An update to last week’s post with two reading lists can only mean one thing… more books! These lists are wide-ranging in nature, coming from TED speakers and Farnam Street Blog members, a multidisciplinarian crowd if there ever was any. Enjoy!
Great article by Jared Diamond on “constructive paranoia” – a state of hypervigilance to events of seemingly small risk but high frequency (or higher than estimated), such as – in his example – falling in the shower. Since we are terrible at estimating risk anyway, it pays to be cautious and vigilant.
This TEDxYale talk, however funny, is a serious reminder about how dangerous an influential/persuasive speaker can be. I wrote about this back in July 2010 in a post called Time Perspectives: “In fact, it’s downright scary how the “coolness” of the presentation can lead one to “lower one’s guard” to data that’s not necessarily accurate or that answers not necessarily the right questions.”
The subject is very dear to us: Education and how technology can improve its productivity (and accountability), reduce costs, leverage social aspects and increase reach, convenience and even – dare we say it – the fun factor in education… A TED 2011 talk by former hedge-fund analyst Salman Khan almost has it all, and the technology is here now. It appears to address many – obviously not all – of our “wishlist items” for Education, not the least of it the empowerment of teachers, education managers, parents and even students themselves through data and its analysis (individually, by classroom, school, district, demographics, whatever).
Three short stories we’ve read over the holiday (we also read many bigger ones, which deserve their own posts in the next few days). We’ll go from Carl Icahn and the hedge fund industry, to Seth Godin and marketing, to a review of the TED Fellows program by a TED 2011 attendee. Three very different subjects – choose the one(s) that best matches your interest, but always make a point to stretch yourself every now and then and read something you don’t expect to like, by someone you don’t expect to agree with.
One month or so ago we received a newsletter from another asset manager with links to TED talks by Sir Ken Robinson. Today is a holiday in Rio (yet another one), and our state has been hit with torrential rain and subsequent land slides that killed over 650 people – the type of tragedy that unfortunately keeps occurring in Brazil. We can’t help but be reminded of the power of education in changing societies: it’s not all about short-term economic growth. It’s not just “any” education either, although Brazil is still at such a low level that literacy rates still matter, it’s about the quality of education as well. That’s the subject of the inspiring and often funny talks inside. We hope you will enjoy them and think about the issue as it applies to your country.
Our hopes for mankind were renewed when we received a great suggestion by a reader today. Better yet, this reader has sent great stuff before and this is no exception. Keep those suggestions coming! We have the full BBC documentary with global health professor Hans Rosling inside. There’s also more on Hans Rosling and data visualization, including tips on how to build your own presentation with this data.
We love it when readers send us great material, and when they’re 16 years old we’re even more impressed. This video is a very well-crafted summary of and ad for Steven Johnson’s new book (same name as our post). There’s also a TED talk that expands somewhat and exemplifies. In the TED video Mr. Johnson gets a bit more “pro-crowdsourcing”, in the sense that there’s an obvious trade-off between intellectual property protection vs. opening up to collaborative business models. As we’ve posted here almost a year ago, there are limits to crowdsourcing that should be minded before launching any type of “open” initiative.