”Chernobyl” (HBO NOW)

I’d read good things about this – a docudrama series about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident – and it didn’t disappoint. The first episode was riveting. It will make you wonder about the potential danger of what many consider to be the cleanest and safest form of energy.

Weapon of Choice (Netflix).- An intriguing 90-minute documentary about the amazing proliferation of the Glock as the preferred weapon for police, the military, and criminals. Glock, the engineer that invented the world’s most reliable gun, turns out to be a fascinating nut case.

The Spy Who Fell to Earth (Netflix)

I’ve made it a point to stay relatively uneducated about global politics. (So much of what you read is bullshit or propaganda, and the rest will rile you up about problems you can’t solve.) I began watching The Spy Who Fell to Earth because I liked the title. It turns out to be a somewhat disappointing documentary about Ashraf Marwan, an Egyptian billionaire that was either a spy for Israel or a double-agent for Egypt. In 90 minutes, you don’t get an answer. But you do get an indirect summary education about the 5-Day and Yom Kippur wars.

Yes, You Can You Eliminate Bureaucracy in Your Business

When I was a child, I was an idealist. In my early adulthood, I became an economic ideologue – first as a Socialist and then as a free market advocate. But as I grew older and more focused on achievement, I became a pragmatist. I still am attracted to the pull of ideas, especially when articulated in the abstract. But I cannot pretend that I could have achieved anything important without compromise – putting aside cherished beliefs in favor of solving problems and getting things done.

In Ready, Fire, Aim, I talked about the primary challenge of the Stage 3 business: Growth has created too much disorder and the intelligent founder/CEO must now implement protocols and practices. But protocols and practices will turn into bureaucracy if you don’t watch out. And that’s the challenge of the Stage 4 business.

This essay does a good job of arguing that, although natural if not inevitable, you can wean your business of bureaucracy. LINK

The Resistance Banker (Netflix) .- Set in Amsterdam during the German occupation, this film follows the brave work of Wally van Hall in establishing and running a secret underground bank to fund the resistance. Like Schindler’s List and Sophie’s Choice, it conveys the horror of the Nazi movement in a way that feels real. Not as the robotic, one-dimensional evil that’s so easy to reject, but in a subtler and more complicated way that has you asking yourself: “What would I do?” This is a good movie. It was nominated for an unprecedented 11 Golden Calvesat the 2018 Netherlands Film Festival and won four of them, including Best Feature Film and Best Actor.

Jonathan Haidt on the moral psychology of Capitalism and business.- My longtime friend Joe M sent me this video. Joe assumed that I knew who Jonathan Haidt was. I did not. But I’m grateful for the introduction. His is the sort of voice one needs in today’s polarized political world…

“Abducted in Plain Sight” (Netflix).- A documentary series about a child abduction and rape (in 1970s Idaho) that has layers of disturbing elements: Before abducting and seducing/tricking/raping the child, the charismatic criminal sexually seduced both parents, who were then complicit in the abduction.

What Makes a Good Life? James Altucher is a smart guy who has spent many years trying to figure out how to live a richer life. Recently, he published this little group of equations that are –  in my experience of trying to do the same – very true.

Persistence + Love = Success

Reality / Expectations = Happiness

Fear + Denial = Anger

1% compounded every day = 3700%

Great Idea * Different Great Idea = Unique Idea

Community + Mastery + Freedom = Well-Being

(My Wants > Their Wants) + Other Choices = Negotiation

Big + Safe + Easy + New = Sales

The 5 people you’re around most / 5 = You

Who you are + Why you are + Why now = Creativity

I was reminded of James’s formulae while watching this TED talk by a Harvard researcher…


“Flowers” is a British comedy series that premiered in the UK in 2016. I’m loving it – in part because the humor is so utterly odd. The Flowers family is functional but also possibly mentally ill. Maurice, the father (played beautifully by Julian Barratt), writes scary children’s books and is suicidal. His wife, Deborah, teaches music and seems to be borderline sociopathic. Their children, Donald and Amy… oh, forget it! I can’t possibly convey what’s so good about “Flowers” by describing the characters or the plot. Spend five minutes with it. You will love it or hate it.