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Showing posts from July, 2010

Quick (book) reviews: Millenium Trilogy, Scott Pilgrim, and Fault Lines.

Just before I took off for vacation, I managed to finish a few books recently. Yay me!
First I ended up devouring "The Girl who played with Fire" and "The Girl who kicked the Hornet's Nest", and hence wrapping up the Millenium Trilogy.
What I loved about all three books (besides the characters) are the fact that the genres are actually so different. "..Dragon Tattoo" is a mystery/thriller with a gruesome finale. "..Fire" read to me like an action novel, and "... Hornet's Nest" is at heart a journalist/courtroom drama. There's liberal doses of action, intrigue, romance, general gruesome-ness and strange relationships thrown in all three, and that just adds to the appeal.
The success of the books (note the breaking eBook sales numbers) suggest there are tons of people agreeing with me. I'm holding off on watching the Swedish film versions for now.
I also just finished Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World…

The at-work tax: what's your and how much do you pay?

A few weeks ago, after a colleague started complaining to me about some slides he had to make that would shortly be buried in the appendix of a presentation his boss' boss was going to possibly give, I ended up saying "Eh, just pay the tax as efficiently as you can and move on."
I've used this analogy often over the time I've had to earn a living, and ended up explaining it yet again a few days ago.
Most of us (hopefully) like our jobs. We're excited by the things we're trying to accomplish or some of the things we do day-to-day to accomplish them or (if you're really lucky) both.However there will always be things you need to do that you don't necessarily enjoy and or even think necessary. This is in effect a at-work tax on you: on your time, energy, and general bucket of happiness.As a UChicago grad student, I'm trained to be deeply suspicious of taxes and deadweight losses. But here, as is often the case with taxes, some are necessary and oft…

Leadership: in thought and action

I read a great couple of posts today on bus as I headed back into the city (sprinkled in the middle of a Dexter mini-marathon) First, this great post by Ben Horowitz on why CEOs shouldn't feel the pressure to be needlessly positive and often honesty (and transparency) is the best policy.Second, this incredibly thoughtful essay by William Deresiewicz on what constitutes leadership: and the importance of focus and iteration, and the role of solitude in it.I recommend reading both, especially the latter. There's a lot that I took away that applies to anyone supposed to, or who aspires to, lead (CEO or not) Be honest and direct: sugar-coating doesn't work. You're almost never as good at spinning things as you think you are and people can tell. Being honest will get more people thinking about the problems you're trying to solve and that's a good thing. They're more likely to respect you for it as well.Any organization becomes a bureaucracy after a while. Its easie…