Weekend Briefing No. 466
A Saturday morning briefing on innovation and society.
Welcome to the weekend.
Thanks to everyone who left a comment last week. We had a great conversation about the potential of emerging technologies like mRNA vaccines and hydrogen powered trains. I can’t wait to see your comments this week. I think the conversation will be super fun. Cheers!
Did your brilliant friend share this with you?
14,300,000—Author Colleen Hoover has positively dominated the 2022 bestselling books list, selling 14.3 million print copies of her books and accounting for eight out of the top 25 selling books of 2022.
738,840—As a dad, I couldn’t help but notice that The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the 11th best-selling book in 2022 with 738,840 sales. In case you’re wondering, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See also made the list.
15%—Fifteen percent of U.S. adults are participating in Dry January this year. That is down compared to 2022, when 19% of adults 21 and up and 27% of millennials were drying out in January.
Most Important Question
Polina Pompliano asked people on Twitter about the most important question they’ve ever been asked. Here are some of the best responses: 1) Which of my current views would I disagree with if I were born in a different country or generation? 2) What’s the one thing that you wish someone would ask you … that no one is asking you? 3) In what ways are you complicit in creating the conditions that you say you don't want? 4) Would you rather have the ability to look into your future or to change your past? 5) Then what? The Profile (6 minutes)
How about you? What was the most important question you’ve been asked?
Outsider talent are the people that often overlooked in the workforce: the minorities, immigrants, disabled or anybody that doesn’t “fit the mold.” For the last few centuries, “outsider talent” has been honing some of the most critical skills for the future of work: resilience, risk taking, empathy across lines of difference, and the ability to navigate uncertainty. Unfortunately, all too often, entrance and advancement in the professional context is based on pedigree, not these essential skills. This phenomenon is explored in a McKinsey study done last year that looked at the correlation between key skills of the future (risk taking, coping with uncertainty, and empathy) and levels of education. It found that these skills are completely uncorrelated to education — meaning it’s possible, even likely, that a person of high intelligence and educational pedigree is totally unprepared to deal with such things as flexibility or uncertainty. These kids may end up at the best schools, but they may not end up with the skills needed to succeed. It’s also possible, even likely, that outsider talent lacks the pedigree, but has the skills needed to succeed. The Hill (6 minutes)
Tech-enabled Property Management
Investing in residential real estate is a reliable way to build long-term wealth, but being a landlord isn’t easy. Mynd uses tech to take the hassle out of managing your rental properties. Mynd handles everything from finding a tenant to collecting rent to making repairs. You can even track your cash flow and earnings on the go with the Mynd app. Get a free rental analysis today with Mynd. Mynd (Sponsored)
Xi Jinping is the most powerful person in the world. At China’s 20th Communist Party Congress in October, he secured a third term as party chief and may rule China for the rest of his life. But the real story of China’s leader remains a mystery. The Economist’s Sue-Lin Wong finds out how he rose to the top in our eight-part podcast series. The Prince is the epic story of Mr Xi’s turbulent past, how he has changed China and how he is trying to change the world. The Economist (35 minutes)
2022 was a very bad, awful, no-good year for crypto. Among all the doom and gloom, some are also saying that this year’s crypto crash was a much-needed corrective to all the hype that had built up around the industry, and could go a long way to weeding out speculators and charlatans. It’s also increased calls for regulation of the sector, which in the long run could help it become more sustainable. Ultimately, despite the depth of the crisis, many in traditional finance think cryptocurrencies are likely to rebound in 2023—although it may be a slow and gradual recovery. Tellingly, they are predicting that projects, like Ethereum, that can be used to support practical real-world applications rather than just financial speculation, will be the drivers of growth in crypto’s next phase. Is it possible that crypto’s calamitous year might be what allows it to thrive in the long run? Singularity Hub (6 minutes)
Waste Not Want Not
The precepts of circular economy—reusing water, using biodegradable plastic, composting food leftovers so they can be returned to the soil rather than become landfill—are among the hottest ideas of our century. But what about recycling what our food becomes after we eat it? Yes, that means excrement, a critical substance in the thoroughly functioning circular economy, seems to be left out of the equation. Applying biosolids to land has a slew of agricultural benefits, as a recent study demonstrated when it was applied to barren and sandy soils. Doing so perpetuates circular agriculture: we take food from the earth and we replenish its nutrients with our metabolic output. We have the technology to safely reuse biosolids. So, what’s stopping us? JSTOR (11 minutes)
The intermediate plateau is that moment in your learning journey when you’ve moved beyond early efforts, which are marked by some intense difficulties, but are also a period of incredible progress. You don’t feel good enough to claim the work of learning is over, but you see diminishing returns from additional study and practice. The intermediate plateau shows up in almost every field—writers, programmers, managers, architects and doctors all have to deal with the difficulty of being neither a beginner nor the best. So, how can you move beyond the intermediate plateau? 1) Exponential knowledge requires exponential effort. 2) Unlearning requires deliberate practice. 3) Expert mentorship nurtures creativity. Scott H. Young (9 minutes)
Should We Work Together?
Hi! I’m Kyle. This newsletter is my passion project. When I’m not writing, I run a law firm that helps startups move fast without breaking things. Most founders want a trusted legal partner, but they hate surprise legal bills. At Westaway, we take care of your startup’s legal needs for a flat, monthly fee so you can control your costs and focus on scaling your business. If you’re interested, let’s jump on a call to see if you’re a good fit for the firm. Click here to schedule a one-on-one call with me.
Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one. -Marcus Aurelius