Lords of Finance

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World continues my research into wealth inequality and the real-world workings of capitalism.  This book is the story primarily of four men: Norman, Strong, Moreau, and Schadt, the heads of the central banks of the UK, U.S., France, and Germany in the 1910’s through 1940’s. These are the men who restructured the financial world at the end of...

War and Gold

Continuing my series of book reports on economics, I was walking through my public library when the title War and Gold caught my eye.  The book explains (in far too much detail) the history of money over the last 500 years, starting with the Spanish exploitation of the New World and the subsequent flood of silver into Europe and continuing century by century to the Volker/Regan solution to...

The commonly misunderstood tragedy of the commons

Apparently I’ve misunderstood the “Tragedy of the Commons” and so likely have you. This is a great example of a meme that is assumed to be both ancient and obvious, but isn’t.  There was an essay entitled “Tragedy of the Commons” written back in 1833, but it was ignored until Garret Hardin published an article in Science in 1968 with the same title.  It’s...

Conspiracies and Corporations

I try and keep politics off of this blog, but sometimes the coverage from politics sparks a question about entrepreneurship.  Specifically today it was an explanation in The New York Times about how the law punishes conspiracy above and beyond the underlying crime. That triggered the question of what is the difference between a conspiracy and a corporation?  Both are groups of people planning to...

People before Profit

It took me a few months to finish People before Profit, the inspiring story of Bob Moore, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill.  A friend recommended it, as (spoiler) at age 70 Bob gave the company to his employees. From my other readings on economics, I’m concluding that its the inequality of ownership that is the root cause of both wealth and income inequality.  I was thus eager to read...

How many entrepreneurs are there in the world?

Walk around with a hammer, and many things look like nails.  Live your life as an entrepreneur (or startup investor) and it seems like entrepreneurs are everywhere.
Just how many entrepreneurs are there?  According to the editors at, just 400 million globally.  That is around 5% of the total population.  Everywhere… but uncommon.

What if 99% of success is luck?

What if 99% of success is luck?  Not just success in startups (which is what I do, teach, and write about), but also success in life? If you are following this blog, you know I’ve been thinking about income inequality, digging into the questions of its root cause, and potential solutions.  But what if there is no solution, as it’s true cause is a series of random chances, some good...

Myths and assumptions of tulips

One of the best parts of Debt: The First 5,000 Years was pointing out the myth that economies always begin with barter (hint: they never have). Similarly, whenever a market starts to heat up, we inevitably hear about the tulip bubble in Holland in the 1630’s.  Well… turns out those stories are myths as well.  Anne Goldgar has written a book, Tulipmania: Money, Honor and Knowledge in...

A No-Lose Lottery

The staff at the Freakonomics podcast does an amazing job of uncovering interesting business ideas.  Two weeks ago the episode was “A No-Lose Lottery“. The idea is incredibly simple, but feels enough like a lottery that it is illegal in most countries.  It goes like this: Create a savings account, where the savers are guaranteed to not lose their savings (if not earn a small interest...


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