Weekly Reading Summary: Aug. 03-Aug. 09, 2020

The Economist [Fri, 24 Jul 2020]
Farmers say crops tell the story: if you see cotton, it’s the south; if wheat, the west. Only when gazing on great expanses of corn or soyabean are you in the Midwest.

A report last September by a group of mayors noted that 86% of Americans live in metro areas, producing 91% of national income.

The best-run cities of America’s Midwest offer lessons in recovery
– If a town centre is an attractive place to live, work and play—with renovated bike paths, lots of parks, restaurants and nightlife—that draws young graduates, the newly retired and more.
– Cities also do well when they tap their own resources, or local social capital, instead of hoping for federal help or for a one-off giant investor who, with enough subsidies, will come in as a saviour.
– Another lesson is that the most successful places bet on “eds and meds”. Cities with a decent university or an expansive hospital system (often the two go together) reliably outperform others.
– cities with the deepest pools of talented workers tend to be long-term winners.
– Investing in its people is, ultimately, the Midwest’s greatest strength

One insight: rather than luring investors with incentives, cities should just create appealing living conditions. A second: cities have more assets than they realise. Public land can be exploited to raise funds for redevelopment and better public transport.

Average life expectancy, at 60 years, is decades less than in richer places. Violence is partly to blame. On May 31st 18 people were murdered in Chicago, its bloodiest day in six decades. Yet Melvin, a barber, won’t blame those in Englewood. “Once you got torn down neighbourhoods, abandoned buildings, drug infested, guns, then you know these kids, they’re vulnerable.” Many homes, shops and churches have been boarded up for years. A Whole Foods supermarket opened in 2016, but is mostly used by commuters who pull in from a motorway. Chicago can feel almost as segregated as South Africa just after apartheid. The common story of Bronzeville and Englewood is of slow-motion ejection of African-Americans. The mostly white, Hispanic and Asian populations north of Chicago are flourishing. But black residents are flocking out. The black population in the city has shrunk by nearly 290,000 this century. People go to suburbs, to Indiana or, in a “reverse great migration”, back south. The census this year is likely to show, for the first time, more Hispanics than African-Americans in Chicago.

“How can you provide a middle-class way of life if the jobs are serving omelettes in a restaurant?”

Training does not have to mean four-year degrees. Instead what is needed are vocational skills that can be taught simultaneously by companies and colleges.

The bulk of our success is in advanced manufacturing, in family-owned, mid-sized firms in their third or fourth generation of ownership, just like in Germany.”

TO BUILD A great city is simple, the politician Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said. First create a university, then wait 200 years. They in turn spread prosperity, in three ways. One is to bring in young people, often a city-sized population. Second, universities pool employable talent. Third, universities can refocus a city’s economy.

On average, 32% of Americans (25 or older) have at least a bachelor’s degree.

The average age of cars on American roads has approached almost 12 years, and around a quarter are at least 16 years old, according to IHS Markit.

The Economist [Fri, 03 Jul 2020]
Henry Overman of the London School of Economics argues that what ultimately makes places prosperous is a high density of skilled workers, which means thinking hard about education, welfare and public health.

The Economist [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
Mr Pearman’s research has documented that poor neighbourhoods adversely affect students’ maths scores even if their schools are good.

black children are nearly three times as likely to have high levels of lead in their blood, which stunts intelligence and leads to greater violence in adulthood.

“IF SOMETHING isn’t done, and done in a hurry, to bring the coloured peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed,” Martin Luther King Jr told striking workers the day before he was shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee.

But generous top-ups to unemployment benefits and direct cheques from Uncle Sam meant that in April household incomes in America were 12% above

unless you can criticise people and practices without fear of being called out, you will not be able to design effective policies and then go on to refine them.

创业公司不要专注于创造产品,而要专注于解决问题。 –《创业公司要创造客户不期望的产品》

创新型的创业公司,一开始的目标用户应该是对新产品最有兴趣的那2%的人群,并设法与剩下的那 98%的人建立一座桥梁,把那些人推向未来。 – 《创业公司要创造客户不期望的产品》



如果你花钱买,你就是客户,如果你免费获得,你就是产品。– 《创业公司尝试搜索引擎的订阅模式》

忘记是谁在播客里被问到,什么样的人才是成功的? 回答很惊艳:当一个人在任何情况下都能平静的说话时,他便是成功的。





我一直是”强观点,弱立场“(strong opinions, weakly held)。不管什么事情,我都会凭直觉得到一个结论,这就是”强观点”;只要有任何与结论相悖的信息,我就会修正自己的观点,这就是”弱立场”。 — 《强观点,弱立场》

如何在互联网建立个人品牌?去创造,不要停,坚持创作你的主题,兴趣,品牌,情感,继续创造,继续创造,这样才能吸引人们。Mr Beast 前10年做了几百个视频没人看,如今已经4千万订阅者,而你才做了1,2个视频,录了1,2期播客就想放弃?

“TikTok事件“是这几天全球科技媒体的头条,事件结果走向尚未可知,但这件事无疑会成为一个标志性历史事件。张一鸣系的产品,几乎没有怎么用过,不过从其创业以来的产品路径似乎可以窥其一斑,从饭否(与王兴)、内涵段子、今日头条到抖音,都是以“轻内容”切入,“重科技”(算法)加持,最大化地传播“病毒”。因为[对年轻人来说,情绪是高度传染性的社会病毒](这是伦敦大学神经科学和心理健康专业博士杰克·安德鲁的文章,他的研究重点是青少年社会认知及其与社会群体动态和情感的关系)。张一鸣系产品的“内容”并没有什么价值,“TikTok“去留无足轻重,但其事件历史意义重大。这几天刚好在看《马关议和中之伊李问答》这本书,特朗普对TikTok的政策和谈判策略(在9月15日前整体卖给一家美国公司,否则就关门。而且至少要把收购交易额的30%交给美国政府)就是昔日伊藤博文所用之伎俩。如前所言,Tiktok是社会青少年的精神鸦片,特朗普打的正是一场新鸦片战争 — 不听我的,就割让给我!(PS.《马关议和中之伊李问答》这本书值得看看,除了了解历史,还可以在伊藤博文和李鸿章一问一答中学到一些谈判技巧)

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