The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Bean Box coffee, grab a seat on the sofa, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:
• The Illusion of Knowledge: I’ve been expressing my disregard for forecasts for almost as long as I’ve been writing my memos, starting with The Value of Predictions, or Where’d All This Rain Come From in February 1993. Over the years since then, I’ve explained at length why I’m not interested in forecasts – a few of my favorite quotes echoing my disdain head the sections below – but I’ve never devoted a memo to explaining why making helpful macro forecasts is so difficult. So here it is. (Oaktree Capital)
• Most pros can’t beat the market: It continues to be incredibly difficult to generate returns in the stock market that beat (or outperform) a passively managed fund tracking the S&P 500. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices (SPDJI), 51.2% of U.S. large-cap equity fund managers underperformed the S&P 500 during the first half of 2022 — despite the fact that the S&P itself fell into a bear market during that period. (TKer)
• Market Share: Understanding Competitive Advantage Through Market Power “There is no more important proposition in economic theory than that, under competition, the rate of return on investment tends toward equality in all industries. (Morgan Stanley)
• We Spoke With the Last Person Standing in the Floppy Disk Business Turns out the obsolete floppy is way more in demand than you’d expect. (AIGA Eye On Design)
• A GMO Purple Tomato Is Coming to Grocery Aisles. Will the US Bite? Most genetically engineered foods were developed to aid farmers. This one will try to sway over health-conscious produce shoppers. (Wired)
• Coming Into Focus: Once thought to primarily affect overstimulated boys, ADHD diagnoses have spiked among adult women. For one writer, coming to terms with her diagnosis later in life has put her past and family history in a new light. (Harpers Bazaar)
• How many people can Earth handle? Towards the end of 2022, the human population on Earth is expected to reach eight billion. To mark the occasion, BBC Future takes a look at one of the most controversial issues of our time. Are there too many of us? Or is this the wrong question? (BBC)
• Can’t We Come Up with Something Better Than Liberal Democracy? The West’s favored form of self-government is looking creaky. A legal scholar and a philosopher propose some alternatives. (New Yorker)
• The Mysterious, Stubborn Appeal of Mass-Produced Fried Chicken: Why do so many accomplished chefs call Popeyes their favorite fried chicken? (Vice)
• Roger Federer is retiring from tennis — but his mark on the sport is indelible: To understand Roger Federer is to capture sports harmony. He talks about his strategy of fire and ice: combining the burning desire to succeed and the coolness to keep his composure. His career has been a tale of mind and body working together like clockwork, to create an aesthetically delightful state of tennis — and also a method which has led to incredible success. (ESPN) see also Roger Federer as Religious Experience: (Published 2006) (New York Times)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Albert Wenger, Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures. He co-founded 5 companies; was President of del.icio.us thru the company’s sale to Yahoo; angel investor Etsy + Tumblr. Wenger is the author of World After Capital, describing the shift to a Knowledge Age + its implications for businesses & society.
End of Covid-19 ‘in Sight’?
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.