Summary of “Japan, Short on Babies, Reaches a Worrisome Milestone”

After Japan’s population hit a peak of 128 million at the start of the current decade, it shrank by close to a million in the five years through 2015, according to census data.
About 40 percent fewer children were born in Japan last year than in 1949, at the peak of the country’s post-World War II baby boom.
Unemployment was 2.8 percent in April, the lowest in decades, and construction in Japan’s famously crowded cities has slowed.
The prevailing view of Japan’s demographic future is grim.
In a speech to business leaders this week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a “National movement” to address Japan’s demographic challenges.
Japanese governments have been promising to tackle the population decline for decades, but with little apparent effect.
Official efforts to encourage women to have more children have had only modest results, and there is little public support for large-scale immigration – something that has helped to stabilize populations in other wealthy countries with low birthrates.
As the population decline accelerates, economic growth will be harder to pull off.
Japan’s birthrate has long been lower than what demographers call the “Replacement rate.”
“A lot of the things we’re used to in Japan are really products of an era of population growth, like single-breadwinner families and mandatory retirement ages,” said Takaaki Tahara, research director at the Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Reach the Next Stage of Your Personal Evolution”

In each succeeding scene in the play of your life, you will act in different roles, have different supporting cast members, and take on new challenges.
Going from one scene to the next is a transition, involving loss and newness.
It’s painful realizing that various characters from previous scenes don’t make sense in the next scene, yet still you awkwardly try to fit them in.
Although you may have been timid and quiet in the previous scenes, your new situation may require you to lead and speak boldly.
In each scene, you will feel like a childAt each new stage in your journey, you will feel like a child.
What characters make sense in this next scene? What habits and behaviors? What role must I play?
I’ve talked to close friends who were influential and essential in the previous scene of my life, and told them of the new journey I’m on.
The writing and consulting work I’m doing attracts the people into my life that need to be here for this scene, so that we can help each other get to our next scenes.
Each scene should be a progression from the lastEach succeeding scene will look and feel different from the last.
Regardless of how the changes externally look in each new scene, internally you should be becoming better and more matured.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Entropy: Why Life Always Seems to Get More Complicated”

Left to its own devices, life will always become less structured.
“The ultimate purpose of life, mind, and human striving: to deploy energy and information to fight back the tide of entropy and carve out refuges of beneficial order.” -Steven Pinker.
In the words of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, “The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life because everything is pulling you to be more and more complex.”
Entropy helps explain many of the mysteries and experiences of daily life.
The collection of atoms that make up your body could be arranged in an infinite number of ways and nearly all of them lead to no form of life whatsoever.
In a universe where entropy rules the day, the presence of life with such organization, structure, and stability is stunning.
At the very least, life will not be optimal-maybe you didn’t grow up in the optimal culture for your interests, maybe you were exposed to the wrong subject or sport, maybe you were born at the wrong time in history.
Entropy provides a good explanation for why Murphy’s Law seems to pop up so frequently in life.
The difficulties of life do not occur because the planets are misaligned or because some cosmic force is conspiring against you.
Given the odds against us, what is remarkable is not that life has problems, but that we can solve them at all.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”A Friend of a Friend” Is No Longer the Best Way to Find a Job”

With the introduction of the internet there is no shortage of job listings, leading to a glut of applications.
He interviewed 100 white-collar workers who had switched jobs in the previous five years and discovered that weak ties helped many of them find out about their next job.
In the early 1970s it became clear that the most effective way to find a job through networking was to be in touch with as many weak ties as possible.
If the technologies that help us look for a job have changed in significant ways, I reasoned, it’s likely that the ways we get information about jobs have also changed.
More than 60% of the storytellers reported that someone they had worked with in the past helped them find their next job.
When Granovetter conducted his study, the major challenge in finding a new job was learning that the job existed in the first place.
Nowadays, that’s the easy part: People learn about jobs because they find job ads online, search listings on corporate sites, or are contacted by recruiters.
If no one of color or from a working-class background was hired into an office, there were fewer people to spread the word that the job existed in the first place.
Practically, since recommending someone for a job is such an important part of hiring – and a way people with different backgrounds and perspectives can be excluded from workplaces – it has become a significant ethical decision.
The best way to increase the likelihood of getting the job you want later may be to treat your colleagues well at the one you have now.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Setting up a Great System Can Help You Achieve Almost Anything”

Everyone has a number of goals, but it’s commitment to a system that makes the difference.
In “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”, author Scott Adams explains: “A goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that achieves your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”
A system provides you with an inner guidance system and a equip you with the power of habit.
You are never going to be truly successful until you have a working system that guides your actions and helps you achieve your goals.
Anyone who has set and achieved a goal understands the importance of a system.
Systems as habitsStart anything with a clear goal and focus on the system to achieve it.
Many people have different successful systems that guide how they work and what actions to take at any point in time to achieve the bigger purpose.
If your current system of work doesn’t work or give the desired results you expect, make a change, create a new system and take steps every day to stick to it.
Reserving an hour each day for something you absolutely want to get done can be a great system that can help you achieve your big goal.
Guardian’s Oliver Burkman says, “Focusing on a system means focusing on what you can control rather than what you can’t. Keep working your system and you’ll maximize the chances that success will find you.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “What to Do When You Inherit a Team That Isn’t Working Hard Enough”

Most new managers quickly see things they’d like to change.
New leaders are advised to take some time to listen and appreciate what is, rather than make their own mark at the risk of appearing self-centered or authoritarian.
There’s a difference between addressing bad behavior and changing bad norms.
The second is about resetting the norms of an entire group.
The big problem with bad norms is you don’t know how high and wide the acceptance runs.
Avoid the risk of making it about your moral superiority by acknowledging your own vulnerability to negative norms.
If you’re not willing to apply a bit of heat, you’ll sow confusion about your new stated norm.
You need to communicate not only your desire for new behavior but also your expectation that others will join you in encouraging the agreed-upon values.
Change occurs at the speed with which peers begin to nudge peers about the new standard.
By following these steps, you’ll find a clear path to raise the bar without alienating your new team.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Lego clicked: the brand that reinvented itself”

In 2015, the still privately owned, family controlled Lego Group overtook Ferrari to become the world’s most powerful brand.
A book devoted to the subject, David Robertson’s Brick by Brick: How Lego Rewrote the Rules of Innovation, has become a set business text.
Ingels certainly seems to have enjoyed himself: Lego House resembles 21 giant Lego bricks stacked into a 30m tower.
Lego had compensated for the disruption to the town’s shops by allowing them to exclusively sell Lego kits of the Lego House, the only place in the world they’ll be available.
Far from killing off Lego, the internet has played a vital role in allowing fans to share their creations and promote events like Brickworld, adult Lego fan conventions.
A year before James Surowiecki’s landmark book The Wisdom of Crowds was published, Lego launched its own crowdsourcing competition: originators of winning ideas get 1% of their product’s net sales, designs that so far include the Back to the Future DeLorean time machine, the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and a set of female Nasa scientists.
As well as putting a focus back on classic Lego lines like City and Space, it has launched the ninja-themed Ninjago line, Mindstorms, kits that allow you to build programmable Lego robots, aimed at teens.
“Lego Batman can comment in character. ‘That’s awesome – would have been better in black and yellow,'” says Dieter Carstensen, head of digital child safety and the Lego Life team.
“Other things are very exciting, but probably not feasible for 10 years, depending on how mature the tech becomes.” Later this year we can look forward to The Lego Ninjago Movie, whose tone looks every bit as irreverently daft as its predecessors.
Earlier I had met Bo Stjerne Thomsen, the director of research and learning with the Lego Foundation, an independent body that owns 25% of the Lego Group and studies early childhood development through play.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Experts Predict When Artificial Intelligence Will Exceed Human Performance”

Artificial intelligence is changing the world and doing it at breakneck speed.
That raises an interesting question: when will artificial intelligence exceed human performance? More specifically, when will a machine do your job better than you?
They surveyed the world’s leading researchers in artificial intelligence by asking them when they think intelligent machines will better humans in a wide range of tasks.
The experts that Grace and co coopted were academics and industry experts who gave papers at the International Conference on Machine Learning in July 2015 and the Neural Information Processing Systems conference in December 2015.
These are two of the most important events for experts in artificial intelligence, so it’s a good bet that many of the world’s experts were on this list.
Grace and co asked them all-1,634 of them-to fill in a survey about when artificial intelligence would be better and cheaper than humans at a variety of tasks.
The experts predict that AI will outperform humans in the next 10 years in tasks such as translating languages, writing high school essays, and driving trucks.
Google’s DeepMind subsidiary has already developed an artificial intelligence capable of beating the best humans.
The experts go on to predict a 50 percent chance that AI will be better than humans at more or less everything in about 45 years.
According to some energy experts, cost-effective fusion energy is about 40 years away-but it always has been.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Expiring vs. Long-Term Knowledge ยท Collaborative Fund”

How much of what you read today will you still care about a year from now?
It’s amazing how much of the information we consume has a half life measured in days or months, and how little is like Graham’s book – cherished for decades because it teaches something with permanent relevance.
We noticed some years ago that much of the information we consumed was expiring knowledge.
Examples of expiring knowledge might include: which cable company got acquired last week? How did manager X perform last year? What is the office vacancy rate in New York City?
In contrast, long-term knowledge might be represented by answers to questions such as: why is the cable industry consolidating? What is the competitive advantage of manager X and is it sustainable? What are the long-term drivers of demand for office space in various cities in the U.S.?
Expiring knowledge catches more attention than it should, for two reasons.
It’s not just that long-term knowledge rarely expires, letting you accumulate it over time.
Expiring knowledge tells you what happened; long-term knowledge tells you why something happened and is likely to happen again.
Rather than asking, “Is this company going to face a problem?” – the answer is “Yes,” and problems come and go – more long-term knowledge is asking “Does this management team have the tenacity and gumption to navigate problems when they inevitably arise?” Here again, individual company problems are one-offs, but understanding how managers execute and are motivated is a scalable topic that compounds over time.
If you’re honest with yourself you may begin to steer toward the enduring bits of knowledge.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The planning of Muhammad Ali’s funeral”

There is a problem as they go to leave; Ali was not admitted as Muhammad Ali.
They are transfixed, watching Ewais – how much care he takes, how unhurried are his movements and how certain his hands – and Shakir thinks to himself that Muhammad Ali is being washed by the Muhammad Ali of body washers.
Eight years ago, when the Alis were looking for someone to plan Muhammad’s funeral, they chose Gunnell, a Louisville public relations man who would later start his own firm, BoxcarPR, and who had no experience in event planning.
Jeff Gardner, in his suit and tie; Todd Kessinger and his crew, in their dress blues; Zaid Shakir and Timothy Gianotti; Gunnell himself: They were all bound to secrecy, and The Book is called The Book because under no circumstance is there to exist – and be available to prying eyes – a document titled “The Funeral of Muhammad Ali.”.
So the question is not how big the funeral is going to be, nor how many famous people can be accommodated, but to whom does Muhammad Ali belong?
Seven years earlier, Lonnie Ali saw the funeral of Michael Jackson and knew she didn’t want her husband’s funeral to be like that – a funeral in which the mourners seemed to have an individual stake.
She envisioned something very different, a funeral in the spirit of Muhammad Ali and for the spirit of Muhammad Ali, in which believers gather only to pray the fallen hero to paradise.
Ali responded to the need in people and people responded to the need in Ali, and what Ramsey can’t help thinking as he meets Mike Tyson in the morning, and sits in a car in the funeral procession in the unlikely company of Lennox Lewis and Will Smith, is that they must have needed him too.
They go on the highway, they stop in front of the Muhammad Ali Center, they loop through downtown Louisville on Muhammad Ali Boulevard, and then they head west, to the home where he grew up.
At Ali’s funeral the family is determined to see the whole thing through because of what it owes Allah and because of what it owes Muhammad Ali.

The orginal article.