Articles

A slowly extending collection of interesting articles on philosophy, psychology, writing, computer science and information systems.

Business

"The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs" (Isaacson, April 2012)
A fascinating analysis of Steve Jobs' leadership style and success. When reading Steve Jobs biography (also written by Isaacson), I often wondered how Jobs' surprisingly harsh, crude, egoistic and merciless leadership style could make any company successful. This article provides a number of possible explanations. However, still, I doubt the world would be a better place if all managers would be like Jobs.

"How Companies Learn Your Secrets" (Duhigg, 16th of February 2012)
This article reviews research about human behavior of relevance for understanding purchase decisions. Focusing on the retailer Target, a number of examples are given of how companies analyze and attempt to influence their customers behavior. 

"What’s Luck Got to Do With It?" (Collins and Hansen, 29th of October 2011)
Refers to a study, which attempted to establish if the success or demise of companies can be traced back to lucky and unlucky events influencing their fortune in ways out of their control. They establish that luck is not so important as being able to make good use of this luck. However, one might also argue that one is lucky, when one can make good use of ones luck ...

"The Creative Monopoly" (Brooks, 23rd of April 2012)
You don't need to outpace competition, if you do something valuable that no one else does.

Writing

"The Fierce Imagination of Haruki Murakami" (Anderson, 21st of October 2011)
The article touches upon the 'strangeness' of characters and worlds Murakami invents. Asked about the 'Little People' a strange occurrence of surreal creatures starring in his most recent novel 1Q84, Murakami remarks: “The Little People came suddenly. [...] I don’t know who they are. I don’t know what it means. I was a prisoner of the story. I had no choice. They came, and I described it. That is my work.” 

Psychology

"How to Get the Rich to Share the Marbles" (Haidt, 20th of February 2012)
When do we like to share our wealth freely with others, and when not.

"The Rise of the New Groupthink" by SUSAN CAIN, January 13, 2012
Argues that groups often perform worse than individuals and promotes work in isolation and solitude. A little bit one-sided but also a number of interesting comments below the articla.

"The Limits of Empathy" By David Brooks (Link)
A number of studies have found that empathy has only a small influence on our decisions. Moreover, it is argued that empathy does not necessarily lead to better decisions; for instance, the bias to help the cute rather than the ugly even when the latter are in greater need of help.

"Don’t Blink! The Hazards of Confidence" (Kahneman, 19th of October 2011)
Article from Nobel price winning psychologist (in economics) Daniel Kahneman discussing many of his central research themes regarding common cognitive biases. For instance, he discusses that investment firms were not able to digest the statistical evidence provided that performance of traders was to a very large degree based solely on luck. He concludes: "[O]verconfident professionals sincerely believe they have expertise, act as experts and look like experts. You will have to struggle to remind yourself that they may be in the grip of an illusion". Also a very nice example if not of academic writing at least of a piece of writing discussing academic themes in an approachable manner.

Philosophy


"The Stone: Beyond New Atheism" by Gary Gutting (Link)
"The Stone: The Meaningfulness of Lives" (May, 11th of September 2011)

Politics

"Warming Revives Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic" (Kramer, 17th of October 2011)
Without a doubt, an increase in global temperatures can cause great damage to both the environment and human beings. However, what positive effects can an increase in global temperature possibly have. In particular, since humankind's bane were historically ice ages rather than periods of above-average temperatures.

Programming

"Coding for success" by Andy Young (link)

"Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns" (Yegge, 30th of March, 2006)
Entertaining little piece on some shortcomings of the Java programming language; in specific the difficulties in using the command design pattern (that's at least my interpretation): any "action" to be performed in Java must be encapsulated in a class, which can make programs a little bit verbose.

Research

"Is Our Adults Learning?" (Brooks, April 2012)
Argues that policy makers and economists are not really gaining new insights into how policy affects the economy. Proposes that there should be more small-scale economic 'experiments' to assess the effectiveness of policies.

"Robert Caro’s Big Dig" (McGrath, April 2012)
In-depth portray of the journalist/author Robert Caro and his work and work process. Caro has a fascinating passion for portraying history from both a personal and global level with a great attention to detail.

"Cognitive Style as a Basis for MIS and DSS Designs: Much ado about Nothing?" (Huber, 1983)
An article showing the inconsistencies of a number of research articles and argues that a fair amount of research is based on invalid initial assumptions.

"The Gadsby Syndrome in IS Research: Rev. 0.1" (Fitzgerald, accessed 2/11/2011)

Questionable

"Using Rap to Teach Pithy Lessons in Business" (Miller, 19th of February 2012)
Being inspired by the lyrics of rap songs in making good business decisions .... I don't know ...

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