What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collaborative team came across this week …

Minimum wage:

“When the minimum wage goes up, I see it,” says Dr. Margot Kushel, who directs the University of California, San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations, which is based in a local hospital. San Francisco and surrounding cities raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour last July. When Kushel’s patients have a bit more money in their pockets, “they exercise more. They are less stressed and can quit smoking. Their mental health improves pretty dramatically. Their sleep gets better. And people start eating healthier almost immediately.” Kushel continued: “We will spend an incredible amount on a new heart drug. But if we increased wages by $1, we’d save more lives.”

On the job:

In 1980, the highest-earning men actually worked fewer hours per week than middle-class and low-income men, according to a survey by the Minneapolis Fed. But that’s changed. By 2005, the richest 10 percent of married men had the longest average workweek. In that same time, college-educated men reduced their leisure time more than any other group. Today, it is fair to say that elite American men have transformed themselves into the world’s premier workaholics, toiling longer hours than both poorer men in the U.S. and rich men in similarly rich countries.

Technology:

Scientists are on the cusp of commercializing the first personalized cancer vaccine. If it works as hoped, the vaccine, which triggers a person’s immune system to identify a tumor by its unique mutations, could effectively shut down many types of cancers.

Optimism:

The most expensive investing mistake in the world to make is to be a pessimist, and it’s a common one. I think that’s actually the most common mistake to make in life. It is true that we are in a lull right now, but it is absolutely, categorically false that — unless the world gets destroyed in a very short term — that we will not have a bigger technological wave then we’ve ever had before.

Leverage:

We use debt sparingly. Many managers, it should be noted, will disagree with this policy, arguing that significant debt juices the returns for equity owners. And these more venturesome CEOs will be right most of the time.

At rare and unpredictable intervals, however, credit vanishes and debt becomes financially fatal. A Russian roulette equation – usually win, occasionally die – may make financial sense for someone who gets a piece of a company’s upside but does not share in its downside. But that strategy would be madness for Berkshire. Rational people don’t risk what they have and need for what they don’t have and don’t need.

Attention:

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve went to a concert and as soon as the band starts playing everyone whips their phone out to take a video and post it to social media. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.

Sometimes we forget to live in the moment. Right now we are just a bunch of zombies stumbling into each other.

Put down your phone for a while. Strike up a conversation with a stranger next time you are waiting in line. Enjoy life.

Sent from my iPhone

Have a good weekend.


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