Lavin Weekly #50(!): Holiday, Samuel, Ibbitson, & Milkman
1. Trump Is Not the Way: Ryan Holiday’s Open Letter to His Father
In The Huffington Post, Ego Is the Enemy author Ryan Holiday has a simple plea for his dad: “Please don’t vote for Donald Trump.” Holiday cites the lessons his father taught him as a young man—embrace diversity, eschew prejudice, respect women—as evidence that Trump, a man who seemingly stands for none of this, should be unfit for any office, least of all the Presidency. Instead of urging his father to vote for Hillary Clinton, Holiday invokes the economist J.K. Galbraith, who said that “politics [was] a matter of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” Alternatives do exist, he urges: vote third-party; vote write-in; don’t vote at all.
It’s a well-crafted, heartfelt appeal. Here’s hoping Mr. Holiday gets the message.
2. “A Novel Defense of the Internet”: Alexandra Samuel on Medium
As we deride the members of Generation Y for their selfie collection, for their compulsive Redditing, for uncounted hours browsing the latest, dankest memes, we need to remember that similar aspersions once were cast on a now-beloved institution: the novel. Yes, in the 19th century, says Alexandra Samuel—and with plenty of citations to prove it—cultural critics left and right stirred moral panic that novels were “enfeebling the mind.” The comparison to today, Samuel says, where popular discourse dictates that “the Internet is turning us into click-baiting, porn-devouring imbeciles,” is uncanny. So how do we change the narrative? 1) We merge serious subject matter like journalism and religion with emerging tech like Twitter, blogging, and podcasting. 2) We look at the Internet as a legitimate area of study, much in the way we did for fiction. No, the Internet isn’t making us stupid. Just don’t start thinking that Dat Boi is the next Moby Dick.
3. John Ibbitson on Trudeau’s LGBT Reforms
The Liberal government is set to consider a series of reforms promoting equal rights for the LGBT community, beginning this fall. In The Globe and Mail, politics speaker John Ibbitson reports that Trudeau’s Liberals are considering several recommendations from advocacy group Egale, including apologizing to and pardoning those convicted of gross indecency before 1969, eliminating the difference in age of consent for sexual acts, considering financial compensation for those dismissed from public service, requiring human-rights training for police and customs officers, and more. Ibbitson argues that the proposed reforms “place Canada at the forefront of countries that are moving to redress past wrongs committed against members of sexual minorities.” For the complete list, read the full article over at The Globe.
4. Now For Plan A: Katherine Milkman in The Boston Globe
You should always have a backup plan, right? Not according to Wharton behavioral scientist Katherine Milkman, whose new research shows that contingency plans “diminish the desire to achieve the primary goal in the first place.” In the study, participants tried their hand at a sentence-unscrambling task, with a reward for successful completion. Those told to engineer a backup plan in case they failed to get the reward actually fared worse than those who weren’t. And while they may seem specific, Milkman’s findings have wider implications for business, especially in the realm of teamwork. She suggests that one team member devise a backup plan while all others focus on the task at hand, a “divide-and-conquer approach” that makes the most of all resources available. Milkman is a bright young thinker and one of Poets and Quants top 40 business school profs under 40, whose research into choice architecture and temptation bundling is breaking ground in the world of psychology.