Roundup #2


  •   John Cassidy on Piketty    Review
    I suggest reading anything by John Cassidy, his epic How Markets Fail is an excellent explication of the financial crisis, and indictment of Greenspan, and a history of the US Economy. Comprehensive and imminently readable. 
  • Alec Wilkinson’s piece in the New Yorker about physicists resurrecting the earliest recordings A Voice From The Past  Apology
    Sorry that this article is behind the New Yorkers paywall, I hate to link to something that you can’t read if you’re not a member but it is an awfully good article. 
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates tweets two articles to read about his Reparations piece and a reply.


  • Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything     Review
    Maybe “interiority” is a theme in this week’s Roundup but I find Bejamen Walker’s TOE to be a delight. It is sometimes a surreal fantasy, sometimes a conversation with a cast of friends, or a quasi-sound-journal-time-machine of growing up in the 80s. You can never tell if there is any “truth” to what is being said and that is my favorite part. Just accept the narrative as it unfolds, and let Walker’s excellent sound design and production values take your mind away from whatever you are currently thinking about.
  • Slate Moneybox Podcast   Review
    I am not shilling for Slate, this new podcast featuring Felix Salmon, Cathy O’Neil and Jordan Wiessman is actually too short in my opinion. I have been a fan of O’Neil since her appearance on EconTalk and read her blog when possible. Felix Salmon is the host and he is getting his sea legs but off to a good start. He is known for his skepticism about Bitcoin (among other good qualities). Check out his “bet” about Bitcoin on the other great money podcast, Planet Money 


  • Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel    Review
    I know I am late to the party on this excellent book (it was published in 2009) but it is definitely worth a read if, like me, you were daunted by the subject matter or length. I had known Thomas Cromwell as a villain but this book explores the many facets of his character, including his ruthlessness. The narrative is compelling and it is written exceptionally well – the point of view alternating from Cromwell’s interior thoughts to third person descriptions in an ingenious way. Of course we have not idea what Cromwell thought in “real life” but because Mantel captures the time with such authority, it is easy to forget that this is a work of fiction. I listened to this book and the narrator was wonderful, using a variety of voices to act out each character. Thomas Cromwell came from the most humble circumstances and fled his abusive father before he was 16, striking out on his own. By force of will, curiosity and a prodigious intellect he rose to the highest office in the King’s court (and later to be executed for treason. I don’t think any description of this book quite captures way it relates the poetry and beauty of our every day experiences. The sense of interiority is very moving, in a way that almost reminds me of Swanns Way by Proust though things certainly move a lot more quickly in this book…..Five Stars  
  • The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss   Review
    If you want to learn to simplify cooking and make a delicious steak dinner, this is the book. Also includes the typical Ferriss deep dives into various interesting topics such as learning, hunting, skinning, but for me the chapters and recipes in the section of the book “The Domestic” are an excellent primer on cooking that will improve what you do in the kitchen. 

Research: The Biome

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