Here is a collection of books that will change your life.
I have divided them up into three sections: Books that will change your perspective, Books that will help you build a business, and Books that will help you understand education.
Books are like teachers, most simply provide information, while the best ones inspire you to discover information for yourself. That is my hope for the books on this list. I hope that they light a spark. I hope they force you to ask questions. I hope they make you as thirsty for knowledge about entrepreneurship, education and life as they did for me.
If these books are not worth every second of your time I’ll buy you a beer.
Read more at samuelrsolomon.com→
Soundboy: Towards a unified theory of starting up -
Wired asked me to write something for the last issue about start-ups, aka that ol’ heartache.
Here’s my attempt at a unified theory for starting up:
1. Find the people you believe you could build something amazing with. These are your cofounders.
2. Find something you love deeply that…
21st Century Careers and the Decimation of the Middle Class Professions —
I recently attended a Career’s Evening at my 16 year old daughter’s school. The idea was that parents representing typical middle class professions, such as banking, military, accounting, medicine, law and marketing stood around answering questions from the kids, who ranged in age between 15 and 18.
Apart from the odd mobile phone, the scene may well have taken place at any time in the last 60 years or so.
And yet, things are no longer what they were and every one of those professions are going to be fundamentally disrupted by the time the children will be a few years into their career, after finishing their schooling and studying for more years at University. Those well-meaning parents probably haven’t a clue about what’s about to hit them and as a result, would be totally incapable of describing what it’s going to be like to be Doctor, Soldier or Banker. In fact, those kids couldn’t have been more misled if we’d conspired to systematically lie to them.
Here’s just a few thoughts on how these venerable professions will change as a result of exponentially increasing technology:
Military – Technology takes over. As an example, the Pentagon already has 19,000 drones and Obama has authorised over 3000 strikes, five times as many as Bush. Good article here.
Accounting – realtime reporting and specialist software will reduce most accounting functions to mere oversight, a little like the role of today’s aircraft pilots. Unfortunately, you don’t need that many people to oversee things in case they go wrong.
Medicine – the combination of realtime monitoring via the mobile (or specialist devices) and personalised treatment based on genomics is set to make today’s medicine look like 19th century butchery.
Law – when is some kind soul going to screw up this cartel? Endless duplication of contracts and paperwork and disputes that could be settled instantly based on a dispassionate examination of the facts by software. Like all these examples, there will be some edge cases where real people might be required – certainly in the short term – but a hell of a lot can be eliminated.
Marketing – one of my catch phrases recently has been that marketing has turned from a dark art into a transparent science. Probably the best preparation for marketing these days would be a maths or statistics degree.
Banking – Again, an industry that’s going to be decimated through technology. Already most trading is automated and other jobs are going to follow.
Obviously, I could delve into each of these areas in more detail and the fact that I haven’t doesn’t mean that the case is superficial. I just don’t want to write reams and reams on each argument here. If you disagree, feel free to write a comment after doing some of your own research and thinking about it. Lots of people in these jobs will be in denial, but from my perspective, it’s going to happen unless some other disaster (war, disease, climate change) hits us first.
There’s a few consequences of all this though. Firstly, the middle classes are going to be decimated in the next 20 years. The traditional professions that have maintained such a comfortable way of life for so long are going to largely disappear. Be prepared.
Secondly, what advice should we be giving those kids? I’d say that they should be thinking of a career that can’t be done by a very smart robot. And that’s probably a largely manual job like a waiter or chef on the one hand, or an entrepreneur/wealth creator on the other. These types of jobs will represent the pinnacle of earnings in society and that’s what they should be aiming for.
This might all seem very radical, scary and for many, impossible to believe. But we live in exponential times and the results are going to be change at an increasingly faster rate. The future belongs to the people who understand and embrace that change and that’s the message we should be telling our kids.
(Source: mobhappy.com, via emergentfutures)
Q: IS AN MBA WORTH IT?
James Altucher: NO. I specifically said to him, “If you go for an MBA I’m going to hunt you down and kill you”
Green sea | Izmir, Turkey
© Nejdet Düzen
Valve vs. other developers on piracy.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. — William Hutchinson Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951)
If you head to Yosemite National Park this time of year and stop by Horsetail Fall at just the right time, you might see something spectacular: As the sun sinks low in the sky, the waterfall glows with streaks of gold and yellow — and it looks just like molten lava.
Photographers like Michael Frye flock to the park every February to try to capture the phenomenon. Frye, author of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, describes the sight to NPR’s Audie Cornish.
Listen to the interview.
(via From Waterfall To Lavafall: Yosemite’s Fleeting Phenomenon : The Picture Show : NPR)
A Brief History of the Corporation -
by Venkat Rao
It is a sort of grim privilege for the generations living today to watch the slow demise of such a spectacularly effective intellectual construct. The Age of Corporations is coming to an end. The traditional corporation won’t vanish, but it will cease to be the center of gravity of economic life in another generation or two. They will live on as religion does today, as weakened ghosts of more vital institutions from centuries ago.
(Source: tetw, via emergentfutures)
When Fred Wilson, a prominent New York venture capitalist who has backed Twitter and Zynga, wanted to watch the Knicks game last month, he got an unpleasant surprise. Time Warner Cable was not showing the game because of a contract dispute.
Frustrated, he turned to the Internet for help. Within minutes he was streaming the game illegally on his big-screen TV.
“It’s not that we don’t want to pay for our sports entertainment,” Mr. Wilson wrote on his blog after the fact. “But last night we were turned into ‘pirates,’ as the entertainment industry likes to call us.”
Plenty of Knicks fans can sympathize with Mr. Wilson’s plight. And his rationale makes perfect sense to people in tech circles, who increasingly expect to have almost everything available on demand, and resent it when media companies stand in their way.
Gerd comments: totally spot-on fred !! — In Piracy Debate, Is the Sky Falling? - NYTimes.com (via mediafuturist)
While we’re all dimly aware that we take a lot of pills, we have no intuition for how big the problem is. And when you lay out the stats, the figures are nothing short of terrifying, as this infographic shows.
We Pop Way Too Many Pills, And The Pills Don’t Even Work
Na Pali Coast, Kauai (by redswept)
Are America’s Prison Towns Doomed?
For decades, the trade-off of becoming known as a “prison town” and being associated with incarceration has been a worthwhile trade-off for municipalities in financial straits. And states in need of a place to put their growing inmate populations during the height of the War on Drugs were willing to pay good money for it.
This is where publicly-traded, private prison companies such as Corrections Corporation of America and GEO, formerly known as Wackenhut, — what Eric Schlosser dubbed the “prison industrial complex” — stepped in. They offered cheaper and more efficient prison management than state-run systems because they could use non-union employees at lower wages with less training.
But much like the real estate market crash of the last ten years, the belief that the incarceration market was recession-proof and could only rise is being proved wrong. Declining crime rates are leaving more prisons empty. There isn’t enough crime to keep the prison industry afloat as it currently stands.
To save money, more states are moving their prisoners back to state-run facilities when space is available. Without prisoners, the private companies managing the facilities are leaving. And the small towns who bet on an ever-growing incarceration rate are left further in debt with few sources of capital. Read more.
A compelling, difficult story from The Atlantic Cities about incarceration and struggling American towns. Here’s a question for y’all: Can we reconcile our satisfaction about falling crime rates with concern for those losing their livelihoods?