What I'm reading: "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)" by Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric―a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

What I'm reading: "The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers" by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.

What I'm reading: What the Hell is Going on? by David Terrell

“The future is in disorder. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It is the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.” — Tom Stoppard

The media environment is like a crystal ball. By observing it, we can predict the future. Commerce will become quirkier, education will be overhauled, and politicians will increasingly look like anti-establishment celebrities.

What the Hell is Going on?

What I'm reading: The Future of the Mind by Michio Kaku

The Future of the Mind brings a topic that once belonged solely to the province of science fiction into a startling new reality. This scientific tour de force unveils the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics—including recent experiments in telepathy, mind control, avatars, telekinesis, and recording memories and dreams. The Future of the Mind is an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience. Dr. Kaku looks toward the day when we may achieve the ability to upload the human brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; project thoughts and emotions around the world on a brain-net; take a “smart pill” to enhance cognition; send our consciousness across the universe; and push the very limits of immortality.

Future of the Mind

What I'm Reading: A Six Point Plan for HBO (The Future of HBO, Pt. II)

In part one of this two-part series, we reviewed HBO’s present day dominance, as well as the reasons why the company will need to change and grow if it’s to extend its reign through the next decade. Here, we detail exactly which changes the company needs to make, why they won’t require the network to alter its identity, and how the company was addressing these changes long before it was acquired by AT&T.

By Matthew Ball at Redef

What I'm reading: Zero to One by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things. 

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

What I'm reading: Status as a Service (SaaS) by Eugene Wei

The creation of a successful status game is so mysterious that it often smacks of alchemy. For that reason, entrepreneurs who succeed in this space are thought of us a sort of shaman, perhaps because most investors are middle-aged white men who are already so high status they haven't the first idea why people would seek virtual status (more on that later).

Almost every social network of note had an early signature proof of work hurdle. For Facebook it was posting some witty text-based status update. For Instagram, it was posting an interesting square photo. For Vine, an entertaining 6-second video. For Twitter, it was writing an amusing bit of text of 140 characters or fewer. Pinterest? Pinning a compelling photo. You can likely derive the proof of work for other networks like Quora and Reddit and Twitch and so on. Successful social networks don't pose trick questions at the start, it’s usually clear what they want from you.

So, to answer an earlier question about how a new social network takes hold, let’s add this: a new Status as a Service business must devise some proof of work that depends on some actual skill to differentiate among users. If it does, then it creates, like an ICO, some new form of social capital currency of value to those users.

Status as a Service (SaaS) by Eugene Wei

What I'm reading: Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib

Moving linearly through Tribe’s catalog, Go Ahead in the Rain details how the group and hip-hop at large evolved throughout the 1990s. Abdurraqib’s essays are accessible yet rich, threading various histories to situate Tribe’s place within rap, black music, and black culture. He offers compact introductions to Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, and anyone else who brushed shoulders with or influenced the group. Whether he’s using the Sanford and Son joke buried within “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” to illustrate how little East Coast rappers knew about the West Coast, or examining Q-Tip’s Mobb Deep collaborations to dwell on his many uses of jazz samples, Abdurraqib never misses a chance to be as panoramic as he is granular. A Tribe Called Quest is his muse and his lens into the past.

- Pitchfork review by Stephen Kearse

Go ahead in the rain companion playlist

What I'm reading: Great at Work by Morten Hansen

Why do some people perform better at work than others?

This deceptively simple question continues to confound professionals in all sectors of the workforce. Now, after a unique, five-year study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, Morten Hansen reveals the answers in his “Seven Work Smarter Practices” that can be applied by anyone looking to maximize their time and performance.

Great At Work