Articles: Culture

One Hundred Years

One of my favorite books about history is Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence: From 1500 to the Present: Five Hundred Years of Western Culture Life. It’s an impressive career summation, published in 2001 when Barzun was in his nineties. I love how he looks telescopically at broad historical trends, while also zooming into the messy details of specific times and places along the way. In the past two years, the long decline that Barzun observed has…

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Becoming #1, part two

I asserted in my last post that every organization, in every space, is forced to describe itself as the best at what it does. Something about this is clearly bananas. First of all, the notion that everyone is the best defies basic logic. It’s as delusional as saying that in Lake Wobegone, all the students are above-average. If every company is #1, then none has any meaningful competition. Yet venture capitalists, who tend to know a thing…

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