Category Archives: Required Reading

Must Listen

It’s a nice morning for a walk, so I went for a 3.4 mile walk this morning.

I’ve taken a break from training for the better part of this week, in part for recovery, in part because J’s been under the weather.

I usually walk 2-3 miles on days I don’t lift, which works out to every other morning.  I believe (based somewhat on empirical evidence, somewhat on Russian/Soviet weightlifting coaches, and somewhat on my own experience) that if you are going to do one activity for your health and well-being, it’s a walk, outside, in the morning.  During my every other day or so walks, I listen to podcasts.  Recently, I’ve been listening to the EliteFTS Sports Performance Podcast.

If you are in any way involved with sports performance, as a coach, trainer, or an athlete, I highly recommend listening.  Of course – that’s the target audience.  But I’d also suggest that if you are in any way a fan of sport and you want to learn about improving individual (including your own) performance, team performance, psychology of winning, and a number of other subjects that are applicable to not only sports performance, but all types of performance, you should check them out.

I just listened to Ashley Jones, and while his expertise lies in training rugby players, there are nuggets in the hour-long interview that apply to me as a power lifter, as an entrepreneur, and certainly would have applied to my prior life as a leader (and individual contributor) in a corporate setting.

So check it out.  And go for a walk.


Pondering Wealth

Don Boudreaux ponders the wealth of the richest American, and what would happen if we took it all and gave it to other people.

And this fact does mean, therefore, that taking money from Gates and giving it to other Americans will – if these Americans spend all or most of this transfer on consumption goods – reduce the productivity of the economy.  It will diminish the economy’s capacity to produce material goods and services over time.  Over time, it will make all of us less able to consume.

Read all of it.  And if you have time, read more posts at Cafe Hayek.


Just a quick note:  If you are into food or are in any way a fan of Alton Brown, you should be checking out his podcast.

I mean it.  It’s awesome.

No White Flags

Read Steve Gleason filling in for Peter King this week.

An excerpt:

Current research shows that NFL players are more likely to have certain brain diseases. Additional research shows there have been 27 players diagnosed with ALS in the past 60 years. But it’s important to note that more than 27 ALS patients, none of whom have ever played football, will die in the next two days. For me, this disease is global. It affects any race, gender or walk of life.

But if football did, somehow, cause my ALS, what does that mean for my life?

As humans, we are able to conjure and attach meaning to almost any circumstance or development. When handed what feels like a terminal diagnosis, it’s human nature to ask, Why did this happen to me?! or What does this mean?!

The question What caused this? can usually be analyzed and measured precisely. (Scientists are still working on defining the cause of ALS, and I am not sure if football caused my ALS.) On the other hand, interpreting meaning is, in my opinion, quite ambiguous. We cannot measure, verify or confirm meaning. We, as humans, create and apply meaning. When something happens to us, we become the author of meaning. The best philosophy I have adopted is to apply a useful and productive meaning, rather than a negative or destructive meaning, regardless of the circumstances in my life.

So, I have conjured my own meaning from my circumstance, if in fact football did cause my ALS. It means to me that I gave my life helping a city and a region in ruins find some hope in their struggle for rebirth. I will never regret that.

Read it all.  I mean it.


You can be a victim, or you can be a fighter

Watch this.

Three lessons:

The 18 year old who forgives her friend

The college that honors its commitment

No quit.

Eric Ripert on building a timeless brand

From Inc. magazine, this is worth a read.

The best meal I’ve ever had in a restaurant was at Le Bernardin.  Everything was right.


Explosion of inequality? Depends on how you look at it.

Fantastic new study from the AEI looks at consumption.. you know, the stuff we buy and use every day, and finds things haven’t changed much in the last 20 years, and in fact, we’re all richer.

First, instead of looking at income inequality, Hassett and Mathur look at consumption inequality, which represents a broader look at the economic resources a person can summon. Looking just at income ignores how individuals are generally able to smooth consumption by borrowing in the low-income years — such as during retirement or when they are just entering the workforce — and saving in the high-income years. Studies of income alone often exclude things like Social Security, Medicare, and food stamps.

Additionally, tax return data of the sort Piketty and Saez discuss can be influenced by changes in tax rates, giving a highly distorted picture of income inequality. For example, the personal tax rate reductions of the 1980s and the early 2000s caused businesses to shift income out of the corporate form and into the personal tax, thus raising reported incomes at the top.

So what does the consumption data tell us?

In 1984, households in the top income quintile, or top 20%, accounted for 37% of total consumption spending. Households in the bottom quintile accounted for only 10 percent of total spending. So the ratio of top-to-bottom consumption was approximately 3.8.

By 2010, that ratio had increased to just 4.4. This hardly represents an explosion in inequality. As measured by this ratio, consumption inequality has increased marginally over time, averaging 4.21 between 1984 and 1990, 4.29 between 1991 and 2000, and 4.46 between 2000 and 2010.

The graphs and charts tell quite a story, but not the narrative politicians want you to hear (click to enlarge):

I often mention seeing folks paying for food with “Independence” cards at the local grocery store while talking on an iPhone.  Those people are far richer than the poor of 20+ years ago.  Maybe we need to look at why they are richer now, instead of using force to take my stuff.


Kirk Karwoski Interview

Rip interviews Captain Kirk.  Worth the hour.

At about 43 minutes, pay special attention to the ’20 seconds’ discussion.

Dietary Ignorance

So it’s big, big news that an overweight aging celebrity chef (really restauranteur) has diabetes.  Much hand wringing ensues that her high calorie, high fat cooking must be the cause.

Karen De Coster points out the spectacular ignorance in the mainstream, including medical doctors on television.  Put simply, fat doesn’t alter your blood sugar or create insulin resistance.  Lots of carbs does, though.  So does eating too much and getting old.

Create Value

From Adam Gurri, via Cafe Hayek.

The point is, our goal should never be to “create jobs”. Our goal should be to enable people to contribute something valued by other people. The value is the point, not the work. If someone finds a way to provide value to hundreds of millions of people and it requires no more effort from them than batting their eyelashes, that would be a win.

It is all about value.  Value is why raising the minimum wage does harm, not good, and why we need to put less power in the hands of the likes of SEIU, not more.


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