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Month: October, 2011

Life Among the 1% | MichaelMoore.com

by Scott Smith

Somehow, I found a crack through the wall and made it through. I feel very blessed that I have this life — and I take none of it for granted. I believe in the lessons I was taught back in Catholic school — that if you end up doing well, you have an even greater responsibility to those who don’t fare the same. “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” Kinda commie, I know, but the idea was that the human family was supposed to divide up the earth’s riches in a fair manner so that all of God’s children would have a life with less suffering.


n+1: King of the Ghosts

by Scott Smith

His principle of empathy governed all that he taught us, even when he taught with tough love. Make your comments maximally helpful. Never sacrifice clarity. Don’t make the reader work unnecessarily—parse unnecessary clauses, wade through unnecessary data. He wrote on the syllabus that the purpose of good writing wasn’t self-expression, “or whatever your teacher told you in high school,” but communication, meaningful communication between two human beings. He taught with the empathy he preached, about everything from our grammar to our values to our personal lives.

Coaching a Surgeon: What Makes Top Performers Better? : The New Yorker

by Scott Smith

So outside ears, and eyes, are important for concert-calibre musicians and Olympic-level athletes. What about regular professionals, who just want to do what they do as well as they can? I talked to Jim Knight about this. He is the director of the Kansas Coaching Project, at the University of Kansas. He teaches coaching—for schoolteachers. For decades, research has confirmed that the big factor in determining how much students learn is not class size or the extent of standardized testing but the quality of their teachers. Policymakers have pushed mostly carrot-and-stick remedies: firing underperforming teachers, giving merit pay to high performers, penalizing schools with poor student test scores. People like Jim Knight think we should push coaching


by Scott Smith

Scott Smith trying to look stern.

An interview with Richard Russo: novelist and fan of first fictions – The Boston Globe

by Scott Smith

RUSSO: Depends on how good it is. When the books aren’t so good I find myself, especially as I get older, resentful. I start thinking I was going to reread Charles Dickens’ “Little Dorrit’’ and the reason that I can’t is I’m reading this. A couple years ago, the novelist Russell Banks told me he was reading the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. I asked why. He said, ‘‘Because I’ve always wanted to and am tired of having my reading assigned.’’ I thought it was a marvelous declaration of independence.

Steve Jobs « The New Adventures of Stephen Fry

by Scott Smith

I once heard George Melly, on a programme about Louis Armstrong, do that dangerous thing and give his own definition of a genius. “A genius,” he said, “is someone who enters a field and works in it and when they leave it, it is different. By that token, Satchmo was a genius.” I don’t think any reasonable person could deny that Steve Jobs, by that same token, was a genius too.

Why Startup Hubs Work

by Scott Smith

As I was writing this, I had a demonstration of the density of startup people in the Valley. Jessica and I bicycled to University Ave in Palo Alto to have lunch at the fabulous Oren’s Hummus. As we walked in, we met Charlie Cheever sitting near the door. Selina Tobaccowala stopped to say hello on her way out. Then Josh Wilson came in to pick up a take out order. After lunch we went to get frozen yogurt. On the way we met Rajat Suri. When we got to the yogurt place, we found Dave Shen there, and as we walked out we ran into Yuri Sagalov. We walked with him for a block or so and we ran into Muzzammil Zaveri, and then a block later we met Aydin Senkut. This is everyday life in Palo Alto. I wasn’t trying to meet people; I was just having lunch. And I’m sure for every startup founder or investor I saw that I knew, there were 5 more I didn’t. If Ron Conway had been with us he would have met 30 people he knew.

Pigs on A Tarp

by Scott Smith