Independent Thought

I’ve been growing concerned that our collective intellectual evolution is highly dependent on the technology we use. What started out as a convenience of Googling answers has become a collective “second brain” for us.

While the implications of this are far-reaching, I selected a few articles that speak to how we can or cannot be easily manipulated.

Furthering this topic, I was grateful to read Richard Clarke’s Cyber War this month.  While it was written eight years ago, it’s predictions for the years ahead have been breathtakingly accurate.  It’s a wonderful read. Enjoy!

What’s Going On (And Why You Should Care)

Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds (James Clear) – Clear takes a different approach to a subject well articulated in the Dale Carnegie classic How to Win Friends and Influence People.  His straightforward explanation of the key elements of persuasion has applicability to so many areas of human concern.

Why Should You Care? As Tolstoy said, “the most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”

***

The Clever Psychology of Disneyland’s Design (Katharine Schwab) – I’ve extensively taught the case study of Disney’s $1B investment in the MyMagic+ experience for good reason: Disney has been at the forefront of user-centered design for nearly 70 years.  This quick read is meant as a primer for Chris Nichols’s book Walt Disney’s Disneyland.

Why Should You Care? What few people consciously realize is the volume of seemingly free-willed decisions you make at a Disney theme park.  While those decisions may seem spontaneous and whimsical, their origins are almost always triggered and their outcomes predetermined.

***

This Texas Data Professor Sifts Data for Signs of Rigged Markets (Matt Robinson & Nick Baker) – For those captivated by the rise of Bitcoin at this time last year, this story explains how the reality of the Bitcoin story seems to be heavily rooted in market manipulation.

Why Should You Care? While the technology behind block chain may be compelling, it appears all of those articles written on how Bitcoin would become the future of money were a little far-fetched.  However, we all believed them.

Books I Read Last Month (That You Might Enjoy)

Cyber War (Richard Clarke) – While it was written nearly a decade ago, Clarke’s book is eye-opening not only in its predictions but also in its common sense. Virtually all of the responsibility for cyber warfare defense falls on private companies. As is stated in the book, “Can you imagine if in 1958 the Pentagon told U.S. Steel and General Motors to go buy their own Nike missiles to protect themselves?” Well worth the read.

***

University of Berkshire Hathaway (Daniel Pecaut & Corey Wrenn) – In a need for a dose of common sense, I re-read this extremely important collection of rational thinking. While a lot of time is spent discussing how Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are the greatest investors of all time, very little is spent analyzing the fact that they are really the best business strategists and historians of all time. In a fascinating tidbit regarding innovation, Buffet notes, ”the fact that you are being obsoleted does not mean you should go into the successor business.” As an example, he explained that if you were a person of vision in the passenger train business in 1930, you might have seen the coming of the airplane. But the answer was not to get into the airline business, which is a terrible business. The answer was to “get out of the passenger business altogether.”

KDG Insights