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The Week’s Best Reads – 12/01/17

This week’s highlights:  A Serial-Killer Algorithm, the Yale Endowment, and the Transformation of Healthcare.

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Fifteen on Friday – 12/01/17 – Issue 263

And We’re Back…

I took an off week last week with the Thanksgiving holiday – but with 2 weeks of reading compiled into 1 email this week, there is a lot of good stuff to share.  I know many of you are loyal Pocket users – but if not, I’d encourage you to check it out.  Pocket is a free app you install – www.getpocket.com on your computer and phone that allows you to save articles to read later.  It is a major time saver – and allows you to keep a list of interesting things available to read, instead of endlessly scrolling Instagram when you have a free minute.

Have a great weekend,

David

Food for Thought:

  1. TheAtlantic – No Family Is Safe From This Epidemic  As an admiral I helped run the most powerful military on Earth, but I couldn’t save my son from the scourge of opioid addiction.
  2. Vox – Historically, men translated the Odyssey. Here’s what happened when a woman took the job.  “Tell me about a complicated man.” So begins Emily Wilson’s new translation, which reveals how the ancient story is relevant today.
  3. NewYorker – The Serial-Killer Detector.  How an algorithm is discovering new links between unsolved murders.
  4. Tennessean – Searching for Nashville real estate: Where are Nashville home shoppers from?
  5. TV – Hillary Clinton’s Letter to Her Teenage Self  Clinton reflects back on what she would have told her 19-year old self at the end of her first semester at college.

Business/Economics:

  1. CFG – A Conversation with David Swensen.  Bob Rubin (Former Treasury Secretary) interviews the head of Yale’s endowment, the legendary David Swensen.  Read this once and then read it again.  Arguably two of the sharpest financial minds of all time.
  2. TMT – The Source of the Next Crisis – Credit JC – A look at the evolution of volatility, the VXX and the potential systemic impacts.
  3. TRB – It just got real.  According to one source, there are now more open accounts on the Coinbase platform than there are brokerage accounts at Charles Schwab (although the Schwab accounts are undoubtedly bigger, for now).  Pair with – Why and how the Cryptobubble will burst
  4. NC – New Paper Debunks Desperate Rationalization for Private Equity: Lower Volatility Based on Bogus ValuationsA new study by academics at John Hopkins confirms one of our long-standing criticisms of private equity: that the general partners misrepresent fund values in ways that make them look more flattering to investor.
  5. AP – Tech’s Dirty Little Secret: It’s a Cyclical Sector

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. ATC – VC Bill Gurley on Transforming Health CareThis is long, but well worth the effort.  Gurley, of Benchmark Ventures, is newer to the healthcare space and reflects thoughtfully about the contradictions and challenges that exist in the patchwork system we call US healthcare.
  2. WashPo – What Tech World Did You Grow Up In?
  3. GQ – How Die Another Day Almost Blew Up the James Bond Franchise
  4. WashPo – Meet the woman who’s spent 60 years making the skies a little friendlier May we all aspire for careers of such longevity and enjoyment.
  5. NYT – Six Years After Fukushima, Robots Finally Find Reactors’ Melted Uranium Fuel The Japanese government and companies used radiation-hardened machines to search for the fuel that escaped the plant’s ruined reactors.

 

The Week’s Best Reads – 11/17/17

This week’s highlights: DaVinci, Amazon’s Last Mile and the Future of Alzheimer’s research.

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Fifteen on Friday – 11/17/17 – Issue 262

$450 Million 

The single highest number ever paid for a painting at auction occurred this week on a ‘newly’ discovered Leonardo – and likely the only Leonardo effectively in private hands.  Interestingly, the painting was in a contemporary art auction instead of an “Old Masters” one.  It remains a head scratcher in many ways as to the reason behind such an astronomical valuation.  But in an uncertain world, where one’s grasp on his wealth can remain tenuous at best (just ask the Saudi Royals currently locked in the Ritz) – maybe no store of value is too pricey?

Have a great weekend,

David

Food for Thought:

  1. T&C – Here’s Exactly How Much Money You Need To Be Happy.  I actually would disagree with this article’s title – this is perhaps more, how much money to live like the proverbial “Joneses”
  2. MNSS – Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution.  Subcultures and the birth of what we believe is cool.
  3. TheAtlantic – Why Can’t Addicts Just Quit? In some cities, heroin addicts have access to treatment, but many are still using. Now, Seattle is poised to open a safe-injection facility for those who just can’t stop. So why can’t they?
  4. VanityFair – How Don Hewitt Invented 60 Minutes and Changed Journalism Forever In his new book Fifty Years of 60 Minutes, Jeff Fager reports on the rise of CBS’s flagship newsmagazine and the role the producer played in making America’s must-watch TV news program a dynasty.
  5. Vulture – Christie’s Is Selling This Painting for $100 Million. They Say It’s by Leonardo. I Have Doubts. Big Doubts.  This piece was the day before the sale – it ultimately transacted for $450MM – details here.  As I mentioned in my favorite top of the market indicators, record art auctions are a classic sign.

Business/Economics:

  1. Gizmodo – Amazon’s Last Mile – Credit SF – Who actually is delivering your Prime Now orders?
  2. VanityFair – WeWork’s $20 Billion Journey of Self-Discovery Takes a Detour Into Wave Pools You can’t make this stuff up.
  3. WashPo – Bill Miller is staging one of Wall Street’s most closely watched comebacks
  4. ContraCorner – Mind the Junk—-This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Capitalism – Credit JC – The financial system is loaded with anomalies, deformations and mispricings—-outcomes which would never occur on an honest free market. For example, the junk bond yield at just 2% in Europe is now below that of the “risk-free” US treasury bond owing solely to the depredations of the ECB.
  5. ZH – Sam Zell Is Stumped: “For Amazon’s Value To Be Justified, It Has To Be Worth 25% Of The US Economy In 5 Years”

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. GatesNotes – Why I’m Digging Deep Into Alzheimer’s.  Bill Gates is personally donating $50MM+ to Alzheimer’s research, outside of the Gates Foundation.  See also this NYTimes piece from this week.  What if You Knew Alzheimer’s Was Coming for You?
  2. DL – The Most Important Skill of a Founder: Sales – Credit SD –
  3. Axois – How cancer survival rates have changed since the 70s
  4. Curbed – Where is all the good affordable furniture?  In the Ikea era, makers and buyers face a disconnect
  5. Hodinkee – Say Hello To The New HODINKEE Shop (And What That Means) We’re taking nine years, thousands of stories, and millions of miles of experience in the watch world and putting it all to good use
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