Summary of “How to retire early”

A growing subculture of young folks – mostly high-paid tech workers, like Chen – are hellbent on achieving financial independence by their early 30s. They call themselves the “FIRE” community.
Subscribers to the FIRE movement don’t feel like waiting around for the early bird special.
Gained momentum during the first tech boom in the ’90s, when books like “Your Money or Your Life.,” and “The Tightwad Gazette.” promoted self-reliance, frugality, and smart investing as a path to financial liberation.
Who preach the gospel of financial independence through wildly popular blogs with topics like “Safety Is An Expensive Illusion” and “Luxury Is Just Another Weakness.”
“For most of us, the goal of financial independence isn’t to just check out and quit life,” he says.
“There are certain big roadblocks to achieving financial independence, and they’re things most people want” says Diana*, a 31-year-old engineer in Seattle.
They’re almost all in their 20s or early 30s and are at various stages in their journey toward financial independence.
We go around the circle introducing each other – name, job, title, recent “Financial wins” – but a man in a down vest and loafers has something else he’d like to say.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Inside the Final Days of Robin Williams”

Robin Williams’s August 2014 suicide was devastating to those who knew him best-and it also came at the end of a long and difficult decline, as this excerpt from New York Times culture reporter Dave Itzkoff’s new biography, Robin, demonstrates.
A few days after he came back from Vancouver, Robin was stirred from a fitful evening of sleep, gripped by the certainty that some grave harm was going to befall Mort Sahl.
In the meantime, Robin started sleeping in a separate bedroom from Susan.
Robin’s longtime friend Eric Idle, who was in London that summer preparing for a Monty Python reunion show, tried unsuccessfully to persuade Robin to fly out there and make a cameo appearance at one of the performances.
Cyndi McHale, who had the same birth date as Robin and had a regular tradition of speaking to him on the day, could not track him down; “I was on the phone with his managers’ assistant,” she said, “And she was just like, ‘He’s not doing well.’ That was a common line. Rebecca was just like, ‘No, he’s not doing well.’ I was really worried about him.” McHale had not seen Robin, either, at a recent birthday party for George Lucas, an event that he reliably attended.
As Pitta recounted the scene, “I just casually said, ‘Another comedian I know has a service dog. The dog wakes her up when she chokes in her sleep.’ And Robin instantly said, ‘Oh, a Heimlich retriever.’ It got a huge laugh. He just sat there and had a little smile on his face.” When he and Robin left the theater at the end of the evening, Pitta said, “I gave him a hug and I said goodbye. He said goodbye to me three times that night. And he said it exactly the same way. He goes, ‘Take care, Marky.’ He said it three times.”
On the night of August 10, a Sunday, Robin and Susan were home together in Tiburon when Robin began to fixate on some of the designer wristwatches that he owned and grew fearful that they were in danger of being stolen.
She entered the room and made a horrifying discovery: Robin had hanged himself with a belt and was dead. Excerpted from Robin by Dave Itzkoff.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?”

In a sweeping, angry new book, “Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?”, the journalist, editor, and Brandeis professor Robert Kuttner champions Polanyi as a neglected prophet.
Polanyi helped to found Hungary’s Radical Citizens’ Party, which called for land redistribution, free trade, and extended suffrage.
In the short-lived Communist government that followed, Polanyi was offered a position in the culture ministry by his friend György Lukács, later a celebrated Marxist literary critic.
Polanyi held informal seminars on socialist economics at home.
Polanyi starts “The Great Transformation” by giving capitalism its due.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the right to vote spread. In the twenties and thirties, governments began trying to protect citizens’ jobs from shifts in international prices by raising tariffs, so that, in the system’s final years, it hardened national borders instead of opening them, and engendered what Polanyi called a “New crustacean type of nation,” which turned away from international trade, making first one world war, and then another, inevitable.
As Polanyi would have predicted, faith in democracy slipped.
Kuttner follows Polanyi in attacking free-market claims of mathematic purity.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the chicken nugget became the true symbol of our era”

Through hard work and prayer, those indigenous people, and enslaved Africans, might find divine redemption through work and perhaps even, one day long in the future, entry into society as equals.
Consider the etymology of the French travail and the Spanish trabajo, each a translation of the English noun “Work”: their Latin root is trepaliare, “To torture, to inflict suffering or agony.” But the way work works has changed.
Poultry workers are paid very little: in the US, two cents for every dollar spent on a fast-food chicken goes to poultry workers.
In Oklahoma, chicken company executives returned to a colonial fusion of work and faith, setting up an addiction treatment centre in 2007, Christian Alcoholics & Addicts in Recovery.
At CAAIR, prayer was supplemented with unpaid work on chicken production lines as part of a recovery therapy.
Just as autoworkers on the line assemble simplified, interchangeable parts and fast-food workers manufacture standardised burgers, so did African slaves work specialised jobs in a simplified landscape of sugar monoculture.
Managers of factories were salaried more than the workers, who worked with raw materials acquired through various kinds of peonage and natural resource exploitation, and all of them depended on free domestic labour, usually from women.
Hegemony over workers has been aided by cheap food, and the promise of a chicken in every pot.

The orginal article.

Summary of “From planking to pizzas: the new rules for a successful meeting”

The search for the perfect business meeting seems never-ending.
“Some have the clarity of angels singing. They are brilliant and thoughtful and set up the meeting for high-quality discussion. Sometimes they come in at the other end of the spectrum”.
Actually, says Emma Sinclair, the co-founder of EnterpriseAlumni, there is a lot to be said for the regular company-wide catchup, even if it comes in the form of a traditional meeting.
“One PayPal executive, David Sacks, used to burst into meeting rooms like a prohibition-era cop and ask what people were meeting about,” says Bruce Daisley, the European vice-president at Twitter and the host of the Eat Sleep Work Repeat podcast.
“If it wasn’t any good, he would stop the meeting right then and there. I love this idea of superhero-style vigilantes closing meetings down. Imagine if the burden of having a meeting was that at any point you’d have to explain what the meeting was about. Brilliant! If all of us knew we would be held to account for the cost of a meeting and the amount of people’s time we are taking up, our perspective would be different. The meeting is taking all the fun out of our jobs because we are so scared of not being busy. But sitting at your desk and thinking is an important part of the job.”
Ever sat in a meeting and wondered how much it was costing the company in terms of salaries? Tools such as Harvard Business Review’s business meeting cost calculator will put a figure on it.
Another Bezos rule: he won’t call a meeting, or even attend one, where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group.
“If you go into a meeting and somebody asks: ‘Has anyone got anything for today’s agenda?’, that should tell you that there is no point to it. We live in a world where the quality of our work is being appraised by others, by our bosses, so we never want to appear as if we’re not working hard. So when a meeting comes up that we are responsible for, we all want to show that we have packed agendas. We need to lose the fear of standing people down for meetings and cancel them.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “96-Year-Old Secretary Quietly Amasses Fortune, Then Donates $8.2 Million”

Ms. Bloom’s will allowed for some money to be left to relatives and friends, but directed that the bulk of the fortune go toward scholarships of Ms. Lockshin’s choice for needy students.
Like Ms. Bloom, Leonard Gigowski, a shopkeeper from New Berlin, Wis., who died in 2015, left his secret $13 million fortune to fund scholarships.
While her aunt’s wealth was a surprise, Ms. Bloom’s quiet plan to help students was not, Ms. Lockshin said.
Over her 67 years with the firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, it grew to its current size, with more than 1,200 lawyers, as well as hundreds of staff members, of which Ms. Bloom was the longest tenured, said Paul Hyams, a human resources executive for the firm who became good friends with Ms. Bloom over his 35 years working there.
Even when she married, Ms. Bloom kept her given name, which was indicative of her independent nature, said a cousin, Flora Mogul Bornstein, 72.Nearly all the money was in Ms. Bloom’s name alone, Ms. Lockshin said, adding that it was “Very possible” that even Mr. Margolies did not know the size of his wife’s fortune.
Ms. Bloom agreed to move to a senior residence mainly because “She wanted to find a good bridge game,” said Ms. Bornstein, a retired social worker.
Ms. Lockshin said an additional $2 million from Ms. Bloom’s bequest would be split between Hunter College and another scholarship fund to be announced.
Ms. Bloom’s view of education was informed by her own public school experience and by working with successful lawyers from highly rated colleges and law schools, he said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Troubled Times for Alternatives to Einstein’s Theory of Gravity”

The test, which should be published soon, will put the best constraints yet on a whole group of alternative gravity theories, she added.
If a theory only works with some additional scalar field, then the field should change the behavior of the pulsar.
The data from another pulsar system dubbed the double pulsar was originally supposed to eliminate the TeVeS theories.
“Dark energy might be our only observational clue pointing to a new and better theory of gravity – or it might be a mysterious fluid with strange properties, and nothing to do with gravity at all,” she said.
Still, killing off theories is simply how science is supposed to work, argue researchers who have been exploring alternative gravity theories.
Zumalacárregui, who has also worked on these theories, was “Sad at first” when he realized that the neutron star merger detection had proven Galileon theories wrong, but ultimately “Very relieved it happened sooner rather than later,” he said.
We can compare the effect of gravity on light bending as well as galaxy velocities, typically predicted to be different in modified-gravity theories,” he said.
Theorists have dozens of alternative gravity theories that could potentially explain dark matter and dark energy, Freire said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Lie That Perfectionists Tell Themselves”

One of the most common ones is the belief that increasing productivity, or getting the most out of your time, will decrease the quality of your work, or your ability to do tasks perfectly.
In the online program we run to help working professionals develop more productive work behaviors, about half of our participants have agreed with the statement: “I’m sure I could get more done in less time, but the quality of my work would go down.”
More time doesn’t necessarily translate into better quality work.
Spending more time at work and on specific tasks can actually hurt our performance, reducing the quality of our work.
Research has shown that when weekly hours worked exceed 50 or 55 hours, cognitive performance and work engagement levels begin to decline, dragging down the quality of the work produced with it.
One participant in our program said, “Why should I get my work done more quickly if I’ll just be given more work to fill the time?” To break up this cycle, we need to stop associating more time with higher quality work.
Keyboard shortcuts save us time and lead to higher quality work because they enable us to avoid the easily-made mistakes of dragging and dropping items in the wrong spots and clicking on the wrong items.
In our work with companies, we have seen what happens in a quality-first culture: people spend a lot of time perfecting work that would have had the same impact without the extra hours of tweaking.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Fast-Food Problem: Where Have All the Teenagers Gone?”

“What employees? We don’t have them anymore,” joked Mr. Miller, who can’t find enough workers for the three Subways he owns in Northern California.
Restaurant owners are also worrying about increased immigration enforcement: Nearly 20 percent of workers are foreign-born.
Fast food is feeling the pinch acutely, especially as one important source of workers has dried up.
At $10.93 an hour, the pay is still less than half the average for an hourly employee, pushing companies to offer more incentives – like dental insurance, sign-up bonuses and even travel reimbursement – to entice workers.
That’s good news for workers like Juan Morales, who has assembled sandwiches at a Subway on Staten Island for more than 15 years.
Mr. Haskell analyzed public financial filings from 15 major chains and determined that those companies spent about $73 million more on labor last year than the year before.
McDonald’s has announced that it will expand its tuition-reimbursement program, committing $150 million over five years to tuition reimbursement for employees who work at its stores for at least 90 days.
Replacing workers is also expensive: It costs about $2,000 to replace the average hourly restaurant worker, according to data from TDn2K. “Thirty years ago, I would not put up with the stuff I put up with today,” said John Motta, a longtime Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee in Nashua, N.H. When an employee recently missed a shift, one of his stores could serve only drive-through customers for about an hour.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to be alone: ‘I feel most alive when I’m with my own thoughts'”

“It should be a reward,” says Sara Maitland, author of How To Be Alone.
Loneliness is simply being alone and not liking it, says Maitland.
Being alone in your flat with nothing to do is more isolating than being in the Antarctic with nobody around for miles.
The key to being alone is having things to do: a sense of a quest and a purpose.
Being alone in your flat with nothing to do is probably more isolating than being in the Antarctic with nobody around for miles.
I recharge when I’m alone, and I feel most alive when I’m with my own thoughts – and nature.
I look forward to my phone calls and being home, but I’ve just got totally used to being alone.
Coming home after being away made us appreciate being together even more.

The orginal article.