Capitolism

Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

A Crisis of Male Ambition? Part II

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Yesterday, I posted on an article that I contend shows a disparity in mean male and female ambition.  I also noted one caveat using data from the Princeton University Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership.  Yet, spinning a convincing narrative of the ambitious male is as commensurately difficult as spinning an explicative narrative of the unambitious male—the male on the opposite end of the bell curve.  One take is that American society failed to spin a compelling and inspirational narrative for young men to follow.  Most importantly, we do not ask young men to think of their lives in terms of generational advancement (beyond increasingly vacuous narratives, such as the ubiquitous “American dream”).  Such a successful narrative may proceed as follows: “Your father worked as a small businessman in small town America.  However, you now have the opportunity to run a global firm out of that town, or a larger city if you prefer, except you will have manufacturing plants in India, China, and Brazil, too.  The great opportunities of this global and interconnected world mean that you can be more prosperous than your father was, or have a more diverse, cosmopolitan, and compelling lifestyle.  Yet, you will need to work and plan for it.  You will need to cultivate a global vision.  You will require greater education, for instance, a degree in Industrial or Mechanical Engineering, and perhaps an MBA.  And, by the way, there is a broad framework of federal and private student loans to allow you to achieve these goals and become an effective businessman.”  Lacking such a narrative, young men risk missing the context of generational advancement and progress within which they ought to position their educational and vocational goals/ambitions.  Read the rest of this entry »

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A Crisis of Male Ambition? Part I

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This article in the New York Times caught my eye.  Shrinking unemployment numbers—now at 8.3% nationally—are a product of improved private sector hiring, but also of young people dropping out of the workforce in droves, some of them seeking refuge in graduate school.  Yet, women find themselves more likely to enroll in graduate school and certificate/training programs than are their male counterparts.  Are women more ambitious than their male counterparts of today? There exist now—for the first time in three decades—more young women in school than in the work force.  The article summarizes the trend as follows: “Though young women in their late teens and early 20’s view today’s economic lull as an opportunity to upgrade their skills, their male counterparts are more likely to take whatever job they can find.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Business Model Generation

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Knowing the recent developments at Chiefist, a friend recommended I read Business Model Generation, a book sitting idly on my Amazon Wish List for about eight months. With his prompting, I purchased it and read it across the past week.

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Written by Russell S.

February 2, 2012 at 9:37 pm

On Personal Libraries and Book Collecting

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I visited a used bookstore in Oxford yesterday.  While I worked assiduously to fight off my desire to buy the whole shop, I came away with a nice collection of old, hardcover books: Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition; Walter Lippmann’s The Good Society; and Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, to name a few.  Upon returning to my flat, I made room for these new purchases on my bookshelf and realized just how elated I was with them.  It is manifest that I love books; yet, this experience was different.  What was it about a used bookstore that augmented my experience of purchasing books for my personal library? Read the rest of this entry »

Investing Illusions and Delusions

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The latest issue of my company’s newsletter, Chiefist Positions, went out today. In it, we examine “investing illusions and delusions,” through the lens of two powerful and outstanding books:

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman
  • The Halo Effect, by Phil Rosenzweig

You can find Kahneman’s book on Amazon or in most bookstores. You can find Rosenzweig’s book in used bookstores, Amazon marketplace, Alibris.com, Abebooks.com or Bookfinder.com. With shipping, it will cost you about $6, which will be the best $6 you spend all year. Get them both, and read them.

Written by Russell S.

January 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Tide Triumphs

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For everyone who thinks the National Championship game was a snoozer last night, you’re only partially right. The game wasn’t competitive — although it remained closer than it should have because of Alabama’s inability to score touchdowns. But we witnessed one of the very best defensive performances in football — ever, period. LSU passed the 50-yard line once, and Alabama had one penalty, with three minute to go in the 4th quarter. Coach Nick Saban had his team supremely ready, and it showed. Stellar performance, and it made the game much more compelling than some might lead you to believe.

Written by Russell S.

January 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Internal Action of the Old West Revealed

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Always a source for excellent books, especially Westerns, my uncle gave me Heart of the Country, by Greg Matthews, for Christmas. Anticipating the receipt of a good book for the holiday, I uncharacteristically brought no books on my travel to Louisville, and began reading it immediately. From the start, I could not put it down. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Russell S.

January 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm