Friday , November 15 2019
Home / Tag Archives: Marginalia

Tag Archives: Marginalia

Cautionary Tales…

Cautionary Tales… Exciting news – I have a new podcast series ready to burst out upon an unsuspecting world. It’s called Cautionary Tales – true stories of catastrophe and fiasco, sparkling with top acting talent, with the aim of making you wiser with every word. I’m writing and presenting the series and will be adding a soupcon of social science to the narrative. [Apple] [Spotify] [Stitcher] While you wait for the first episodes to drop on November 15th, I thought I’d share a...

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Books about seeing into the past and the future

Books about seeing into the past and the future What I’ve been reading… Steven Johnson’s Farsighted. I’m a Steven Johnson fan and enjoyed this book a lot – sufficiently to read it in an afternoon in the library, then head to my local bookshoop and pay full retail. Given the number of books I get sent on spec, that’s a sincere compliment. This book is about taking the long view and thinking about non-obvious effects. Among the topics – diversity and groupthink (Steven may have...

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Two evenings with Randall Munroe

Two evenings with Randall Munroe I’m interviewing Randall Munroe of xkcd on stage twice this week. Being the straight man for Randall is something that would have been on my bucket list, if it had ever occured to me in my wildest imaginings. Speaking of wild imaginings, Randall’s new book,  How To, is a think of strange beauty. As I mentioned before, “it’s in much the same style as What If? and just as funny and informative. I loved it, then my twelve year old daughter stole it...

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What’s it like to have lunch with a Nobel laureate?

What’s it like to have lunch with a Nobel laureate? My recent “lunch with the FT” with Richard Thaler (Nobel laureate, author of Nudge and Misbehaving) was a lot of fun. I don’t do these formal sit-down interviews often but over the years I’ve racked up a few. At the end of the lunch I mentioned to Thaler the other economists I’d lunched with. “Good company”, he said. I think he’s right. So, just in case you missed the other interviews: Thomas Schelling (1921 – 2016, Nobel...

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The magic of picture books

The magic of picture books Perhaps it’s the holiday feeling, but I’ve been looking at books with lots of pictures recently. First, Randall Munroe’s marvelous How To. It’s in much the same style as What If? and just as funny and informative. I loved it, then my twelve year old daughter stole it and she loved it, then my eight year old son stole it and he loved it. I suspect we’re all getting something different from the book, which explores such questions as: If you wanted to...

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The art of time well spent

The art of time well spent I’ve been reading James Wallman’s Time And How To Spend It – which, intriguingly, he described to me as “How to Kondo Time”, which I don’t think it is. I’ve learned a few things worth knowing, though. Wallman recommends seven rules for spending your time wisely: Story Transformation Outside & Offline Relationships Intensity Extraordinary Status & Significance (They spell “stories”. Nice, eh?) Actually the first chapter – “story” – was the most...

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How to be more creative

How to be more creative I was on the TED Radio Hour this week; they were kind enough to give me both the first and the last word on the subject of kickstarting creativity. If you’d like to read more on the subject I would – of course – recommend my book, Messy, which gave me the research base for both of the TED talks and the interviews around them. But what else? Perhaps David Epstein’s new book, Range, which sings the praises of broadening your horizons. I’m a couple of...

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What I’ve been reading

What I’ve been reading Mark Bostridge, Florence Nightingale – a thorough biography of a remarkable woman, less well-known for her work as a statistician, data-visualisation pioneer and public health campaigner than she should be. One of the founders of evidence-based medicine, she is nevertheless more celebrated for being “the lady with the lamp”. Draw your own conclusions. Good book. James Reason, Human Error – Reason’s work on industrial accidents is fantastic. This book...

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Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy Season Two

Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy Season Two I’m delighted to announce that Season Two of “Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy” is up and running. Our first episodes included our Christmas special, followed by the Langstroth Beehive, Cellophane, and the Gyroscope – with more appearing on the feed on a weekly basis. If you want listen to the episode about bricks and you just can’t wait, hop over to 99% Invisible – one of the best podcasts on the planet and an...

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Why big companies squander good ideas – a reading list

Why big companies squander good ideas – a reading list My FT Magazine cover story tomorrow is “Why Big Companies Squander Good Ideas“, and I wanted to give some pointers to further reading, because I learned a lot and had a lot of fun writing this piece. (I’ll post the feature article on this website in due course.) About innovation The classic here is Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (UK) (US) – a book I loved and found compelling, but also has some tantalising...

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