What We're Reading

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

Competition

Sears, circa 1970s:

When business school professors or journalists would ask Sears executives which competitor they most feared, the answer that invariably came back was: nobody. The Sears brass simply didn’t believe that any other retailer could be considered a true competitor. Their pride, writes Katz, had become pridefulness.

Easing up

Great:

After increasing for decades, the real cost of attending both public and private college is flat and in some cases even declined this year, as colleges compete for fewer students by giving away more scholarships.

The average net cost of a year at a four-year public college or university, including tuition, fees, room and board, fell to $14,880 in 2018–19, down slightly from $14,910 in 2017–18 and just $90 more than in 2016-17. By comparison, between 2008-09 and 2015-16 the net cost increased 25%, or $2,840, in inflation adjusted dollars, according to the report.

Identity

Old but great from Paul Graham:

If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.

Most people reading this will already be fairly tolerant. But there is a step beyond thinking of yourself as x but tolerating y: not even to consider yourself an x. The more labels you have for yourself, the dumber they make you.

Prescient

Buffett on Lampert in 2005:

“Eddie is a very smart guy, but putting Kmart and Sears together is a tough hand,” Buffett told the Kansas crowd. “Turning around a retailer that has been slipping for a long time would be very difficult. Can you think of an example of a retailer that was successfully turned around?” “How many retailers have really sunk, and then come back?” Buffett said. “Not many. I can’t think of any.”

Grey area

Most disciplines have embraced nuance, except economics:

nuance-rate-all-fields-relative.png

Transparency

I’m down for this:

The nation’s top health official proposed on Monday that pharmaceutical companies be required to include the list price of medicines in television advertisements to consumers … Under a major change laid out by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and drafted as a new federal rule, drug manufacturers would need to disclose in ads the list price of a 30-day supply of any drug that is covered through Medicare and Medicaid and costs more than $35 a month.

Have a good weekend.

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