Why Is Independence So Frightening To Some People?

In past articles I have examined the nature of power and division in our society and have always come to the same conclusion, that there are only two types of people: the people who want control over others and the people who just want to be left alone. However, there are also subgroups that swim within the boundaries of each end of the spectrum. Often, psychologists and self-help gurus attempt to promote the idea that the defining quality of the average person’s life is whether he is a follower or a leader. I have seen this spectrum applied to every political and social organization.
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Great People

Van Gogh never had an art exhibition in his lifetime.
-Emily Dickinson never published a book
-Kafka didn’t have a published novel while alive
-Henry David Thoreau’s Walden sold only 2000 copies before his death.
-John Kennedy Toole had no books published until after his suicide
-Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was published in 2008, 4 years after his death

These people did their art in isolation. They teased the blood and guts out of their bodies and used the blood to write and create.

The Most Valuable Traits in a Potential Employee, According to Google

Figuring out how to distinguish yourself in a crowded field and land a job is a lifelong career just by itself. If you’re trying to figure out the types of traits that top-tier employers are looking for, you could always ask. Google, at least, seems happy to answer.

In an interview with the New York Times, Google’s senior VP of people operations (read: person who hires everyone else), Laszlo Bock, explains what they’re looking for in a candidate. He starts with what they don’t look for: GPAs, he says, “don’t predict anything.” Furthermore, while a college education is overwhelmingly preferred, the number of people getting jobs at Google without a college degree has grown over time.

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Would you credit it? How money is lent into existence

From Dr Michael Reiss.

Sir, The phrase “credit crunch” has been widely used to describe the freeze in lending that can occur at the tipping point of economic bubbles (for example “Spanish banks turn off the credit taps“, August 12). This is, however, misleading because it perpetuates the myth that “credit” is somehow fundamentally different from money.

Using this phrase allows the public to carry on believing the false notion that there is an essentially fixed pool of money out there and the only problem is the banks’ willingness to lend it out.The truth is, credit is money. Due to the magic of fractional reserve banking, virtually every pound we spend is money that has been lent into existence. This is true even if we have no borrowings ourselves. During a so-called credit crunch, there is an aggregate preference for paying back loans over taking out new ones. This shrinks the amount of money in the economy. The opposite of lending money into existence occurs, that is to say paying back money out of existence. The fraction of people, or even politicians, that are aware of this fact, is frighteningly small.

A shrinking money supply has a host of unpleasant side effects, as anyone who lived through the Great Depression would testify. During the period 1929-1933 the money supply fell by a third.

Michael Reiss,

London NW6, UK

Why bitcoin won’t disrupt digital transactions

I like to keep my feet warm, and so I’m very glad that in five years’ time, Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, is going to be sending me a pair of luxurious alpaca socks. The bet, which originated on RapGenius, is now a reality, thanks to Planet Money. And while NPR has written the broadcast up as a story, it falls to RapGenius, again, to annotate it. And it’s in the RapGenius annotations where things start getting interesting.

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BitCoin: FAQ for the masses

Recently I have had various questions asked about BitCoin. My favorite is my wife’s typical “How’s the money laundering going?” – Which always makes me chuckle. But let’s take a Q & A approach to some general questions that the not-so-familiar will ask about BitCoin.

Where does the money come from?

A: In VERY general terms, the money is awarded from the network. Think of it as similar to the federal mint printing money and shipping it to banks. Just take away the Federal Reserve, and central banks, and you have a form of currency which is more like BitCoin.

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Life Advice: What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?

There’s already a lot here and you probably stopped reading, but I couldn’t resist writing a note to my 23 year old self:

  • If you do anything, do this first one: learn how to work hard and stick with something. Learn how to turn off Facebook and control your addiction to social media. You’ll instantly be ahead of 90% of your generation.
  • Video games are a time sink. If you can play for an hour and say “That was fun, let’s do something else” then you’re ok. Otherwise, just get rid of them.
  • Pick up an athletic hobby that you can do through the years, or your sedentary academic lifestyle will do horrible things to your posture, back, and gut.
  • Learn how to deal with interpersonal conflicts. Read Crucial Conversations and practice – it’s a lifechanger (shameless plug: Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition)
  • Learn as much programming as you can. It’s never a bad idea to learn a programming language (unless that language is COBOL-just kidding, you can even make money coding in COBOL).
  • Learn how to display data in R.
  • Learn how to talk on the phone with people you don’t know. It still terrifies most people. Get a phone sales job and quit after a few weeks.
  • Start some kind of little side venture to learn entrepreneurial principles. Start a window washing business, buy and sell stuff on Craigslist, do anything. You might need them if you’re in between jobs.
  • Take a course on statistics and how they’re misused, specifically how faulty causal arguments are made. It will change the way you approach almost any discussion, quantitative or not. (Read How to Lie with Statistics: Darrell Huff)
  • Always have a private place where you can talk out loud to God every day. Even if you’re not religious or don’t believe in God. Talk out loud to the universe. Sort out your thoughts, verbalize them, and then write down what comes to mind. Something wiser than you is listening and responding, even if it’s just another side of you.
  • Use http://Mint.com to track your expenses. Make a budget and learn how to stick to it. Learn to live lean now while you can, so you won’t be forced to later on.
  • Learn a foreign language, but only if you anticipate using it. Sure, there are side benefits, but you’ll forget it.
  • Learn how to network. Read “Never Eat Alone.” (plug: http://amzn.to/XQqfrM). Hint: it’s about doing things for other people.
  • Learn how to cook tasty, cheap food. Especially this bread. Make this bread. No really. http://www.steamykitchen.com/168…
  • Find music that inspires you and makes you feel alive.Listen to it every morning and if it’s something embarrassing just don’t tell your friends about it.
  • Save up a few thousand dollars and go somewhere crazy with a few friends. Live in a hostel for a few weeks. Get malaria if you have to. It will change your life and you will think about it forever (not the malaria part – you’ll get over that.)
  • When someone promises you easy money, run the other way. Yes, it IS a scam.
  • Read a book a week. When you get ridiculously wealthy, read a book a day. Read fiction too.

I am no proud of this project: Philip Yeo on Suzhou Industrial Park

http://publichouse.sg/im-not-proud-of-this-project-philip-yeo-on-suzhou-industrial-park/

This project will fail,” said Goh Keng Swee.

The China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) project in the 1990s between the two countries was fraught with problems from the get-go. But few have spoken openly about them until now.

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