We are kicking off the sixth month of the year, and what a year it’s been… This is the month that signals the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the onset of monsoons and the start of a new academic year in India. All of these things will continue to happen this year, of course, but it all feels very strange…
Here are a few articles to kick off the new month (which brings us that much closer to the end of this year!):
The secret to a long and healthy life? Eat less – I know it’s a bit strange to talk about long and healthy lives when so many are dying due to the Coronavirus. Having said that, I believe that the results of the studies mentioned in this article have very important implications for all of us.
The Joy of Bone-Exhausting Work – I am sure most of us are familiar with the feeling of satisfaction (and exhaustion) after doing some hard, physical labour. This article goes on to add some important things to keep in mind after doing hard labour and raises the question of how we could bring this joy to our daily lives.
Does music help us work better? It depends– I am definitely someone who cannot work with music on. I like to pay my complete attention to the music that I am listening, and therefore, having it on while working is a distraction. But there are many others who seme to enjoy working with music on. This article explores this subject in detail.
Lonely Planet TV – Back in the 1990s, a few years after India had ‘liberalised’ her economy and we were exposed to the joys of satellite TV, a travel series burst on the screens. I was captivated by the series that, for the first time, exposed me to some of the most beautiful and captivating destinations around the World. The series – “Globe Trekker“. The great news is that Lonely Planet has now thrown open access to all the episodes of this iconic series, along with many more. Go ahead and rediscover one of the great travel shows!
A few months into the lock-down triggered by the pandemic and we are starting to see more opinions on what the ‘new normal’ might look like and how we might have to adjust. Here are a few such articles that I found interesting.
Work From Home Is Here To Stay– So we might have all heard by now that many (tech) companies are making it optional for employees to return to their offices to work. This article has a very interesting take on this – “The post-pandemic workplace will have fewer lunches, happy hours, and conferences where schmoozers can make their mark… So if your main job skill is networking, you might want to learn the art of actually working.”
Mental Models For A Pandemic– In this Farnam Street Blog, the author poses some very thought-provoking questions. How can we improve our Antifragility? How can we grow stronger through change and challenge? Worth a detailed read.
What We Leave Behind– Another thought-provoking article, this one is by Professor Scott Galloway. As he puts it, “This is an opportunity to spend less on stuff, spend less time commuting, and reallocate that capital and time to our partners and children.”
These Are The World’s Happiest Places– This is admittedly an old article, written well before the pandemic hit us. I would be interested to see research on how the pandemic has affected these results, but my sense is that it might not have a significant impact. “…three-quarters of human happiness is driven by six factors: strong economic growth, healthy life expectancy, quality social relationships, generosity, trust, and freedom to live the life that’s right for you. These factors don’t materialize by chance; they are intimately related to a country’s government and its cultural values. In other words the happiest places incubate happiness for their people.”
Consumer Sentiment Evolves As The Next “Normal” Approaches– Finally, some very interesting data on consumer sentiment in the ‘Post Coronavirus’ scenario, across multiple countries. Some interesting insights were surprise to see that consumers in large Asian countries seem to be the more optimistic, while more South American countries have consumers more likely to increase spending. Very interestingly, Germany and France are the only two countries where consumers plan to increase their domestic travel.
Death of the Office – No one know what the ‘new normal’ is going to look like in a post Covid world. One theory that I have been hearing from multiple sources now is that businesses are waking up to the fact that working from home can ‘work’, which means that they might have unnecessarily been investing in office space. Is the ‘office’ the way we have known it going to survive?
The Burden of Skepticism – An old article by Carl Sagan, but still very relevant. In fact, I would argue that it is more relevant in today’s world with the rampant spread of unverified information through social networks.
Today is when there is a relaxation of lock-down in India, across most parts. A few of you might be headed back to work; our apartment complex has decided to allow household help to resume services. I hope all of you remain safe wherever you are.
The Man Who Thought Too Fast– I had never heard of Frank Ramsey until I read this ‘New Yorker’ profile. It was fascinating to read that one of the papers he composed in 1926 laid the foundations for what we now know as ‘Decision Theory’.