William Dalrymple on the ruthless rise of the British East India Company

The outrageous story of a group of financiers from a poor and damp island on the outer rim of Europe, who created a private company that became the biggest military and political power in all of India

Simon Sinek with Arthur Brooks: Leading with Purpose

Our country is facing a crisis of moral leadership. From political polarization to falling private-sector dynamism, a lack of inspirational leadership is slowing our progress and making it more difficult to lift up the vulnerable. Bestselling authors Simon Sinek, TED Celebrity and Optimist, and Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, are among the country’s foremost leadership experts. Together, they will share the advice they offer leading policymakers and executives, and explain why uncovering our “why” is the key to greater effectiveness and personal happiness.


now my name is Joni I’m thinking about
your comment or your wife’s comment at
least we know he he’s not cheating there
statistics data shows us the 70% of
students are cheating now parents are
cheating they’re writing their papers
they’re editing their papers so much for
that parents are saying we we finished
our applications we did this we did that
this issue of integrity I think which
cuts through the why yeah how do you
apply the golden to issues
so for example if you’re running an
organization or I run a school and I see
integrity as a driving issue yeah that
impacts everything that this school is
doing and the leaders are not yeah
facing this how do you apply this to
issues yeah you want to take a crack
well I want to hear what you have to say
but I think it’s actually worth pointing
out that every single one of us can be
more honest give me more every single
one of us shades the truth all the time
and there are lots of reasons to do it
one of these to protect ourselves from
harm one of the reasons that we do it is
to get ahead and what it’s just to say
to protect your reputation and sometimes
is to protect other’s feelings those are
like kind of the three canonical reasons
for shading the truth right there’s a
lot of research on lying actually and
lying is common and is becoming more
common and particularly among young
people that we find the interesting and
the alarming thing as they tend to
justify lying as if they were protecting
others when in point of fact they are
protecting themselves so well here’s
what I recommended to all of us we’re
talking about cheating but thinking
about any dishonesty thinking about
something where you’re bending the rules
when you’ve done that why did you do
that and be honest with yourself even
before you’re honest with others never
shade the truth to protect yourself and
now here’s the gist goal go an hour
without doing it and then go a whole day
without doing it and you’re gonna pay a
cost by the way you’re gonna pay a cost
when somebody asks you a difficult
question and you don’t want to give the
answer and you pretend that you’re
protecting somebody’s feelings but
you’re actually trying to protect
yourself and your own reputation but the
dividends are huge with respect to your
own integrity because the smart person
who is more integrated is happier is
more joyful has clearer vision Simon
Simon what do you think of my answer so
it’s more about integrity
it goes to finite an infinite right
which is which is I’m playing by finite
rules my kid has to get into this school
my kid has to get this job my kid has to
get this my kid has to get that and I’ll
do whatever it takes to get them there
and that’s their playing by a plank
they’re living life and manage worse
they’re managing their kids lives based
on the finite rules and the problem is
there is no winning exactly and and that
we have this twisted concept in how
we’re managing our lives and helping our
kids in terms of wins and losses the
short term it’s the short term and and
and we said it’s pervasive it’s been
building and building since the 80s and
90s is pervasive to the point now it’s
affecting parenting exactly so so so so
bye so if somebody learns leadership at
work right and I did we I’m actually not
a business guy but but like during the
Great Depression the unemployment rate
was 25% during the last recession it was
9 or 10 right good stable unemployment
is 4 4 so what I hear is even when 25
percent I don’t have jobs 75 percent do
so if you want to get two people get
them at work and it’s too hard to go to
everybody’s home and say let’s learn
leadership but if I can get companies to
teach leadership lots of people who work
in companies are parents and you learn
skills like conflict resolution you
weren’t you learn things like effective
communication you learn things like
effective confrontation
these are all skills that are parenting
skills so the belief is that if we build
leaders in the most efficient way
possible which is at work they become
better parents that’s the belief we’re
not teaching leadership at all there’s a
book that just came out called the end
of loyalty where companies are no longer
loyal to people and people are no longer
loyal to companies everything is about
short term short term short term and
unfortunately that mentality now
pervades parenting so we have to do the
hard work we’ve probably lost a
generation but we have to do the hard
work of going back to what
– to be a parent which doesn’t mean
necessarily helping your kid get the job
at any expense or get into the school at
any cost we’ve run out of our formal
time but she’s gonna be outside is
actually yeah because your babysitter is
has to leave we go a little but we can’t
tell you what we’re gonna do we’re going
to retire to the festival but I want to
do one thing before we do I want to sum
up I want to sum up three big lessons
that we’ve learned here from talking to
Simon okay number one lesson number one

The Strange Failure of the Educated Elite

The chief accomplishment of the current educated elite is that it has produced a bipartisan revolt against itself.

.. A narrative is emerging. It is that the new meritocratic aristocracy has come to look like every other aristocracy. The members of the educated class use their intellectual, financial and social advantages to pass down privilege to their children, creating a hereditary elite that is ever more insulated from the rest of society. We need to build a meritocracy that is true to its values, truly open to all.

.. The real problem with the modern meritocracy can be found in the ideology of meritocracy itself. Meritocracy is a system built on the maximization of individual talent, and that system unwittingly encourages several ruinous beliefs:

.. Exaggerated faith in intelligence. Today’s educated establishment is still basically selected on the basis of I.Q. High I.Q. correlates with career success but is not the crucial quality required for civic leadership. Many of the great failures of the last 50 years, from Vietnam to Watergate to the financial crisis, were caused by extremely intelligent people who didn’t care about the civic consequences of their actions.

.. If you build a society upon this metaphor you will wind up with a society high in narcissism and low in social connection. Life is not really an individual journey. Life is more like settling a sequence of villages.

.. Misplaced notion of the self. Instead of seeing the self as the seat of the soul, the meritocracy sees the self as a vessel of human capital, a series of talents to be cultivated and accomplishments to be celebrated. If you base a society on a conception of self that is about achievement, not character, you will wind up with a society that is demoralized; that puts little emphasis on the sorts of moral systems that create harmony within people, harmony between people and harmony between people and their ultimate purpose.

.. Inability to think institutionally. Previous elites poured themselves into institutions and were pretty good at maintaining existing institutions, like the U.S. Congress, and building new ones, like the postwar global order. The current generation sees institutions as things they pass through on the way to individual success.

.. Some institutions, like Congress and the political parties, have decayed to the point of uselessness, while others, like corporations, lose their generational consciousness and become obsessed with the short term.

.. Diversity for its own sake, without a common telos, is infinitely centrifugal, and leads to social fragmentation.

.. The essential point is this: Those dimwitted, stuck up blue bloods in the old establishment had something we meritocrats lack — a civic consciousness, a sense that we live life embedded in community and nation, that we owe a debt to community and nation and that the essence of the admirable life is community before self.

Trump’s short-term achievements will cost conservatives

Amos went to Israel at a time of great prosperity to tell the nation God would destroy it for failing to care for its widows, its poor, its orphans and its refugees.

Everyone looked around at the success, riches, and plenty and mocked the prophet.

.. ch, and it has become far easier for conservatives to turn a blind eye to injustices than speak up.

.. More and more conservatives are modeling Trump’s bad behaviors. His vulgarity, his thin skin, his willingness to insult and demean, and his willingness to degrade his office are now reflected in conservative political leaders who increasingly see their goal as beating the other side instead of advancing ideas and sound public policy.

.. The party of small government is perfectly happy to grow government as long as Trump is spending the money. The party of limited government is perfectly happy to have a powerful chief executive as long as Trump is wielding the power. Trump and his supporters have also doubled-down on unwise precedents set by the Obama administration. President Barack Obama investigated leaks to reporters such as James Rosen; Trump now seems to revel in the idea of shutting down whole networks whose coverage he hates. Republicans who decried the left’s hostility to free speech in the Obama years now champion censorship of their opponents.

.. It is safe to say many of the president’s supporters have concluded that arguments and debates no longer work, so they will take what they can get as quickly as they can before the tide rolls in and washes this administration away.

.. The short-term gains of this administration, like those of the last, are being achieved by executive order and appointment. So too then can the gains of this administration be wiped out as easily as those of the last.

.. There will always be partisans on the left who hate anything those on the right do. But they are not who conservatives have to worry about. Conservatives have to worry about those in the middle who are persuadable. They have to worry about minority voters increasingly skeptical of the secular drift of the Democratic Party. They have to worry about younger voters.

.. It has become harder to make the case for family and morality as prominent evangelicals applaud and justify the bad behaviors of a thrice-married adulterer who believes immigrants should be judged based on their nation of origin, not the content of their own character.

.. not only has Anthony M. Kennedy not retired from the Supreme Court, but also he has drifted left.

.. the precedent is now there for Democrats to just ignore a replacement who Trump nominates. The conservatives who rallied to Trump to save the high court may very well lose it because of him.

.. Though many conservatives, myself included, have cheered the successes of this administration, most of them are easily reversible and, along the way, it will be harder and harder to separate the successes from the low character and behavior of the man whose name is connected to them. Conservatives may no longer care, but for most Americans, character still matters. At some point, those on the right will pay the price.

China Could Sell Trump the Brooklyn Bridge

Xi has been brilliant at playing Trump, plying him with flattery and short-term trade concessions and deflecting him from the real structural trade imbalances with China. All along, Xi keeps his eye on the long-term prize of making China great again. Trump, meanwhile, touts every minor victory as historic and proceeds down any road that will give him a quick sugar high.

What world are we in? One in which we’re going through three “climate changes” at once.

  1. We’re going through a change in the actual climate: Destructive weather events and the degradation of ecosystems are steadily accelerating.
  2. We’re going through a change in the “climate” of globalization: from an interconnected world to an interdependent one; from a world of walls, where you build your wealth by hoarding resources, to a world of webs, where you thrive by connecting your citizens to the most flows of ideas, trade, innovation and education.
  3. And, finally, we’re going through a change in the “climate” of technology and work: Machines are acquiring all five senses, and with big data and artificial intelligence, every company can now analyze, optimize, prophesize, customize, digitize and automatize more and more jobs, products and services.

.. while China hails globalization, it imposes a 25 percent tariff on imported cars (while America imposes only 2.5 percent) and 50-50 joint ventures and technology transfers for big companies that want to gain access to China’s giant market. But China gets away with it.

.. plowing government funds and research into commercializing 10 strategic industries while creating regulations and swiping intellectual property from abroad to make them all grow faster. These industries include

  1. electric vehicles,
  2. new materials,
  3. artificial intelligence,
  4. integrated circuits,
  5. biopharmacy,
  6. quantum computing,
  7. 5G mobile communications, and
  8. robotics.

.. And Trump? On the change in the climate, he’s promoting coal over clean energy, like wind and solar, and has appointed climate-change deniers to all of his key environmental posts. While China is run by engineers, Trump doesn’t even have a science adviser.

.. “This will be wounding to one of America’s gems,” its institutions of higher education, Drew Faust, the president of Harvard, said to me. And it’s basically being done to cut taxes for the wealthy.

.. the Chinese are focused on the giant winds of change, and Trump is betting on his gut and a grab bag of tax cuts based on no take on the world, other than dubious trickle-down economics.

.. When you don’t know where you’re going any tax cut will get you there, any replacement for Obamacare will get you there, any wall will get you there, any trade concession will get you there.

.. I’m certain our economic system is better than theirs — in theory.

But China, with its ability to focus, is getting 90 percent out of its inferior system, and it has brought China a long way fast. And we, with too little focus, are getting 50 percent out of our superior system. 

Tillerson Balances Trump’s Goals With His Own

In interview, secretary of state reflects on his role in administration, warns China on trade and territory

 “Most of the things he would do would be done on very short time frames. Everything I spent my life doing was done on 10- to 20-year time frames, so I am quite comfortable thinking in those terms.”

His solution: “Delivering the incremental wins,” he said. “Incremental progress is taking you toward the ultimate objective, which is, as I say is eight, 10 years down the road.”’

.. Mr. Tillerson said one of his top long-term priorities is shifting the balance of the trade and national-security relationship with China

.. Mr. Tillerson warned China that the U.S. has an arsenal of economic weapons to force Beijing to address trade imbalances and a continuing territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

 .. “We can do this one of two ways,” Mr. Tillerson said during the interview, seeming at times to speak directly to his Chinese counterparts. “We can do it cooperatively and collaboratively, or we can do it by taking actions and letting you react to that.”

Tools he might apply include tariffs, World Trade Organization actions, quotas and other mechanisms, he said.

.. If I were a world leader—doesn’t matter who—I wouldn’t talk to Tillerson,” said Larry Wilkerson, who was chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, citing the public divide between the two men. “The president must feel that this person can do the work for him…this is not the case here. It’s becoming antagonistic.”

.. Mr. Trump has also disparaged his top diplomat, complaining that Mr. Tillerson doesn’t understand his “Make America Great” philosophy and has few original thoughts. “Totally establishment in his thinking,” he has told aides.

.. “I believe you solve a problem in Afghanistan not by just dealing with Afghanistan,” he said. “You solve it by solving a regional problem, and that’s the way we’re looking at the Middle East.”

.. said he spends the bulk of his time concentrating on North Korea, Iran, counterterrorism, China and Russia.


Why Most Economists Are So Worried About Trump

at the annual conference of economists last weekend in Chicago, the major theme was a sense of anxiety about the incoming Trump administration. This foreboding was evident in roughly equal measure among conservative and liberal economists. But it is in direct contrast with the feelings of small-business owners and Wall Street traders.

.. And partly this reflects Mr. Trump’s appointments. Few of his key economic advisers have any economics training, and the only official who identifies as an economist — Peter Navarro, who earned a Harvard Ph.D. in economics and will head up the newly formed National Trade Council — stands so far outside the mainstream that he endorses few of the key tenets of the profession.

.. Over three days of intense discussions, I didn’t encounter a single economist who expressed optimism that Mr. Trump’s administration would be good for the economy. The optimists were those who thought Mr. Trump would not have the energy to actually implement his agenda; the pessimists’ thoughts veered toward disaster.

.. It also puts economists at odds with the judgments of small-business owners.

.. One possibility is that Mr. Trump remains something of an unknown, and each group is filling in the blanks differently. Small businesses, pleased to see a businessman in the White House, might be tempted to believe the best.

.. Mr. Trump’s anti-regulatory zeal may help businesses but hurt workers; his anti-trade agenda could help sellers but hurt buyers; and his instincts to protect existing jobs may advantage existing businesses at the expense of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

.. Or perhaps the optimism of small-business owners is about what they think is most likely to happen, particularly in the short run. My conversations with economists revealed them to be more focused on the long run, particularly on the risk of really bad outcomes. By this view, the short-term optimism may be well placed, but should be juxtaposed with the possibility of a trade war, a catastrophic economic decision like defaulting on the national debt or a foreign policy disaster.

.. Mr. Trump’s populist pose assigns less value to economic expertise, while also creating the conditions under which it’s most likely to be needed.