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I Read It So You Don’t Have To

A recent book explains how humans think about wealth, economics, and success

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness published in September 2020.

Morgan Housel is a former financial columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He is now a partner at Collaborative Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm.

Unlike in the fields of medicine or engineering, expertise in finance requires an understanding of human psychology. Investors and consumers behave with flawed attitudes such as overconfidence, impatience, and anchoring bias. These irrational patterns have tangible effects on global markets and, likely, on your own personal finances.

Housel explores these topics with a thoughtful mix of anecdotes, research, and advice…

“Voluntary Time Off” is their trojan horse to exploit workers, minimize wage costs and protect tax breaks

Photo — The Seattle Times

Short break times. Punishment for using the bathroom. Worker surveillance. These are some of the poor working conditions in Amazon warehouses that have been documented in recent years. But, Amazon’s exploitative practices go beyond their blatantly poor treatment of workers. After working in an Amazon warehouse for three months, I’ve realized that one of Amazon’s most concerning exploitations is found in a seemingly friendly tactic: offering their employees unpaid time off.

Amazon offers most of their entry-level workers “Voluntary Time Off,” or “VTO,” in what at first glance seems like a rare act of kindness from upper management. VTO is…

Corporate consolidation is squeezing our economy

Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Back in 2005, comedian George Carlin gave a ruthlessly cynical take on big business in America. To an audience of mostly regular workers, he said:

You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They got you by the balls.

He added that politicians exist to give you the illusion of choice while the wealthy capitalists pull the strings. It’s a pithy expression perhaps, but the sentiment resonated with many Americans for a reason.

Since the wind-down of the Cold War, capitalism has been heralded by the Western political class as the golden ideology. …

Ten years after its publication, the late anthropologist’s deconstruction of economics is more valuable than ever

In the beginning was debt. In David Graeber’s sprawling epic on the history of money, he charts its shape-shifting from credit to coinage, to credit again, then bullion and finally to virtual currencies. Throughout, debt is the constant and Graeber makes a ferocious case that it is the lens through which economics might be better defined.

Debt has recently been re-issued, ten years after its original publication in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. That event prompted much soul searching about money and a raft of books purporting to explain how we got into such a mess. Most were…

The dreaded Phillips curve describes the runaway inflation of the 60s and 70s. The situation is very different today.

Anyone who has been following the U.S. monthly economic data lately has noticed that the rate of inflation has been rising over the past year as the unemployment rate has fallen. Here are the numbers:


We’ve been thinking about the government’s finances all wrong

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium

I Read It So You Don’t Have To is a series that gives you the TL;DR on a business book you want to read — but don’t have time to.

The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy by Stephanie Kelton

Stephanie Kelton is a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University. She is a former chief economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee (Democratic Staff), and is a leading expert on Modern monetary theory (MMT), a macroeconomic framework about federal government spending.

There’s a longstanding myth that’s holding back the U.S…

No Mercy No Malice

Why Scott Galloway believes pessimists make better operators

Optimists are overrated. With Big Tech, Covid-19, or Putin, would we have been better off listening to the optimists or the pessimists? People think it takes optimism to be an entrepreneur. Not so — in my case, it just required the self-awareness to know I didn’t have the skills to succeed in a big company. Optimism is required to be an early stage investor, however. I typically invest in later stage growth firms, as my reaction to every startup idea is “there’s NFW that will work.”

I believe pessimists make better operators. I, no joke, sit awake at night and…

No Mercy No Malice

Much like an Etch-A-Sketch, Covid has presented an opportunity to envision our lives turned upside down, powder redistributed

While the fires of Covid-19 continue to rage around the world, here in the U.S. we’ve turned a corner. The intensity of an emergency doesn’t register until after it’s over, and many of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the events of the past year. Inevitably, our pause turns to curiosity … what happens next? What will be different, what will be the same?

I took some time this week to look back at where we were a year ago: reeling from the initial shock of the pandemic; facing the long grind of a summer in isolation…

Workers don’t want to come back to low pay, no benefits, long hours, and grumpy customers. Why should they?

Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash.

As the American economy digs out from the devastating financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the result has proved a patchwork of unmet expectations, high unemployment, inflation, and plummeting consumer confidence.

To the dashed hopes of optimistic economists, the U.S. financial engine has not rebounded as fast as some predicted. Sluggish, and more than slightly unpredictable, the economy has begun to recover though.

There are still challenges for U.S. businesses, and plenty of them.

The confusing network of disparate Covid-19 restrictions — varying wildly from county to county and state to state — and the absolute nightmare of public messaging…

Meet the executives who burn millions daily and enrich themselves while creating no real value

The Daily Benjamin Burn™ (DBB) is how much money an executive lit on fire per day during their tenure.

I’ve lost a lot of other people’s money. The most stressful times in my life have been when people believed in me and invested tens (if not hundreds) of millions in my company or idea, only to see their capital go up in smoke. I’ve also made a lot of people a lot of money — but only in America would someone with my (lack of) pedigree be given this many swings at the plate.

To be a truly great investor or operator or CEO, you need to be a bit of a sociopath: You have to be able to…


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