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Ben Casnocha

A blog about entrepreneurship, books, current affairs, and intellectual life.

Last Build Date: Fri, 19 May 2017 09:30:05 PDT


“The Stale Tenement Air of Married Life”

Fri, 19 May 2017 09:30:05 PDT

Great opening paragraphs in this review of Joshua Ferris’s story collection: It is late on a spring afternoon in Brooklyn. Sarah sits on her balcony, sipping a glass of wine, gazing down at the neighbors laughing on their brownstone stoops. … Continue reading

Book Review: The Intel Trinity

Sat, 13 May 2017 08:46:05 PDT

Steve Jobs, in a 1994 interview, said that once you discover that everything around you that we call “life” — rules, expectations, institutions, buildings, companies, theories, and so on — were made by people no smarter than you, everything changes. Because when you … Continue reading

John Stuart Mill’s Life, In a Sentence

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 11:00:55 PDT

“Mill’s [life story] is of a man out in the pure sun of reason and rational inquiry, lit at night by the romantic moonlight of a little bit of love and just enough madness.” That’s from Adam Gopnik’s wonderful account … Continue reading

Book Short: The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 22:25:49 PDT

Tyler Cowen’s latest book — The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream — follows up The Great Stagnation and Average is Over as the third in a trilogy about what’s gone wrong in America that has caused, … Continue reading

What I’ve Been Reading

Sun, 19 Mar 2017 11:51:13 PDT

Two very long books. 1. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I really enjoyed working my way through this novel. If you’re new to Murakami, I wouldn’t start with this one. It’s dauntingly long (almost 1,000 pages), and I could see some … Continue reading

How Romeo Stevens Improved His Life

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 13:44:48 PDT

He first describes how his life has gotten better. And then attributes it to the below actions. My favorite is #6. Movement. Sure, having an exercise habit, but also just physically altering my state when I am not functioning well … Continue reading

Low-Pressure Requests for Intro

Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:38:36 PST

A friend asked me via email if I’d be open to introducing him to another busy friend of mine. He then wrote: If you are willing, and feel you could recommend a meeting with sincerity, then I’d be most grateful … Continue reading

Asking Acquaintances About Mutual Friends

Sat, 25 Feb 2017 22:01:31 PST

All business is people business ultimately, and so improving your ability to size someone up should be a relentless priority — it is for me, anyway. By “size a person up” I mean figuring out how much you trust a person, how you … Continue reading

Knowledge Accumulates Over Generations

Sat, 11 Feb 2017 12:09:12 PST

One of the central takeaways from Chuck Klosterman’s book is that throughout history many well-verified “truths” about how the world works have, in time, been proven wrong. He provocatively asks: Which assumptions about the world do we hold dear today … Continue reading

Book Short: The Checklist Manifesto

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 23:22:59 PST

Atul Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto is a wonderfully engaging summation of how the world has become so complex, and how to use checklists — yes, a simple to-do checklist — to manage the complexity that underlies modern professions. The surgery … Continue reading