What We’re Reading

A few good pieces we came across this week …


Isn’t hard:

It’s remarkable how small the commitment can be, there is a study done in Chicago by a restaurant owner, he had his receptionist change two words in what she said when she took an order a reservation, excuse me, from “please call if you have to change or cancel your reservation” to “will you please call if you have to change” and then she waited for people to say “Yes, I will”

It reduced no-shows by 64 percent.



Soon-to-be-published research will show roughly 22 percent of China’s urban housing stock is unoccupied, according to Professor Gan Li, who runs the main nationwide study. That adds up to more than 50 million empty homes, he said.

The nightmare scenario for policy makers is that owners of unoccupied dwellings rush to sell if cracks start appearing in the property market, causing prices to spiral.

Free will


He told the audience that free will is an illusion, and that human rights are just a story we tell ourselves. Political parties, he said, might not make sense anymore. He went on to argue that the liberal world order has relied on fictions like “the customer is always right” and “follow your heart,” and that these ideas no longer work in the age of artificial intelligence, when hearts can be manipulated at scale.


Eric Schmidt at Google:

The recruiting started off as informal, but it ultimately became very, very structured. We were famously focused on the school you went to and your GPA and *not *your experience. This caused all sorts of consternation, but it produced people who were both young in a sense of inexperienced in business. It produced people that were aggressive and ignorant of what they were doing, so they didn’t know what they were doing, but they could make mistakes.

Kids sports

Taste of the real world:

“Kids’ sports has seen an explosion of travel-team culture, where rich parents are writing a $3,000 check to get their kids on super teams from two counties, or two states, away,” said Tom Farrey, the executive director of Aspen’s Sports & Society program. Expensive travel leagues siphon off talented young athletes from well-off families, leaving behind desiccated local leagues with fewer players, fewer involved parents, and fewer resources. “When these kids move to the travel team, you pull bodies out of the local town’s recreation league, and it sends a message to those who didn’t get onto that track that they don’t really have a future in the sport.” The result is a classist system: the travel-team talents and the local leftovers.



The Silicon Valley natives were introduced to the Chinese start-up concept of 996: Work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week. Once they got over their shock, they had to ask: Does that punishing schedule make sense?

Have a good weekend.