional, and mental health that were they offered in the form of a pill, people would be rushing out to buy it for themselves, and their children, even if it was exorbitantly priced. And nature is free!”
  5. The Bitter Southerner – This Kitchen Ain’t a Men’s Club – Ask foodies across America about Nashville’s most famous chefs, and Deb Paquette’s might not be the first name you hear. But for more than 30 years, Paquette has trained and mentored countless chefs — and helped women succeed in a notoriously male-dominated industry.


  1. Oaktree – Latest memo from Howard Marks: Yet Again?
  2. CE – It’s not just Amazon’s fault – Credit JC – Retail stocks have been annihilated recently, despite the economy eking out growth. The fundamentals of the retail business look horrible: Sales are stagnating and profitability is getting worse with every passing quarter.
  3. NYT – Milestone for BMI: More Than $1 Billion in Music Royalties
  4. TM – 7 Lessons from 7 Business Books That Made Me More Money
  5. Bloomberg – Why Private Equity Has $963 Billion in Dry Powder


  1. MJ – How Strava Became the Only Fitness App That Matters
  2. ReCode – We need to stop pretending that the autonomous car is imminent. Perhaps some needed sobriety on the enthusiasm for autonomous vehicles.
  3. FCC – How I replicated an $86 million project in 57 lines of code.  When an experiment with existing open source technology does a “good enough” job
  4. QZ – Playing board games can make you a nicer person with better relationships
  5. NYT – Graydon Carter’s Varied Interests and Influence.  Carter, the long-time editor of Vanity Fair, has announced his retirement.
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