Beguiled By Narrative
Stories are culture’s way of teaching us what is important. They are what allow us to imagine what might happen next – and beyond – so as to prepare for it. We are hardwired to respond to story. A good story doesn’t feel like a story – it feels exactly like real life, but most decidedly is not like real life. It is simplified and otherwise altered. We prefer rhetorical grace and an emotional charge to the work of hard thought. Because we are inveterate simplifiers, we prefer clean and clear narrative to messy reality. A famous book by Karl Popper, The Poverty of Historicism, pretty well demolished the popular notion that history was a narrative, that it had a shape, a progression, and followed laws of development. But we believe that it does (or devoutly wish to believe that it does) anyway.
Still, because it feels so true (“It can’t be wrong when it feels so right”), it isn’t hyperbole to say you’ve been lost in a story. Story turns us into willing students, eager to learn the story’s message. It’s how we sift through the raw data of our lives to ascertain what matters. Our brains are designed to analyze the environment, pick out the important parts, and use those bits to extrapolate linearly and simplistically about and into the future.
By Martin Davidson September 09, 2014
We need to expand our definition of diversity to include the weird—a group often maligned and avoided. These are people who appear to us as different, strange, and even offbeat; they just don’t fit in.
There is potency and innovativeness in certain kinds of weirdness that can help businesses thrive.
The key for leaders is to figure out how to support weird people so that they create—not destroy—value for the company. Some of these people have stifled their offbeat creativity out of social fear, camouflaging their true selves because they think it’s not appropriate at work to be as they really are. They leave essential parts of themselves at the office door.
Weirdness manifests itself in two ways. One involves people who act weird just to oppose the norm. I call that the “little w” in weird. Little w is all about “me.” It makes you feel good to be different, but you’re not contributing what you could—what is really needed. These weird people often have voracious egos.
In contrast, “big W” weird people oppose the norm, though not just for the sake of standing out. Rather, they are trying to see something or to achieve a larger goal, and they know that following a normal path won’t get them there. Often these folks are more humble than their “little w” brethren; they are just focused on getting a great result.
U.S. Manufacturing Grows at Fastest Pace in Three Years By Jeanna Smialek Sep 2, 2014
Gains in manufacturing boosted the U.S. expansion in August, led by a surge in orders for plastics and metals that powered the world’s largest economy past a global slowdown.
The Institute for Supply Management’s index unexpectedly climbed to 59, the highest level since March 2011, from July’s 57.1, beating all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists.
By JARED BERNSTEINAUG. 27, 2014
But new research reveals that what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles. To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status….
It is widely recognized that various countries, including China, Singapore and South Korea, suppress the value of their currency relative to the dollar to boost their exports to the United States and reduce its exports to them. They buy lots of dollars, which increases the dollar’s value relative to their own currencies, thus making their exports to us cheaper and our exports to them more expensive.
In 2013, America’s trade deficit was about $475 billion. Its deficit with China alone was $318 billion.
August 26, 2014 6:49 pm
By Ed Crooks
Horizontal drilling, which opens up layers of resource-bearing shale, and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has raised US crude output by more than 65 per cent in the past six years, helped by historically high oil prices that have made the techniques commercially viable.
The big question now is how much longer the US shale industry’s growth spurt will last.
The US shale industry is still young. Successful horizontal shale wells were first drilled for gas in 2002, and for oil in 2008. So there is still great uncertainty over how the reserves will perform in the long term.
Flows from shale wells decline quickly so the industry needs to drill thousands more every year for total output to grow. If drilling becomes uneconomic, the effects show through quickly in overall production.
My guess is we’re going to be in a period of significantly lower prices. Maybe not as low as $50 per barrel. But certainly enough to slow down the whole push towards shale development
Per Magnus Nysveen of Rystad, a consultancy, says about 10 per cent of the rigs working in the Eagle Ford shale formation in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota will not be economic with global oil prices below $100 a barrel; not much lower than today’s $102.
A 10 per cent drop in drilling will not stop production rising in those areas, he says, but it will cause a significant slowdown in growth.