What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collaborative team came across this week …


This is smart:

That fossil fuels are finite is a red herring. The Atlantic Ocean is finite, but that does not mean that you risk bumping into France if you row out of a harbor in Maine. The buffalo of the American West were infinite, in the sense that they could breed, yet they came close to extinction. It is an ironic truth that no nonrenewable resource has ever run dry, while renewable resources—whales, cod, forests, passenger pigeons—have frequently done so.

Beaming in


From her living-room-turned-office in Woodstock, Ga., Ms. Jacobsen walked students through finding the functions of an angle with a virtual pen, in close-up. An aide in the classroom helped students and made sure they stayed on task.

The teacher shortage is getting so bad across the country that tens of thousands of students nationwide now get lessons live streamed into their classrooms.

Doomed to repeat

Robert Shiller on bubbles:

Given humans’ “Irrational Exuberance,” are bubbles inevitable?

I think the really bubbly phenomena come with the advent of news media and free markets. I’ve suggested that we need people to observe bubbles and construct monetary policy and regulatory policy around them. But I don’t think that we are about to eliminate them. They’re going to keep coming back, in a different form, with a different story.

Then we haven’t learned our lesson?

We have not. In fact, that’s one of the themes of the third edition. It is part of the human condition. I think it can be influenced by policy but there is a tendency for people to run in herds. It’s not altogether bad, either! Even war brings innovations. Not that I’m in favor of wars, but I’m saying the space program that we have now came out of the rocket science developed in wars.



Some of the world’s most destructive earthquakes — China in 2008, Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011, among them — occurred in areas that seismic hazard maps had deemed relatively safe. The last large earthquake to strike Los Angeles, Northridge in 1994, occurred on a fault that did not appear on seismic maps.


Steve Jobs on the definition of a company:

The company is one of the most amazing inventions of humans, this abstract construct that’s incredibly powerful. Even so, for me, it’s about the products. It’s about working together with really fun, smart, creative people and making wonderful things. It’s not about the money. What a company is, then, is a group of people who can make more than just the next big thing. It’s a talent, it’s a capability, it’s a culture, it’s a point of view, and it’s a way of working together to make the next thing, and the next one, and the next one.

Have a good weekend.