Ralph Waldo Emerson

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pages: 251 words: 44,888

The Words You Should Know to Sound Smart: 1200 Essential Words Every Sophisticated Person Should Be Able to Use by Bobbi Bly

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Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Anton Chekhov, British Empire, Columbine, Donald Trump, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, John Nash: game theory, Network effects, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, school vouchers, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs

After 9/11, CABOTAGE became a major concern of New York City and its mayor. cache (KASH), noun Something hidden or stored. Everyone was jealous when they learned of Moira’s CACHE of acceptances to the finest schools. caducous (kuh-DOO-kuss), adjective Transitory; short-lived; perishable. “Some thing, which I fancied was a part of me, falls off from me and leaves no scar. It was CADUCOUS.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist, and transcendentalist calumny (KAL-um-nee), noun The act of libel or slander; to besmirch a person’s reputation by spreading false statements and rumors. “CALUMNY will sear virtue itself.” –William Shakespeare cannonade (CAN-non-ayd), noun A continuous, relentless bombardment or effort. A CANNONADE of questioning greeted Eva’s statement that she was quitting the club’s tennis team.

.” – John Gross, British literary critic gambol (GAM-bowl), verb To run, skip, or jump about in a playful or joyous fashion. “We all have these places where shy humiliations GAMBOL on sunny afternoons.” – W. H. Auden, Anglo-American poet gamesome (GAYM-suhm), adjective Playful and frolicsome. “[Nature] is GAMESOME and good, / But of mutable mood,— / No dreary repeater now and again, / She will be all things to all men.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist, and transcendentalist gamine (gah-MEEN), noun A girl with a boyish demeanor and mischievous nature who is somehow still appealing. Her GAMINE behavior and looks only made her that much more attractive to teenage boys her age. gamut (GAM-utt), noun The full spectrum of possibilities or choices. The choice of places to eat near the mall ran the GAMUT from chain restaurants to five-star dining.

globalization (glow-bull-ih-ZAY-shin), noun The movement toward a true world economy with open and free trading across national borders. “Proponents of GLOBALIZATION insist that, as trade and investment move across borders, economic efficiencies raise the standards of living on both sides of the exchange.” – Arthur Goldwag, American author globule (GLAHB-yewl), noun A small globe or ball. “In yourself is the law of all nature, and you know not yet how a GLOBULE of sap ascends.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet, essayist, and transcendentalist Gnosticism (NAH-stih-sih-zim), noun The religious belief that salvation is attained through secret knowledge rather than through prayer, ritual, faith, divine grace, or good works. Many of the key principles of Christianity were formed as a direct response to GNOSTICISM. gorgonize (GORE-guh-nize), verb To paralyze or mesmerize with one’s looks or personality.


pages: 490 words: 150,172

The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance by Henry Petroski

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business climate, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Khartoum Gordon, Menlo Park, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen

Portions of this book were originally published in Across the Board and in American Heritage of Invention & Technology. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph, Inc., for permission to reprint excerpts from “How the Pencil Is Made” from The Pencil : Its History, Manufacture, and Use by The Koh-I-Noor Pencil Company. Reprinted courtesy of Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph, Inc. Correspondence between Ralph Waldo Emerson and Caroline Sturgis quoted by permission of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association and of the Houghton Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Petroski, Henry. The pencil: a history of design and circumstance/by Henry Petroski. — 1st ed. p. cm. eISBN: 978-0-307-77243-5 1. Pencils—History. I. Title. TS1268.P47 1989 674′.88—dc20 89-45362 v3.1 To Karen Contents Cover Other Books by This Author Title Page Copyright Dedication Preface 1 What We Forget 2 Of Names, Materials, and Things 3 Before the Pencil 4 Noting a New Technology 5 Of Traditions and Transitions 6 Does One Find or Make a Better Pencil?

For without this object Thoreau could not have sketched either the fleeting fauna he would not shoot or the larger flora he could not uproot. Without it he could not label his blotting paper pressing leaves or his insect boxes holding beetles; without it he could not record the measurements he made; without it he could not write home on the paper he brought; without it he could not make his list. Without a pencil Thoreau would have been lost in the Maine woods. According to his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau seems always to have carried, “in his pocket, his diary and pencil.” So why did Thoreau—who had worked with his father to produce the very best lead pencils manufactured in America in the 1840s—neglect to list even one among the essential things to take on an excursion? Perhaps the very object with which he may have been drafting his list was too close to him, too familiar a part of his own everyday outfit, too integral a part of his livelihood, too common a thing for him to think to mention.

He certainly designed and built his own cabin at Walden, and examples of a more mechanical bent in Thoreau exist in the Concord Free Public Library in his drawings for a barn and stanchion for cows and for a machine designed for making lead pipe. So it certainly seems that the younger Thoreau was not without the talents or inclination to “practice engineering” by working out the details of a solution for a machine to produce finer graphite. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s son, Edward, who was a young friend of Thoreau, the solution consisted in having a “narrow churn-like chamber around the mill-stones prolonged some seven feet high, opening into a broad, close, flat box, a sort of shelf. Only lead-dust that was fine enough to rise to that height, carried by an upward draught of air, and lodge in the box was used, and the rest ground over.” Walter Harding, in his biography of Thoreau, continues the story by describing the action: “The machine spun around inside a box set on a table and could be wound up to run itself so it could easily be operated by his sisters.”


pages: 62 words: 13,939

Self-Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, Mark Zuckerberg, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-Reliance © 2011 by Do You Zoom, Inc. The Domino Project Published by Do You Zoom, Inc. The Domino Project is powered by Amazon. Sign up for updates and free stuff at www.thedominoproject.com This is the first edition. If you’d like to suggest a riff for a future edition, please visit our website. Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 1803—1882 Self-Reliance / Ralph Waldo Emerson p. cm. ISBN: 978-1-936719-10-5 Self-Reliance RALPH WALDO EMERSON I reread Self-Reliance a few times a year. It’s always on my bedside table and I’ve done it for many years. Emerson’s clear and true words ring like a bell. It keeps me on track. It’s hard to follow your path or even to know what it is. There are constant distractions. This essay is a guide for how to realize your vision for your life. Amazing that he wrote it for us over a hundred years ago.

The Domino Project team consists of Amber Rae, Willie Jackson, Michael Parrish DuDell, Lauryn Ballesteros, Amy Richards, Ishita Gupta, Alex Miles Younger and your host, Seth Godin. Thanks also to the very self-reliant folks in Seattle, including Mary Ellen Fullhart, Sarah Gelman, Terry Goodman, Victoria Griffith, Megan Jacobsen, Galen Maynard, Lynette Mong, Sarah Tomashek, and Alan Turkus. Ralph Waldo Emerson may be long dead, but he’s a role model for many of us (not the dead part, of course). The idea that one can make a living doing work that resonates—spreading ideas that matter—is new again, and we’re glad to highlight him as an example. This book is dedicated to anyone willing to step up and avoid the hobgoblins. With relish. ABOUT THE DOMINO PROJECT Books worth buying are books worth sharing.


pages: 263 words: 81,542

Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan Cheever

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British Empire, Howard Zinn, nuclear winter, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, trade route

A Virginia aristocrat who had grown up on a plantation, he did not believe in “excessive democracy”; democracy was too precious to waste on the common man. This belief, which may have begun with his horror at the way polling places were conducted, led him to favor a strong federal government, and he eventually helped Alexander Hamilton—another man who was disturbed by drunkenness—draft The Federalist Papers. By the 1750s the stage was set for an explosion that would be “the shot heard round the world,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote. England was ruled by King George III, who took the British throne during the Seven Years’ War (which included the French and Indian War) over the control of colonial lands in North America, India, Portugal, and other places. In North America, the campaign began with the seizure of a British encampment (later Fort Duquesne) by the French in the disputed Ohio Valley. This was followed by an attack led by George Washington, then a lieutenant colonel in the British colonial militia Virginia Regiment, at Jumonville Glen in 1754.

This seems to have been the case for both Ethan Allen, who sauntered into the bedroom of a commandant and ordered him to surrender, and for Paul Revere, who, after being captured by the British, talked them into letting him go and persuaded them that the small, ragged militia waiting for them on Lexington Green was actually a few hundred well-trained and well-armed men. “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and “Concord Hymn” by Ralph Waldo Emerson are both poems that sacrifice the actual facts to the constraints of rhyme and the possibility of entertainment. This is just as well, since liquor figures in both stories. Historical poems by men like Longfellow and Emerson were the movies of the nineteenth century. They were amusing, and a lot more fun than reading dry old history books, but extremely inaccurate and often embellished. Longfellow memorializes a ride that never happened and mistakenly writes that the lantern signals from Old North Church Tower—one if by land and two if by sea—were for Revere when in fact they were signals from Revere.

This had a huge effect on the men who were spared the actual addiction—John Adams, John Quincy Adams in the next generation, and Henry Adams two generations later—who became some of our greatest and angriest statesmen. There are generally two kinds of people in an alcoholic family: the alcoholics who are sloppy, unreliable, infuriating, yet sometimes charming; and the nonalcoholics who in response can become hypercompetent, compulsive, and often furious. They are rarely charming. Rage runs in alcoholic families. Depression and sadness also run deep in families—especially alcoholic families. When Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that the gloomy misanthropist John Quincy Adams was so difficult and angry that he seemed to have put sulfuric acid in his tea,93 he was describing a classic reaction of the nonalcoholic in an alcoholic family. John Adams himself suffered from sharp spells of melancholy. Although John Adams’s friend and colleague Benjamin Rush, with astonishing prescience, had written that alcoholism was a disease and not a failure of willpower, John and Abigail Adams were baffled by their sons’ alcoholic behavior, by Abigail’s brother William’s behavior, and later by their grandson John Adams’s behavior, which was so heinous that his letters were removed from the family archives.


pages: 364 words: 103,162

The English by Jeremy Paxman

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back-to-the-land, British Empire, colonial rule, Corn Laws, Etonian, game design, global village, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, Khartoum Gordon, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sensible shoes, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

By then, the British were spending over £8,500 million per annum Doing It Themselves. The fixation with owning their homes is a physical expression of the English belief in privacy. Are the three things – the insularity of the nation as a whole, a collective belief in domesticity and an individual preoccupation with privacy – differing expressions of the same phenomenon? And if so, where did it come from? In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ‘English Traits’ I came across a meteorological explanation of the Englishman’s character. ‘Born in a harsh and wet climate, which keeps him indoors whenever he is at rest,’ he writes, ‘domesticity is the taproot which enables the nation to branch wide and high. The motive and end of their trade is to guard the independence and privacy of their homes.’9 I wondered whether the English weather might really be the key.

César de Saussure was so scandalized by the open drunkenness, the ‘mighty swearing’, the shirts-off wrestling (the sight of women taking part particularly shook him) and general licentiousness that he concluded that ‘the lower populace is of brutal and insolent nature, and is very quarrelsome’.12 To add a sense of superiority to this natural coarseness was very dangerous. By Victorian times the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson had noted the way in which the general arrogance of the English towards foreigners expressed itself among many young people: ‘There are multitudes of young rude English who have the self sufficiency and bluntness of their nation, and who, with their disdain for the rest of mankind, and with this indigestion and choler, have made the English traveller a proverb for uncomfortable and offensive manner.’13 Every time that English soccer fans rampage through a city centre, overturning the tables of sidewalk cafés, bloodying the noses of anyone unlucky enough to be in their way, the London press and politicians agonize about what it all means.

John Milton: Defence of the people of England, Concerning their right to call to account kings and magistrates and after due consideration to depose and put them to death. 25. 4 September 1654, in The Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, Everyman Library, p. 28. CHAPTER SEVEN Home Alone 1. Elias Canetti: Crowds and Power, p. 172. 2. Alexander Kinglake: Eothen, pp. 200–202. 3. Max O’Rell: John Bull and his Island, p. 18. 4. Michael Lewis: ‘Oh, not to be in England’, in the Spectator, 23 May 1992. 5. Hermann Muthesius: The English House, p. xv. 6. Ibid. 7. Ibid., p. 8. 8. Ibid., p. 9. 9. Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘English Traits’, in Collected Works, Vol. V, pp. 59–60. 10. George Santayana: Soliloquies in England, p. 14. 11. Samuel Johnson: The Idler, No. 11. 12. Bill Bryson: Notes from a Small Island, p. 278. 13. Johnson, op. cit. 14. Prof. C. G. Collier, letter, 29 October 1996. 15. André Maurois: Three Letters on the English, pp. 261–2. 16. Odette Keun: I Discover the English, p. 151. 17.


Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Chelsea Manning, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate personhood, David Brooks, discovery of DNA, double helix, failed state, Howard Zinn, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, inflation targeting, Julian Assange, land reform, Martin Wolf, Mohammed Bouazizi, Naomi Klein, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, single-payer health, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Tobin tax, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). See particularly John H. Coatsworth, “The Cold War in Central America, 1975–1991,” The Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. 3, p. 221. 4. For further discussion, see Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2010). 5. Noam Chomsky, Chomsky on Democracy and Education, ed. Carlos P. Otero (New York: RoutledgeFalmer, 2003), p. 34. 6. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. 2 (London: Macmillan, 1883), p. 525. 7. For discussion, see Noam Chomsky, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory (New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1964). See also Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rationalist Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). 8. Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuki, The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission (New York: New York University Press, 1975), p. 113. 9.

One of your strongest influences was the educator John Dewey, whom you’ve described as “one of the relics of the Enlightenment classical liberal tradition.”5 One of the real achievements of the United States is that it pioneered mass public education, not just elite education for the few and maybe some vocational training, if anything, for the many. The opening of land-grant colleges and general schools in the nineteenth century was a very significant development. But if you look back, the reasons for this were complex. Actually, one of them was discussed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. He was struck by the fact that business elites—he didn’t use that term—were interested in public education. He speculated that the reason was that “you must educate them to keep them from our throats.”6 In other words, the mass of the population is getting more rights, and unless they’re properly educated, they may come after us. There’s a corollary to this. If you have a free education that engenders creativity and independence, the way of looking at the world that we were talking about before, people are going to come for your throat because they won’t want to be governed.


pages: 325 words: 99,983

Globish: How the English Language Became the World's Language by Robert McCrum

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Alistair Cooke, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, Etonian, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, invention of movable type, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, Martin Wolf, Naomi Klein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, upwardly mobile

How to make sense? How to be heard? How to be understood? If you can see where the roots of global English and its predominantly American culture are planted, how and why they evolved and what contributed to its special character, you might feel more confident about the world we are in, and be at peace with it. 5 Writing merely of the English language, the celebrated American critic Ralph Waldo Emerson noted that it was ‘the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven’. In the new millennium English and the numberless manifestations of its culture surround us like a sea; and like the waters of the deep, it is full of mysteries. Why do some Germans idolize Shakespeare? How did a soccer trophy sponsor peace among warring factions in Iraq? Why does a leading Japanese artist, Norio Ueno, copy English words and phrases into his otherwise abstract artworks?

In the end, the Anglo-Saxon settlement proved as vulnerable as the Roman, and its obsession with the transitoriness of life came into its own. In the eighth century as much as the fifth, an island with the promise of minerals would always be attractive to invaders. For the next three hundred years the English experienced another foreign occupation in which their culture would be forced to adapt or face annihilation. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Mixture is a secret of the English island.’ This time, the enemy from the sea was symbolic of a wider European phenomenon. 5 The mass movement of the Scandinavian peoples between the years 750 and 1050, one of the great migrations of European history, began as seasonal plunder-raids and ended as conquest and settlement. Collectively these people are known as the Vikings, a name thought to come either from the Norse vik (’a bay’), indicating ‘one who frequents inlets of the sea’, or from the Old English wic, a camp – the formation of temporary encampments was a prominent feature of Viking raids.

This inculcation of Standard American English was an early consequence of independence, and culturally for the American people every bit as important. 5 Noah Webster’s was just one practical response to the challenge of independence. Throughout American society the idea of radical innovation was expressed in all manner of ways, both homespun and high-flown. The mood of can-do enthusiasm reached up even as far as the great American critic, the ‘Transcendentalist’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, who, in his Phi Beta Kappa address at Harvard University of 1837, defined the American way as a ceaseless quest for originality as well as for a liberation from the burden of the past, especially in its European manifestations. The American scholar, Emerson declared, ‘plies the slow, unhonored, and unpaid task of observation … He is one who raises himself from private considerations, and breathes and lives on public and illustrious thoughts.


pages: 404 words: 118,759

The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff

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California gold rush, interchangeable parts, Maui Hawaii, new economy, New Journalism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South of Market, San Francisco, South Sea Bubble, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman

Along with William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., they were known as the Fireside Poets: a set of nationally loved northeasterners who wrote frequently for the Boston-based Atlantic Monthly, the country’s most prestigious literary magazine. To King, they provided a gold standard against which the young aspirants of the Far Western frontier could be judged. New England had dominated American letters for decades. In the 1830s, Ralph Waldo Emerson had started an intellectual movement in Massachusetts that molded America’s first generation of literary greats. Emerson and his descendants failed in one major respect, however. They gave the young nation much to be proud of—yet they never quite overcame the postcolonial inferiority complex that, since the Revolution, had kept American writers in thrall to their European elders. In a famous address to Harvard’s Phi Beta Kappa Society, Emerson called for the creation of a native national literature, liberated from the cultural imperialism of the Old World.

It set off “a perfect furore in cultivated society,” reported Howells’s wife, Elinor. “All the young ladies are in love with him.” Harte induced nearly as much swooning at the Saturday Club, a monthly gathering of all the big-name Brahmins. He attended on February 25, 1871, his first full day in town. In an oak-paneled room on the second floor of a Boston hotel, the wizened monuments of American letters lined up to meet him: Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Russell Lowell, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. Even Twain would have been intimidated by such company. But if Harte felt the slightest bit starstruck, it didn’t show. On the contrary: he “had a spice of irreverence that enabled him to take them more ironically than they might have liked,” Howells observed. The westerner didn’t defer to his eastern elders, but held his ground, tweaking them with a subtly teasing wit and telling stories about rattlesnakes and prairie dogs.

This theory of progress “struggling up to civilization”: letter from Thomas Starr King to James T. Fields, October 29, 1862, HUNT. These weren’t unusual Fireside Poets: James H. Justus, “The Fireside Poets: Hearthside Values and the Language of Care,” in A. Robert Lee, ed., Nineteenth-Century American Poetry (London: Vision Press, 1985), pp. 146–165. New England had dominated “We have listened . . .”: Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” in Carl Bode and Malcolm Cowley, eds., The Portable Emerson (New York: Penguin, 1981 [1946]), p. 70. The New York Bohemians “solemn Philistines”: quoted in Roy Kotynek and John Cohassey, American Cultural Rebels, p. 17. In October 1863 Harte’s story was called “The Legend of Monte del Diablo.” The Atlantic Monthly’s October 1863 issue also included Emerson’s poem “Voluntaries” and Thoreau’s essay “Life Without Principle.”


pages: 624 words: 127,987

The Personal MBA: A World-Class Business Education in a Single Volume by Josh Kaufman

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Black Swan, business process, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, correlation does not imply causation, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, discounted cash flows, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, high net worth, hindsight bias, index card, inventory management, iterative process, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, loss aversion, market bubble, Network effects, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, place-making, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, side project, statistical model, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, subscription business, telemarketer, the scientific method, time value of money, Toyota Production System, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, Yogi Berra

No matter who you are or what you’re trying to do, you’re about to discover a useful new way of looking at business that will help you spend less time fighting your fears and more time doing things that make a difference. You Don’t Need to Know It All As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON, ESSAYIST AND POET One of the beautiful things about learning any subject is the fact that you don’t need to know everything—you only need to understand a few critically important concepts that provide most of the value. Once you have a solid scaffold of core principles to work from, building upon your knowledge and making progress becomes much easier. The Personal MBA is a set of foundational business concepts you can use to get things done.

When the market crashed, a bank’s losses were magnified by the amount of Leverage they had taken on, which was more than enough to threaten the entire firm’s existence. Using Leverage is playing with fire—it can be a useful tool if used properly, but it can also burn you severely. Never use Leverage unless you’re fully aware of the consequences and are prepared to accept them. Otherwise, you’re putting your business and personal financial situation at risk. Hierarchy of Funding Money often costs too much. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON, ESSAYIST AND POET Imagine you’ve invented an antigravity device that can levitate solid objects without requiring much power. Your invention will revolutionize the transportation and manufacturing industries, making many new products possible. Demand for your invention is a given—all you need to do is create enough devices to fill the demand. There’s a problem, however—estimates indicate that tooling up a production line with the equipment you need to build these devices will cost $1 billion.

Understanding how we take in information, how we make decisions, and how we decide what to do or what not to do is critically important if you want to create and sustain a successful business venture. Once you have a clear picture of how the human mind works, it’s easy to find better ways to get things done and work more effectively with others. SHARE THIS CONCEPT: http://book.personalmba.com/human-mind/ Caveman Syndrome Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON Imagine for a moment what it would be like to have lived 100,000 years ago. Your senses are on full alert as you walk along the banks of a river, scanning for food: fish swimming in the stream, edible plants, or animals to catch. The sun is nearing its apex, and you’ve already walked six miles today—your callused feet will take you six miles more before the day is done. In a few hours, you’ll stop for some water and find shade: the mid-afternoon sun is blazingly hot, and rest will help you Conserve Energy (discussed later).


pages: 266 words: 80,018

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding

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affirmative action, airport security, Anton Chekhov, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Chelsea Manning, don't be evil, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Firefox, Google Earth, Jacob Appelbaum, job-hopping, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, kremlinology, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, national security letter, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, web application, WikiLeaks

According to Greenwald, he was convinced of the rightness of his actions, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. In the aftermath of his leaks, Snowden recognised imprisonment would surely follow. But during that momentous summer he radiated a sense of tranquility and equanimity. He had reached a rock-like place of inner certainty. Here, nothing could touch him. 1 TheTrueHOOHA Ellicott City, near Baltimore December 2001 ‘Nothing at last is sacred but the integrity of one’s own mind.’ RALPH WALDO EMERSON, ‘Self-Reliance’, Essays: First Series In late December 2001, someone calling themselves ‘TheTrueHOOHA’ had a question. TheTrueHOOHA was an 18-year-old American male, an avid gamer, with impressive IT skills and a sharp intelligence. His real identity was unknown. But then everyone who posted on Ars Technica, a popular technology website, did so anonymously. Most contributors were young men.

Lon was an officer in the US coast guard; Snowden spent his early years in Elizabeth City, along North Carolina’s coast, where the coast guard has its biggest air and naval base. He has an older sister, Jessica. Like other members of the US forces, Snowden Snr has strong patriotic views. He is a conservative. And a libertarian. But he is also a thoughtful conservative. Snowden’s father is articulate, well-read and quotes the works of the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who advocated a man adhering to his own principles against the dictates of a corrupt state. On joining the coast guard, Lon Snowden swore an oath to uphold the US constitution and the Bill of Rights. He meant it. For him the oath was not just a series of empty phrases: it underpinned the solemn American contract between a citizen and the state. When Snowden was small – a boy with thick blond hair and a toothy smile – he and his family moved to Maryland, within DC’s commuter belt.

Five days later Mills removes her blog. She also wonders publicly about deleting her Twitter account. A creative body of work stretching back over several years, it includes dozens of photos of herself, and some of her E. ‘To delete or not to delete?’ she tweets. She doesn’t delete. 3 THE SOURCE Gavea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 2012 ‘Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.’ RALPH WALDO EMERSON, Self-reliance and Other Essays From the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, the city of Rio de Janeiro appears as a precipitous swirl of greens and browns. In the sky, black vultures turn in slow spirals. Below – far below – is downtown and a shimmer of skyscrapers. Fringing it are beaches and breakers frothing endlessly on a turquoise sea. Standing above, arms outstretched, is the art deco statue of Christ the Redeemer.


pages: 243 words: 66,908

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Meadows. Donella, Diana Wright

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affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, game design, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Just-in-time delivery, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, peak oil, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Whole Earth Review

From them, from shared social agreements about the nature of reality, come system goals and information flows, feedbacks, stocks, flows, and everything else about systems. No one has ever said that better than Ralph Waldo Emerson: Every nation and every man instantly surround themselves with a material apparatus which exactly corresponds to . . . their state of thought. Observe how every truth and every error, each a thought of some man’s mind, clothes itself with societies, houses, cities, language, ceremonies, newspapers. Observe the ideas of the present day . . . see how timber, brick, lime, and stone have flown into convenient shape, obedient to the master idea reigning in the minds of many persons. . . . It follows, of course, that the least enlargement of ideas . . . would cause the most striking changes of external things.7 Ralph Waldo Emerson, The ancient Egyptians built pyramids because they believed in an afterlife.

Forrester, Urban Dynamics (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1969), 65. 4. Thanks to David Holmstrom of Santiago, Chile. 5. For an example, see Dennis Meadows’s model of commodity price fluctuations: Dennis L. Meadows, Dynamics of Commodity Production Cycles (Cambridge, MA: Wright-Allen Press, Inc., 1970). 6. John Kenneth Galbraith, The New Industrial State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967). 7. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “War,” lecture delivered in Boston, March, 1838. Reprinted in Emerson’s Complete Works, vol. XI, (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1887), 177. 8. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962). Chapter Seven 1. G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1927). 2. For a beautiful example of how systems thinking and other human qualities can be combined in the context of corporate management, see Peter Senge’s book The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (New York: Doubleday, 1990). 3.


pages: 352 words: 104,411

Rush Hour by Iain Gately

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Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Beeching cuts, blue-collar work, British Empire, business intelligence, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, car-free, Clapham omnibus, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, connected car, DARPA: Urban Challenge, Dean Kamen, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, don't be evil, Elon Musk, extreme commuting, Google bus, Henri Poincaré, Hyperloop, Jeff Bezos, low skilled workers, postnationalism / post nation state, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, telepresence, Tesla Model S, urban planning, éminence grise

In 1843, for instance, a certain Isaac Staats climbed aboard a New Jersey service ‘and the train had gone but a few miles when a “snakehead” passed up through the car, striking Staats under the chin and killing him instantly’. Early American commuters were required to brave spiritual as well as physical dangers. The Transcendentalists, whose mixture of romanticism and metaphysics became fashionable in the glory decades of railroad building, reckoned train travel was bad for the soul. Their opposition to it was all the more bitter because they’d celebrated it in its infancy. When Ralph Waldo Emerson tried to pin down the zeitgeist in his seminal 1844 lecture on the ‘Young American’, he declared that the railroads had given his subjects an ‘increased acquaintance… with the boundless resources of their own soil’; had annihilated time and converted the country into a wonderland, for railroad iron was ‘a magician’s rod, in its power to evoke the sleeping energies of land and water’. When, however, he returned to the same theme a decade later, he now felt that too many Americans were spending too much time on trains, and the passivity of the activity was bad for them: ‘Things are in the saddle / And ride mankind’.

Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, Oxford, University Press, 1985, p. 48. 68 ‘A man is not a whole and complete man’, Walt Whitman, quoted in Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, p. 50. 68 ‘in the morning there is one incessant stream of people’, Whitman, quoted in Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, p. 28. 68 ‘Property is continually tending from our city to escape’, New York Tribune 21 January 1847, quoted in Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, p. 28. 70 ‘on, on, on – tears the mad dragon’, Charles Dickens, American Notes For General Circulation, 1842, from Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/675/675-h/675-h.htm. 70 ‘and the train had gone but a few miles when a “snakehead”’, Anthony J. Bianculli, Trains and Technology: The American Railroad in the Nineteenth Century: Track and Structures, Newark, University of Delaware Press, 2003, p. 88. 71 ‘Things are in the saddle / And ride mankind’, from ‘Ode to William H. Channing’ in The Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, New York, and Boston, Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 1899. 71 ‘five times a day, I can be whirled to Boston within an hour’, Henry David Thoreau, quoted in Shamir, Inexpressible Privacy, p. 190. 71 ‘the main distinction between which’, Dickens, American Notes. 71 ‘well stuffed, and covered with a fine plush,’ quoted in John H. White Jr., The American Railroad Passenger Car, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985, p. 373. 73 ‘We maintain in England our “lonesome stuffy compartments”’, quoted in Olsen, Growth of Victorian London, p. 23. 75 ‘Their pleasantries, their growlings’, quoted in Vincent F.

Turner, ‘The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities’. American Economic Review, 101(6). Dyos, H. J., Exploring the Urban Past: Essays in Urban History, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1982. Eden, Emily, The Semi-detached House, London, Richard Bentley, 1859. Emerson, George Rose, London: How the Great City Grew, London, 1862. Emerson, Ralph Waldo, ‘Ode to William H. Channing’, The Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, New York and Boston, Thomas Y. Crowell & Company 1899. Engel, Matthew, Eleven Minutes Late: A Train Journey to the Soul of Britain, London, Pan, 2010. Farmer, Richard, Troy Tranah, Ian O’Donnell, and Jose Catalan, ‘Railway suicide: the psychological effects on drivers’. Psychological Medicine, Vol.22, no.2, 1992. Fay, Sam, A Royal Road: Being the History of the London & South Western Railway, from 1825 to the present time, Kingston-on-Thames, W.


Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population

Desmond King, “America’s Hidden Government: The Costs of a Submerged State,” review of The Submerged State: How Invisible Government Policies Undermine American Democracy, by Suzanne Mettler, in Foreign Affairs 91, no. 3 (May/June 2012). 18. Robert W. McChesney, “Public Scholarship and the Communications Policy Agenda,” in … And Communications for All: A Policy Agenda for a New Administration, ed. Amit M. Schejter (New York: Lexington Books, 2009), 50. 19. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Prose Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson: In Two Volumes (Boston: Fields, Osgood, and Company, 1870). 20. Michael Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuke, The Crisis of Democracy: Report on the Governability of Democracies to the Trilateral Commission (New York: New York University Press, 1975), http://www.trilateral.org/download/doc/crisis_of_democracy.pdf. 21. Margaret E. McGuinness, “Peace v.

Its U.S. counterpart, the Committee on Public Information, was formed by Woodrow Wilson to drive a pacifist population to violent hatred of all things German—with remarkable success. American commercial advertising deeply impressed others; Joseph Goebbels admired it and adapted it to Nazi propaganda, all too successfully.18 The Bolshevik leaders tried as well, but their efforts were clumsy and ineffective. A primary domestic task has always been “to keep [the public] from our throats,” as essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson described the concerns of political leaders when the threat of democracy was becoming harder to suppress in the mid-nineteenth century.19 More recently, the activism of the 1960s elicited elite concerns about “excessive democracy” and calls for measures to impose “more moderation” in democracy. One particular concern was to introduce better controls over the institutions “responsible for the indoctrination of the young”: the schools, the universities, and the churches, which were seen as failing that essential task.


pages: 289 words: 22,394

Virus of the Mind by Richard Brodie

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cognitive dissonance, Douglas Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach, joint-stock company, New Journalism, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy

I call the institutions that evolved on their own to become self-perpetuating cultural viruses. ttt 146 C hapter nine C ultur al Viruses “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson From the children’s game of “telephone,” we know that it’s difficult to copy memes with 100 percent fidelity even if we want to. When replication occurs with slight changes in the replicator, and those modified replicators are selected somehow for their fitness, then we have evolution. When a concept appears that has all the properties of a virus of the mind, then as it starts spreading through the population, the memes constituting that concept evolve.

The more often you walk down a path, the more it looks like the right way to go. After a few years of thinking liberal thoughts and making decisions based on them—poof! You’re a liberal! It’s much more difficult and energy-consuming to start from scratch on every issue and really think it through than to attempt to be consistent with a particular set of beliefs. 204 Designer Viruses (How to Start a Cult) This is where Ralph Waldo Emerson comes in again, saying, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” I often surprise people with what they perceive to be a lack of consistency in my points of view. Good! It means I’m staying off the cow paths! I wonder what would happen to someone like a Kennedy or Dole if they magically got appointed to the Senate for life and no longer had to be mouthpieces for the Left or Right.


pages: 218 words: 65,422

Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth by A. O. Scott

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barriers to entry, citizen journalism, conceptual framework, death of newspapers, hive mind, Marshall McLuhan, Ralph Waldo Emerson, sharing economy, social web, the scientific method

The old fable covers a doctrine ever new and sublime; that there is One Man,—present to all particular men only partially, or through one faculty; and that you must take the whole society to find the whole man. Man is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer, and soldier. In the divided or social state, these functions are parcelled out to individuals, each of whom aims to do his stint of the joint work, whilst each other performs his. That is Ralph Waldo Emerson, in “The American Scholar,” going as usual to the mystical heart of the matter. The problem he identifies is not the alienation of the intellectual from society, but rather the estrangement of thinking from the totality of human life. And the consequence of this “divided or social state” is that people appear to one another as stunted creatures worthy of Dr. Mabuse’s island: “[T]he members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters,—a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.”

Who has ever paused to admire the shape or inflection of a review or a critical essay? Readers of Walter Pater, that’s who. His place in the history of philosophical aesthetics is marginal at best, but that’s just a case of a thinker being excluded from a club in which he never sought membership in the first place. Pater belongs in the canon of English-language Victorian prose artists, along with Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, of course, Oscar Wilde, the disciple who would eventually surpass him. And at its finest, say when he was writing about the Renaissance paintings he loved and did a great deal to introduce to the modern English-speaking public, Pater’s prose does approach the condition of music, as his thoughts are borne forward on sentences of complex beauty arranged in exquisite balance: Hers is the head upon which all “the ends of the world are come,” and the eyelids are a little weary.


pages: 51 words: 14,616

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx; Friedrich Engels

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Anton Chekhov, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, joint-stock company, means of production, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Upton Sinclair

, Willa Cather, 0-553-21358-X THE CANTERBURY TALES, Geoffrey Chaucer, 0-553-21082-3 STORIES, Anton Chekhov, 0-553-38100-8 THE AWAKENING, Kate Chopin, 0-553-21330-X THE WOMAN IN WHITE, Wilkie Collins, 0-553-21263-X HEART OF DARKNESS and THE SECRET SHARER, Joseph Conrad, 0-553-21214-1 LORD JIM, Joseph Conrad, 0-553-21361-X THE DEERSLAYER, James Fenimore Cooper, 0-553-21085-8 THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, James Fenimore Cooper, 0-553-21329-6 MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS AND OTHER SHORT FICTION, Stephen Crane, 0-553-21355-5 THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, Stephen Crane, 0-553-21011-4 INFERNO, Dante, 0-553-21339-3 PARADISO, Dante, 0-553-21204-4 PURGATORIO, Dante, 0-553-21344-X THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, Charles Darwin, 0-553-21463-2 MOLL FLANDERS, Daniel Defoe, 0-553-21328-8 ROBINSON CRUSOE, Daniel Defoe, 0-553-21373-3 BLEAK HOUSE, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21223-0 A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21244-3 DAVID COPPERFIELD, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21189-7 GREAT EXPECTATIONS, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21342-3 HARD TIMES, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21016-5 OLIVER TWIST, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21102-1 THE PICKWICK PAPERS, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21123-4 A TALE OF TWO CITIES, Charles Dickens, 0-553-21176-5 THREE SOLDIERS, John Dos Passos, 0-553-21456-X THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21216-8 CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21175-7 THE ETERNAL HUSBAND AND OTHER STORIES, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21444-6 THE IDIOT, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21352-0 NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND, Fyodor Dostoevsky, 0-553-21144-7 SHERLOCK HOLMES VOL I, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 0-553-21241-9 SHERLOCK HOLMES VOL II, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 0-553-21242-7 SISTER CARRIE, Theodore Dreiser, 0-553-21374-1 THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK, W. E. B. Du Bois, 0-553-21336-9 THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, Alexandre Dumas, 0-553-21350-4 THE THREE MUSKETEERS, Alexandre Dumas, 0-553-21337-7 MIDDLEMARCH, George Eliot, 0-553-21180-3 SILAS MARNER, George Eliot, 0-553-21229-X SELECTED ESSAYS, LECTURES, AND POEMS, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 0-553-21388-1 TEN PLAYS BY EURIPIDES, Euripides, 0-553-21363-6 APRIL MORNING, Howard Fast, 0-553-27322-1 MADAME BOVARY, Gustave Flaubert, 0-553-21341-5 HOWARDS END, E. M. Forster, 0-553-21208-7 A ROOM WITH A VIEW, E. M. Forster, 0-553-21323-7 THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, Anne Frank, 0-553-57712-3 ANNE FRANK'S TALES FROM THE SECRET ANNEX, Anne Frank, 0-553-58638-6 THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND OTHER WRITINGS, Benjamin Franklin, 0-553-21075-0 THE YELLOW WALLPAPER AND OTHER WRITINGS, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 0-553-21375-X FAUST: FIRST PART, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 0-553-21348-2 THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, Kenneth Grahame, 0-553-21368-7 THE COMPLETE FAIRY TALES OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM, The Brothers Grimm, 0-553-38216-0 ROOTS, Alex Haley, 0-440-17464-3 FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Thomas Hardy, 0-553-21331-8 JUDE THE OBSCURE, Thomas Hardy, 0-553-21191-9 THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE, Thomas Hardy, 0-553-21024-6 THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE, Thomas Hardy, 0-553-21269-9 TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES, Thomas Hardy, 0-553-21168-4 THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 0-553-21270-2 THE SCARLET LETTER, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 0-553-21009-2 THE FAIRY TALES OF HERMANN HESSE, Hermann Hesse, 0-553-37776-0 SIDDHARTHA, Hermann Hesse, 0-553-20884-5 THE ODYSSEY OF HOMER, Homer, 0-553-21399-7 THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Victor Hugo, 0-553-21370-9 FOUR GREAT PLAYS, Henrik Ibsen, 0-553-21280-X THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, Henry James, 0-553-21127-7 THE TURN OF THE SCREW AND OTHER SHORT FICTION, Henry James, 0-553-21059-9 A COUNTRY DOCTOR, Sarah Orne Jewett, 0-553-21498-5 DUBLINERS, James Joyce, 0-553-21380-6 A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN, James Joyce, 0-553-21404-7 THE METAMORPHOSIS, Franz Kafka, 0-553-21369-5 THE STORY OF MY LIFE, Helen Keller, 0-553-21387-3 CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS, Rudyard Kipling, 0-553-21190-0 THE JUNGLE BOOKS, Rudyard Kipling, 0-553-21199-4 KIM, Rudyard Kipling, 0-553-21332-6 LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, D.


pages: 503 words: 131,064

Liars and Outliers: How Security Holds Society Together by Bruce Schneier

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airport security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Brian Krebs, Broken windows theory, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, corporate governance, crack epidemic, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Graeber, desegregation, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Hofstadter, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, George Akerlof, hydraulic fracturing, impulse control, income inequality, invention of agriculture, invention of gunpowder, iterative process, Jean Tirole, John Nash: game theory, joint-stock company, Julian Assange, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nick Leeson, offshore financial centre, patent troll, phenotype, pre–internet, principal–agent problem, prisoner's dilemma, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, security theater, shareholder value, slashdot, statistical model, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, technological singularity, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, too big to fail, traffic fines, transaction costs, ultimatum game, UNCLOS, union organizing, Vernor Vinge, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Y2K

morality to be central William Damon (1984), “Self-Understanding and Moral Development from Childhood to Adolescence, “ in William M. Kurtines and Jacob L. Gewirtz, eds., Morality, Moral Behavior, and Moral Development, John Wiley & Sons. spiritual geniuses René Girard (1999), Je Vois Satan Tomber Comme l'Éclair, Grasset English translation (2001), I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, Orbis Books. Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (1841), “Self-Reliance,” in Essays: First Series. Henry David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau (1852), Walden. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Laurel T. Ulrich (2007), Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History, Alfred A. Knopf. Socrates's morals Plato (360 BCE), Crito, tr. Benjamin Jowett, MIT Classics Archive. Plato (360 BCE), Phaedo, tr. Benjamin Jowett, MIT Classics Archive. Anthony D'Amato (1976), “Obligation to Obey the Law: A Study of the Death of Socrates,” California Law Review, 49:1079–1108.

Of course, there's a lot of individual variation. Some people consider their morality to be central to their self-identity, while others consider it to be more peripheral. René Girard uses the term “spiritual geniuses” to describe the most moral of people. We also describe many of them as martyrs; being differently moral can be dangerous.5 Society, of course, wants the group interest to prevail. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs. Henry David Thoreau talks about how he went along with the group norm, despite what his morals told him: The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior.


pages: 476 words: 148,895

Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan

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biofilm, bioinformatics, Columbian Exchange, correlation does not imply causation, dematerialisation, Drosophila, energy security, Gary Taubes, Hernando de Soto, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, microbiome, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steven Pinker, women in the workforce

One way to think about cooking, or the cooking of meat anyway, is that it is always doing something like this: effecting a transformation, psychological and chemical, that helps us (or at least most of us) enjoy something we might otherwise not be able to stomach, whether literally or figuratively. Cooking puts several kinds of distance between the brutal facts of the matter (dead animal for dinner) and the dining-room table set with crisp linens and polished silver. In this, CAFO meat may be just an extreme instance of the general case, which has never been pretty. “You have just dined,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.” The problem is not a new one, and we flatter ourselves if we think we’re the first people to feel moral or spiritual qualms about killing animals for our supper. The ancient and widespread practice of ritual animal sacrifice suggests that such qualms have assailed humans for a very, very long time.

If you stand in a wheat field at this time of year, a few weeks from harvest, it’s not hard to imagine you’re looking at something out of mythology: all this golden sunlight brought down to earth, captured in kernels of gold, and rendered fit for mortals to eat. But of course this is no myth at all, just the plain miraculous fact. Part IV EARTH FERMENTATION’S COLD FIRE “God made yeast, as well as dough, and loves fermentation just as dearly as he loves vegetation.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson “The taste for partial spoilage can become a passion, an embrace of the earthy side of life that expresses itself best in paradoxes.” —Harold McGee “No poems can please long or live that are written by water drinkers.” —Horace Ferment I. Vegetable Consider, just for a moment, the everyday proximity of death. No, not the swerve of the oncoming car or the bomb in the baby carriage.

.* But, then, why is it we always use that particular metaphor—intoxication—to describe it? Probably because it is the model for the state of altered consciousness, or one of them. (Dreams would be another.) And because the fastest, most direct route to altered consciousness is an intoxicant, the most widely available one for most of human history being the molecule manufactured by S. cerevisiae. The poet, wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson, speaks “not with intellect alone, but with the intellect inebriated with nectar.” Put another way, new perceptions and metaphors arise when the spirit of Dionysus breaks Apollo’s tight grip on the rational mind. “As the traveller who has lost his way throws the reins on his horse’s neck and trusts to the instincts of the animal to find his road, so must we do with the divine animal who carries us through this world.”


pages: 1,327 words: 360,897

Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism by Peter Marshall

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agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, David Graeber, feminist movement, garden city movement, hive mind, Howard Zinn, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Naomi Klein, open borders, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post scarcity, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, the market place, union organizing, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

., p. 53 81 Ibid., p. 49 82 Wilde to Cunninghame Graham, quoted in Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, op. cit., p. 526 83 ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ (1896), The Works of Oscar Wilde (Collins, c. 1933), p. 197 Chapter Fourteen 1 Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Politics’ (1844), The Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: Modern Library, 1940), p. 430; Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. E. W. Emerson & W. E. Forbes (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1909–14), III, 200 2 Journals, op. cit., V, 302–3 3 The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Ralph L. Rusk (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939), I, pp. 412–13 4 Emerson to Walt Whitman, 21 July 1855, quoted by Justin Kaplan, ‘Introduction’, Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1892) (New York: Bantam, 1983), p. xix 5 Whitman, ‘A Backward Glance o’er Travel’d Roads’, ibid., p. 451 6 ‘Thought’, ibid., p. 223 7 ‘A Backward Glance’, ibid., pp. 452–3 8 ‘To the States’, ibid., p. 224 9 ‘To the States’, ibid., p. 7 10 Quoted by W.

While they came close to anarchism, the writers Emerson, Whitman and Thoreau expressed most keenly the libertarian ideal. Their independent stance directly inspired later anarchists and their combination of ‘Transcendental Individualism’ with a search for a creative life close to nature finds echoes in the counter-culture and Green movements of the late-twentieth century. Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson was the elder guru of the Transcendentalists of New England. After Harvard University, he entered the ministry, only to abandon it and sail to Europe, where he became a friend of Carlyle. He returned to Massachusetts and was soon installed as ‘the Sage of Concord’, attracting a literary-philosophical coterie. At Concord, he developed his philosophy — relying on intuition as the only access to reality — in prose of uncommon lyricism.

Leonard Tancock (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966) Dolgoff, Sam, ed., The Anarchist Collectives: Workers’ Self-Management in the Spanish Revolution, 1936–1939 (Montréal: Black Rose, 1974) Dolgoff, Sam, The Cuban Revolution: A Critical Perspective (Montréal: Black Rose, 1976) Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Journals, eds. E. W. Emerson & W. E. Forbes, (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1909–14) Emerson, Ralph Waldo, The Letters of Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. Ralph L. Rusk, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939) Emerson, Ralph Waldo, The Complete Essays and other Writings, ed. Brooks Atkinson (New York: Modern Library, 1940) Faure, Sébastien, Autorité el liberté (Paris: Aux Bureaux de la Révolte, 1891) Faure, Sébastien, La Douleur universelle, philosophie liberatire (Paris: Savine, 1895) Faure, Sébastien, L’Encyclopédie anarchiste, 4 vols.


pages: 398 words: 86,023

The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia by Andrew Lih

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Albert Einstein, AltaVista, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, c2.com, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, crowdsourcing, Debian, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Hacker Ethic, HyperCard, index card, Jane Jacobs, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, jimmy wales, Marshall McLuhan, Network effects, optical character recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Stallman, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social software, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons, Y2K

Bomis partner Tim Shell was glad at the very least that “they were looking for ways to speed it up rather than to shut it down.” Nupedia was too much process, too little volunteer output, and not enough money. And it most certainly wasn’t fun. Something had to change. Chapter 3_ WIKI ORIGINS “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” —Eric S. Raymond (1998) “Our knowledge is the amassed thought and experience of innumerable minds.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson Nupedia was at a standstill at the end of 2000, even though it had gathered a sizeable set of volunteers. Larry and Jimmy knew their concept was not working, because after a year’s worth of work, all the finished articles bound together would have produced only a booklet. Still believing the project had to be centrally edited, they were stuck for new ideas. What the world would come to know as Wikipedia would start just one month later, but not without some controversy.

It would prove later to be a rich resource for Wikipedia, as that nascent community started to run into issues that MeatballWiki had documented and discussed at length. One of the folks who stumbled across the new WikiWikiWeb creation was Ben Kovitz, who was working as a programmer at the time. Remember him? He would provide the lifeline to Nupedia. Chapter 4_ WIKI INTRODUCED “Every artist was first an amateur.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson “History is too serious to be left to historians.” —Ian Macleod After both Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales found out about WikiWikiWeb software and its use for collaboration, both were keen on it helping kick-start Nupedia’s lackluster pace. Nupedia was simply not working, because people were not collaborating efficiently and articles were not being generated fast enough. The wiki software might just get existing Nupedians to work better, while also allowing more participants from the outside world.


pages: 309 words: 86,909

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson; Kate Pickett

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Berlin Wall, clean water, Diane Coyle, epigenetics, experimental economics, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, impulse control, income inequality, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, land reform, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Milgram experiment, offshore financial centre, phenotype, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, ultimatum game, upwardly mobile, World Values Survey

In the next chapter we will look in a little more detail at why people in the developed world are so sensitive to inequality that it can exert such a major effect on the psychological and social wellbeing of modern populations. 3 How inequality gets under the skin ’Tis very certain that each man carries in his eye the exact indication of his rank in the immense scale of men, and we are always learning to read it. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life How is it that we are affected as strongly by inequality and our position within society as the data in the last chapter suggest? Before exploring – as we shall in the next nine chapters – the relations between inequality and a wide range of social problems, including those in our Index of Health and Social Problems, we want to suggest why human beings might be so sensitive to inequality.

Greater inequality seems to heighten people’s social evaluation anxieties by increasing the importance of social status. Instead of accepting each other as equals on the basis of our common humanity as we might in more equal settings, getting the measure of each other becomes more important as status differences widen. We come to see social position as a more important feature of a person’s identity. Between strangers it may often be the dominant feature. As Ralph Waldo Emerson, the nineteenth-century American philosopher, said, ‘ ’Tis very certain that each man carries in his eye the exact indication of his rank in the immense scale of men, and we are always learning to read it.’19 Indeed, psychological experiments suggest that we make judgements of each other’s social status within the first few seconds of meeting.20 No wonder first impressions count, and no wonder we feel social evaluation anxieties!


pages: 364 words: 104,697

Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? by Thomas Geoghegan

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Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, collective bargaining, corporate governance, cross-subsidies, dark matter, David Brooks, declining real wages, deindustrialization, ending welfare as we know it, facts on the ground, Gini coefficient, haute cuisine, income inequality, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, McJob, minimum wage unemployment, mittelstand, offshore financial centre, payday loans, pensions crisis, Plutocrats, plutocrats, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, union organizing, Wolfgang Streeck, women in the workforce

Everything was closed: in this whole global crossroads of a city, there was no place I could go and buy a cheap electric razor. By 3 P.M., it was night again, and, depressed, I walked into a café called the Hoechst. At a table, there was a woman my age who looked like Veronica Lake; it could have been a movie except she was reading The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson and doodling. I sat near her—not so much to meet her as to get away from all the other Germans sitting there with dogs. I was so lonely that I tried to make small talk about Ralph Waldo Emerson, and she looked up, unsmiling: “How did you, an American, find the Hoechst?” Why did she think I was an American? “Your yellow legal pad,” she said. “You only get those in America.” I explained I was here to study the Germany model. “Model? I would not hold Germany up as a model. We have so many problems.”


pages: 363 words: 101,082

Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock

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Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, butterfly effect, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, global rebalancing, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, Masdar, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban decay, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

Julie Jang and Jonathan Sinton, Overseas Investments by Chinese National Oil Companies, International Energy Agency, Information Paper (February 2011). www.iea.org/papers/2011/overseas_china.pdf. 6. International Energy Agency, “World Energy Outlook.” 7. International Energy Agency, Medium-Term Oil and Gas Markets 2011, (St. Petersburg, Russia: International Energy Agency, 16 June 2011). CHAPTER 6 Old Coal Still Burning Brightly Steam is no stronger now than it was a hundred years ago, but it is put to better use. —Nineteenth-century American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson For the Panama-flagged coal ship Pasha Bulker, there was nowhere to hide from the violent storm known as an “east coast low,” that overwhelmed it one winter’s morning in June 2007. The 77,000-dwt Panamax-class ship, which had been launched in Japan only a year earlier, had spent the previous two weeks in the coal queue that forms off the Port of Newcastle on the Australian east coast. As the first storm warnings went out from the local weather bureau, the master of the Pasha Bulker made an ill-judged call to stay put—he was there to load 58,000 tonnes of coal.

Media release, “AngloAmerican announces 45 percent increase in half year core operating profit to $5.9 billion,” 29 July 2011. 8. Media release, “Wood Mackenzie Says That Iron Ore Suppliers Will Not be Able to Meet Market Demand Until at Least 2015,” Sydney/Edinburgh/Houston, 20 July 2011. CHAPTER 11 U.S. Energy Hail to the Shale The resources of America and its future will be immense only to wise and virtuous men. —Nineteenth-century American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Complete Works, Volume VIII, Letters and Social Aims, “Resources” essay, 1876 A s the second decade of the twenty-first century unfolds, it is clear the United States will have to cede some of its Asia-Pacific regional influence to China and learn to live in a world where there are two superpowers. But its technology, innovation, capital markets, capacity to evolve, and overall confidence will ensure it remains the “go-to” country when there’s an energy, food, or water problem.


pages: 342 words: 88,736

The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis by Ruth Defries

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agricultural Revolution, Columbian Exchange, demographic transition, double helix, European colonialism, food miles, Francisco Pizarro, Haber-Bosch Process, Internet Archive, John Snow's cholera map, out of africa, planetary scale, premature optimization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade

Without the coal that miners had started to dig from deep in the Earth, the twentieth-century solution to the soil-fertility problem would not have been possible. Energy from fossil fuels replaced the energy from lightning and the microbes’ metabolism in the planet’s nitrogen-cycling machinery. The far-ranging significance of the pivot from human muscle and animal brawn to fossil fuels as a prime source of energy caught the attention of American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Coal lay in ledges under the ground . . . until a laborer with pickax and windlass brings it to the surface. We may call it black diamonds. Every basket is power and civilization.” Written in 1860, decades before the black diamonds paved the way for a resolution to the nitrogen bottleneck, these words were more prescient than Emerson likely thought. The power to smash open the bottleneck for soil fertility was game-changing, but that was not the only, or possibly even the main, impetus for the industrialization of nitrogen fixation.

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Collapse or Succeed. Penguin, New York. Ehui, S., and R. Polson. 1993. A review of the economic and ecological constraints on animal draft cultivation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Soil and Tillage Research 27:195–210. El-Sharkawy, M. 1993. Drought-tolerant cassava for Africa, Asia, and Latin America. BioScience 43:441–451. Emerson, R. 2003. The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson: The Conduct of Life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. Erisman, J., M. Sutton, J. Galloway, Z. Klimont, and W. Winiwarter. 2008. How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world. Nature Geoscience 1:636–639. Feller, C., L. Thuries, R. Manlay, P. Robin, and E. Frossard. 2003. “The principles of rational agriculture” by Albrecht Daniel Thaer (1752–1828): An approach to the sustainability of cropping systems at the beginning of the 19th century.


pages: 314 words: 83,631

Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet by Andrew Blum

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air freight, cable laying ship, call centre, global village, Hibernia Atlantic: Project Express, if you build it, they will come, inflight wifi, invisible hand, Kevin Kelly, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, Network effects, New Urbanism, packet switching, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, urban planning, WikiLeaks

The networked systems are everywhere: cell phones, streetlights, parking meters, ovens, hearing aids, light switches. But all invisible. To see it you had to imagine it, and in that moment I could. But at this point Westesson was late for his next meeting, and becoming a little restless. I had the sense he wasn’t late often. He walked me to the elevator. “Well, we’ve only just scratched the barest surface,” he said. But it seemed we had actually gone quite far. In his essay “Nature,” Ralph Waldo Emerson crosses “a bare common, in snow puddles, at twilight, under a clouded sky.” And yet even that ho-hum journey brings him “a perfect exhilaration. I am glad to the brink of fear.... I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all.” On a journey to the center of the Internet my bare common turned out to be the router lab. And what I saw was not the essence of the Internet but its quintessence—not the tubes, but the light.

In London, I’m grateful for the time and assistance of Tim Anker of the Colocation Exchange; Pat Vicary at Tata; John Souter, Jeremy Orbell, and Colin Silcock at the London Internet Exchange; Nigel and Benedicte Titley; Dionne Aiken, Michelle Reid, and Bob Harris at Telehouse; and Matthew Finnie and Mark Lewis at Interoute. James Tyler and Rob Coupland at Telecity spent the better part of a day showing off their impressive pieces of the Internet. In his essay, “Nature”: Stephen E. Whicher, Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Organic Anthology (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), p. 24. Google announced the purchase of 111 Eighth Avenue: Rich Miller, “Google Confirms Purchase of 111 8th Avenue,” Data Center Knowledge (http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2010/12/22/google-confirms-purchase-of-111-8th-avenue/). the “Ninth Avenue fiber highway”: The phrase caught on among real estate people and spread to the colocation providers.


pages: 336 words: 92,056

The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution by Henry Schlesinger

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Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, British Empire, Copley Medal, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of the telegraph, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Livingstone, I presume, Menlo Park, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Yogi Berra

It would take decades before the battery would emerge in any significant role outside the lab, and even then, it came in an unpredicted area—that of communication via the telegraph. 4 Science, Showmanship, and the Voltaic Pile “More than the diamond Koh-i-noor, which glitters among their crown jewels, they prize the dull pebble which is wiser than a man, whose poles turn themselves to the poles of the world, and whose axis is parallel to the axis of the world. Now, their toys are steam and galvanism.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits From the perspective of our technologically jaded age in which scientific and technical breakthroughs often rate little more than a perfunctory nod of acknowledgment, it is difficult to imagine the excitement science provoked among the general public during the early part of the nineteenth century. Scientific discoveries promised something far different from the engineering marvels of the Industrial Revolution that focused on such practical matters as increased production in automated mills or the speed and tonnage of locomotives.

Adored thee in thy majesty of visible creation, And searched into thy hidden and mysterious ways As Poet, as Philosopher, as Sage? A friend of William Wordsworth, Davy persuaded the poet that natural philosophers were akin to poets in their search for meaning, and later edited Wordsworth’s Lyrical Ballads, while Coleridge attended scientific lectures in search of metaphors. And in America, Ralph Waldo Emerson, starting his first journal after leaving Harvard in 1820, listed Davy’s Elements of Chemical Philosophy as a book he intended to read. Percy Bysshe Shelley, perhaps the most romantic of the Romantic poets, was himself an enthusiastic amateur natural philosopher for much of his short life. As a young boy he enlisted his sister, Helen, and her playmates in experiments with a charged Leyden jar.


pages: 353 words: 110,919

The Road to Character by David Brooks

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Cass Sunstein, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, follow your passion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, New Journalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile

Johnson endorsed the notion that “He who can talk only on one subject, or act only in one department, is seldom wanted, and perhaps never wished for, while the man of general knowledge can often benefit and always please.”15 He was not mystical. He built his philosophy low to the ground, from reading history and literature and from direct observation—focusing relentlessly on what he would call “the living world.” As Paul Fussell observed, he confuted all determinism. He rejected the notion that behavior is shaped by impersonal iron forces. He always focused with his searing eye on the particularity of each individual. Ralph Waldo Emerson would later observe that “Souls are not saved in bundles.”16 Johnson fervently believed in each individual’s mysterious complexity and inherent dignity. He was, through it all, a moralist, in the best sense of that term. He believed that most problems are moral problems. “The happiness of society depends on virtue,” he would write. For him, like other humanists of that age, the essential human act is the act of making strenuous moral decisions.

Bate, Samuel Johnson, 211. 8. Meyers, Samuel Johnson: The Struggle, 205. 9. Bate, Samuel Johnson, 204. 10. Paul Fussell, Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing (Norton, 1986), 236. 11. Bate, Samuel Johnson, 218. 12. Meyers, Samuel Johnson: The Struggle, 114. 13. Meyers, Samuel Johnson: The Struggle, 2. 14. Fussell, Johnson and the Life of Writing, 163. 15. Fussell, Johnson and the Life of Writing, 51. 16. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Spiritual Emerson: Essential Writings (Beacon, 2004), 216. 17. Fussell, Johnson and the Life of Writing, 147. 18. Percy Hazen Houston, Doctor Johnson: A Study in Eighteenth Century Humanism (Cambridge University Press, 1923), 195. 19. Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (Other Press, 2010), 21. 20. Bakewell, How to Live, 14. 21.


pages: 426 words: 105,423

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss

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Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, wage slave, William of Occam

But what if someone has an emergency? It doesn’t happen. My contacts now know that I don’t respond to emergencies, so the emergencies somehow don’t exist or don’t come to me. Problems, as a rule, solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others. Cultivating Selective Ignorance There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803–1882) From this point forward, I’m going to propose that you develop an uncanny ability to be selectively ignorant. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is also practical. It is imperative that you learn to ignore or redirect all information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable. Most are all three. The first step is to develop and maintain a low-information diet.

Income Autopilot I FINDING THE MUSE Just set it and forget it! —RON POPEIL, founder of RONCO; responsible for more than $1 billion in sales of rotisserie chicken roasters As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON The Renaissance Minimalist Douglas Price was waking up to another beautiful summer morning in his Brooklyn brownstone. First things first: coffee. The jet lag was minor, considering he had just returned from a two-week jaunt through the islands of Croatia. It was just one of six countries he had visited in the last 12 months. Japan was next on the agenda. Buzzing with a smile and his coffee mug in hand, he ambled over to his Mac to check on personal e-mail first.


pages: 350 words: 100,822

Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update by Donella H. Meadows, Jörgen Randers, Dennis L. Meadows

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agricultural Revolution, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dematerialisation, demographic transition, financial independence, game design, income per capita, informal economy, means of production, new economy, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, University of East Anglia, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Review

More than that, vision, when widely shared and firmly kept in sight, does bring into being new systems. We mean that literally. Within the limits of space, time, materials, and energy, visionary human intentions can bring forth not only new information, new feedback loops, new behavior, new knowledge, and new technology, but also new institutions, new physical structures, and new powers within human beings. Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized this profound truth 150 years ago: Every nation and every man instantly surround themselves with a material apparatus which exactly corresponds to their moral state, or their state of thought. Observe how every truth and every error, each a thought of some man's mind, clothes itself with societies, houses, cities, language, ceremonies, newspapers. Observe the ideas of the present day . . . see how each of these abstractions has embodied itself in an imposing apparatus in the community, and how timber, brick, lime, and stone have flown into convenient shape, obedient to the master idea reigning in the minds of many persons....

A good example is the biannual WWF Living Planet Report published by World Wide Fund for Nature International, Gland, Switzerland, which provides data on trends in global biodiversity and the ecological footprint of nations. 7. See Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism (Boston: Back Bay Books, 2000). 8. Lewis Mumford, The Condition of Man (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1944), 398-399. Chapter 8. Tools for the Transition to Sustainability 1. Donald Worster, editor, The Ends of the Earth (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 11-12. 2. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lecture on "War," delivered in Boston, March 1838. Reprinted in Emerson's Complete Works, vol. 11 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1887), 177. 3. Examples of networks known to the authors and in their field of interest are the Balaton Group (www.unh.edu/ipssr/Balaton.html), Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Center for a New American Dream (CNAD; wwwnewdream.org), Greenlist (www.peacestore.us/Public/Greenlist), Greenclips (wwwgreenclips.com), Northern Forest Alliance (wwwnorthernforestalliance.org), Land Trust Alliance (wwwlta.org), International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA; wwwisaga.info), and Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD). 4.


pages: 391 words: 105,382

Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr

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Air France Flight 447, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bernie Sanders, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, centralized clearinghouse, cloud computing, cognitive bias, collaborative consumption, computer age, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, deskilling, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, factory automation, failed state, feminist movement, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, game design, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, hive mind, impulse control, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, job automation, Kevin Kelly, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, mental accounting, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, oil shale / tar sands, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Singularitarianism, Snapchat, social graph, social web, speech recognition, Startup school, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technoutopianism, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

More broadly, we should be skeptical of anyone who draws on video game studies to argue that spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen strengthens our attentiveness or our memory or even our ability to multitask. Taken as a whole, the evidence, including the video-gaming evidence, suggests it has the opposite effect. MEMORY IS THE GRAVITY OF MIND July 14, 2011 As gravity holds matter from flying off into space, so memory gives stability to knowledge; it is the cohesion which keeps things from falling into a lump, or flowing in waves. —Ralph Waldo Emerson A FASCINATING AND UNSETTLING study of the internet’s effects on memory has just come out in Science. It provides more evidence of how quickly our minds adapt to the tools we use to think with, for better and for worse. The study, “Google Effects on Memory: Cognitive Consequences of Having Information at Our Fingertips,” was conducted by three psychologists: Betsy Sparrow, of Columbia; Jenny Liu, of the University of Wisconsin; and Daniel Wegner, of Harvard.

THERE’S A WORD you don’t come across much anymore. Not only does it sound fusty and arcane, as if it had been extracted from the nether regions of a moldy physiology handbook, but it seems fatally tainted with political incorrectness. Only the rash or the drunken would dare launch the word into a conversation at a cocktail party. It wasn’t always a pariah. In an essay published in the Atlantic Monthly in 1858, Ralph Waldo Emerson chose the adjective to describe the experience of reading: “I find certain books vital and spermatic, not leaving the reader what he was.” For Emerson, the best books—the “true ones”—“take rank in our life with parents and lovers and passionate experiences, so medicinal, so stringent, so revolutionary, so authoritative.” Books are not only alive; they give life, or at least give it a new twist.


pages: 342 words: 86,256

Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck

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A Pattern Language, active transport: walking or cycling, car-free, carbon footprint, congestion charging, David Brooks, edge city, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, food miles, Frank Gehry, Guggenheim Bilbao, if you build it, they will come, intermodal, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Urbanism, peak oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Florida, skinny streets, smart cities, Stewart Brand, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, transit-oriented development, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, young professional, Zipcar

The one characteristic that all of us share is that we come from somewhere else. Imagine two brothers eating lunch alongside a dock in Dublin, Palermo, Bombay, or Formosa and looking wistfully out to sea. One of them had the balls to get on a boat and the other one didn’t. Guess whose kids are the Americans? American mobility far precedes the automobile. Before Lewis Mumford declared that “our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf,”1 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “everything good is on the highway.” Soon after him, Walt Whitman waxed: “O public road, I say back I am not afraid to leave you—yet I love you. You express me better than I can express myself.”2 But it is an easy out to say that wayfaring is an inescapable part of our DNA, and ignore the other factors that make cities in the United States different from those in Canada or Australia—two other countries that at least started the way ours did.

Owen, 2–3, 17. 20. Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer, Resilient Cities, 7, 88. 21. Ibid., 92. 22. John Holtzclaw, “Using Residential Patterns and Transit to Decrease Auto Dependence and Costs.” 23. “2010 Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings,” Mercer.com. 24. Newman, Beatley, and Boyer, 99. STEP 1: PUT CARS IN THEIR PLACE 1. Dom Nozzi, http://domz60.wordpress.com/quotes/. 2. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience” (1844), quoted in Cotton Seiler, Republic of Drivers, 16; Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1856). 3. Seiler, 94. 4. David Byrne, Bicycle Diaries, 8. 5. Patrick Condon,“Canadian Cities American Cities: Our Differences Are the Same,” 16. 6. Ibid., 8. 7. Witold Rybczynski, City Life, 160–61. 8. Donald Shoup, The High Cost of Free Parking, 65. 9. Bob Levey and Jane Freundel-Levey, “End of the Roads,” 1. 10.


pages: 285 words: 86,174

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy by Chris Hayes

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, carried interest, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, Credit Default Swap, dark matter, David Brooks, David Graeber, deindustrialization, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, hiring and firing, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, mass affluent, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, peak oil, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, The Spirit Level, too big to fail, University of East Anglia, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

But the longer this Crisis of Authority persists, the more it runs the risk of metastasizing into something that could threaten what we most cherish about American life: our ability to self-correct, to somehow, even seemingly against all odds, make the future better than the past. Chapter 2 MERITOCRACY AND ITS DISCONTENTS The existence of an upper class is not injurious, as long as it is dependent on merit. — RALPH WALDO EMERSON WHETHER WE THINK ABOUT IT MUCH OR NOT, WE all believe in meritocracy. It is embedded in our very language: to call an organization, a business, or an institution “meritocratic” is to pay it a high compliment; to call it bureaucratic is to insult it. On the portion of its website devoted to recruiting talent, Goldman Sachs tells potential recruits that “Goldman Sachs is a meritocracy.” It’s the first sentence.

At its most extreme, the constant perception of competition rather than privilege, the need to insulate one’s psyche from the possibility of failure, produces a tendency toward this kind of threatened egotism. Fractal inequality means that status is never fixed, no success ever final. It means always looking at the next rung up on the social ladder, a posture that makes it very difficult to empathize with those on the rungs below. Twenge’s long-term data show a marked increase in precisely this psychological profile. Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed that “each man carries in his eye the exact indication of his rank in the immense scale of men, and we are always learning to read it.” In twenty-first-century America, this basic human instinct has been cultivated into a guiding ethos. Our culture is overrun with lists and rankings: the most beautiful people, the most influential politicians, the top 500 wealthiest moguls. Anyone who’s ever worked as an editor at a magazine website knows that such stories are what is called in the business “click bait”: readers cannot get enough of them.


pages: 460 words: 108,654

Time Travelers Never Die by Jack McDevitt

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Albert Einstein, index card, indoor plumbing, life extension, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Rosa Parks, walking around money, Winter of Discontent

He signaled for one of the cops to open the door. “Take him back inside.” As David was leaving, the sheriff turned to the inventory officer and lowered his voice. “Any sign yet of Jay?” “Nothin’, Sheriff. I’ll let you know as soon as he shows up.” CHAPTER 13 Do not say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON, LETTERS AND SOCIAL AIMS SHEL lost track of Dave. The victims, still choking on tear gas, lay broken and bleeding in the roadway. The crowd began to disperse. There were scattered voices, people saying they deserved it, maybe next time they’ll know better, got no choice. They wandered back into Selma. The police, after a delay, allowed the medics in. They put the more seriously injured on stretchers and loaded them into the ambulances.

They touched glasses and drank. “And never forget,” Michael said, “time travelers never die. No matter what you saw up ahead, about me, I’ll always be here.” CHAPTER 26 There is some awe mixed with the joy of our surprise, when this poet, who lived in some past world, two or three hundred years ago, says that which lies close to my own soul, that which I also had wellnigh thought and said. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON, “THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR” IT would be an overstatement to say that Aspasia and her plays were getting substantial attention from the mass media. Sophocles was not exactly a subject to boost ratings, but the mystery surrounding the appearance of plays thought lost for two thousand years did interest a couple of the cable news show hosts. Michelle Keller on Perspective observed that it sounded as if a real-life Indiana Jones was charging around out there somewhere, and Brett Coleman, a guest on Down the Line, commented that the world had been greatly enriched by the discovery, although he seemed to think that Achilles was a Trojan hero.


pages: 96 words: 33,963

Decline of the English Murder by George Orwell

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British Empire, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thorstein Veblen

Seneca On the Shortness of Life Marcus Aurelius Meditations St Augustine Confessions of a Sinner Thomas à Kempis The Inner Life Niccolò Machiavelli The Prince Michel de Montaigne On Friendship Jonathan Swift A Tale of a Tub Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Social Contract Edward Gibbon The Christians and the Fall of Rome Thomas Paine Common Sense Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Woman William Hazlitt On the Pleasure of Hating Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto Arthur Schopenhauer On the Suffering of the World John Ruskin On Art and Life Charles Darwin On Natural Selection Friedrich Nietzsche Why I am So Wise Virginia Woolf A Room of One’s Own Sigmund Freud Civilization and Its Discontents George Orwell Why I Write Confucius The First Ten Books Sun-tzu The Art of War Plato The Symposium Lucretius Sensation and Sex Cicero An Attack on an Enemy of Freedom The Revelation of St John the Divine and The Book of Job Marco Polo Travels in the Land of Kubilai Khan Christine de Pizan The City of Ladies Baldesar Castiglione How to Achieve True Greatness Francis Bacon Of Empire Thomas Hobbes Of Man Sir Thomas Browne Urne-Burial Voltaire Miracles and Idolatry David Hume On Suicide Carl von Clausewitz On the Nature of War Søren Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling Henry David Thoreau Where I Lived, and What I Lived For Thorstein Veblen Conspicuous Consumption Albert Camus The Myth of Sisyphus Hannah Arendt Eichmann and the Holocaust Plutarch In Consolation to his Wife Robert Burton Some Anatomies of Melancholy Blaise Pascal Human Happiness Adam Smith The Invisible Hand Edmund Burke The Evils of Revolution Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature Søren Kierkegaard The Sickness unto Death John Ruskin The Lamp of Memory Friedrich Nietzsche Man Alone with Himself Leo Tolstoy A Confession William Morris Useful Work v. Useless Toil Frederick Jackson Turner The Significance of the Frontier in American History Marcel Proust Days of Reading Leon Trotsky An Appeal to the Toiling, Oppressed and Exhausted Peoples of Europe Sigmund Freud The Future of an Illusion Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction George Orwell Books v.


pages: 913 words: 299,770

A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn

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affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bernie Sanders, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, death of newspapers, desegregation, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, friendly fire, full employment, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, land reform, Mercator projection, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, very high income, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

The Cherokees were summoned to sign the removal treaty in New Echota, Georgia, in 1836, but fewer than five hundred of the seventeen thousand Cherokees appeared. The treaty was signed anyway. The Senate, including northerners who had once spoken for the Indian, ratified it, yielding, as Senator Edward Everett of Massachusetts said, to “the force of circumstances . . . the hard necessity.” Now the Georgia whites stepped up their attacks to speed the removal. The government did not move immediately against the Cherokees. In April 1838, Ralph Waldo Emerson addressed an open letter to President Van Buren, referring with indignation to the removal treaty with the Cherokees (signed behind the backs of an overwhelming majority of them) and asked what had happened to the sense of justice in America: The soul of man, the justice, the mercy that is the heart’s heart in all men, from Maine to Georgia, does abhor this business . . . a crime is projected that confounds our understandings by its magnitude, a crime that really deprives us as well as the Cherokees of a country for how could we call the conspiracy that should crush these poor Indians our government, or the land that was cursed by their parting and dying imprecations our country any more?

Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you may see a file of soldiers . . . marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. His friend and fellow writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, agreed, but thought it futile to protest. When Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked, “What are you doing in there?” it was reported that Thoreau replied, “What are you doing out there?” The churches, for the most part, were either outspokenly for the war or timidly silent. Generally, no one but the Congregational, Quaker, and Unitarian churches spoke clearly against the war. However, one Baptist minister, the Reverend Francis Wayland, president of Brown University, gave three sermons in the university chapel in which he said that only wars of self-defense were just, and in case of unjust war, the individual was morally obligated to resist it and lend no money to the government to support it.

While insisting that the raid was too hopelessly and ridiculously small to accomplish anything . . . the state nevertheless spent $250,000 to punish the invaders, stationed from one to three thousand soldiers in the vicinity and threw the nation into turmoil. In John Brown’s last written statement, in prison, before he was hanged, he said: “I, John Brown, am quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, not an activist himself, said of the execution of John Brown: “He will make the gallows holy as the cross.” Of the twenty-two men in John Brown’s striking force, five were black. Two of these were killed on the spot, one escaped, and two were hanged by the authorities. Before his execution, John Copeland wrote to his parents: Remember that if I must die I die in trying to liberate a few of my poor and oppressed people from my condition of servitude which God in his Holy Writ has hurled his most bitter denunciations against. . . .


pages: 683 words: 203,624

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London by Judith Flanders

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anti-work, centre right, Corn Laws, John Snow's cholera map, Ralph Waldo Emerson, traveling salesman, urban sprawl, working poor

And I said, without the least conceit…“it really is a pleasure to work with you, you receive the impression so nicely”.’10 Whilst these impressions were real, they were also radically reworked by Dickens’ imagination to create new realities, well recognized by his fellow artists. Henry James described Dickens’ type of fiction, with its real places and real street names, as having the ‘solidity of specification’; Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke of Dickens’ ‘London tracts’. So real were these tracts that when the American historian Francis Parkman arrived in London, ‘I thought I had been there before. There, in flesh and blood, was the whole host of characters that figured’ in Dickens – the people, the traffic: everything, he marvelled. Details that Londoners didn’t even notice they were noticing were given a place in the sharp-eyed author’s books.

Mrs Russell Barrington (London, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1915), vol. 3, pp. 84–5; ‘fanciful photograph’: Dickens to W. H. Wills, 24 September 1858, Letters, vol. 8, p. 669; footnote: I owe this idea to Tambling, Going Astray, pp. 21–2. ‘he marvelled’: Henry James, ‘The Art of Fiction’, 1884, cited in F. O. Matthiesson, The James Family (New York, Knopf, 1947), p. 360; ‘English Traits’, in Emerson, The Prose Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Boston, Fields, Osgood & Co., 1870), vol. 2, p. 278; Parkman, The Journals of Francis Parkman, ed. Mason Wade (London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1949), vol. 1, p. 221. ‘created Dickens’: J.-K. Huysmans, Against Nature, trans. Robert Baldick (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1959), p. 138; Walter Benjamin citing G. K. Chesterton, Dickens, in The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (Cambridge, MA, Belknap, Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 438.

., Random Sketches and Notes of European Travel in 1856 (New York, Harper and Brothers, 1857) Egan, Pierce, Grose’s Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (London, ‘printed for the editor’, 1823) —, [and George and Robert Cruikshank], Life in London, or, The Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq., and his Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom ... (London, Sherwood, Neely, & Jones, 1821) Elmes, James, Metropolitan Improvements; or, London in the Nineteenth Century ... (London, Jones & Co., 1829) Elson, George, The Last of the Climbing Boys: An Autobiography (London, John Long, 1900) Emerson, Ralph Waldo, ‘English Traits’, in The Prose Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Boston, Fields, Osgood & Co., 1870) Every Night Book; or, Life After Dark, ‘by the author of “The Cigar”’ (London, T. Richardson, 1828) The Flash Chaunter ... now singing at Offley’s, Cider Cellers [sic], Coal Hole, &c ... . (first published c.1834; London, W. West [?1865]) Fletcher, Hanslip, London Passed and Passing: A Pictorial Record of Destroyed and Threatened Buildings (London, Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1908) Forbes, Mrs E.


pages: 484 words: 136,735

Capitalism 4.0: The Birth of a New Economy in the Aftermath of Crisis by Anatole Kaletsky

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bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, BRICs, Carmen Reinhart, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Corn Laws, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Glaeser, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, floating exchange rates, full employment, George Akerlof, global rebalancing, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, market design, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, paradox of thrift, peak oil, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, post-industrial society, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, statistical model, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, too big to fail, Washington Consensus

But why were so many policymakers—not just Henry Paulson and George W. Bush but also Gordon Brown, Ben Bernanke, and Tim Geithner—so slow to acknowledge the need for government intervention? A large part of the explanation can be found in the sad state of modern economic theory, the subject to which we now turn. CHAPTER ELEVEN There Is No Can Opener A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. —Ralph Waldo Emerson AN ECONOMIST, a chemist, and a physicist are marooned on a desert island. Their only food is a can of beans, but they have no can opener. What are they to do? The physicist says: “Let’s try and focus the tropical sun onto the lid—it might melt a hole.” “No,” says the chemist. “We should first pour salt water on the lid—maybe that will rust it.” The economist interrupts: “You’re wasting time with all these complicated ideas.

The bankers and regulators whose faith in efficient markets almost wrecked the global financial system might then have heeded Keynes’s famous dictum: “When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done.” Or suppose that rational expectations had been renamed internally consistent expectations, as some of its proponents originally suggested. An adequate refutation might then have been Ralph Waldo Emerson’s acerbic comment that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” To continue this thought experiment, try replacing perfect competition with ruthless exploitation, general equilibrium with timeless stasis, Pareto Optimality with Entrenched Privilege, Ricardian Equivalence with Barro’s False Assumption, natural rate of unemployment with deliberate job destruction, and so on.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

And like his young audiences, he displayed a highly individualistic turn of mind and a deep concern with the fate of the species. Fuller made his name designing futuristic technologies such as the threewheeled Dymaxion car and, most famously, the geodesic dome, but the roots of his interests reached deep into America’s pre-industrial past. Born in 1895, Fuller was the latest in a long line of Unitarian ministers, lawyers, and writers. His great-aunt, Margaret Fuller, had joined Ralph Waldo Emerson to cofound the Dial, the preeminent literary journal of American Transcendentalism and the first magazine to publish Henry David Thoreau. Margaret served as an intellectual model for the young Buckminster. “When I heard that Aunt Margaret said, ‘I must start with the universe and work down to the parts, I must have an understanding of it,’ that became a great drive for me,” he recalled.26 For the Transcendentalists, as later for Fuller himself, the material world could be imagined as a series of corresponding forms, each linked to every other according to invisible but omnipresent principles.

After all, the reader’s flesh has a surface anatomy of its own; the skin of his hands is not so different from the skin in the photographs. Perhaps he is a “whole system” as well. Perhaps he is both a citizen of the earth and, as a packet of informational [ 86 ] Chapter 3 patterns, its emblem too, just as he is both a reader of the Whole Earth Catalog (a system of tools) and, potentially, a tool for others in his own right. In this dizzying string of analogies, we can hear echoes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Norbert Wiener, and, of course, Buckminster Fuller. But for many of the readers of the Whole Earth Catalog, the analogies were more than the stuff of Romantic or cybernetic theory. They could be lived. In keeping with Brand’s statement of its purpose, and with the collective ambitions of the New Communalists, the Catalog’s structure and rhetorical strategies worked to shape an imagined reader who was a visionary, with a view of the planet’s condition, and a local actor, with the ability to shape the larger world by shaping his local surroundings.


pages: 459 words: 123,220

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis by Robert D. Putnam

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correlation does not imply causation, deindustrialization, demographic transition, desegregation, ending welfare as we know it, epigenetics, full employment, George Akerlof, helicopter parent, impulse control, income inequality, index card, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Occupy movement, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, school choice, Socratic dialogue, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the built environment, upwardly mobile, Walter Mischel, white flight, working poor

The specific responses we have pursued to successfully overcome these challenges and restore opportunity have varied in detail, but underlying them all was a commitment to invest in other people’s children. And underlying that commitment was a deeper sense that those kids, too, were our kids. Not all Americans have shared that sense of communal obligation. In his essay “Self-Reliance,” Boston Brahmin Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Do not tell me, as a good man did to-day, of my obligation to put all poor men in good situations. Are they my poor? I tell thee, thou foolish philanthropist, that I grudge the dollar, the dime, the cent, I give to such men as do not belong to me and to whom I do not belong.”70 Emerson spoke eloquently for the individualist tradition in America. The better part of two centuries later, speaking of the recent arrival of unaccompanied immigrant kids, Jay Ash, city manager and native of the gritty, working-class Boston suburb of Chelsea, drew on a more generous, communitarian tradition: “If our kids are in trouble—my kids, our kids, anyone’s kids—we all have a responsibility to look after them.”71 In today’s America, not only is Ash right, but even those among us who think like Emerson should acknowledge our responsibility to these children.

Demography 42 (February 2005): 51–73; Jens Ludwig, Brian Jacob, Greg Duncan, James Rosenbaum, and Michael Johnson, “Neighborhood Effects on Low-Income Families: Evidence from a Housing-Voucher Lottery in Chicago” (working paper, University of Chicago, 2010); Jennifer Darrah and Stefanie DeLuca, “ ‘Living Here Has Changed My Whole Perspective’: How Escaping Inner-City Poverty Shapes Neighborhood and Housing Choice,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 33 (Spring 2014): 350–84. 70. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” in Essays: First Series (1841). Thanks to Thomas Spragens for alerting me to this passage. 71. Yvonne Abraham, “Doing Right by the Children in Chelsea,” Boston Globe, August 31, 2014. The Stories of Our Kids 1. Some quotations have been lightly edited to remove interjections, false starts, and repetition. For the sake of coherence, comments about the same subject from different parts of an interview have occasionally been placed together as a single statement.


pages: 312 words: 114,586

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty by Harry Browne

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full employment, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, War on Poverty

Be honest with yourself and with others and act toward others as you’d like to be treated, and you’ll have a far greater chance to attract people valuable to you. The others are unimportant to your future — if your future is to be free. There’s a beautiful world out there. Why clutter it up with relationships that don’t belong in your life? It’s an easy life. Why complicate it by trying to be all things to all people? Adopt the image that’s most effective — your own. Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. — Ralph Waldo Emerson 18 Freedom from Bad Relationships We’ve seen that it’s foolish to waste time trying to deal with incompatible people. There are plenty of people around who would want you to be as you are. That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re likely to find individuals with whom you’ll be 100% compatible — with the exact same tastes, values, attitudes, and ideas that you have. You’re more likely to find individuals with whom you’ll have one or more important things in common.

In the final analysis, the only person who can exploit you is you — because you make all the final decisions for your life. Freedom from exploitation is perhaps the easiest freedom to get. All you have to do is to stop participating in any relationship — of any kind — that doesn’t suit you. It is as impossible for a man to be cheated by anyone but himself, as for a thing to be, and not to be, at the same time. — Ralph Waldo Emerson 25 Freedom from the Treadmill Freedom is living your life as you want to live it. Many people feel that freedom is impossible because of the many hours required for work, because of their debts, and because they can’t afford to live the way they’d like to. The treadmill enslaves many people who can’t conceive that life could be any different. They stay where they are, leaving things as they are, making changes only when someone else initiates them.


A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America by Tony Horwitz

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airport security, Atahualpa, back-to-the-land, Bartolomé de las Casas, Colonization of Mars, Columbian Exchange, dematerialisation, diversified portfolio, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, joint-stock company, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, trade route, urban renewal

“I see no reason why one should justly object to calling this part Amerige,” Waldseemüller wrote, “or America, after Amerigo, its discoverer, a man of great ability.” His revised world map had “America” engraved next to a landmass roughly resembling Brazil. Waldseemüller later changed his mind and dropped the name from a subsequent edition. But “America” was reprised in 1538 by the great cartographer Gerard Mercator, who applied it to continents both north and south. “Strange,” lamented Ralph Waldo Emerson, “that broad America must wear the name of a thief. Amerigo Vespucci, the pickledealer at Seville, who . . . managed in this lying world to supplant Columbus and baptize half the earth with his own dishonest name.” AFTER SEVERAL DAYS in Santo Domingo, I met a museum guide named Carlos who taught English as his second job and agreed to take on a third, as my translator. Lean and handsome, with close-cropped black hair, Carlos had a firmly set jaw that emphasized his glumness.

Augustine had another problem, which dated to 1821, when Spain ceded Florida to the United States. Americans started visiting the town, drawn by its warm climate and exoticism. Mostly Protestant New Englanders, they were shocked and titillated by St. Augustine’s “popery,” describing masked carnivals and a Good Friday custom known as “shooting the Jews,” when locals hung effigies and peppered them with bullets. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who traveled to St. Augustine in 1827 to recover from tuberculosis, was one of many who relished the city’s “dim vestiges of a romantic past” and ancient stones redolent of “a thousand heavy histories.” Hucksters quickly learned to trade on this nostalgia by wreathing the city in hoary fictions. At one time, four different buildings laid claim to being the oldest city’s oldest house, including one allegedly built by Franciscan monks in 1565 (Florida had no Franciscans at that time, and no houses in St.


pages: 405 words: 130,840

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt

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crack epidemic, delayed gratification, feminist movement, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, job satisfaction, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Peter Singer: altruism, placebo effect, prisoner's dilemma, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell, Steven Pinker, telemarketer, the scientific method, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel

Vol. 1, Theoretical models of human development (pp. 939—991). Ne w York: Wiley. E l i a d e , M. ( 1 9 5 9 / 1 9 5 7 ) . The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion, (W. R. Task, Trans.). San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace. Emerson, R. W. (1960a/1838). The divinity school address. In S. Whicher (Ed.), Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson ( p p . 100—1 16). B o s t o n : H o u g h t o n Mifflin. Emerson, R. W. (1960b/1838). Nature. In S. Whicher (Ed.), Selections from Ralph Waldo Emerson (pp. 21—56). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. E m m o n s , R. A. ( 1 9 9 9 ) . The psychology of ultimate ccmcems: Motivation and spirituality in personality. Ne w York: Guilford. Emmons, R. A. (2003). Personal goals, life meaning, and virtue: Wellsprings of a positive life. In C. L. M. Keyes 8c J. Haidt (Eds.), Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived (pp. 105—128).


Hopes and Prospects by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate personhood, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Firefox, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, invisible hand, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, moral hazard, new economy, nuremberg principles, open borders, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

As the national poet Walt Whitman explained, our conquests “take off the shackles that prevent men the even chance of being happy and good.” With the conquest of half of Mexico in mind, he asked rhetorically, “What has miserable, inefficient Mexico…to do with the great mission of peopling the New World with a noble race?” His thoughts were spelled out by the leading humanist thinker of the period, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote that the annexation of Texas was simply a matter of course: “It is very certain that the strong British race which has now overrun much of this continent, must also overrun that trace, and Mexico and Oregon also, and it will in the course of ages be of small import by what particular occasions and methods it was done.” It had of course been understood that not all would benefit from the just and necessary task of opening the wilderness for the superior race arriving to claim it.

., 40–42 Liberia, 7 Lieberman, Avigdor, 156 limited liability, 30 Lippmann, Walter, 47, 122, 136 Lissakers, Karen, 72 Livni, Tzipi, 157 Llorens, Hugo, 67 Lodge, Henry Cabot, 22 Lula da Silva, Luiz Inácio, 70 Lynd, Staughton, 96 Ma’aleh Adumim, 180, 188 Madison, James, 18, 233 Mafia doctrine, 55 Maguire, Mairead Corrigan, 148 Maliki, Nouri al-, 239 Mandela, Nelson, 267 MANTECH (manufacturing technology), 88 Maoz, Zeev, 170 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 5 Mauritius, 168 Mayr, Ernst, 175 McCain, John, 209, 212 McCoy, Alfred, 203, 262 McFaul, Michael, 65 McGlynn, John, 174–75 Medicare, 227 Meir, Golda, 195 Mercosur, 70 Merkel, Angela, 270 Meron, Theodor, 148 Meshal, Khaled, 153 Mexican-U.S. border, 28–29, 31, 270 Mexico, 29, 31, 49, 60, 70, 90 “American invasion” of, 160 NAFTA and, 29, 35–36, 215–16, 270 Ralph Waldo Emerson on, 17 Walt Whitman on, 16 Meyers, Steven Lee, 154 Michael, B., 154 military, U.S., 62–63 military spending, 63–65, 84–85 Mill, John Stuart, 267 missile defense programs, 65, 86, 199. See also ballistic missile defense (BMD) programs Mitchell, George, 251, 255, 256 Monning, Bill, 66 monopolies, 77, 86–90 Monroe, James, 19 Monroe Doctrine, 53, 54 Morales, Evo, 59–60, 70–71, 115, 213 Morgan, Edmund, 18–19 Morgenson, Gretchen, 113 Morgenthau, Hans, 21, 39–40 Morris, Benny, 154 Mubarak, Hosni, 191, 192 Multi-National Force-Iraq, 130 Nairn, Alan, 224, 260–61 Najibullah, Mohammad, 245 narcoterrorism, 57.


pages: 257 words: 68,203

The Talent Code: Greatest Isn't Born, It's Grown, Here's How by Daniel Coyle

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Albert Einstein, deliberate practice, experimental subject, impulse control, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not that geniuses don't exist: the teachers I spoke with pegged the genius rate at about one per decade. “Very occasionally we'll get a super-top genius talent. I have no idea how their brains function,” said Meadowmount's Skye Carman. “But it's a tiny, tiny percentage. The rest of us mortals have to work at it.” 2 Ignition Chapter 5 Primal Cues Every great and commanding moment in the annals of the world is a triumph of some enthusiasm. —Ralph Waldo Emerson “IF SHE CAN DO IT, WHY CAN'T I?” Growing skill, as we've seen, requires deep practice. But deep practice isn't a piece of cake: it requires energy, passion, and commitment. In a word, it requires motivational fuel, the second element of the talent code. In this section we'll see how motivation is created and sustained through a process I call ignition. Ignition and deep practice work together to produce skill in exactly the same way that a gas tank combines with an engine to produce velocity in an automobile.


pages: 207 words: 63,071

My Start-Up Life: What A by Ben Casnocha, Marc Benioff

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, call centre, David Brooks, don't be evil, fear of failure, hiring and firing, index fund, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Menlo Park, Paul Graham, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technology bubble, traffic fines

Even as I began slowly pulling away from the dayto-day minutia of my other teenage friends, I must have been doing something right. I later earned the top honor in my eighth-grade yearbook: “Most Popular.” (I also received “Most Likely to Be U.S. President,” but who cares about that?) CHAPTER 5.0 First Meeting with a VC (It’s All About the Network) My chief want in life is someone who shall make me do what I can. RALPH WALDO EMERSON For entrepreneurs, getting a meeting with a venture capitalist on the fabled Sand Hill Road, which runs through Menlo Park, and along the northern edge of the Stanford University campus, is a worthy accomplishment. If you don’t know a VC personally, it can take dozens of calls and emails to secure a meeting with someone who could fund your start-up. And dozens of calls and emails are no guarantee of an audience.


pages: 187 words: 58,839

Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton

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hiring and firing, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, means of production, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen

Many of Napoleon’s leading appointees came from modest backgrounds, among them his prefects at the Ministry of the Interior, his scientific advisers and a number of senators. In Napoleon’s words, hereditary nobles were “the curse of the nation, imbeciles and hereditary asses!” Even after his fall, Napolean’s ideas endured and won over influential proponents in Europe and the United States. Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed a desire to see “every man placed where he belongs, with so much power confided to him as he would carry and use.” Thomas Carlyle, for his part, was outraged by the way the children of the rich squandered their money while those of the poor were denied even a rudimentary education: “What shall we say of the Idle Aristocracy, the owners of the soil of England; whose recognised function is that of handsomely consuming the rents of England and shooting the partridges of England?”


pages: 168 words: 56,211

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton

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Donald Trump, Isaac Newton, Malacca Straits, Ralph Waldo Emerson, spice trade, supply-chain management

It had only a handful of members, it had no cafeteria, it could barely afford to send out a newsletter. As a result, a sympathetic response to an electricity pylon remained for most of us a haphazard and unsupported impulse, an epiphany which might last for a minute on a drive along a motorway or on a walk along a moor, but to which no prestige could be attached and from which little of merit could emerge. In an essay entitled ‘The Poet’, published in 1844, the American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson lamented the narrow definition of beauty subscribed to by his peers, who tended to reserve the term exclusively for the bucolic landscapes and unspoilt pastoral scenes celebrated in the works of well-known artists and poets of the past. Emerson himself, however, writing at the dawn of the industrial age, observing with interest the proliferation of railways, warehouses, canals and factories, wished to make room for the possibility of alternative forms of beauty.


pages: 219 words: 51,207

Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion by Alain de Botton

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Anton Chekhov, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley

In the preface to a volume of his collected sermons, John Wesley explained and defended his adherence to simplicity: ‘I design plain truth for plain people: therefore … I abstain from all nice and philosophical speculations; from all perplexed and intricate reasonings; and, as far as possible, from even the show of learning. My design is … to forget all that ever I have read in my life.’ A handful of brave secular writers have been able to express themselves with a similarly inspiring openness, among the most notable being Donald Winnicott in the field of psychoanalysis and Ralph Waldo Emerson in literature. But these characters have been regrettably few in number, and most have also drawn upon a religious background to mould and buttress their sensibilities (Winnicott began as a Methodist, Emerson as a Transcendentalist). The greatest Christian preachers have been vulgar in the very best sense. While not surrendering any of their claims to complexity or insight, they have wished to help those who came to hear them. 7.


pages: 168 words: 47,972

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

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dematerialisation, Exxon Valdez, financial independence, follow your passion, Lao Tzu, large denomination, personalized medicine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the map is not the territory

Sierra Club founder John Muir (an ur-vagabonder if there ever was one) used to express amazement at the well-heeled travelers who would visit Yosemite only to rush away after a few hours of sightseeing. Muir called these folks the “time-poor” — people who were so obsessed with tending their material wealth and social standing that they couldn’t spare the time to truly experience the splendor of California’s Sierra wilderness. One of Muir’s Yosemite visitors in the summer of 1871 was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who gushed upon seeing the sequoias, “It’s a wonder that we can see these trees and not wonder more.” When Emerson scurried off a couple hours later, however, Muir speculated wryly about whether the famous transcendentalist had really seen the trees in the first place. Nearly a century later, naturalist Edwin Way Teale used Muir’s example to lament the frenetic pace of modern society. “Freedom as John Muir knew it,” he wrote in his 1956 book Autumn Across America, “with its wealth of time, its unregimented days, its latitude of choice . . . such freedom seems more rare, more difficult to attain, more remote with each new generation.”


pages: 160 words: 53,435

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder, Richard Todd

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Atul Gawande, demand response, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, moral hazard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Yogi Berra

Kidder was trying to cajole me into a piece of work, and he cited Keats’s advice to Shelley on avoiding excesses: “Curb your magnanimity,” wrote the tactful Keats. I had the opposite problem, in Kidder’s view: stinginess. He was trying to make me flesh out a typically underdone paragraph of mine. “Unleash your magnanimity,” he said. Oh brother. It had come to this. One had heard oneself. NOTES ON USAGE In 1859 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Never use the word development. Dangerous words in like kind are display, improvement, peruse, circumstances …” Those words have survived the great man’s scorn—though he was probably right about “peruse.” Every generation has its verbal fashions and critics who deplore them. Some usages, seemingly poisonous, get absorbed harmlessly into the language; others die out. A century after Emerson, many were alarmed by the spread of “finalize,” but that epidemic subsided, and the word doesn’t seem to cause much concern when it appears today.


pages: 177 words: 54,421

Ego Is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

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Airbnb, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, delayed gratification, Google Glasses, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, Paul Graham, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, side project, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, Upton Sinclair

Over the course of your own career, you will face the choices that he did—that all people do. Whether you built your empire from nothing or inherited it, whether your wealth is financial or merely a cultivated talent, entropy is seeking to destroy it as you read this. Can you handle success? Or will it be the worst thing that ever happened to you? ALWAYS STAY A STUDENT Every man I meet is my master in some point, and in that I learn of him. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON The legend of Genghis Khan has echoed through history: A barbarian conqueror, fueled by bloodlust, terrorizing the civilized world. We have him and his Mongol horde traveling across Asia and Europe, insatiable, stopping at nothing to plunder, rape, and kill not just the people who stood in their way, but the cultures they had built. Then, not unlike his nomadic band of warriors, this terrible cloud simply disappeared from history, because the Mongols built nothing that could last.


pages: 202 words: 62,199

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

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Albert Einstein, Clayton Christensen, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, minimum viable product, North Sea oil, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, Rosa Parks, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs

One reason for this is that the activities don’t work in concert, so they don’t add up into a meaningful whole. For example, pursuing five different majors, each of them perfectly good, does not equal a degree. Likewise, five different jobs in five different industries do not add up to a forward-moving career. Without clarity and purpose, pursuing something because it is good is not good enough to make a high level of contribution. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and states is that of job-work;—declining from your main design to serve a turn here or there.” When teams are really clear about their purpose and their individual roles, on the other hand, it is amazing what happens to team dynamics. Formal momentum accelerates, adding up to a higher cumulative contribution of the team as a whole. So how do we achieve clarity of purpose in our teams and even our personal endeavors?


pages: 189 words: 52,741

Lifestyle Entrepreneur: Live Your Dreams, Ignite Your Passions and Run Your Business From Anywhere in the World by Jesse Krieger

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Airbnb, bounce rate, call centre, carbon footprint, Deng Xiaoping, financial independence, follow your passion, income inequality, iterative process, Ralph Waldo Emerson, search engine result page, Skype, software as a service, South China Sea, Steve Jobs

However to get there, you must carry out the Actions that comprise your business as this is the execution of your vision and mission statements and the core of becoming a Lifestyle Entrepreneur. Once the Planning is Done, You Must Spring Into… ACTION “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” — Leonardo da Vinci “The Ancestor of Every Action is a Thought.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson Take Action On Your Mission to Realize Your Vision This is where the rubber meets the road. Vision and Mission describe your business in conceptual, abstract terms, the Actions and Product components of the V-MAP Framework are tactical and action-oriented. The second half of this book is primarily Actions and Product focused. Whether your vision is owning a business that runs on auto-pilot, or working hard and running a high-growth international company, the practical activities necessary to actualize that vision are laid out in this book.


pages: 169 words: 43,906

The Website Investor: The Guide to Buying an Online Website Business for Passive Income by Jeff Hunt

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buy low sell high, Donald Trump, frictionless, frictionless market, medical malpractice, passive income, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Skype, software as a service

They understand the importance of certain metrics that are specific to websites, like traffic statistics, conversion rates, email open rates, and earnings per page view. They also understand revenue models that are frequently used by websites (such as pay per action, pay per click, subscriptions, etc.) and typical expenses and operational concerns. “No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson Dealing with a broker can sometimes be easier than communicating directly with a seller because brokers fundamentally understand what information is important to the buyer of a website. They can also assist you in the sales contract, escrow, and the transition process after there is agreement on price. However, brokers who interfere with direct communication between buyers and sellers or sellers who resist any direct communication are a problem.


pages: 166 words: 49,639

Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

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Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Grace Hopper, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, James Dyson, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, mittelstand, Network effects, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, patent troll, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman, tulip mania

Companies and investors will rush towards the latest fad, as moths to a candle; that is how bubbles are created. Exponential growth is always the magic ingredient, be it the dotcom boom, China or alternative energy. Of course, some of these new fads will turn out to be genuine opportunities, but that does not mean that you can make money out of them, especially if promoters have intermediated matters and taken the best profits. ‘Do your thing and I shall know you’ Ralph Waldo Emerson So if you are picking a business partner, hiring a head of sales, or choosing a franchise formula – dig beneath the surface. Do not be taken in by froth – ask the tough questions, and be honest with yourself. Does the idea have staying power? Does your prospective partner get his or her hands dirty? From time to time we all get seduced by ever-upwards projections of sales and profits.


Masters of Mankind by Noam Chomsky

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affirmative action, Berlin Wall, failed state, income inequality, land reform, Martin Wolf, means of production, nuremberg principles, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit maximization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus

But withness is more than reporting to others. Withness takes us beyond personal interest, accepting the risks of the other when there is no “pragmatic” reason to do so. Withness is an instrument of awareness that helps us to know where and who we are, for it locates ourselves with others, and asks through example that others relocate and reorder themselves. When Henry David Thoreau, protesting the poll tax, was asked by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Henry, why are you here?” Thoreau responded, “Waldo, why are you not here?”3 There was no need for Chomsky to commit civil disobedience during the Indochina war except as a citizen responsibility. It was his statement of withness responsibility with the unseen Other. Our government could not respond to the anguish of millions; its policy makers were the chief culprits. If Chomsky’s sensibility and drive were more infectious, it would be the saving possibility and hope of humanity.


Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Chelsea Manning, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Slavoj Žižek, Stanislav Petrov, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

In short, when they have the opportunity, “the Masters of Mankind” pursue their “vile maxim . . . all for ourselves and nothing for other people,” as Adam Smith explained long ago. Mass public education is one of the great achievements of American society. It has had many dimensions. One purpose was to prepare independent farmers for life as wage laborers who would tolerate what they regarded as virtual slavery. The coercive element did not pass without notice. Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that political leaders call for popular education because they fear that “This country is filling up with thousands and millions of voters, and you must educate them to keep them from our throats.” But educated the right way: Limit their perspectives and understanding, discourage free and independent thought, and train them for obedience. The “vile maxim” and its implementation have regularly called forth resistance, which in turn evokes the same fears among the elite.


pages: 273 words: 83,186

The botany of desire: a plant's-eye view of the world by Michael Pollan

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back-to-the-land, clean water, David Attenborough, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Francisco Pizarro, invention of agriculture, Joseph Schumpeter, Maui Hawaii, means of production, paper trading, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steven Pinker

Evidently the oak has such a satisfactory arrangement with the squirrel—which obligingly forgets where it has buried every fourth acorn or so (admittedly, the estimate is Beatrix Potter’s)—that the tree has never needed to enter into any kind of formal arrangement with us. The apple has been far more eager to do business with humans, and perhaps nowhere more so than in America. Like generations of other immigrants before and after, the apple has made itself at home here. In fact, the apple did such a convincing job of this that most of us wrongly assume the plant is a native. (Even Ralph Waldo Emerson, who knew a thing or two about natural history, called it “the American fruit.”) Yet there is a sense—a biological, not just metaphorical sense—in which this is, or has become, true, for the apple transformed itself when it came to America. Bringing boatloads of seed onto the frontier, Johnny Appleseed had a lot to do with that process, but so did the apple itself. No mere passenger or dependent, the apple is the hero of its own story


pages: 222 words: 75,778

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

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call centre, crowdsourcing, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Lao Tzu, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Silicon Valley, Tony Hsieh, Y2K

—BUDDHA Tweets to Live By • “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” —George Bernard Shaw • “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” —H. S. Truman • “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” —Carlos Castaneda • “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson Appendix: Online Resources Web site for this book: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com Additional stories for which we didn’t have room in the book: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/stories Book recommendations: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/books Zappos core values: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/zappos-core-values How to create committable core values for your organization: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/core-values “How Twitter Can Make You a Better and Happier Person”: http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/twitter-better Follow me on Twitter (@zappos): http://twitter.com/zappos Public mentions of Zappos and our employees’ tweets: http://twitter.zappos.com Photos and videos of Zappos culture: http://blogs.zappos.com More information about Zappos: http://about.zappos.com Zappos Insights video subscription service for entrepreneurs and businesses: http://www.zapposinsights.com Zappos job opportunities: http://jobs.zappos.com Culture book (please include physical mailing address): ceo@zappos.com Tours of Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas: http://tours.zappos.com Recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious business imprints, Business Plus specializes in publishing books that are on the cutting edge.


pages: 300 words: 79,315

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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Albert Einstein, asset allocation, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, index card, knowledge worker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex

As Peter Drucker has written, “In knowledge work . . . the task is not given; it has to be determined. ‘What are the expected results from this work?’ is . . . the key question in making knowledge workers productive. And it is a question that demands risky decisions. There is usually no right answer; there are choices instead. And results have to be clearly specified, if productivity is to be achieved.” The ancestor of every action is a thought. —Ralph Waldo Emerson Most people have a resistance to initiating the burst of energy that it will take to clarify the real meaning, for them, of something they have let into their world, and to decide what they need to do about it. We’re never really taught that we have to think about our work before we can do it; much of our daily activity is already defined for us by the undone and unmoved things staring at us when we come to work, or by the family to be fed, the laundry to be done, or the children to be dressed at home.


pages: 248 words: 72,174

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau

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big-box store, clean water, follow your passion, if you build it, they will come, index card, informal economy, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, late fees, price anchoring, Ralph Waldo Emerson, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, web application

Always focus on what you can add or take away to improve someone’s life … and then prepare to get paid. *See the “Fish Stories” appendix at the back of the book for twenty-five more examples of how to reframe a descriptive concept as a benefit-driven story. GET PAID TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE BY MAKING SURE IT CONNECTS TO WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WANT. “Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.” —RALPH WALDO EMERSON Like many of us, Gary Leff begins his day with email. As a CFO for two university research centers in northern Virginia, he’s in touch with colleagues from morning to night. It’s a good job that he enjoys, and he has no plans to leave. But the “early early” morning email traffic comes from another source: Gary’s part-time business as a specific kind of consultant. Like me, Gary is an active “travel hacker,” earning hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles every year through various airline promotions.


pages: 201 words: 64,545

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

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air freight, business process, clean water, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Mahatma Gandhi, pushing on a string, Ralph Waldo Emerson, urban sprawl

Will the product be worn over other layers or against the skin? A product designed with a close fit for climbing may also be worn by snowboarders or skiers who want a looser fit. In that case, the climber, as the core customer for that product, wins (the snowboarder or casual use customer can size up if she or he wants to). Is It as Simple as Possible? Simplify, simplify. —H. D. THOREAU One “simplify” would have sufficed. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON, IN RESPONSE Koshun Miyamoto once complimented his fencing teacher’s wife on the beauty of her gravel garden, a square of coarse-grained sand, set off by three stones from a nearby stream that conveyed a “powerful, evocative image of space and balance.” The fencing teacher’s wife protested that the garden wasn’t complete and wouldn’t be until she could “express the same feeling it has now using only one stone instead of three.”


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

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airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

31 Thoreau chirruped. A new fact had been uncovered: This particular bird was a gull. Thoreau’s fact is in the fact’s most basic form: Some this is a that. Yet Thoreau’s identification of that bird wasn’t the sort of fact that does the heavy-lifting of knowledge. It did not advance our knowledge of gulls, of wings, or even of spots in any appreciable way. Thoreau was not that ambitious. As Ralph Waldo Emerson lamented in his eulogy of his friend, “instead of engineering for all America, he was the captain of a huckleberry party.”32 While Thoreau was picking huckleberries, Charles Darwin was spending seven years intently exploring the small world of Cirripedia—barnacles. The two resulting dry and difficult volumes—so little like his masterful On the Origin of Species published just a few years later in 1859—are careful recitations of facts that together describe the little creatures in unrelenting detail.


pages: 290 words: 75,973

The Cloudspotter's Guide by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

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Albert Einstein, haute couture, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Ralph Waldo Emerson

BACK AT PAUL AND AMANDA’S, over a celebratory dinner of Barramundi fish, washed down with the amber nectar, I explained to the collected pilots that I had recently founded The Cloud Appreciation Society. Like a B-list actor promoting his latest film, I launched into a well-rehearsed speech in defense of our fluffy friends. Life would be dull, I declared, had we nothing but blue monotony to look at, day after day. I mentioned how Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, described the sky as ‘the daily bread of the eyes…the ultimate art gallery above.’ 4 And that the society therefore stands in opposition to ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it. Clouds are the face of the atmosphere, I proclaimed, enthusing on their ability to express its moods and communicate the invisible architecture of its currents. And then–as I was moving on to the part about the clouds being nature’s poetry–I caught the glint, once again, of Geoff Pratt’s gold tooth.


pages: 273 words: 21,102

Branding Your Business: Promoting Your Business, Attracting Customers and Standing Out in the Market Place by James Hammond

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Albert Einstein, call centre, Donald Trump, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, market design, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Steve Jobs, the market place

We’ve all read the unbelievable company mission statements, engraved on a wall plaque in a corridor or reception area somewhere, that make all kinds of attractive claims yet attract only dust and spider’s webs. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to walk the talk, and nowhere is it more critical than in your BrandMe™ story. Be honest and transparent, or they’ll know for sure. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.’ Don’t make the mistake of not being genuine. YOUR BUSINESSBRAND™ STORY Usage: A powerful way to establish an emotional connection with customers. Can be incorporated into sales presentations, business plans and proposals, as well as collateral material. 226 Communicating your brand Now we extend the personal brand aspects into your business.


pages: 261 words: 71,349

The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth Buelow

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fear of failure, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, risk tolerance, Skype, Tony Hsieh

It’s not that we aren’t influenced by our environment or the people around us; we simply take in the information and put it through our own filters rather than taking it at face value. We carry our safety, our values, and our energy around inside of us, which contributes to an unmistakable quality of independence and self-reliance. My guess is that whoever coined the phrase “If you want it done right, do it yourself” was an introvert! Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” essay includes numerous statements about the virtues of this introvert tendency. Here’s one example: “It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Self-Possessed The self-possessed superpower goes hand in hand with self-reliance.


pages: 226 words: 66,188

Adventures in Human Being (Wellcome) by Gavin Francis

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Atul Gawande, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell, traveling salesman

Spitfire pilots who were shot down often ended up with acrylic shrapnel from the cockpit embedded in the eye, and surgeons noticed that it didn’t cause an inflammatory reaction. 3 Aldous Huxley reused the phrase in his Doors of Perception. His Eyeless in Gaza took its title from Milton’s drama Samson Agonistes, written twenty years after Milton lost his sight. 4 Face: Beautiful Palsy He sees the beauty of a human face, and searches for the cause of that beauty, which must be more beautiful. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Montaigne WHEN I WAS TAUGHT facial anatomy as a medical student most of the cadavers we dissected were those of old men with thick facial skin, stiffened by stubble. Their faces might have been tough as hide, but the muscles that lay immediately beneath that skin were fragile: delicate fronds of salmon pink laced through buttery subcutaneous fat. When trying to demonstrate the muscles that give expression to our faces I’d have to proceed with care; a slip of the scalpel and they’d be stripped off with the skin.


The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer by Charles J. Murray

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Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, fear of failure, John von Neumann, pattern recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley

They were, however, the most prominent individuals in the industry's history. And their contri- butions will be remembered after the illusory line between super- computing and the rest of the industry has long since disap- peared. APril 5, 1996 / VII If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbor, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door. -RALPH WALDO EMERSON, 1871 Thank heaven for start-up companies or we'd never make any progress. People who get unhappy with structure in compa- nies can move on and start their own, take big risks and occa- sionally find the pot of gold. I think that's just wonderful. -SEYMOUR R. CRAY, 1994 PROLOGUE . . . . . . . . . . . At the Crossroads On a sunny spring day in 1989, Steve Nelson looked up from his desk to see his company's founder leaning quietly against his of- fice door.


The Techno-Human Condition by Braden R. Allenby, Daniel R. Sarewitz

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airport security, augmented reality, carbon footprint, clean water, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, decarbonisation, facts on the ground, friendly fire, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, land tenure, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Peter Singer: altruism, planetary scale, prediction markets, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Whole Earth Catalog

But the railroad did more than (substantially) create modern industrial capitalism, the modern firm, the modern communication network, the modern urban landscape, and the modern sense of time. (By "create," of course, we mean "significantly force the co-evolution of.") Particularly in the United States, the railroad became a symbol of national power, and, more subtly, instantiated and validated the American integration of religion, morality, and technology. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Daniel Webster were among those who-in an unconscious recapitulation of language and powerful cultural memes that we saw in Bacon centuries earlier and an ocean away, and now hear again in transhumanism-viewed railroads as evidence of human ascension to godlike power. In the early 1800s the Western Railroad in Massachusetts urged ministers to "take an early opportunity to deliver a Discourse on the Moral effect of Rail-Roads in our wide extended country."


pages: 272 words: 76,089

Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium by Carl Sagan

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, clean water, cosmic abundance, dark matter, demographic transition, Exxon Valdez, F. W. de Klerk, germ theory of disease, invention of agriculture, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Gorbachev, pattern recognition, planetary scale, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus

[Tjhere always remain in the abyss of things slumbering parts which have yet to be awakened GOTTFRIED WILHELM LEIBNIZ, On the Ultimate Origination ofThings (1697) Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other. It undergoes continual changes; it is barbarous, it is civilized, it is christianized, it is rich, it is scientific; but. . . for everything that is given something is taken. RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Self-Reliance," Essays: First Series (1841) twentieth century will be remembered for three broad JL innovations: unprecedented means to save, prolong, and 246 • Billions and Billions enhance life; unprecedented means to destroy life, including for the first time putting our global civilization at risk; and unprecedented insights into the nature of ourselves and the Universe. All three of these developments have been brought forth by science and technology, a sword with two razor-sharp edges.


pages: 280 words: 75,820

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher

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Albert Einstein, Atul Gawande, Build a better mousetrap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, epigenetics, Frank Gehry, fundamental attribution error, Isaac Newton, knowledge worker, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, music of the spheres, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Walter Mischel

The focused life requires not just a robust capacity for paying attention but also the discerning choice of targets that will invite the best possible experience. Much is made of the fact that human beings are the only creatures to know that we must die, but we’re also the only ones to know that we must find something engaging to focus on in order to pass the time—increasingly, a lot of time. As Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was William James’s godfather, put it, “To fill the hour—that is happiness.” Deciding what to pay attention to for this hour, day, week, or year, much less a lifetime, is a peculiarly human predicament, and your quality of life largely depends on how you handle it. Moses got his focus from God, and Picasso from his nearly supernatural creativity. We have other motivations and gifts, and most of us have to go through a more complicated process to find the right things to focus on.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

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3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yield management

No other era in human history, either before or since, combined so many elements in which the standard of living increased as quickly and in which the human condition was transformed so completely. Chapter 9 TAKING AND MITIGATING RISKS: CONSUMER CREDIT, INSURANCE, AND THE GOVERNMENT Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. —Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841 INTRODUCTION Household well-being depends not just on the level of income, but also on its volatility. This chapter is about institutions, particularly consumer credit and insurance, that allow the household to enjoy a standard of living that is less volatile over time. Consumer credit allows for the purchase of homes and consumer durables by spreading out payments over time and avoids the need to save the entire purchase price in advance.

“The State of the News Media 2013: An Annual Report on American Journalism: Newspapers: By the Numbers,” Pew Research Center, May 7. Eisner, Robert. (1989). The Total Incomes System of Accounts. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Ellis, David Maldwyn. (1945). “Railroad Land Grant Rates, 1850–1945,” The Journal of Land and Public Utility Economics 21, no. 3 (August): 207–22. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. (1841). The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. V 1838–41. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published in 1911). Emmet, Boris, and Jeuck, John E. (1950). Catalogs and Counters: A History of Sears, Roebuck and Company. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Engerman, Stanley L., and Gallman, Robert E., eds. (2000a). The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, Vol. II: The Long Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, UK/New York: Cambridge University Press .

Reprinted with permission of Johns Hopkins University Press. Chapter 8: Working Conditions on the Job and at Home Harvey Greene, excerpts from The Uncertainty of Everyday Life, 1915-1945. Copyright © 1992 by Harvey Green. Reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of the Univeristy of Arkansas Press, www.uapress.com. Chapter 9: Taking and Mitigating Risks Emerson, Ralph Waldo. (1841). The Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, vol. V 1838–41. Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published in 1911). Chapter 10: Fast Food, Synthetic Fibers, and Split-Level Subdivisions Rybczynski, Witold. (1995). “How to Build a Suburb,” The Wilson Quarterly 19, no. 3 (summer): 114–26. Chapter 11: See the USA in Your Chevrolet or from a Plane Flying High Above Music by Leon Carr, Words by Leo Corday, Copyright © 1948 (Renewed) by Music Sales Corporation and Fred Ahlert Music Corp., International Copyright Secured.


pages: 836 words: 158,284

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss

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23andMe, airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Buckminster Fuller, carbon footprint, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, Dean Kamen, game design, Gary Taubes, index card, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, microbiome, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Buchheit, placebo effect, Productivity paradox, publish or perish, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Thorstein Veblen, wage slave, William of Occam

It might change your mind. End of Chapter Notes 1. Okay, I did have a few cold ones in Munich. It was one-third the cost of bottled water. 2. See the “Living Forever” chapter for more on this. THE SLOW-CARB DIET II The Finer Points and Common Questions As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. —Ralph Waldo Emerson The system is the solution. —AT&T This chapter answers the most common questions related to the Slow-Carb Diet, shares real-world lessons learned, and pinpoints the most common mistakes. I designate Saturday as “cheat day” in all of my answers, but, in practice, you can substitute any day of the week. Chances are good that at least 50% of the questions in this chapter will come up for you at some point.

By surveying the biomarkers in your blood, Biophysical will detect medical conditions and diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, cancer (including breast, colon, liver, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic), metabolic disorders (such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome), autoimmune disease (including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus), viral and bacterial diseases (such as mononucleosis and pneumonia), hormonal imbalance (including menopause, testosterone deficiency, and thyroid deficiency), and nutritional status (such as vitamin and protein deficiencies). End of Chapter Notes 1. If there is a range for cost, I have used the lower range for putting them in order. 2. Since I am not a woman, this test was found from a non-Hunter source: http://www.anylabtestnow.com/Tests/Female_Tests.aspx MUSCLES OF THE BODY (PARTIAL) THE VALUE OF SELF-EXPERIMENTATION All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. —Ralph Waldo Emerson It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong. —Richard Feynman This chapter was written by Dr. Seth Roberts, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California–Berkeley and professor of psychology at Tsinghua University. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and The Scientist, and he is on the editorial board of the journal Nutrition.


pages: 829 words: 229,566

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

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1960s counterculture, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks

A perhaps apocryphal story surrounds the death of Francis Bacon: in an attempt to test his hypothesis that frozen meat could be prevented from rotting, he traipsed around in chilly weather stuffing a chicken full of snow. As a result, it is said, the philosopher caught pneumonia, which eventually led to his demise.33 Despite some controversy, the anecdote survives for its seeming poetic justice: a man who thought nature could be bent to his will died from simple exposure to the cold. A similar story of comeuppance appears to be unfolding for the human race as a whole. Ralph Waldo Emerson called coal “a portable climate”—and it has been a smash success, carrying countless advantages, from longer life spans to hundreds of millions freed from hard labor.34 And yet precisely because our bodies are so effectively separated from our geographies, we who have access to this privilege have proven ourselves far too capable of ignoring the fact that we aren’t just changing our personal climate but the entire planet’s climate as well, warming not just the indoors but the outdoors too.

(Boston: Wadsworth, 2014), 445. 32. Herman E. Daly and Joshua Farley, Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2011), 10. 33. Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, “What’s in a Name? Rivalries and the Birth of Modern Science,” in Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, and the Genius of the Royal Society, ed. Bill Bryson (London: Royal Society, 2010), 120. 34. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1903), 70. 35. Clive Hamilton, “The Ethical Foundations of Climate Engineering,” in Climate Change Geoengineering: Philosophical Perspectives, Legal Issues, and Governance Frameworks, ed. Wil C. G. Burns and Andrew L. Strauss (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 58. 36. Esperanza Martínez, “The Yasuní—ITT Initiative from a Political Economy and Political Ecology Perspective,” in Leah Temper et al., “Towards a Post-Oil Civilization: Yasunization and Other Initiatives to Leave Fossil Fuels in the Soil,” EJOLT Report No. 6, May 2013, p. 12. 37.


pages: 670 words: 194,502

The Intelligent Investor (Collins Business Essentials) by Benjamin Graham, Jason Zweig

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, air freight, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, hiring and firing, index fund, Isaac Newton, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, merger arbitrage, new economy, passive investing, price stability, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, the market place, transaction costs, tulip mania, VA Linux, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra

It would appear that either the directors had made a great mistake in turning down that opportunity or the shares of Kayser-Roth were now badly undervalued in the market. Something for a security analyst to look into. Commentary on Chapter 15 It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. —Ralph Waldo Emerson Practice, Practice, Practice Max Heine, founder of the Mutual Series Funds, liked to say that “there are many roads to Jerusalem.” What this masterly stock picker meant was that his own value-centered method of selecting stocks was not the only way to be a successful investor. In this chapter we’ll look at several techniques that some of today’s leading money managers use for picking stocks.

See also “earning power”; per-share earnings; price/earnings ratio; specific company or type of security earnings-covered test Eastman Kodak Co. EDGAR database Edison Electric Light Co. Edward VII (king of Great Britain), “efficient markets hypothesis” (EMH) Electric Autolite Co. Electronic Data Systems electronics industry Elias, David Ellis, Charles ELTRA Corp. EMC Corp. emerging-market nations Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson Electric Co. Emery Air Freight Emhart Corp. employee-purchase plans employees: stock options for. See also managers/management endowment funds “enhancing shareholder value,” Enron Corp. enterprising investors. See aggressive investors EPS. See per-share earnings Erie Railroad ethics eToys Inc. Eversharp Co. exchange-traded index funds (ETFs) Exodus Communications, Inc., Expeditors International of Washington, Inc.


pages: 855 words: 178,507

The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce

Babbage’s engine had not been well understood, not by his government and not by the many friends who passed through his salon, but in its time its influence traveled far. In America, a country bursting with invention and scientific optimism, Edgar Allan Poe wrote, “What shall we think of the calculating machine of Mr. Babbage? What shall we think of an engine of wood and metal which can … render the exactitude of its operations mathematically certain through its power of correcting its possible errors?”♦ Ralph Waldo Emerson had met Babbage in London and declared in 1870, “Steam is an apt scholar and a strong-shouldered fellow, but it has not yet done all its work.”♦ It already walks about the field like a man, and will do anything required of it. It irrigates crops, and drags away a mountain. It must sew our shirts, it must drive our gigs; taught by Mr. Babbage, it must calculate interest and logarithms.… It is yet coming to render many higher services of a mechanico-intellectual kind.

♦ “I DO NOT THINK YOU POSSESS HALF MY FORETHOUGHT”: Ada to Babbage, 30 July 1843, ibid., 157. ♦ “IT WOULD BE LIKE USING THE STEAM HAMMER”: H. P. Babbage, “The Analytical Engine,” 333. ♦ “WHAT SHALL WE THINK OF THE CALCULATING MACHINE”: “Maelzel’s Chess-Player,” in The Prose Tales of Edgar Allan Poe: Third Series (New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1889), 230. ♦ “STEAM IS AN APT SCHOLAR”: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude (Boston: Fields, Osgood, 1870), 143. ♦ “WHAT A SATIRE IS THAT MACHINE”: Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1893), 11. ♦ “ONE OF THE MOST FASCINATING OF ARTS”: Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher, 235. ♦ “EVERY SHOWER THAT FALLS”: “On the Age of Strata, as Inferred from the Rings of Trees Embedded in Them,” from Charles Babbage, The Ninth Bridgewater Treatise: A Fragment (London: John Murray, 1837), in Charles Babbage and His Calculating Engines, 368


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Carjacked: The Culture of the Automobile and Its Effect on Our Lives by Catherine Lutz, Anne Lutz Fernandez

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barriers to entry, car-free, carbon footprint, collateralized debt obligation, failed state, feminist movement, fudge factor, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, inventory management, market design, market fundamentalism, mortgage tax deduction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, New Urbanism, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Thorstein Veblen, traffic fines, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, white flight, women in the workforce, working poor, Zipcar

RIDING OUT OF A CUBICLE INTO THE ASPHALT FRONTIER Of the many values Americans identify as their own, freedom may top the list, and there are few more potent and tangible symbols of freedom than the car. This is the freedom, not simply of the open road—Walt Whitman was able to celebrate that long before the car existed—but independence from reliance on the schedules and desires of others, whether a family member holding the car keys or a train conductor wielding a timetable. The car is experienced as the ultimate tool of self-reliance—which Ralph Waldo Emerson promoted well before the automotive age as well, of course. But in a world where transportation is centered on a road built for cars, you must be a driver to achieve the valued status of a truly independent person. Unlicensed and carless adults know this better than most; they cope with the anxiety or guilt of relying on others for rides or the shame of seeming somehow immature, inadequate, or incompetent.


pages: 403 words: 105,431

The death and life of the great American school system: how testing and choice are undermining education by Diane Ravitch

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David Brooks, desegregation, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Menlo Park, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, school choice, school vouchers, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

One hopes we have moved beyond those contentious times and can at last identify essential writings that have stood the test of time and continue to be worthy of our attention. Without the effort to teach our common cultural heritage, we risk losing it and being left with nothing in common but an evanescent and often degraded popular culture. Let us instead read, reflect on, and debate the ideas of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W. E. B. DuBois, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, William Shakespeare, John Milton, John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Lewis Carroll, and many others whose writings remain important because of their ideas, their beauty, or their eloquence. Let us be sure that our students read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other basic documents of our nation’s founding and development.


pages: 509 words: 92,141

The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt, Dave Thomas

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A Pattern Language, Broken windows theory, business process, buy low sell high, c2.com, combinatorial explosion, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, general-purpose programming language, Grace Hopper, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, index card, loose coupling, Menlo Park, MVC pattern, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, revision control, Schrödinger's Cat, slashdot, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, traveling salesman, urban decay, Y2K

In How to Balance Resources, we'll suggest ways of ensuring that you don't drop any of the balls. In a world of imperfect systems, ridiculous time scales, laughable tools, and impossible requirements, let's play it safe. When everybody actually is out to get you, paranoia is just good thinking. • Woody Allen 21. Design by Contract Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing. • Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays Dealing with computer systems is hard. Dealing with people is even harder. But as a species, we've had longer to figure out issues of human interactions. Some of the solutions we've come up with during the last few millennia can be applied to writing software as well. One of the best solutions for ensuring plain dealing is the contract. A contract defines your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the other party.


pages: 307 words: 96,974

Rats by Robert Sullivan

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Louis Pasteur, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, trade route, urban renewal

—John Murphy, an exterminator, in Pest Control Technology magazine I think his fancy for referring everything to the meridian of Concord did not grow out of any ignorance or depreciation of other longitudes or latitudes, but was rather a playful expression of his conviction of the indifferency of all places, and that the best place for each is where he stands. He expressed it once in this wise: "I think nothing is to be hoped from you, if this bit of mould under your feet is not sweeter to you to eat than any other in this world, or in any world." —Ralph Waldo Emerson, in a remembrance of Henry David Thoreau *' It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not, I am with you, you men and women of a Generation, or ever so many generations hence, Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt, Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd . . . —Walt Whitman, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" Chapter 1 NATURE WHEN I WROTE the following account of my experiences with rats, I lived in an apartment building on a block filled with other apartment buildings, amidst the approximately eight million people in New York City, and I paid rent to a landlord that I never actually met—though I did meet the superintendent, who was a very nice guy.


pages: 304 words: 87,702

The 100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life by Pam Grout

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Albert Einstein, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, complexity theory, David Brooks, East Village, global village, Golden Gate Park, if you build it, they will come, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, supervolcano, transcontinental railway, urban sprawl, Yogi Berra

You’ll get to the island on one of the lab’s research vessels (they maintain a daily schedule during the summer season from June to late September), stay in one of the dorms, share meals at Kiggins Commons, the hub of the campus, and take field trips to the other islands in the archipelago on the lab’s small fleet of Boston Whalers, inflatable boats, a 19-foot sailboat, and the 47-foot R/V John M. Kingsbury. Although Appledore Island has been a research station for more than 30 years, it once served as a gathering ground for such literati as Mark Twain and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who came to stay at the summer hotel built by the father of poet Celia Thaxter. That hotel, one of the first built on the New England coast, burned to the ground in 1914, but Thaxter’s Garden, a fabulous mess of poppies, sweet peas, hollyhocks, asters, and clematis that was immortalized in her 1894 book An Island Garden, is still there—or rather was re-created in 1977 by Dr. John Kingsbury, the founder and first director of the marine laboratory.


pages: 279 words: 87,910

How Much Is Enough?: Money and the Good Life by Robert Skidelsky, Edward Skidelsky

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banking crisis, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, death of newspapers, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, income per capita, informal economy, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, lump of labour, market clearing, market fundamentalism, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, union organizing, University of East Anglia, wage slave, World Values Survey

The nineteenth-century American economist H. C. Carey was voicing the common sense of his age when he described the earth as “a great machine, given to man to be fashioned to his purpose.”19 The Baconian project and its industrial aftermath provoked an impassioned reaction from poets and writers. Wordsworth’s protest against the rape of nature was taken up by John Ruskin and William Morris in England, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson in America and numerous others. What moved these writers was not any scientific theory of pollution or resource depletion but a primal, semi-pagan sense of nature as sacred and a corresponding horror of human meddling. “All is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil,” wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins, contemplating the effects of man’s activity on the earth. This disgust was directed as much against farming as it was against industry.


pages: 407 words: 100,512

The Menopause Thyroid Solution by Mary J. Shomon

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clean water, Gary Taubes, life extension, megacity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial

I asked many of the doctors I interviewed this question, and I have to say, Tieraona Low Dog’s answer resonated with me. Dr. Low Dog said that, ultimately, we should listen to our own wisdom. Who do we look to? We should look within. Don’t look outside yourself for experts. When I’m in the quiet, I can hear my own inner wisdom…and that may help me to know how to proceed, and where to find the answer. Dr. Low Dog then shared a compelling quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I think it’s fitting to end the book with it: These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. appendix a RESOURCES This is an abbreviated list of key resources. A lengthy, detailed resources list, featuring recommended books, Web sites, and organizations to support you in your effort to live well, along with listings of menopause and hormone clinics around the United States, is featured online at http://www.menopausethyroid.com.


pages: 307 words: 97,677

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski

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Buckminster Fuller, card file, industrial robot, Menlo Park, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman

Nineteen fifty-five was the year since which the then newly created Burger King had used mainly paper packaging. Polystyrene coffee cups were an exception, and in late 1990 they were in the process of being replaced by thick-paper cups. All of these decisions were clearly more politically than technologically driven, pointing up the complex dynamics behind the evolution of artifacts. The conventional wisdom is that technology affects society in irreversible ways and that, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in a poem, “Things are in the saddle, / and ride mankind.” However, we might also extend the metaphor by recognizing that we are capable of rearing up and bucking off things that we find too burdensome or that we feel are taking us in the wrong direction. But, in spite of the spectrum of forces at work in pushing and pulling the form of everything from plastic packaging to the hamburger it contains, there remains a unifying principle behind all influences on form.


pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

Deacon goes on to prefer a 'symbiotic' rather than a virulently parasitic model, drawing the comparison again with mitochondria and other symbiotic bacteria in cells. Languages evolve to become good at infecting child brains. But the brains of children, those mental caterpillars, also evolve to become good at being infected by language: co-evolution yet again. C. S. Lewis, in 'Bluspels and Flalansferes' (1939), reminds us of the philologist's aphorism that our language is full of dead metaphors. In his 1844 essay 'The Poet', the philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, 'Language is fossil poetry.' If not all of our words, certainly a great number of them, began as metaphors. Lewis mentions 'attend' as having once meant 'stretch'. If I attend to you, I stretch my ears towards you. I 'grasp' your meaning as you 'cover' your topic and 'drive home' your 'point'. We 'go into' a subject, 'open up' a 'line' of thought. I have deliberately chosen cases whose metaphoric ancestry is recent and therefore accessible.


pages: 366 words: 109,117

Higher: A Historic Race to the Sky and the Making of a City by Neal Bascomb

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buttonwood tree, California gold rush, hiring and firing, margin call, market bubble, Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcontinental railway, Works Progress Administration

Next came the Albemarle on Twenty-fourth Street, with which Van Alen proved that an office building didn’t need a heavy cornice at its crown. Since ancient Greece, these ornamental slabs had extended out over roofs, and its removal on the Albemarle drew praise for the firm. Soon more commissions for office buildings, banks, hotels, restaurants, stores, and country residences came their way—including the J. M. Gidding Building in midtown, a Fifth Avenue shop front said to have the same breathless inventiveness as Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poetry, and a Long Island estate praised for its simplicity. In letters to potential clients, after detailing their list of services and expected charges, Severance & Van Alen would proudly conclude: “Our office is entirely organized, having the Departments to furnish all of the services as outlined; and we have had a wide experience . . . of considerable magnitude with various clients [to] whom . . . we take pleasure in referring you for any outside information regarding our qualification for this work.”


pages: 142 words: 18,753

Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There by David Brooks

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Community Supported Agriculture, David Brooks, Donald Trump, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Gilder, haute couture, haute cuisine, income inequality, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Urbanism, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban planning, War on Poverty, Yogi Berra

The American antimaterialists didn’t seek to build a counterculture of urban rebels. They sought their alternative to the industrial economy amidst nature, in the simple life. Their aesthetic was more naturalist than artistic. Richard Hofstadter called transcendentalism “the evangelicalism of the highbrows” because the transcendentalists always had enormous influence on the educated classes. They were mostly New England thinkers, writers, and reformers, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, and Margaret Fuller. They got their name because their goal was to transcend materialism and rationalism and so penetrate the inner spirituality that was at the core of each person. They began with the conviction, expressed by William Channing, that “there is something greater within [each individual] than in the whole material creation, than in all the worlds which press on the eye and ear; and that inward improvements have a worth and dignity in themselves.”


pages: 329 words: 106,831

All Your Base Are Belong to Us: How Fifty Years of Video Games Conquered Pop Culture by Harold Goldberg

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Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, Apple II, cellular automata, Columbine, Conway's Game of Life, game design, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Oldenburg, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Good Place, Thorstein Veblen, urban planning

Mesmerized, you traveled from the Bronze Age through the Space Age, and even constructed the world’s Seven Wonders. But it was Wright’s games that set the stage. In Wright’s inventions the literary-minded, the sociology-minded, and the science-minded could discover fragments of their most beloved theories. In Wright’s games one could see the slow, sad suburban irony of Raymond Carver and John Cheever, and even the transcendent hope of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In that sense the moniker “God Games” was a misnomer. Wright’s creations, especially SimCity and The Sims, were more about the human condition, about evolution and about the meaning of play, than they were about simply taking the role of an omniscient being. These games were Human Games, not God Games. Wright, an atheist, might well agree. A lanky Ichabod Crane of a man, who often wore a black lambskin leather jacket, Wright was born in Atlanta to an engineer father who attended Georgia Tech and started a profitable company that made plastic bags.


pages: 306 words: 94,204

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter

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back-to-the-land, crack epidemic, David Attenborough, dumpster diving, Golden Gate Park, haute cuisine, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Mason jar, McMansion, New Urbanism, Port of Oakland, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, urban decay, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog

I could tell he was the property owner by the way he walked past the gate and looked at the plants—quizzically, as if they were a magic trick he couldn’t quite figure out. My heart pounding, I went down to talk to him. “Garden OK,” he said after we made introductions. Then he pointed to a few nongarden items that had made it onto the lot, like some old doors and a biodiesel reactor Bill had built. “Only garden.” I nodded, and that was the end of our exchange. If I was trying to be Thoreau, I liked to think of Chan as a modern-day version of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the owner of Walden Pond and its surrounding fields. My fellow squatter Thoreau did have permission from the landowner, but he still liked to call what he was doing—just as I did—squatting. Once I got Jack Chan’s terse seal of approval, I began enhancing the land big-time. The next year the whole lot sprawled with giant orange Rouge Vif d’Estampes pumpkins. I had a customer-service job at a plant nursery and got discounts on fruit trees, so in went an apple tree, a pineapple guava, a lemon, a fig, and an orange tree.


pages: 372 words: 101,174

How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed by Ray Kurzweil

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Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, brain emulation, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, computer age, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, George Gilder, Google Earth, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Law of Accelerating Returns, linear programming, Loebner Prize, mandelbrot fractal, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, self-driving car, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, strong AI, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize

Darwin simply discovered the role of selection, a kind of causality very different from the push-pull mechanisms of science up to that time. The origin of a fantastic variety of living things could be explained by the contribution of which novel features, possibly of random provenance, made it to survival. There was little or nothing in physical or biological science that foreshadowed selection as a causal principle. —B. F. Skinner Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. —Ralph Waldo Emerson A Metaphor from Geology In the early nineteenth century geologists pondered a fundamental question. Great caverns and canyons such as the Grand Canyon in the United States and Vikos Gorge in Greece (reportedly the deepest canyon in the world) existed all across the globe. How did these majestic formations get there? Invariably there was a stream of water that appeared to take advantage of the opportunity to course through these natural structures, but prior to the mid-nineteenth century, it had seemed absurd that these gentle flows could be the creator of such huge valleys and cliffs.


pages: 339 words: 105,938

The Skeptical Economist: Revealing the Ethics Inside Economics by Jonathan Aldred

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airport security, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, clean water, cognitive dissonance, congestion charging, correlation does not imply causation, Diane Coyle, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, framing effect, greed is good, happiness index / gross national happiness, invisible hand, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, libertarian paternalism, new economy, pension reform, positional goods, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, school choice, spectrum auction, trade liberalization, ultimatum game

My own experience confirms it. 14 Redelmeier and Kahneman (1996). 15 Offer (2006) provides a rich historical survey. 16 See for example his article in The Guardian, 15 May 2007. 17 There are many other psychological phenomena that challenge the economic view of choice, in addition to those just discussed. For surveys see Frey and Benz (2004) and Rabin (2002). 18 As argued influentially in Hahn and Hollis (1979), Ch 1. 19 This approach to consumer theory was first proposed by Lancaster (1966). 20 Interview with Sir John Krebs, then Director of the Food Standards Agency, Prospect, April 2005. 21 Becker and Murphy (1988). We will soon meet Gary Becker’s striking ideas again. 22 Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘Wealth’ in The Conduct of Life (1860), Boston, Ticknor and Fields. 23 Karl Marx (1847) Wage Labour and Capital, Ch 6. 24 Frederick and Loewenstein (1999), Barber (2007). 25 Brickman et al (1978). See also Frederick and Loewenstein (1999), p312, who cite a large number of studies reaching the same conclusions. 26 Loewenstein and Schkade (1999), p90. 27 Schkade and Kahneman (1998). 28 Frank (1999), Ch 6; Frederick and Loewenstein (1999) Clark, et al (2008). 29 Van Praag and Frijters (1999). 30 Frank (1999), Ch 6. 31 Frederick and Loewenstein (1999), pp314-317. 32 See deBotton (2004) and Marmot (2004). 33 For balanced discussion of various aspects of this debate see Anand (1993a), Schmid (2004), Hargreaves-Heap et al (1992) and Hausman and McPherson (2006). 34 Note for economists: it might be objected that behavioural economics is beginning to influence the entire profession.


Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers by David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg

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epigenetics, Gary Taubes, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, mouse model, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell

I’ll ask that you devote one week during the program to focus on this important area of your life and commence a regular workout if you don’t already have one. And if you do, then you can use the week to increase the duration and intensity of your workouts, or try something new. CHAPTER 9 Good Night, Brain Leverage Your Leptin to Rule Your Hormonal Kingdom Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON WHEN SAMUEL, A FORTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD STOCKBROKER, came to see me on a late-November day, he asked me to “optimize his health.” This wasn’t the first time someone had made such a blanket, somewhat vague request, but I knew what he really wanted: He wanted me to get to the bottom of his misery and deliver him to a place of vibrant health like he’d never felt before. A tall order for any doctor to fill, but something in his bloated face instantly clued me in to what could have been the problem.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

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Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

,” Mother Jones, May/June 2013. 31.Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto (New York: Verso, 1998), 43. 32.Anonymous, “Slaves to the Smartphone,” Economist, March 10, 2012. 33.Kevin Kelly, “What Technology Wants,” Cool Tools, October 18, 2010, kk.org/cooltools/archives/4749. 34.George Packer, “No Death, No Taxes,” New Yorker, November 28, 2011. 35.Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998), 4–5. 36.Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (New York: Harper, 1991), 80. 37.Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” in Essays and Lectures (New York: Library of America, 1983), 57. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The epigraph to this book is the concluding stanza of William Carlos Williams’s poem “To Elsie,” which appeared in the 1923 volume Spring and All. I am deeply grateful to those who, as interviewees, reviewers, or correspondents, provided me with insight and assistance: Claudio Aporta, Henry Beer, Véronique Bohbot, George Dyson, Gerhard Fischer, Mark Gross, Katherine Hayles, Charles Jacobs, Joan Lowy, E.


pages: 319 words: 105,949

Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot by Mark Vanhoenacker

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British Empire, Cape to Cairo, computer age, dark matter, Edmond Halley, John Harrison: Longitude, Louis Blériot, Maui Hawaii, out of africa, phenotype, place-making, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, the built environment, transcontinental railway

What we live in is the atmosphere: the glowing air-planet that envelops the rock and water. Or you might think of air not as length or sphere but as depth. Here, again, there is truth and comfort in the natural analogy with water. Evangelista Torricelli, the inventor of the barometer, framed this in a 1644 letter: “Noi viviamo sommersi nel fondo d’un pelago d’aria.” We live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air. Ralph Waldo Emerson, too, would speak of our enveloping air-sea, a few centuries later, in “this ocean of air above…this tent of dropping clouds.” There’s a particular kind of airport weather report known as a surface actual: the latest dispatch from the surface of the earth, from the bottom of the air-ocean. When you put your mouth over an empty plastic water bottle and inhale, the bottle collapses. Not, as we may think, because your inhalation pulls the sides of the bottle in, but because you remove the air that held the bottle’s shape against the crush of the atmosphere.


pages: 347 words: 99,969

Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher

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Alfred Russel Wallace, correlation does not imply causation, offshore financial centre, pattern recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, Steven Pinker

His younger contemporary, the German Johann Gottfried Herder, concurred that “the intellect and the character of every nation are stamped in its language.” Industrious nations, he said, “have an abundance of moods in their verbs, while more refined nations have a large amount of nouns that have been exalted to abstract notions.” In short, “the genius of a nation is nowhere better revealed than in the physiognomy of its speech.” The American Ralph Waldo Emerson summed it all up in 1844: “We infer the spirit of the nation in great measure from the language, which is a sort of monument to which each forcible individual in a course of many hundred years has contributed a stone.” The only problem with this impressive international unanimity is that it breaks down as soon as thinkers move on from the general principles to reflect on the particular qualities (or otherwise) of particular languages, and about what these linguistic qualities can tell about the qualities (or otherwise) of particular nations.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

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1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

The two have been depicted as utterly antagonistic (the machine versus nature, the city versus the country, or civilization versus wilderness). Such a misreading of American history is epitomized by Leo Marx’s influential The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America (1964). Too many of Marx’s conclusions derive from his otherwise insightful readings of a handful of great writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Such men were hardly representative of ordinary Americans. By definition, as great writers they transcended their own times and places, and they themselves were hardly averse to all forms of technology. Their principal target was the intrusion of the railroad into pastoral settings. This distortion of American history leads to the kind of pseudoromantic quest for a pre-technological past that was popular with the “counterculture” of the 1960s.


pages: 335 words: 104,850

Conscious Capitalism, With a New Preface by the Authors: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business by John Mackey, Rajendra Sisodia, Bill George

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Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, business process, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, en.wikipedia.org, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, Flynn Effect, income per capita, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, lone genius, Mahatma Gandhi, microcredit, Occupy movement, profit maximization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, shareholder value, six sigma, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, union organizing, women in the workforce

These life-affirming virtues seldom appear in our lives automatically; we usually have to consciously work to cultivate them within ourselves. Ultimately, the aspiration to embody these virtues is what helps raise us to a higher level. It is essential that we strive to embody the higher virtues and practice living them every day. This isn’t easy; it requires determination, consistency, persistence, and willpower. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Cultivating character through the intentional use of will is no longer a particularly fashionable idea, especially with many intellectuals who are apt to poke fun at the self-help books that advocate this. Immensely popular in the nineteenth-century Victorian age, conscious self-improvement fell out of intellectual favor in the latter half of the twentieth century with the development of many psychological theories that diminished the importance of self-responsibility.


pages: 326 words: 97,089

Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, California gold rush, Colonization of Mars, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, full employment, hydraulic fracturing, index card, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, music of the spheres, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, planetary scale, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, Solar eclipse in 1919, technological singularity, the scientific method, transcontinental railway

Meanwhile, Seager still needed to work; she could not allow herself to crumble into grief. She made arrangements for babysitters, and found nurses to provide palliative care. Having watched her father succumb to cancer, she knew this was the calm before the storm. Some evenings she would walk to nearby Walden Pond, to the same still water and sweet scents of oak and hickory that the Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Thoreau had so cherished more than a century before. One day, she promised herself, whether with her two boys or any grandchildren, she would stand beneath the dark sky of Walden Pond and, pointing to a bright point of light, tell them that star possessed a planet very much like the Earth. “Each time you look up at it,” she would say, “someone there may be looking right back.” The thought gave her solace, and a feeling of being very big and oh so small, all at once.


pages: 366 words: 87,916

Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It by Gabriel Wyner

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card file, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, index card, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Skype, spaced repetition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Yogi Berra

Be careful not to get too reliant upon Google Translate for your writing. Eventually, you’ll need to make new grammatical constructions on your own if you want them to stick, so if you roughly know how to say something, then try to do it without Google’s help. Remember, you have access to native speakers to help turn your mistakes into new, useful flash cards. CHAPTER 6 The Language Game It is a happy talent to know how to play. —Ralph Waldo Emerson By learning the sounds of your language, you gain access to words. By learning words, you gain access to grammar. And with just a little bit of grammar, you gain access to the rest of your language. This is the language game. It’s the moment when a new language unfolds before your eyes and you can choose your own games to play and your own paths to follow. On some level, these paths are simple, even obvious: to improve your vocabulary, you need to learn vocabulary; to learn how to read, you need to read; to learn how to speak, you need to speak.


pages: 442 words: 110,704

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel

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Albert Einstein, card file, Cepheid variable, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Ernest Rutherford, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, index card, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, pattern recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Solar eclipse in 1919, V2 rocket

Along with her classifying, Miss Cannon also kept up her bibliography pertaining to variable star observations. The fifteen thousand index cards she inherited in 1900 had since multiplied many times over, and now numbered around two hundred thousand. She maintained as well a much smaller collection of astronomical verse—poems by Milton, Longfellow, Tennyson, and others—within the covers of a slim notebook. She liked these lines from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Nature” well enough to transcribe them: “Teach me your mood, O patient stars! / Who climb each night the ancient sky, / Leaving on space no shade, no scars, / No trace of age, no fear to die.” Now in her seventies, Miss Cannon still reported to the observatory six days a week. Every spring she selected a new Pickering Fellow and a new recipient for financial aid from Nantucket nonagenarian Lydia Hinchman.


pages: 519 words: 104,396

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (And How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone

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availability heuristic, Cass Sunstein, collective bargaining, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Donald Trump, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, endowment effect, equal pay for equal work, experimental economics, experimental subject, feminist movement, game design, German hyperinflation, Henri Poincaré, high net worth, index card, invisible hand, John von Neumann, laissez-faire capitalism, loss aversion, market bubble, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nash equilibrium, new economy, payday loans, Potemkin village, price anchoring, price discrimination, psychological pricing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, RFID, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, ultimatum game, working poor

Would you say, well, it’s reasonable now, or would you change something? SUBJECT: Actually, it is reasonable. LICHTENSTEIN: Can I persuade you that that is an irrational pattern? SUBJECT: No, I don’t think you probably could . . . You may be wondering whether we should cut those poor preference-reversal subjects a little slack. (“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, endearing him to the inconsistent ever since.) There are a few things to be said for the quaint virtue of self-consistency, though. Inconsistency in prices is different from inconsistency in music tastes. Behind every corner stands a sharp character ready to profit from prices gone askew. That practically everyone’s normal, thoughtful pattern of price setting presents an ongoing arbitrage opportunity was a shock.


pages: 315 words: 99,065

The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership by Richard Branson

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barriers to entry, call centre, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, clean water, collective bargaining, Costa Concordia, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, index card, inflight wifi, Lao Tzu, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Northern Rock, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S, trade route

Had I not been willing and able to step back and let them get on with it, the outcome could have been very different. Hiring the right people is a skill, and like most things you get better at it with practice, but there are some good shortcuts that can help you learn quickly. Here are my tips for identifying great people and building your team. CHARACTERS AND CULTURES Although almost certainly not involved in hiring people, the nineteenth-century American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that, ‘Character is higher than intellect.’ I am sure it will come as no surprise that I wholeheartedly endorse this line of thought, although the task of uncovering the true character of a job candidate can be a challenge. Essentially an interview is a game of figuring out whether or not the character of a candidate will be a good fit with the culture of the company. One great way to test this may be to ask two or three of the employees who will work with this person to join you at some point in the interview, and to come prepared with a few of their own questions.


pages: 385 words: 105,627

The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom by Simon Winchester

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, David Attenborough, Deng Xiaoping, double helix, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, index card, invention of gunpowder, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stakhanovite, Stephen Hawking, Ted Kaczynski, trade route

It was shattered by the bitter rivalries of a dozen regional fiefdoms; it was seething with the conflicting ambitions of newly imported ideologies; greedy foreign powers were gnawing away at its major cities and at its outer edges. The culminating humiliation was the Japanese invasion, begun formally in 1937, which by the time Needham arrived had resulted in the military occupation of one-third of the country. “This booby nation,” the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson had complained in 1824. He was well ahead of his time. Most of his generation saw China as an exotic Oriental enigma, pushed well beyond the mainstream of global culture, an irrelevant place that could offer to the outside world little more than silk, porcelain, tea, and rhubarb, and all wrapped in a coverlet of unfathomable mystery. Some few took a longer view. John Hay, America’s secretary of state at the turn of the twentieth century, remarked in 1899 that China was now the “storm center of the world,” and that whoever took the time and trouble to understand “this mighty empire” would have “a key to politics for the next five centuries.”


Melody Beattie 4 Title Bundle: Codependent No More and 3 Other Best Sellers by Melody Beattie: A Collection of Four Melody Beattie Best Sellers by Melody Beattie

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Albert Einstein, call centre, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, fear of failure, out of africa, Own Your Own Home, Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I am in doubt about what my actual responsibilities are, I will take an inventory. Fear: January 10 Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again; you shall never be so afraid of a tumble. —Ralph Waldo Emerson Fear can be a big stopper for many of us: fear of fragility, fear of failure, fear of making a mistake, fear of what others might think, fear of success. We may second-guess our next action or word until we talk ourselves out of participating in life. “But I failed before!” “I can’t do it good enough!” “Look at what happened last time!” “What if…?” These statements may disguise fear. Sometimes the fear is disguising shame.

It’s like childbirth: it hurt so much I was afraid it wouldn’t stop, but when it did, I could hardly remember it.” Am I still in process? Yes. I probably will be all my life, because that’s what life and recovery is. The difference is, now life is mostly good, with some problems. Mostly sunny, with a little rain. And I don’t know how much better it can get. All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON1 21 LETTING THE GOOD STUFF HAPPEN My friend and I were talking one day. She was feeling frustrated because something wasn’t working out the way she hoped and planned it would. “I work my program. I trust God. I do my part,” she finally said. “But how much, how much do I have to let go of?” I thought about her question. I thought about my life. “I’m not certain, but maybe we need to let go of everything,” I said.

You may have been burned from getting too close to the fire, but getting close to the fire is the only way to get warm. Surrender to the pain. Then learn to surrender to the good. It’s there and more is on the way. Love God. Love Family. Love what you do. Love people, and learn to let them love you. And always keep loving yourself. No matter how good it gets, the best is yet to come. Endnotes 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Quotable Quotes,” Reader’s Digest (March 1988). 2. Louise Hay discusses the concept of releasing, or letting go, of everything. She’s the first person I heard mention the concept of letting go of our need to be in destructive relationships, and the more general concept of letting go of our underlying, destructive needs. 3. My friend Bob Utecht told me about “longcuts.” 4. This is an excerpt from Ellen Goodman’s column in the St.


pages: 868 words: 149,572

CSS: The Definitive Guide by Eric A. Meyer

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centre right, conceptual framework, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Therefore, of the following two declarations, only the first is valid: quotes: '"' "'"; /* valid */ quotes: '"'; /* NOT VALID */ The first rule also illustrates one way to put string quotes around the strings themselves. The double quotation marks are surrounded by single quotation marks, and vice versa. Let's look at a simple example. Suppose you're creating an XML format to store a list of favorite quotations. Here's one entry in the list: <quotation> <quote>I hate quotations.</quote> <quotee>Ralph Waldo Emerson</quotee> </quotation> To present the data in a useful way, you could employ the following rules, with the result shown in Figure 12-20: quotation: display: block;} quote {quotes: '"' '"';} quote:before {content: open-quote;} quote:after {content: close-quote;} quotee:before {content: " (";} quotee:after {content: ")";} Figure 12-20. Inserting quotes and other content The values open-quote and close-quote are used to insert whatever quoting symbols are appropriate (since different languages have different quotation marks).


pages: 450 words: 569

ANSI Common LISP by Paul Graham

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general-purpose programming language, Paul Graham, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk

So (make-hash-table : s i z e 5) would return a hash table intended to hold up to five elements. Like any structure involved in lookups, hash tables must have some notion of equality for keys. By default they use eql, but you can specify that a hash table should use eq, equal, or equalp instead by providing the optional : t e s t argument: > (setf writers (make-hash-table :test #'equal)) #<Hash-Table C005E6> > (setf (gethash '(ralph waldo emerson) writers) t ) T SUMMARY 79 This is one of the trade-offs we have to make for the efficiency of hash tables. With lists, we could specify the equality predicate in the call to member. With hash tables we have to decide ahead of time, and specify it when the hash table is created. Most of the trade-offs in Lisp programming (or life, for that matter) have this character. Initially you try to keep things fluid, even at the cost of efficiency.


pages: 532 words: 139,706

Googled: The End of the World as We Know It by Ken Auletta

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23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bioinformatics, Burning Man, carbon footprint, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate social responsibility, death of newspapers, disintermediation, don't be evil, facts on the ground, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Peter Thiel, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social graph, spectrum auction, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Upton Sinclair, X Prize, yield management

They reached out to Jerry Yang and in the spring jointly devised a roadblock strategy; they announced that Google would become the selling agent for a large portion of Yahoo’s search ads. “It gives them a tool to avoid being swallowed by Microsoft,” Eric Schmidt said at the time. Asked in September 2008 what was the most important Google event of the previous six months, Schmidt said, “the Yahoo business deal.... It was a setback for Microsoft.” Google’s effort to have the Justice Department block Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo brought to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson’s delicious observation that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Like other corporations, Google and Microsoft extol the virtues of government’s leaving them unfettered, free to innovate—except when they call on government to intervene in order for them to gain a competitive advantage. But antitrust concerns were a real issue for others. The Association of National Advertisers, which represents major companies such as Procter & Gamble, petitioned Justice to block a Google/Yahoo alliance.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

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Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

REVERSE ENGINEERING A PROVEN DESIGN: THE HUMAN BRAIN For many people the mind is the last refuge of mystery against the encroaching spread of science, and they don’t like the idea of science engulfing the last bit of terra incognita. —Herb Simon as quoted by Daniel Dennett Cannot we let people be themselves, and enjoy life in their own way? You are trying to make another you. One’s enough. —Ralph Waldo Emerson For the wise men of old ... the solution has been knowledge and self-discipline , ... and in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious—such as digging up and mutilating the dead. —C. S. Lewis Intelligence is: (a) the most complex phenomenon in the Universe; or (b) a profoundly simple process. The answer, of course, is (c) both of the above.


pages: 598 words: 140,612

Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward L. Glaeser

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affirmative action, Andrei Shleifer, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Broken windows theory, carbon footprint, Celebration, Florida, clean water, congestion charging, declining real wages, desegregation, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, endowment effect, European colonialism, financial innovation, Frank Gehry, global village, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute cuisine, Home mortgage interest deduction, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, job-hopping, John Snow's cholera map, Mahatma Gandhi, McMansion, megacity, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, New Urbanism, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, RFID, Richard Florida, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, Seaside, Florida, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Works Progress Administration, young professional

But in the twentieth century, it became a global bestseller, read by millions and taught by environmentally conscious high school teachers around the world. Thoreau loved the woods, but he was also part of an urban chain of intellectuals. He had been educated in the intellectual hothouse of early nineteenth-century Harvard. More important, he was one of a remarkable concentration of minds brought together by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Concord, a town filled with creative thinkers. Emerson assembled, and occasionally funded, brilliant minds, including Herman Melville, Nathanial Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, and Thoreau. Thoreau was part of Emerson’s Transcendentalist salon, but he extolled the virtues of rural isolation rather than urban interaction. In his introduction to Walden, Emerson described Thoreau thus: “An iconoclast in literature, he seldom thanked colleagues for their services to him, holding them in small esteem, whilst yet his debt to them was important.”


pages: 542 words: 161,731

Alone Together by Sherry Turkle

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Albert Einstein, Columbine, global village, Hacker Ethic, helicopter parent, Howard Rheingold, industrial robot, information retrieval, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Kevin Kelly, Loebner Prize, Marshall McLuhan, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rodney Brooks, Skype, stem cell, technoutopianism, The Great Good Place, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, women in the workforce

And yet, even with biochemical explanations for attraction, nothing seems different about the thrill of falling in love. And seeing that an abused child has a normal brain scan does not mean one feels any less rage about the abuse. Pluralistic in our attitudes toward the self, we turn this pragmatic sensibility toward other things in our path—for example, sociable robots. We approach them like Wilson: they can be machines, and they can be more. Writing in his diary in 1832, Ralph Waldo Emerson described “dreams and beasts” as “two keys by which we are to find out the secrets of our nature.... They are our test objects.”15 If Emerson had lived today, he would have seen the sociable robot as our new test object. Poised in our perception between inanimate program and living creature, this new breed of robot provokes us to reflect on the difference between connection and relationship, involvement with an object and engagement with a subject.


pages: 420 words: 124,202

The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention by William Rosen

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Albert Einstein, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, computer age, Copley Medal, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, delayed gratification, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, fudge factor, full employment, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, iterative process, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, moral hazard, Network effects, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, éminence grise

Rainhill was a victory not merely for George and Robert Stephenson, but for Thomas Savery and Thomas Newcomen, for James Watt and Matthew Boulton, for Oliver Evans and Richard Trevithick. It was a triumph for the ironmongers of the Severn Valley, the weavers of Lancashire, the colliers of Newcastle, and the miners of Cornwall. It was even a triumph for John Locke and Edward Coke, whose ideas ignited the Rocket just as much as its firebox did. When the American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson met Stephenson in 1847, he remarked, “he had the lives of many men in him.”43 Perhaps that’s what he meant. * The names of eighteenth-century Cornish mines are as personal, and as obscure, as the names given to thoroughbred racehorses and recreational sailboats. * Or, indeed, any form of thermal or electromagnetic energy. This particular bit of equivalence, the British Thermal Unit, is an early nineteenth-century measurement that has been mostly replaced by a frighteningly large array of units, including calories (and kilocalories), joules (and kilojoules), electron volts, kilowatt-hours, and therms, each of which can be converted to the others


pages: 453 words: 132,400

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, centralized clearinghouse, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, double helix, fear of failure, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Necker cube, pattern recognition, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Teachers assure pupils that the boring classes will benefit them later, when the students are going to be looking for jobs. The company vice president tells junior employees to have patience and work hard, because one of these days they will be promoted to the executive ranks. At the end of the long struggle for advancement, the golden years of retirement beckon. “We are always getting to live,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson used to say, “but never living.” Or as poor Frances learned in the children’s story, it is always bread and jam tomorrow, never bread and jam today. Of course this emphasis on the postponement of gratification is to a certain extent inevitable. As Freud and many others before and after him have noted, civilization is built on the repression of individual desires. It would be impossible to maintain any kind of social order, any complex division of labor, unless society’s members were forced to take on the habits and skills that the culture required, whether the individuals liked it or not.


Yucatan: Cancun & Cozumel by Bruce Conord, June Conord

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British Empire, colonial rule, feminist movement, if you build it, they will come, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Yogi Berra

This cool clear languid cenote, surrounded by trees, is great for swimming and snorkeling and is a hot spot for cave divers. It has an extensive network of underwater caves, including one that leads under the road to Cenote Escondido on the other side. Other nearby cenotes good for swimming or viewing are Casa Cenote (north of Tulum), Dos Ojos and Car Wash (on road to Cobá). The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882 Tulum Ruins F or a bunch of old stone buildings, Tulum (“wall”) is a particularly impressive site, perched as it is high on top of limestone cliffs that spill down to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean below. The first time we entered the modest walled city, it took our breath away. El Castillo, a large temple, is the site’s biggest structure. Regrettably, it was off-limits to climb this last time we were there, although the nearby Temple of the Descending God was accessible.


pages: 560 words: 158,238

Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson

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airport security, bioinformatics, Burning Man, clean water, Donner party, full employment, invisible hand, iterative process, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, North Sea oil, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method

A feeling of beatitude; was that the right word? Sit up, click on the laptop, google “beatitude”; then there on the screen: “beatitude dips from on high down on us and we see. It is not in us so much as we are in it. If the air come to our lungs, we breathe and live; if not, we die. If the light come to our eyes, we see; else not. And if truth come to our mind we suddenly expand to its dimensions, as if we grew to worlds.” My. Ralph Waldo Emerson, from a website called Emersonfortheday.net. Frank read a little more: quite amazing stuff. He bookmarked the site, which apparently featured a new thought from the philosopher’s writings every few days. Earlier samples read like some miraculously profound horoscope or fortune cookie. Reading them, Frank suddenly realized that the people who had lived before him in this immense hardwood forest had had epiphanies much like his.


pages: 522 words: 144,511

Sugar: A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott

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agricultural Revolution, Bartolomé de las Casas, British Empire, flex fuel, land tenure, Mason jar, Ralph Waldo Emerson, spinning jenny, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, women in the workforce, working poor

A little girl happily helps make ice cream, Chestermere Lake, Alberta, 1940. Ice cream became so ubiquitous that in 1850, the widely read Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book pronounced it one of life’s “necessary luxuries. A party without it would be like a breakfast without bread or a dinner without a roast.”596 By then, improved technology made ice cream cheap enough for the middle classes to enjoy regularly. (Poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson did not approve: “We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend so we buy ice cream.”597) The new freezers also meant that ice cream need not be made where it was consumed but could be produced near sources of fruit and cream, then transported to distant markets. In 1851, Baltimore milk dealer Jacob Fussell opened a factory where he made ice cream from surplus cream and sold it at 25 cents a quart instead of the usual 65 cents.


pages: 526 words: 155,174

Sixty Days and Counting by Kim Stanley Robinson

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dumpster diving, energy security, full employment, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, McMansion, megacity, mutually assured destruction, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, urban decay, Works Progress Administration

“No,” he said now to Spencer. “Well here, listen to it. ‘I remember well the foreign scholar who made a week of my youth happy by his visit. “The savages in the islands,” he said, “delight to play with the surf, coming in on the top of the rollers, then swimming out again, and repeat the delicious maneuver for hours.” Well, human life is made up of such transits.’—Did you hear that, Frank?” “Yes.” “Ralph Waldo Emerson, saying that life is like surfing? Is that great or what?” “Yes, that’s pretty great. That’s our man.” “Who was this guy? Do you think somebody’s making all these quotes up?” “No, I think Emerson made them up.” “It’s so perfect. He’s like your Dalai Lama.” “That’s very true.” “The Waldo Lama. He’s like the great shaman of the forest.” “It’s true, he is. Although even more so his buddy Thoreau, when it comes to the actual forest.”


pages: 566 words: 155,428

After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead by Alan S. Blinder

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, double entry bookkeeping, eurozone crisis, facts on the ground, financial innovation, fixed income, friendly fire, full employment, hiring and firing, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, illegal immigration, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market clearing, market fundamentalism, McMansion, moral hazard, naked short selling, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, the payments system, time value of money, too big to fail, working-age population, yield curve, Yogi Berra

And the Fed could make the swaps without expanding its balance sheet or bank reserves, the latter being the usual fodder for money-supply expansion. Hence, the TSLF was born—or, rather, announced; its first actual loan was not made until March 27. That date was exquisitely bad timing for one of the primary dealers that was fighting for its life at the time: an investment bank named Bear Stearns. 5 FROM BEAR TO LEHMAN: INCONSISTENCY WAS THE HOBGOBLIN A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. —RALPH WALDO EMERSON The six months between the collapse of Bear Stearns into the waiting arms of JP Morgan Chase and the collapse of Lehman Brothers into bankruptcy was interesting, in the sense of the apocryphal Chinese curse. (May you live in interesting times.) In March the Federal Reserve, supported by the Treasury, kicked in almost $30 billion to facilitate the shotgun marriage of Bear to JP Morgan, presumably because a disorderly failure of Bear might have devastated the financial system.


pages: 404 words: 124,705

The Village Effect: How Face-To-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter by Susan Pinker

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Atul Gawande, Bernie Madoff, call centre, cognitive dissonance, David Brooks, delayed gratification, Edward Glaeser, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, facts on the ground, game design, happiness index / gross national happiness, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Mark Zuckerberg, medical residency, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, neurotypical, Occupy movement, place-making, Ponzi scheme, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ray Oldenburg, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steven Pinker, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tony Hsieh, urban planning, Yogi Berra

But he and a tag team of successors also shone the spotlight on the kids’ family backgrounds, their physical and mental health as they grew up, their stress levels, and ultimately their sex and marital lives, career choices, and political and religious beliefs. The researchers kept up this intrusive level of inquiry for the next eighty-odd years, accumulating a treasure trove of correlations (the project is still going, having been handed off to the next generation of researchers). Not all of what was revealed was pretty, bringing to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson’s aphorism “Sorrow makes us all children again—destroys all differences of intellect.” Slightly fewer of these bright students survived to the age of one hundred than other Americans born in 1910, and the ones who did were more likely to be women.36 Still, in this teeming mountain of data, Terman’s first concern was giftedness, and he was able to show that these talented kids didn’t conform to the stereotype of the era: the super-smart kid as the neurotic, bespectacled, antisocial nerd.


pages: 478 words: 126,416

Other People's Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People? by John Kay

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, dematerialisation, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, forward guidance, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, invention of the wheel, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, loose coupling, low cost carrier, M-Pesa, market design, millennium bug, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, new economy, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shock, passive investing, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Piper Alpha, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, rent control, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tobin tax, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, Washington Consensus, We are the 99%, Yom Kippur War

In the USA intermediation through securities markets is far more extensive, and many activities are funded through bonds and equity. The UK, as often, lies somewhere in between the two. The remainder of this chapter is concerned with the functioning of the deposit channel (and the payment system that is inextricably linked to it), while Chapter 7 reviews the operation of the investment channel. The payment system Money often costs too much. Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life, 1860 Paul Volcker, the tall, laconic figure who preceded Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, has been reported as saying that the only useful recent financial innovation was the ATM.4 Volcker is deeply sceptical of the developments in wholesale financial markets that excited the celebrants at Jackson Hole. What matters from the perspective of ordinary customers is innovation in retail financial services.


pages: 566 words: 151,193

Diet for a New America by John Robbins

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Albert Einstein, carbon footprint, clean water, Flynn Effect, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Review

They are part of us. Sometimes they bring us challenges, sometimes they bring us the opportunity to help them, sometimes they bring us companionship. Often, they bring us play, beauty, and laughter as they go about their business of being themselves. What we would miss if they were not here! “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand, how men would believe and adore!” So said Ralph Waldo Emerson. Can you imagine how we would feel if such were the fate of animals? What the Children Know Sometimes children understand these things better than adults do. A young Girl Scout named Karyl Carter wrote a simple report that says it all so well. A beaver who swam, dove and somersaulted among canoeing Girl Scouts—that’s what you would have seen at Camp Sacajawea Girl Scout Camp in Newfield, New Jersey, this summer.


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

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8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

Many of the earliest conduct guides were religious parables, like The Pilgrim’s Progress, published in 1678, which warned readers to behave with restraint if they wanted to make it into heaven. The advice manuals of the nineteenth century were less religious but still preached the value of a noble character. They featured case studies of historical heroes like Abraham Lincoln, revered not only as a gifted communicator but also as a modest man who did not, as Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, “offend by superiority.” They also celebrated regular people who lived highly moral lives. A popular 1899 manual called Character: The Grandest Thing in the World featured a timid shop girl who gave away her meager earnings to a freezing beggar, then rushed off before anyone could see what she’d done. Her virtue, the reader understood, derived not only from her generosity but also from her wish to remain anonymous.


pages: 369 words: 121,161

Alistair Cooke's America by Alistair Cooke

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Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, British Empire, double entry bookkeeping, full employment, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, interchangeable parts, joint-stock company, Maui Hawaii, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, strikebreaker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, urban sprawl, wage slave, Works Progress Administration

Heat and light, news and conveniences, and more sophisticated kinds of entertainment – something better than the local dramatic society and (as Will Rogers liked to recall) the Saturday night excursion downtown ‘to watch haircuts.’ It’s hard to say whether the prairie communities yearned for city amenities, or whether the amenities were thrust upon them. At any rate, the era inspired a rush of inventors and the heyday of the Ingenious American. When Samuel Morse flicked the switch that passed out the first telegraph message, somebody said that Maine could now talk to Florida. In Boston Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked, ‘Yes, but has Maine anything to say to Florida?’ It is a good question, and one worth asking again in an America that floods the television screen with words and pictures from dawn to dawn, mainly because the television screen is there. But, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, New York and Chicago had lots to say to each other, and to Denver and San Francisco, and the whistle-stops in between.


Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

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Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

"Flash" In the narrative that Engelbart provides to describe how he decided to get in- volved in computing research, the actual vision of what he wanted to accom- IntroductIon 7 plish and even the understanding of how he wanted to accomplish it came in an instantaneous insight, yet at the same time was a complex development that encompassed most aspects of his personal and professional life at the time. Its result was his lifelong "crusade." The narrative itself is a remarkable tale of an intuition produced almost as an act of will as the result of hard work. It is a tale with deep resonances in the American tradition of self-made technologi- cal innovators, from Edison, Bell, and the Wright Brothers onward, and be- yond that, in the tradition of self-reliance and self-invention, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby. As Engelbart describes this period, "I was never the kind that would push everybody into talking about what I wanted to talk about. I guess I was look- ing around watching people and soaking it up" (Engelbart 1996). He was opening himself to various professional and moral discourses, trying to figure out a set of personal goals for his life. There was a reason for this serious reflec- tion.


pages: 523 words: 159,884

The Great Railroad Revolution by Christian Wolmar

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, collective bargaining, cross-subsidies, intermodal, James Watt: steam engine, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban sprawl

The next couple of decades, however, would change all that, as the beast of the iron road was finally unleashed—with extraordinary consequences for America. 3 THE RAILROADS TAKE HOLD In the twenty years running up to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the railroads became an unstoppable force, conquering the whole of the Eastern Seaboard and making major inroads westward. From an experimental technology with a precarious base, railroads became mainstream and ubiquitous, sweeping through the country with the support of the population. The love affair was becoming a marriage, a symbiotic relationship that was to last almost a century. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Americans take to this contrivance, the railroad, as if it were the cradle in which they were born.”1 The impact of such a major invention took time to sink in. At the beginning, the railroad was “mostly an object of awe, excitement and mild trepidation.”2 It was unclear whether the railroads were merely a novel form of amusement, a grandiose fairground ride, or an invention that would change people’s way of life.


pages: 465 words: 134,575

Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces by Radley Balko

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anti-communist, call centre, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, desegregation, edge city, Menlo Park, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan

As if all that weren’t enough, the appointed commissioners who decided the fates of the accused were paid $10 if they ruled in favor of the slave owner, but just $5 if they ruled in favor of the alleged slave. The law was so skewed toward slave owners that even blacks who had been free all their lives were at risk of being consigned to slavery by false accusations. The Sims case attracted national attention among opponents of slavery. When Sims was ordered back to the plantation, prominent abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, and Henry David Thoreau wrote enraged polemics condemning the farcical proceedings, but most of Boston was complacent. The prospect of a civil war was daunting. For the time being, many in the North were willing to tolerate slave-catching as the price for avoiding bloodshed—at least blood shed by people other than slaves. Three years later, the mood had changed, and Boston was again the site of a fugitive slave hearing.


The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux

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anti-communist, Atahualpa, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Francisco Pizarro, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, Maui Hawaii, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, transcontinental railway

America's help might have endeared us to the cause of Mexican nationalism. After all, Juarez was a Zapotee Indian, ethnically pure, and was one of the few Mexican rulers who died a natural death. But his successor, the devious and greedy Porfirio Diaz, welcomed - for a price - those whom we now think of as philanthropists and trailblazers, the Hearsts, U.S. Steel, Anaconda Corporation, Standard Oil, and the Guggenheims. Although Ralph Waldo Emerson was writing at the time of Santa Ana's paranoid rule (Santa Ana demanded to be known as 'His Most Serene Highness' - Mexican dictators frequently affected regal titles: the creole butcher Iturbide styled himself 'Agustín I'), his lines are apposite to the Guggenheim adventure: But who is he that prates Of the culture of mankind, Of better arts and life? Go, blindworm, go, Behold the famous States Harrying Mexico With rifle and with knife!


pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

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Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

Mencken said: ‘We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.’ It is in the light of the unparalleled presumption of respect for religion* that I make my own disclaimer for this book. I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else. CHAPTER 2 THE GOD HYPOTHESIS The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next. –RALPH WALDO EMERSON The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sado-masochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Those of us schooled from infancy in his ways can become desensitized to their horror.


Year 501 by Noam Chomsky

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anti-communist, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Bolshevik threat, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, colonial rule, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, declining real wages, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, invisible hand, land reform, land tenure, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, non-tariff barriers, offshore financial centre, Plutocrats, plutocrats, price stability, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Simon Kuznets, strikebreaker, structural adjustment programs, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, union organizing, War on Poverty, working poor

Others recognized the difficulty of taking Mexico’s resources without burdening themselves with its “imbecile” population, “degraded” by “the amalgamation of races,” though the New York press was hopeful that their fate would be “similar to that of the Indians of this country—the race, before a century rolls over us, will become extinct.” Articulating the common themes of manifest destiny, Ralph Waldo Emerson had written that the annexation of Texas was simply a matter of course: “It is very certain that the strong British race which has now overrun much of this continent, must also overrun that trace, and Mexico and Oregon also, and it will in the course of ages be of small import by what particular occasions and methods it was done.” In 1829, Minister to Mexico Joel Poinsett, later Secretary of War responsible for driving the Cherokees to death and destruction on their Trail of Tears, had informed Mexico that “the United States are in a state of progressive aggrandizement, which has no example in the history of the world”; and rightly so, the slave-owner from South Carolina explained, because “the mass of its population is better educated, and more elevated in its moral and intellectual character, than that of any other.


pages: 405 words: 121,531

Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

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Albert Einstein, attribution theory, bank run, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, desegregation, experimental subject, Mars Rover, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Milgram experiment, Ralph Waldo Emerson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are sometimes right.” Winston Churchill How does the photograph that opens this chapter reflect the topic of the chapter? * * * Figure 1.2 Charity Request Appeal * * * Chapter 2 Reciprocation The Old Give and Take . . .and Take Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill. –Ralph Waldo Emerson SEVERAL YEARS AGO, A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR TRIED A LITTLE experiment. He sent Christmas cards to a sample of perfect strangers. Although he expected some reaction, the response he received was amazing—holiday cards addressed to him came pouring back from people who had never met nor heard of him. The great majority of those who returned cards never inquired into the identity of the unknown professor.


pages: 426 words: 115,150

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez, Monique Tilford

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asset allocation, Buckminster Fuller, buy low sell high, credit crunch, disintermediation, diversification, diversified portfolio, fiat currency, financial independence, fudge factor, full employment, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, index card, index fund, job satisfaction, Menlo Park, Parkinson's law, passive income, passive investing, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, software patent, strikebreaker, Thorstein Veblen, Vanguard fund, zero-coupon bond

It is, after all, a perennial ideal and a cornerstone of the American character. Both Socrates and Plato praised the “golden mean.” Both the Old Testament (“Give me neither poverty nor wealth, but only enough”) and the teachings of Jesus (“Ye cannot serve both God and money”) extol the value of material simplicity in enriching the life of the spirit. In American history well-known individuals (Benjamin Franklin, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost) as well as groups (Amish, Quakers, Hutterites, Mennonites) have carried forward the virtue of thrift—both out of respect for the earth and out of a thirst for a touch of heaven. And the challenges of building our nation required frugality of most of our citizens. Indeed, the wealth we enjoy today is the result of centuries of frugality. As we said earlier, the “more is better” consumer culture is a Johnny-come-lately on the American scene.


pages: 559 words: 155,372

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

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Airbnb, airport security, Amazon Web Services, Burning Man, Celtic Tiger, centralized clearinghouse, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, financial independence, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, hive mind, income inequality, interest rate swap, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, minimum viable product, move fast and break things, Network effects, Paul Graham, performance metric, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Sand Hill Road, Scientific racism, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, social web, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, urban renewal, Y Combinator, éminence grise

It was like the United States on the Fourth of July, every day: OUR WORK IS NEVER OVER MAKE IT FASTER WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WEREN’T AFRAID? THIS JOURNEY 1% FINISHED Like the naive new recruit, I took those values to heart. And like the new recruit, I’d realize only later that the Facebook reality was rather more complicated. The Barbaric Yawn To fill the hour—that is happiness; to fill the hour, and leave no crevice for a repentance or an approval. —Ralph Waldo Emerson, Experience JANUARY 2012 Track racing is an exhilarating pursuit. You take your performance car that you irresponsibly street-race all the time through busy streets filled with potholes and around turns with bad camber, and you’re suddenly on a flawless surface winding through sweeping, perfectly sloped turns with full license to go apeshit. The nature of track racing is that you’re flooring either the throttle or the brake at all times, either exploding out of turns or stopping suddenly to make them.


pages: 566 words: 163,322

The Rise and Fall of Nations: Forces of Change in the Post-Crisis World by Ruchir Sharma

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3D printing, Asian financial crisis, backtesting, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, business climate, business process, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, colonial rule, Commodity Super-Cycle, corporate governance, crony capitalism, currency peg, dark matter, debt deflation, deglobalization, deindustrialization, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Freestyle chess, Gini coefficient, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Malacca Straits, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, megacity, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, mittelstand, moral hazard, New Economic Geography, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pets.com, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, Productivity paradox, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, Snapchat, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, unorthodox policies, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, working-age population

Upon taking office, he announced that a new $600 million, thousand-room palace that he had commissioned as the new residence of Turkish prime ministers would instead become the new home of the president. Like Putin and many others before him, Erdoan could have secured an unblemished legacy as one of his nation’s greatest postwar leaders—if he had stepped down gracefully after two terms. Instead, he is mired in controversy. In the end, said Ralph Waldo Emerson, every hero becomes a bore. It is a bad sign for any country when its leader can’t give up the trappings of power and views himself as consubstantial with the nation. The Bolivian socialist Evo Morales presided over a reasonably strong economy for two terms, then recently succeeded in changing the constitution to allow himself to run for a third, which is not a good sign. Meanwhile the current leaders of Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, and Venezuela were all handpicked by their predecessors and often follow similar policies.


pages: 468 words: 123,823

A People's History of Poverty in America by Stephen Pimpare

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affirmative action, British Empire, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dumpster diving, East Village, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Gilder, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, index card, Jane Jacobs, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, payday loans, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, union organizing, urban renewal, War on Poverty, white flight, working poor, Works Progress Administration

They are degraded for, in the literal sense, they live outside the grades or categories which the community regards as acceptable.34 Dwight Macdonald, in a New Yorker review of Galbraith’s The Affluent Society and Harrington’s The Other America, said it more succinctly: “Not to be able to afford a movie or a glass of beer is a kind of starvation—if everybody else can.”35 Nineteenth-century novelist William Dean Howells suggested that “poverty is not the lack of things, it is the fear and the dread of want.”36 “Poverty consists in feeling poor,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson.37 Even Adam Smith concedes the utility of such an approach: “Every man is rich or poor according to the degree to which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life.”38 He elaborates later in Wealth of Nations:By necessaries I understand, not only the commodities which are indispensably necessary for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders it indecent for creditable people, even of the lowest order to be without.


pages: 631 words: 171,391

One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs

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air freight, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Doomsday Clock, global village, Google Earth, kremlinology, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, stakhanovite

Four, three, two, finally one mile was left— would the ship stop?" The second moment of high drama occurred on Black Saturday with a rapid succession of bizarre incidents, any one of which might have led to nuclear war. The real danger no longer arose from a clash of wills between Kennedy and Khrushchev but over whether the two of them jointly could gain control of the war machine that they themselves had unleashed. To adapt Ralph Waldo Emerson's remark, events were in the saddle and were riding mankind. The crisis had gained a momentum of its own. An American U-2 was shot down over Cuba by a Soviet air defense unit without Khrushchev's authorization within a few moments of another U-2 blundering over the Soviet Union without Kennedy knowing anything about it. This was when JFK vented his frustration— "There's always some sonofabitch that doesn't get the word."


pages: 628 words: 170,668

In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969 by Francis French, Colin Burgess, Walter Cunningham

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, Isaac Newton, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, V2 rocket, X Prize

We celebrate his contribution, but at the same time we remind ourselves that nothing in the construct of man stands forever. I’m really going to miss that guy.” Wally Schirra remembered Cooper in a droll but respectful way that his Mercury colleague would doubtless have appreciated: “not too bad of a water skier, not too bad of a pilot, but a heck of a good astronaut.” 2. A Rendezvous in Space Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson As a test pilot, Wally Schirra knows that almost every space mission from the mid-1960s until the present day has relied on one thing: the ability of two spacecraft to find each other in orbit. Without such a capability, there could have been no moon landings, no space stations—in short, no space program. Schirra, who piloted the key spacecraft in the first-ever orbital rendezvous, knows how vital that task, the centerpiece of the Gemini 6 mission, was to any future plans, and he was thrilled to be assigned to it.


pages: 660 words: 213,945

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

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Colonization of Mars, double helix, gravity well, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Ralph Waldo Emerson

This explained why drinking alcohol, a depressant which lowers cortical arousal, could lead to more excited and uninhibited behavior. So the whole collection of extrovert-introvert traits, with all that they said about one’s character, could be traced back to a group of cells in the brain stem called the ascending reticular activating system, the area that ultimately determined levels of cortical arousal. Thus they were driven by biology. There should be no such thing as fate: Ralph Waldo Emerson, a year after his six-year-old son died. But biology was fate. And there was more to Michel’s system; fate, after all, was no simple either/or. He had recently begun to consider Wenger’s index of autonomic balance, which used seven different variables to determine whether an individual was dominated by the sympathetic or the parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system. The sympathetic branch responds to outside stimuli and alerts the organism to action, so that individuals dominated by this branch were excitable; the parasympathetic branch, on the other hand, habituates the alerted organism to the stimulus, and restores it to homeostatic balance, so that individuals dominated by this branch were placid.


pages: 669 words: 210,153

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

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Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

Sierra Club founder John Muir (an ur-vagabonder if there ever was one) used to express amazement at the well-heeled travelers who would visit Yosemite only to rush away after a few hours of sightseeing. Muir called these folks the “time-poor”—people who were so obsessed with tending their material wealth and social standing that they couldn’t spare the time to truly experience the splendor of California’s Sierra wilderness. One of Muir’s Yosemite visitors in the summer of 1871 was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who gushed upon seeing the sequoias, “It’s a wonder that we can see these trees and not wonder more.” When Emerson scurried off a couple hours later, however, Muir speculated wryly about whether the famous transcendentalist had really seen the trees in the first place. Nearly a century later, naturalist Edwin Way Teale used Muir’s example to lament the frenetic pace of modern society.


pages: 602 words: 177,874

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, Ayatollah Khomeini, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, centre right, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, demand response, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Flash crash, game design, gig economy, global supply chain, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, Internet of things, invention of the steam engine, inventory management, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John von Neumann, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, land tenure, linear programming, low skilled workers, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, pattern recognition, planetary scale, pull request, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, Thomas L Friedman, transaction costs, Transnistria, urban decay, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yogi Berra

But when you press the pause button on human beings they start,” argues my friend and teacher Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, which advises global businesses on ethics and leadership. “You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, you start to reimagine what is possible and, most importantly, you start to reconnect with your most deeply held beliefs. Once you’ve done that, you can begin to reimagine a better path.” But what matters most “is what you do in the pause,” he added. “Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: ‘In each pause I hear the call.’” Nothing sums up better what I am trying to do with this book—to pause, to get off the merry-go-round on which I’ve been spinning for so many years as a twice-a-week columnist for The New York Times, and to reflect more deeply on what seems to me to be a fundamental turning point in history. I don’t remember the exact date of my own personal declaration of independence from the whirlwind, but it was sometime in early 2015, and it was totally serendipitous.


pages: 699 words: 192,704

Heaven's Command (Pax Britannica) by Jan Morris

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British Empire, Cape to Cairo, centralized clearinghouse, Corn Laws, European colonialism, Fellow of the Royal Society, Khartoum Gordon, Khyber Pass, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Plutocrats, plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Scramble for Africa, trade route

Here is the oath of allegiance sworn by the parliamentarians of Tasmania, then called Van Diemen’s Land, when the first self-governing assembly met in Hobart: I do seriously promise and swear, That I will be faithful and bear true Allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, as lawful Sovereign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of this Colony of Van Dieman’s Land, dependent on and belonging to the said United Kingdom; and that I will defend Her to the utmost of my Power against all traitorous Conspiracies or Attempts whatever which shall be made against Her Person, Crown and Dignity; and that I will do my utmost Endeavour to disclose and make known to Her Majesty, Her Heirs and Successors, all Treasons and traitorous Conspiracies and Attempts which I shall know to be against Her or any of them; and all this I do swear without any Equivocation, mental Evasion,’ or secret Reservation, and renouncing all Pardons and Dispensations from any Person or Persons whatever to the contrary. SO HELP ME GOD! The new nations overseas would prove the most durable, and the most noble, of the imperial achievements, as the American Ralph Waldo Emerson realized: ‘I have noted the reserve of power in the English temperament. In the island, they never let out all the length of all the reins, there is no Berserkir rage, no abandonment or ecstasy of will or intellect…. But who would see the uncoiling of that tremendous spring, the explosion of their well-husbanded forces, must follow the swarms which, pouring now for two hundred years from the British islands, have sailed, and rode, and traded, and planted, through all climates … carrying the Saxon seed, with its instinct for liberty and law, for arts and for thought—acquiring under some skies a more electric energy than the native air allows—to the conquest of the globe’.


pages: 701 words: 199,010

The Crisis of Crowding: Quant Copycats, Ugly Models, and the New Crash Normal by Ludwig B. Chincarini

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affirmative action, asset-backed security, automated trading system, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Black-Scholes formula, buttonwood tree, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delta neutral, discounted cash flows, diversification, diversified portfolio, family office, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Flash crash, full employment, Gini coefficient, high net worth, hindsight bias, housing crisis, implied volatility, income inequality, interest rate derivative, interest rate swap, labour mobility, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market design, market fundamentalism, merger arbitrage, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, oil shock, price stability, quantitative easing, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Waldo Emerson, regulatory arbitrage, Renaissance Technologies, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, systematic trading, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transaction costs, value at risk, yield curve, zero-coupon bond

Despite all the precautions they had taken, Lehman Brothers’ failure crashed them into the rocks. Once again, the world’s liquidity providers had all disappeared, just when they were needed most. CHAPTER 8 The Quant Crisis It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. —Ralph Waldo Emerson The 2008 financial crisis was the most shocking financial crisis the United States had seen since Black Tuesday, when the Dow Jones dropped by 12% and began the Great Depression, which saw a 27% drop in real output and a rise in the unemployment rate from 2% to 25%. No one can be certain when the financial crisis of 2008 really began, but there were early signals in June 2007 (see Figure 8.1 for a timeline of the crisis).


pages: 1,157 words: 379,558

Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris by Richard Kluger

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air freight, Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, family office, feminist movement, full employment, ghettoisation, Indoor air pollution, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, trade route, transaction costs, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty

The assault on smoking in antebellum America did not differentiate as to the delivery system; the leaf was simply an unmitigated evil. Among the most ardent of the antitobacco reformers was the Reverend George Trask, whose Thoughts and Stories for American Lads of 1859 was subtitled “Uncle Toby’s Anti-Tobacco Advice to His Nephew Billy Bruce” and counseled that smoking did away with some 20,000 souls a year, a statistic unsupported by even remotely credible data. A more temperate view was expressed by Ralph Waldo Emerson, who, without pretense of scientific specificity, took note of the debate over whether smoking was medically harmful, but concluded only that “the habit once established gives rise to more or less craving for this form of indulgence.” He was not dwelling, though, on the lure of the cigarette, which was hardly more than a novelty item until the mid-1870s. Nor were the few scientists who reported serious data in Europe, where the cigarette was better established.


pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

—Igor Stravinsky116 Peace, in contrast, was “a dream and not a pleasant one at that,” wrote the German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke; “without war, the world would wallow in materialism.”117 Friedrich Nietzsche agreed: “It is mere illusion and pretty sentiment to expect much (even anything at all) from mankind if it forgets how to make war.” According to the British historian J. A. Cramb, peace would mean “a world sunk in bovine content . . . a nightmare which shall be realized only when the ice has crept to the heart of the sun, and the stars, left black and trackless, start from their orbits.”118 Even thinkers who opposed war, such as Kant, Adam Smith, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, H. G. Wells, and William James, had nice things to say about it. The title of James’s 1906 essay “The Moral Equivalent of War” referred not to something that was as bad as war but to something that would be as good as it.119 He began, to be sure, by satirizing the military romantic’s view of war: Its “horrors” are a cheap price to pay for rescue from the only alternative supposed, of a world of clerks and teachers, of co-education and zo-ophily, of “consumer’s leagues” and “associated charities,” of industrialism unlimited, and feminism unabashed.