September - December Faves
A collection of favorite articles from the last few months of the year, covering China, a dangerous decade, leadership, AI and delusion, the workplace, and the best nonfiction writing of the year, among other topics.
The Weakness of Xi Jinping: How Hubris and Paranoia Threaten China’s Future Not long ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping was riding high. He had consolidated power within the Chinese Communist Party. He had elevated himself to the same official status as the CCP’s iconic leader, Mao Zedong, and done away with presidential term limits, freeing him to lead China for the rest of his life. Not everyone at the party is happy about it. (Foreign Affairs)
The Dangerous Decade “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” Those words are apocryphally attributed to the Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, referring to the rapid collapse of tsarist Russia just over 100 years ago. If he had actually said those words, Lenin might have added that there are also decades when centuries happen. (Foreign Affairs)
Jordan Peterson: Life, Death, Power, Fame, and Meaning Lex Fridman and Jordan Peterson share a conversation that reaches into the moving heart of topics as diverse as God, science, death, depression, Ukraine, how to think, and advice for young people. These are two of my favorite listens on virtually any topic. To be “in the room” with them as they dialogue about big questions is pure delight. This one is deep, rich, vulnerable, and challenging. (Lex Fridman Podcast)
Kissinger Sees A Global Leadership Vacuum Is the quality of world leadership declining just as humanity’s need for great leadership has become more urgent than ever? As I learned over a long lunch the month, Henry Kissinger thinks that is exactly where things stand, and he worries that civilization may be imperiled as a result. (WSJ)
Spirals of Delusion: How AI Distorts Decision-Making and Makes Dictators More Dangerous In policy circles, discussions about artificial intelligence invariably pit China against the United States in a race for technological supremacy. If the key resource is data, then China, with its billion-plus citizens, lax data protections, and state surveillance apparatus seems destined to win. If superior technology is what provides the edge, however, then the U.S. with its world class university system and talented workforce, still has a chance to come out ahead. (Foreign Affairs Magazine)
The Best Reviewed Nonfiction of 2022 We’ve come to the end of another bountiful literary year, and for all of us review rabbits here at Book Marks, that can mean only one thing: basic math, and lots of it. Yes, using reviews drawn from more than 150 publications, over the next two weeks we’ll be calculating and revealing the most critically-acclaimed books of 2022. Today’s installment: Nonfiction. (Literary Hub)
America’s Right Confronts the 21st Century Political conservatism has general characteristics, notably prudence, practicality and respect for settled traditions and institutions. But conservatives bring these dispositions to bear in a variety of times and places. The American experience is a vivid example of how conservatism adapts to a particular national circumstance. (WSJ)
Home Again, and Home Again, America for Me Peggy Noonan reminiscences about a beloved Aunt and her gifts to Peggy’s life. An essay on romance in ways we don’t often think of but should. A lesson from our collective past that teaches us hope, faith, and humility. Well said by one of the best ever. (WSJ)
Your Spouse is God’s Creation My dear wife, Luella, and I recently celebrated fifty years of marriage. It is mind-boggling to think that a girl from Cuba and a boy from Ohio would end up in the same lunch line, at the same college in South Carolina, on the same day, at the same time. When I first noticed her in the cafeteria, I was captured right away. For me, it was, without a doubt, love at first sight. (Desiring God)
Talent Retention Strategy: Creating Sticky Jobs We live in tumultuous, uncertain times, and the destiny of every organization depends on how well it can leverage its human capital in general, and its top talent, in particular. As I have mentioned a few times before in CSQ, the importance of talent management in times of crisis and change is difficult to overestimate. Talented employees always remain in demand—in a good economy, they are your most valuable assets that provide extraordinary value, while in difficult economic conditions, they are the ones who can keep your company afloat and competition at bay. In times of change, talent is the only true strength organizations can rely on. (CSQ)
Lex Fridman Interview with Ben Shapiro A wide-ranging discussion of culture, political attacks, Ukraine, rhetoric vs. truth, abortion, tribalism and other topics. This one is primarily Shapiro on display, which is helpful to understanding his perspectives, position, and prominence. (Lex Fridman Podcast)
Six Signs Your Hybrid Workplace Plan Isn’t Working Is the new hybrid plan working? That’s what a lot of companies are asking, as they step back and review their progress toward a new hybrid workplace. More and more businesses have at least a portion of employees who spend some of their time working in the office and some time working remotely, but it’s not always clear whether they’ve arrived at the “right” hybrid model—that is, the version of hybrid that boosts individual productivity, team collaboration and organizational innovation. (WSJ)
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