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Circle of Competence Issue #111


"The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained in sudden flight but, they while their companions slept, they were toiling upwards in the night." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Industry Primers Needed

This week I was fortunate that a subscriber reached out and provided a few industry primers on the software and healthcare (pharma, biotech, and medtech) industries (big hat tip to Drew Frailey). I'm still looking for solid primers on the following industries, so please reach out if you'd like to contribute to the growing Business Vault:

- Aviation/Aerospace

- Energy

- Natural Resources

- Media

- Transportation

Why I write (George Orwell)

I've been reading David Brooks' The Second Mountain recently. The book is his attempt to explain the archetypal rise, fall, and rise again of career-oriented people who either fail to achieve their first (often career oriented) set of goals but find a more fulfilling purpose instead OR who achieve everything they ever dreamed of, but find emptiness at the top of the 'first mountain' and begin to look for a more noble, 'second mountain' instead. The beauty of this book is that it is applicable to the new grads out there who's career tracks are looking vastly different than they were 3 months ago, as well as the 30 year industry veteran who is feeling a sense of longing for a bigger purpose.

Anyways, in this book, he mentions an essay by George Orwell titled "Why I Write" and I have linked to it above. He describes his development as a writer and proposes four general reasons why writers write:

1) For ego - "But there is also the minority of gifted, willful people who are determined to live their own lives to the end, and writers belong in this class. Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money." Well...OK. Anyone who publishes something publicly has some of this.

2) For beauty's sake - "Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed." - I can't say my writing fits here.

3) For historic record - "Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity." - I would consider this blog squarely in this category.

4) For political purpose - "Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other people’s idea of the kind of society that they should strive after." - Occasionally I dabble.

George Orwell's life was as interesting as his writing was, but what made his writing memorable was that its messages were deeply political, falling into the last category above. The best writers leave their mark from the deep lessons they teach, illustrated through either story or argument or both.

On Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny (Ravi Zacharias)

Ravi Zacharias, one of my favorite writers and thinkers, passed away this week from a battle with cancer. His most well-known idea was his worldview framework. In his view, a cohesive worldview must answer 4 major questions about life:

1) What is your Origin?

2) What is the Meaning of it all?

3) Where is Morality derived from?

4) What is your Destiny?

I am certain that this email is sent to Muslims, Christians, Jews, Atheists, Buddhists, Humanists, among other philosophies and worldviews. Regardless of your views, I would encourage you to watch his lecture above and contemplate these questions. As Socrates quipped, 'the unexamined life is not worth living."



Howard Marks on the US dollar and investing defensively (Tim Ferriss)

What Happened to the US Economy During the 1918 Influenza Pandemic? A View Through High-Frequency Data (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

The big cycles over the last 500 years (Ray Dalio)

Stephen Schwarzman with Lex Fridman on going big in business, investing, and AI (Artificial Intelligence Podcast)

The great monetary inflation (Hidden Forces Podcast)


Solar's future is insanely cheap (Ramez Naam)

MoviePass auction to be conducted June 18 (Variety)

Spotify strikes $100M deal with Joe Rogan (WSJ)

Epic Games Primer (Part I, Part II by Matthew Ball)

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