Author Archives: SMS

Influential Reads – December 2019

December was busy.  Budgeting, year end projects, and skiing twelve days in a row is all hard work!

Updated stats through December:

Saved ArticlesBooks
JanuaryN/A2
February901
March390
April630
May393
June630
July790
August881
September513
October890
November1052
December771
Total78313

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. The real scam of ‘influencer’ – “Part of the scam is that the pyramid scheme of attention will somehow pay off for a lot of people.” Stephen here: this is my vote for the part of the economy to get the biggest wake-up call during the next downturn (i.e., mortgage brokers in 2007 – no more $30 filet at Cheesecake Factory for you!)
  2. An End to War! – “They are memes of An End to War!, good-sounding narrative constructs structured to pretend that stand-off weapons, cruise missile strikes, targeted assassinations and UAVs are not part of what needs to end, but things we will define as not being acts of war at all.”
  3. Social Media’s Shift Toward Misery – “The largest effect we found in our entire meta-analysis was the negative correlation between well-being and SNS content consumption.”.
  4. Time arbitrage and the art of reading a book – “Books represent the culmination of decades of education on the part of the author and years of writing. Yet we have access to them oftentimes for free. The only investment we need make is the time to read them. This asymmetry is one we should all be taking advantage of.”
  5. Hyakujos Fox – “Accumulating wealth and power are just games we play.”
  6. Sunday Firesides: Simplicity Is Not Laziness – “By all means, ruthlessly cut out those commitments that don’t contribute to your desires, but ensure that which fills the gap does.”
  7. The attention crisis is real – “And each of us gets the same amount of attention to spend each day. It’s a competitive advantage to figure out how to focus it to get something done.”
  8. The Lies We Tell – “We tell ourselves stories that are convincing, cheap, and often wrong.”
  9. The Electoral College’s Real Problem: It’s Biased Toward the Big Battlegrounds – “A winner-take-all system within states can produce results counter to the majority for no high-minded reason.”
  10. The Art of Decision-Making – “He points out that Benjamin Franklin used a more advanced pro-and-con technique: in what Franklin called “Prudential Algebra,” a numerical weight is assigned to each listed item, and counterbalancing items are then eliminated.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Book Report: The Conscious Parent

This is meant to be more of a book report, than a review.  In particular, I want to highlight three lessons from the book, The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, that I found impactful.

This is a book that Mrs. SFTE read and highly recommended.  As with most books that require a bit of work, I struggled through it a little bit.  It was more me than the book. However, I found the book to have some concepts worth thinking about and that are really relevant across many situations – not just parenting.

The theme that I appreciated the most is that despite being a little unconventional and promoting concepts such as spirituality, mindfulness, and meditation, etc., the book is most certainly not suggesting that life should be all roses and rainbows.  In fact, a main message within the book is the life is not alway going to be pleasant and a parent must help a child understand that there will be frustrations, boredom, and the just plain “ordinary.” I found this theme welcome in a world full of millenial attitudes and expectations.

  1. Changing Your Behavior – “Matching our emotional energy to that of our children is far more effective than asking them to match their energy to ours.”  Be the grown up in the relationship. Parenting is as much about modifying your behavior to meet the situation as it is modifying your child’s behavior to what you think it should be.
  2. Focus on the Process as Much as the Outcome – This is a sentiment that crosses many disciplines.  And there’s good reason. “When we focus on the achievement of a goal instead of the learning process, our children miss many opportunities to develop their self-esteem.  Rather than telling them, ‘Good job. Here is your gift,’ it’s important to highlight their character development, sharing with them how proud we are that they showed patience, determination, and bravery. … In this way our children discover the joy in learning, quite apart from reaching a destination.”
  3. Allow Your Child to Just Be – In order to allow your child to develop, grow, and flourish, sometimes you need to step back and let them be who they are and figure things out for themselves.  “We are so heavily invested in our children, determined that they not mess up but become a success, that in our desire to be “good” parents, we find it difficult to just be with our children in their as is state, allowing whatever is happening to exist.”

In summary, a good book that certainly inspired some self-reflection.

Influential Reads – November 2019

Good production in November on both fronts.

Updated stats through November:

Saved ArticlesBooks
JanuaryN/A2
February901
March390
April630
May393
June630
July790
August881
September513
October890
November1052
December771
Total78313

Here are my most influential reads – in no particular order:

  1. Tech’s Pioneers Have Been Left Behind. Their Stocks Are Cheap—and Complicated – “Legacy tech has stopped growing, and there are no easy fixes”.
  2. Bernstein Says Stop When You Win The Game – “When you’ve won the game, why keep playing it?”.
  3. Time Machines & Species Failure – “These firms pulled a Robin Hood on the greatest thieves of time in post-WWII America — ad-supported media”.
  4. First Principles: The Building Blocks of True Knowledge – “We’re all somewhere on the spectrum between coach and play stealer. We reason by first principles, by analogy, or a blend of the two.”
  5. From Chaos to Concept – “Life hacks make for good 90 second viral Internet videos but the minutiae will never help you get ahead in life.”
  6. Reflexivity Here In The Yield Curve & Everywhere – “In practice, momentum strategies buy winners and sells losers. Thus, it can create a self-reinforcing loop. … In fact, the same can be said for market-cap-weighted passive investment strategies.”
  7. What’s your big domino? – “we confuse effectiveness over efficiency; and we schedule more meetings to avoid making important decisions.”
  8. Millennials Should Be Happy They Are Stuck Renting – “Most of the rise in single-family house prices over time is due to larger new structures with more marble bathrooms, fancier kitchens, etc. “
  9. How to Prepare Yourself to Be a Great CEO – “The best way to do this is to join the management team of the best start-up that will have you.”
  10. The Obvious Way to Improve Your Career – “Knowing how to draw a detailed and accurate map of your career is the first step. The second is knowing how to navigate it. How to cultivate the skills, assets and signals that will move you forward in the direction you want to proceed.”

Note: This is based on when I read the article, not necessarily when it was first published.  Unfortunately, my backlog of things I would like to read always seems to dwarf the amount of time I can devote to reading.

Gear Review: Dexter-Russell All-Purpose Turner

Not to get all Marie Kondo on you, but every time I pickup the Dexter-Russell All-Purpose Turner (not spatula), I’m happy with my decision to spend a little extra.  And I would place this solidly in the “buy it for life” category of purchases.

Pancakes. Pancakes.

Plus, it turns me into a pancake making machine.

There are multiple styles, but I chose the 5 inch, “all-purpose” version and purchased through Amazon, but available elsewhere.

Purchase Date:      October 2018
Summary:  Definitely a worthwhile purchase.

Pros:

  • Solid, well made cooking utensil
  • Beats the pants off a plastic spatula
  • Thinner metal blade with rounded corners and beveling slides under food
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Really not that expensive
  • Looks good too!

Cons:

  • For the grill, you could use a longer handle (12” overall)

Darts Are Fun

Darts are fun. Especially when virtually every spot on the board is a bullseye.

[Insert basically any chart for any asset class.]

What’s going to happen when that isn’t the case?

I don’t know, but I’m thinking it’s less fun than today.

Also see Reflexivity.

Good-Bye K-Cups

Pour Over Setup

We’ve had an unstable relationship with our Keurig for a while now.  Actually, our Keurig machine seemed to prove fairly durable compared to some family and friends that seemed to go through the machines on a relatively frequent basis.  But the plastic waste we were putting out on a daily basis from the single serve cups always made us uncomfortable. Sort of a guilty pleasure. Without any pleasure.

So, the Keurig was sent to Goodwill.

And, we’ve started using a pour over setup for our weekday routine (we always make a full pot of coffee on the weekends). That’s a Hario V60 and Bonavita gooseneck electric kettle.

If you need some additional prompting, here’s a stat for you:

“While Keurig does sell some recyclable K-Cups, as well as a reusable mesh cup for ground coffee, 95% of the K-Cups they produce cannot be recycled and aren’t biodegradable. “ – Impacts of Materials on Society (https://rampages.us/materials/2015/10/13/796/)