Satya Nadella, Empath.


On Satya Nadella’s book – “Hit Refresh”.

But the book isn’t a bomb. In fact, Nadella and his co authors avoid languishing in the standard wallows of management books. It’s broken into three neat sections. The first is Nadella’s personal journey, which feels both genuine and fundamental to his philosophy of management. It’s also a hell of a story. The second is an exploration of that philosophy, and how it drives his reshaping of Microsoft’s revised mission (I wrote about that mission here). The third section pulls back and considers the larger forces shaping business and society, with particular nods to major policy and technology trends shaping our future.

The complete article

John Battelle – Newco Shift

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People are still trying to figure out what Trump presidency means.

The quaint balance of masculinity and femininity that the metaphor promised is no longer desirable, if it ever was. Instead of advocating that women compete with men on masculine terms and men mix in just enough femininity to distance themselves from the most toxic versions of masculinity, we need to start being honest about what being a man has come to mean. Trump’s rise has made it terrifyingly clear that his toxic version is not at all peripheral to 21st-century modern masculinity. It is central. It is authoritarian. And it is lethal.

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Lisa Wade — Public Books

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The Way Ahead


Transcript of a lecture by Stephen Fry.

When I first found out about and joined the internet and watched it grow with the arrival of the www I described it to friends, whom I was anxious to convert and get themselves email addresses, as the greatest gathering of human beings in the history of the planet. As new services came on line and web 2.0 blossomed into the social media services we now know and perhaps rely on, I believed, I really believed, that humankind might well be saved by the all-gifted net. It would spread, art, literature, music, culture, philosophy, enlightenment and knowledge. In its train would come new freedoms, a new understanding between the peoples of the world, a new contract. This was to be our millennium’s Pandora, an all-gifted organism that would bring nothing but learning, understanding, amity, comity and friendship. I looked at budding projects like Wikipedia and I saw Diderot’s enlightenment dream becoming a reality. I saw art galleries and archives becoming freely available to all. I saw special interest groups able to exchange information and ideas with their fellows across the globe: whether it was coin-collecting, a love of a particular style of music, a shared pleasure in gaming, hiking or cosplay, a rare physical or mental disorder in common – suddenly people could contact each other across the world. Free translations, free lectures, tours, user-generated advice on travel, hunting for the best deals and bargains, sharing experience in all fields of human endeavour. Borders, barriers, frontiers and boundaries would melt and dissolve. An end to tribalism, racism, ignorance and fear. A new dawn for mankind. It was all good. You are allowed to laugh at my naivety, I do myself.

The complete transcript

Stephen Fry

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Did Sean Penn’s Meeting With El Chapo Help Authorities Track Down the Kingpin?


In Narcos mode.

At least one person close to this case believes that Penn’s legal team may have tipped off U.S. authorities about the planned meeting with El Chapo, potentially allowing the United States to inform its Mexican partners, who are known to have surveilled Penn and others in Mexico around the time of the meeting.

In a statement to InSight Crime, a spokesperson for Penn strongly denied that this was the case. However, knowledgeable sources consulted by InSight Crime suggested that whether or not such a tip-off occurred, it is likely that El Chapo’s meeting with Penn and del Castillo was indeed an important element of the hunt for one of the most powerful drug barons the world has ever known.

The complete article

War is Boring

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Vivian Maier, Through a Clearer Lens


But stories — like snapshots — are shaped by people, and for particular purposes. There’s always an angle. A new biography, “Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife,” by Pamela Bannos, strives to rescue Maier all over again, this time from the men who promulgated the Maier myth and profited off her work; chiefly Maloof, who controlled her copyright for a time. After a legal battle — “the Vivian Mire,” one critic called it — her estate passed into a trust last year, where it will be held for possible heirs and eventually released into the public domain.

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Parul Sehgal — The New York Times

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Umberto Eco – The Philosopher of Signs


Eco’s essays take as their subject matter poetry, music, and painting in the way that the work’s structure provides the glimpse of a worldview that passes through, rather, the hidden structure that the subject renders manifest. Eco finds his examples from a number of French poets, from Valéry to Verlaine and Mallarmé, for whom naming an object meant eliminating three quarters of a poem’s pleasure, which consists in incremental guesswork and suggested dreams. This poetics of suggestion seeks to keep the work open to its readers’ freedom, and realizes itself thanks to its interpreters’ emotion and imagination. It is the reader who draws from their most intimate recesses a response forged along the path of the mysterious consonances that lure the sensibility and the imagination. Thus work of art harbors within itself a multitude of interpretations.

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Claudia Stancati — Books & Ideas

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Alexander Grothendieck, the secret genius of mathematics


In an obituary David Mumford and John Tate wrote:

“Although mathematics became more and more abstract and general throughout the 20th century, it was Alexander Grothendieck who was the greatest master of this trend. His unique skill was to eliminate all unnecessary hypotheses and burrow into an area so deeply that its inner patterns on the most abstract level revealed themselves–and then, like a magician, show how the solution of old problems fell out in straightforward ways now that their real nature had been revealed.”

The name of Grothendieck, a mathematician who died recently at the age of 86, is not very well-known or is completely unknown to the public. We are talking here about an extraordinary person who made a mark on the culture of his time – a lone genius who opened new unimagined paths in mathematics, not only one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century, but also a libertarian spirit, a rebel, a nonconformist who brutally broke all ties with the mathematical community in 1970 at the height of his fame just like Rimbaud suddenly abandoned writing poetry. Rimbaud turned away from his muse and chose personal advancement over his art by getting into the coffee and gun trade; Grothendieck withdrew from society to live in solitude in a small village in the Pyrenees, not to escape from himself but to find himself in an insatiable spiritual quest that is documented in Crops and Seeds.

The complete article

Gerard Lebrun Alex Leburn

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