Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World by Tom Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a pretty well-written book about a fairly convoluted scam. I will admit that I didn’t follow all the details because they’re complicated and I didn’t care that much, but skimming over that was still reasonably interesting.
Jho Low (the subject of the book) wasn’t exactly a rags-to-riches story (his father was a millionaire), but he did made himself a billionaire and proceeded to spend a legendary amount of money before it all came crashing down. He seemed to be in it for the prestige – the book mentions a few times that he would plan these exorbitant parties with Hollywood stars down to the last detail, but was still kind of awkward talking to people at said parties.
Also it will never fail to amuse me that The Wolf of Wall Street, a movie about a scam artist, was financed by a company that scammed its way into business. And that the subject of the movie (Jordan Belfort) came to a party for the movie and was convinced that the company had been running a scam! (just because he thought “no one would spend their own money this way”…)
Anyway, Jho Low scammed Malaysia out of a fantastic amount of money, and reading this book makes me want to burn down modern finance and a lot of banks too. (who should have known better, but didn’t look too hard because they wanted their cut of fees, etc.) There’s also an Imelda Marcos-like figure (the former first lady of Malaysia) who bought lots and lots and lots of jewelry, and…yeah.
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The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves by Keith Law
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a nice look at some common cognitive biases and examples of how baseball managers and GMs have been affected by them. I’ve read about most of the biases before, but it was neat to read about real-life examples of bad baseball decisions made because of them. It was also nice that he included a few decisions that looked bad at the time but turned out well, and how the people making them were aware of the biases and what they did to combat them.
Each chapter is a nice bite-size look at one cognitive bias, and Law is a good writer so it’s a nice and breezy read. (also I miss baseball!)
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We bought a playset for the backyard! Actually, we starting going through the ordered process two months ago, but it arrived this past weekend, and the kids have been enjoying the heck out of it. It’s a little unfortunate it’s a usual Texas summer, so we can only go out in the morning or late afternoon – our goal is to go out 8:45-9:30 AM or so when the UV is OK and the heat is bearable. When we go out in the afternoon, even if we wait until 5 PM, it’s still really hot! But the kids haven’t been on a swing or slide since this began in mid-March, and they’re having lots of fun on it.
The numbers in Austin are bad. Three weeks ago our average daily hospitalizations were 17 (which was up from around 10, where it had been for a few months), two weeks ago it was 24, last week it was 48, now it’s 59. The governor (finally!) implemented a statewide mandatory mask order, which will hopefully make a difference in a few weeks.
I heard that our daycare still has about half of the usual kids attending. Some of them, I’m sure, are kids of essential workers, but now I’m really curious about how many are not.
This was an interesting interview about what Dr. Fauci and some other health experts do personally (no one eats indoors at a restaurant, for example), but there are differing opinions about whether kids should go back to school in the fall. And the estimates for when we’ll have a vaccine vary a lot, but it seems unlikely before early 2021. (here’s the NYTimes’ vaccine tracker if you like giving yourself some hope) Add this all up and I still don’t know what it makes sense to do with the kids and daycare when Austin’s numbers look more reasonable.