Rad Reads, Volume 54

This Week: “The Shipping Box, Bringing your Whole Self to Work, Conversational Commerce, Lebron’s Memory, Immunotherapy Primer”

Each week, we curate five unique articles, the Rad Reads. The topics are expansive and groovy, ranging from leadership, technology, pop culture, science, policy, self-improvement, philanthropy and finance.

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“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” Charlie Munger

Good Morning Rad Readers -

We’ve got an awesome issue today, a monologue on Conversational Commerce and two Twitter rap feuds. Our follow-ups are pretty Rad too, with stories on Paul Kalathini (the Stanford neurosurgeon), a CRISPR controversy, Bitcoin (and the critical juncture it finds itself in) and of course DJ Khaled.

Also, wanted to run an idea by you Rad Folks: I’m looking to organize a Rad Reads Meet-Up (first in NYC) but wanted to center it around a group volunteering activity. How fun would it be to rehabilitate a school, do park clean-up, or read to kids as a group? There are some group projects via NY Cares, but I welcome any ideas. More to come on this front.

Buckle your seat belts! (And please, subscribe a friend!)

The Box That Built the Modern World, Nautilus — I’ve been interested in the shipping container (yawn!) since the book The Box which was Bill Gates’ top book in 2013. The container is a relatively new concept, dating back to the 1950s and started by an industry outsider. By standardizing these transportation units an extremely complex economic force was unleashed. It enabled unparalleled efficiency, powered by complex logistics and effectively removing longshoremen from the picture. More importantly, it is a massive driving force in global commerce. An H&M shirt can go from a factory in Shenzen to a retail Europe in 35 days for the cost of one cent. Think about that. (Link, 17 mins)

2016 Will Be the Year of Conversational Commerce, Chris Messina — This is a phenomenal article (that was hugely popular on Medium), but knowing the Rad Reads demographic, I feel like many of you have not seen it. I also feel that as a 36 year old, my relationship with Conversational Commerce (i.e. Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack) feels a bit more like being of the receiving end of explaining to my parents that the past tense of “tweeted” is not “twatted.” But this is the future and it’s happening RIGHT NOW. College kids check their e-mail as often as I check my snail mail. Hedge funds are being built using Slack only for all internal communications. Messaging is still fragmented across platforms, but is already fully integrated into our lives and workflow, and are frictionless (i.e. not requiring any “app” downloads). There is a future where you receive Rad Reads via your favorite messaging platform, respond to an article pinging likeminded readers, which then triggers a geolocation to get you to connect with said Rad Reader in person, facilitated by an AI-based assistant, which hails an Uber to each of your apartments and coordinates an optimal meeting place location where you are welcomed with a discount on your libation of choice and your favorite music plays in the background. Ok, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Or maybe I’ve been reading too much Infinite Jest… (Link, 9 mins)

What Does it Mean to Bring Your Whole Self to Work, Buffer — We have all seen people who live “split” lives at work. They hide their passions, keep side projects under wraps and are mum on their families and loved ones. It’s an antiquated concept that you need to craft this work persona and leave the rest at home. Did you know that a Deloitte study revealed that 45% of white males cover something up at work (83% for LGBT)? Read about how Buffer (a social media company) completely reverses this approach by (gasp!) being kind and curious and encouraging inviting loved ones into their professional lives (Sidebar — I did once explain credit default swaps to Lisa using Splenda packets, does that count?!?). And the result — embracing vulnerability and creating more space for reflection, two very Rad Read-ish principles. This is the future and companies who don’t embrace it will lose the talent war. (Link, 4 mins)

LeBron James’ Greatest Weapon is His Brain, ESPN — We’ve all had that boss/friend/genius who has photographic memory. That investor who can recall minute details on a stock from 5 years ago or those people who can navigate their entire social networks in their heads. Enter the multi-dimensional King James, not only can he play all 5 positions, has a love for the history of the game, is ambidextrous — he has a memory like a steel trap. This is clearly an asset, where he can remember specific plays (including those in video games with friends and in non-basketball sports). But it can also be crippling, as it enables the replay of failures. There are a lot of lessons here for Rad Readers’ study of success and self-inquiry. For starters, if your mind starts racing do what King James does — grab a copy of the Hunger Games! (Link, 14 mins h/t @Andrea)

Cancer Treatment: The Killer Within, Nature — This article is a primer on Immunotherapy, therapies which fire up the immune system’s response to cancer cells. I learned that our main allies in the fight are “professional killers,” known as T Cells. However, tumors neutralize the T Cells’ impact by making themselves undetectable to them. Checkpoint inhibitor drugs effectively unleash the T cells, which are usually restrained such that they don’t attack healthy tissue whereas T-Cell transfer amplifies the effect of the most powerful T Cells — but activating too many of them could have toxic (and fatal) consequences. (Link, 9 mins)

Rad Follow-Ups

  • The Esoteric Debate that’s Tearing the Bitcoin World Apart, Explained, Vox (Link, 7 mins)
  • A Strange Relativity: Altered Time for Surgeon Turned Patient (Paul Kalathini) (Video Link, 7 Mins)
  • Why Eric Lander Morphed from Science God to Punching Bag (CRISPR) (Link, 8 mins)
  • Google AI Beats Top Player in Game of GO, Wired (Link, 7 mins)
  • The Snap Generation, Medium (Link, 6 mins)
  • DJ Khaled Pitches Obamacare, The Hill (Link, 2 mins)

Something was in the water at Twitter this week exemplified by the Kanye-Wiz-Amber feud. But we’re a more enlightened bunch here at Rad Reads, instead choosing to focus on Neil deGrasse Tyson Mic Dropping (h/t @Nate) rapper B.o.B disputing the latter’s flat earth theory. I suspect that there must be some forthcoming album releases…

What a time to be alive!

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