Around 2003,  I published a small site sharing short views of culture, technology, and society by minds who were all smarter than me.  The site had a short life, but the persistently curious observer in me, now much older but just as hungry, wants to revive it and continue sharing.

Feel free to contact me, offer feedback (see sample below), or collect this site’s feed.  Thanks for visiting.



“I go to see every day a few websites and websites to read posts, however this blog gives quality based articles…”

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“This paragraph presents clear idea for the new viewers of blogging, that really how to do running a blog…”

“Excellent posts. I will be dealing with some of these issues as well…”

“Quite educational, looking forward to visiting again..”

“AI – great for computation and arithmetic, saves huge amounts of labor. It seems to me that it lacks humility, lacks imagination, and lacks humor.

Mary Catherine Bateson, systems thinker, on the seeming lack of systems theory underlying our progress with AI e.g. ChatGPT, or more generalized larger issues like climate change or urban police reforms  >> more


“It’s who can take the beating, who can make a mistake, who can take the pounding, then come up and do it again.”

-Laird Hamilton, big-wave rider >> more

Applies not in just any sport, like surfing, but in any endeavours in life…


The coffee tells my story.”

– Alfred H. Peet, founder of Peet’s Coffee, more >>

For those curious, the word “coffee” is said to have stemmed from qahhwat al-bun, which in Arabic means “wine of the bean.”

The only person who escapes the grim law of enantiodromia is the man who knows how to separate himself from the unconscious, not by repressing it—for then it simply attacks him from the rear—but by putting it clearly before him as that which he is not …

– Carl Jung, more >>

“We had allowed Raphael to lull us subtly into a lack of responsibility;  we were alert as crew members … but had become incapacitated, given up our own inner sense of captaincy, that ultimate responsibility lay elsewhere.” How a good crew doesn’t let its new captain fail.  book link >>  archive >>

Did social distancing, or social isolation, in St. Jerome’s time lead to divine inspiration? Consider the story of the brilliant penitent who translated the Bible into Latin without any of today’s distractions?  more >> 

As the bubonic plague ravaged Florence, Boccaccio observed the putrid crisis at ground level. Eerie parallels to COVID. What did social distancing look like in 1347?  more >> 

“While we are postponing, life speeds by. Time is the one loan which even the grateful recipient cannot repay.”

-Seneca, more >>

Golfer Tiger Woods was not a preordained champion. Rather perhaps, was he was more a product of raw talent, grit, ambition and his parents, notably of his Dad Earl Woods, former US Infantry Army officer and student of Werner Erhard’s “est” philosophy? >> more

“He was ignorant, conceited, lost his head..,” industrialist John D. Rockefeller would later say of Samuel Andrews, his right hand man. There is a little Sam Andrews in all of us. The lesson to walk away with is that temperament matters. A lot… more >>

Learning to be nourished by solitude rather than be defeated by it, Hermann Hesse argues, is a prerequisite for taking charge of our destiny.  more >>

“Why do we remember our past and not the future? Do we exist in time or does time exist in us? What does it really mean to say that time passes? What ties time to our nature as persons, to our subjectivity?”

– Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time, 2018. You can get the book on Amazon.

Nearly all software today relies on free, public code (called “open source” code), maintained by communities of developers and other talent. And yet companies like Amazon make billions. Nadia Eghbal explores why this is poorly understood and can be done. more >>

“So much of what I’ve tried to do as a leader is guardrail around what I think my weaknesses are. Really important to me that I avoid the danger — which I think all humans have, but I know I have — of falling in love with my own view of things, my own righteousness…”

-James Comey, in an interview with Michael Barbaro in the NY Times more >>

Achieving our goals matters of course, with a new year in 2018. But we should meditate, too, on the value of the process. How to navigate through Schopenhauer’s valley of unsatisfied desires and goals in midlife … more >>

What Philip K. Dick captured with genius was the ontological unease of a future world in which the human and the abhuman, the real and the fake, blur together. We might actually be living in that type of future now… more >>

“We cannot stay still,” famed “Beginner’s Mind” philosopher Shunryu Suzuki cautions. “We have to do something … but be very observant, careful, and alert. Zen is not some kind of excitement but concentration on our usual everyday routine…” more >>

” I did 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at night. Within 3 or 4 weeks, I got to the point where I could disconnect, rejuvenate my mind. I also learned how to focus more and calm down – saw the effect right away. I had become much more calm about all my challenges. There are many ways of meditation, and I benefit from all of them.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a podcast with Tim Ferriss, more >>

“Next time you encounter someone driving a Ferrari, assume not that the driver is greedy, but that he or she is extremely vulnerable to insult and to being ignored…” more >>

-Alain de Botton, on Status Anxiety

The way that the mind works, very frequently, is that we start from a decision, or a belief, and then the stories that explain it come to our mind. And the sequence that we have when we think about thinking, that arguments come first and conclusions come later, that sequence is often reversed.

Conclusions come first, and rationalizations come later….” more from Daniel Kahneman  >>

Decentralized, distributed ledgers and cryptocurrency might be the next big disruptive technology thing – potentially impacting big banks and big tech GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple).

Ten resources to bone up on blockchains, bitcoins and get up to speed … more  >>

You can have two big things, but not three – choose two among career, spouse, children, social life, startup, big hobby … more >>

“If you’re an amateur your focus should be on avoiding stupidity.” How to play the long game and succeed by avoiding mistakes … more >>

“Indeed, to the extent [that Whole Foods’] Mackey has compared Amazon to Waterloo is a valid analogy, Amazon is much more akin to the British Empire, and there is now one less obstacle to sitting astride all aspects of the economy.”

– “Amazon’s New Customer,” and “Amazon Go and the Future,” by Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Stoics saw human nature as capable of rationality if trained (a factor “rational actor” fans often ignore), training in three disciplines (of desires, actions, and reactions) and in four capabilities (“courage, temperance, justice and practical wisdom”) … more >>

“Obsoletion – where a cheaper, single-purpose product is replaced by a more expensive, general purpose product – is just as common as ‘disruption’ – even more so, in fact.  Why the Mac (and PC), iPod, and iPhone weren’t so much disruptive as they were obsoletive.”

– Ben Thompson, “Obsoletive,” Stratechery

“Pop-up philosophy is often more of an occasion for selfie-snapping than self-reflection. How to find the time to stop, sit down and think.” more >>

André Spicer, professor of organisational behaviour at the Cass Business School at City, University of London, author of The Stupidity Paradox: The Power and Pitfalls of Functional Stupidity at Work (2016). You can get the book on Amazon.

Is it normal to feel more spiritual as one ages?  Hindus mark out four stages in life: brahmacari (student), grihastha (householder), vanaprashtha (forest-dweller), sannyasi (renounced one). This structure reminds me that perhaps the elderly are drawn to spiritual questions not because they are caught up in beliefs of rewards or punishments in the afterlife or because they fear death. Rather it may be because the time finally feels right to satisfy inchoate yearnings for any kind of answer to those questions.

-Patrick Olivelle, “The Aśrama System” (2004)You can get the book at Amazon.

“What made war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.” Harvard political scientist Graham Allison says the Thucydides Trap can occur when a ruling power, feeling threatened by an assertive rising power, often resorts to war. Mr. Graham argues nations like the U.S. can apply lessons from history, apply mutual deterrence strategies, to deal with today’s emerging powers like China … more >>

A good founder is capable of anticipating which turns lead to treasure and which lead to certain death. A bad founder is just running to the entrance of (say) the “movies/music/filesharing/P2P” maze or the “photosharing” maze without any sense for the history of the industry, the players in the maze, the casualties of the past, and the technologies that are likely to move walls and change assumptions.”  more >>

Balaji S. Srinivasan, venture capitalist, “The Idea Maze

Self-talk can help us learn and think better. When we’re engaged in a conversation with ourselves, we typically ask ourselves questions along the lines of: “How will I know what I know? What do I find confusing? Do I really know this?” Whether we hit the pause button while listening to a podcast or stop to reflect while reading a manual, we develop skills more effectively by thinking about our thinking… more >>

Ulrich Boser, book author and senior fellow at American Progress

“It is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree — make sure you understand the fundamental principles, i.e. the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang onto.”

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and a prolific reader of books, once reading two per day in various disciplines when he was younger… more >>

“The duty of man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads and … attack it from every side.”

Ibn al-Haytham

Has the human mind, finite in its capacity, been finally eclipsed by science and technology?  more >>


“Courage, President Kennedy knew, requires something more than just the absence of fear. Any fool can be fearless. Courage, true courage, derives from that sense of who we are … and the belief that we can dig deep and do hard things for the enduring benefit of others.”

– Barack Obama, in a speech on May 7th while accepting the 2017 Centennial “Profiles in Courage” JFK Award… more >>

“I divide my officers into four groups: clever, diligent, stupid, and lazy officers. [Among the four groups] anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions.”

-German general Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, used Hanlon’s razor to assess his men

Over time, a person’s character is what really matters. Read my reflection to my 13-year old goddaughter as she enters high school … more >>

“Being immersed in the commercial world constrains the mind, limiting it to conventional, acceptable thought; it is hard to close a sale if we pause in the proceedings to meditate at length about a man’s relation to the cosmos.”

-Daniel Klein, “Travels with Epicurus” – on aging well and gracefully with purpose, through the ruminations of an old man dawdling through the timeless philosophy of the wise.  You can get the book on Amazon.


“Intelligence analysts should be self-conscious about their reasoning processes. They should think about how they make judgments and reach conclusions, not just about the judgments and conclusions themselves…”

– Richards J. Heuer, “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” more >>

Like these two brothers and many visitors to the Plum Village, I came, in 2016, with no expectations and no prior knowledge of the place, the people, or its practice. I did come armed with questions and brought a couple of books by Thich Nhat Hanh, renowned Zen master and Buddhist. After a month practicing silent meditation, I came away transformed …  more >>

Charles Dickens, Henri Poincaré, Ingmar Bergman and Charles Darwin working in disparate fields in different times, all shared a high passion, ambition and capacity to focus, yet only worked a few hours a day. How did they manage to be so accomplished?  more >>

Napoleon Bonaparte was said to have studied all the great wars before his time, those of Hannibal, Alexander the Great and others, so completely and intently that he was able to intuit coup d’oeil – the right strategy at the right opportunity – to earn his many victories in the battlefield.  more >>

“Any type of change is hard, but institutional change – with the need to overcome tradition and bureaucracy – is the most difficult.” How father of modern oceanography Matthew Fontaine Maury mastered geographical, wind and sea data, and transformed maritime exploration… more >>

“You’ll have to work twice as hard to get half as much.  So get busy,” says a mom to a 10 year-old Marty Chavez after complaining that he was the only Hispanic kid in a private school in New Mexico.  Chavez is now Goldman Sach’s incoming CFO after years at the firm and as a serial tech entrepreneur… more >>

“The deep learning and AI sector have heated up in labor markets to relatively unprecedented levels. Large companies are recently paying $6–10 million per engineer for talent acquisitions, and $4–5M per head for pre-product startups still in academia …” more >>

“Our family lives in over-scheduled [team-sports] suburbia. Sometimes it feels downright dystopian. If you live in the suburbs [in the US], participation in team sports seems to be all the social activity on offer…”  more >>

“The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality.  But the law is also a memory; the law records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.”

-Barack Obama in Dreams from My Father.  You can get the book on Amazon.

Azeem Azhar talks with Professor Jeff Zachs, an authority on economic development and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.  Good conversation covering a wide range of topics: AI, wealth inequality, automation and ethics by Aristotle, who is one of my favorite philosophers.  Soundcloud link (46 minutes)

Paying attention is the only thing that guarantees insight. It is the only real weapon we have against power.”

Michelle Dean, a writer for the New Yorker and New York Times, on why paying attention is a moral obligation.

“Look, my job is essentially just corralling more and more facts and information, and occasionally seeing whether that leads to some action. And Charlie [Munger] — his children call him a book with legs.”

-Warren Buffett, famous investor, billionaire, and a prolific reading machine who spends 80% of his day reading … more >>

Taylor’s Gift is a story of hope and courage in the face of tragedy.  My dearest sister, who knows I love reading, gave it to me as a holiday gift to console me over the recent losses of our brother and our beloved dog. Thirteen-year old Taylor Storch lost her life in a skiing accident and the book tells the harrowing journey her surviving parents and family went afterwards.  Taylor’s foundation now functions to preserve her legacy.  You can get the book on Amazon.

Caterina Fake writes about literature, poetry, social justice and the arts on her site at  I’ve been following her work and writings since 2000, around the time she launched her site and years before she became more well-known for founding Flickr (acquired by Yahoo), and Hunch (acquired and shut down by eBay). Over 118 thousand followers on Twitter and a Fast Company’s Fast 50 awardee.

“My own theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy…the battles between incumbents and software-powered insurgents will be epic.  Joseph Schumpeter, the economist who coined the term ‘creative destruction,’ would be proud.”

Marc Andreesen, former founder of Netscape and venture capitalist at A16Z (listen to their podcasts), in a 2011 essay “Software is Eating the World,” still relevant to this day.

Albert Meige on why in 2033, you will be “transferring,” i.e. selling your services to the highest bidder, unless you’re among the unlucky 90% who will not possess the right skills or education to be working. Mr. Meige runs Presans, an “open innovation” crowdsourced platform linking 5 million industry experts in business and strategy. 18-minute video.

Wikistrat crowdsourced consulting’s analytic community of over 2,200 diverse and interdisciplinary subject matter experts on geopolitics, strategy and economics is the future of management consulting.  Its roster of over 500 PhDs and 125 former military officers, and simulation-driven methodology offer a compelling alternative to McKinsey or Deloitte.

Daniel Kahneman’s book on Thinking Fast and Slow is a very readable, non-technical purview of our mind’s often systematic thinking errors and how they are mainly due to “errors in the machinery of cognition (ie. biases, heuristics) rather than to the corruption of thought by emotion.”  Terrific book on understanding your own mental systems, as well as a “must-read” at the CIA.  You can get it on Amazon.

“Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding. Each book opens up new avenues of knowledge to explore.”

Bill Gates’ list of books is on my virtual book shelf.  He reads up to 50 books per year.   I am often either consuming or planning to read one of the books he has read and recommends.  Mr. Gates, founder of Microsoft, the Gates Foundation has over 30 million followers on Twitter and is perennially on the Forbes list of billionaires.

James Clear writes about “behavioral psychology, habit formation, and performance improvement.”  I’m one of over 350,000 subscribers to his weekly newsletter and consumer of his simple but good content on mental systems.  His article on four burners theory is a favorite of mine.

Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings ,”a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why,” is my go-to resource for meditations on design, philosophy, and psychology.  Ms. Popova was a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree and in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative in Business list.

Benedict Evans at Andreessen Horowitz is my main resource for “what’s going on and what will happen next” in artificial intelligence, mobile, technology and “software that is eating the world.”  He has tens of thousands of subscribers and over a quarter of a million followers on Twitter.

“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.”


My reflection on Gandhi’s wisdom … more >>