Posts Tagged ‘books’

together, beginning to end

August 22, 2010

Orna, my mentor, friend and colleague got me this book

Home, or in hebrew habyta by assaf inbari.

the story of kibbutz, a dream created in Israel 100 years ago.

a dream of community, socialism, values, sufficing with little and even less.

i was swept away by the book and recommend it to anyone who:

  • can read hebrew,
  • has a kibbutz in their background,
  • cares about creating communities


  • willing to give up convenience for values

the book is great because:

  • it blurs the lines between fiction and facts in a new and breathtaking way
  • it tells the story of the great kibbutz initiative that helped create israel in a way that was never told
  • it makes you think about what it takes to be a pioneer and entrepreneur. what you are willing to give up, how long it will last, and what does partnership really mean

some of my takeaways:

  • i think i understand my grandfather yeshayahou, who started a kibbutz and bestowed me with many values, much better now. sorry, grandpa, that i ended up a capitalist and not a socialist, but i hope i still have some time to fix that
  • any partnership, or common shared pool which is absolute, can exist, and beautifully so, but only for a relatively short time. years, a decade, not much more. the concept of ‘contribute what you can and take what you need’ can not last far beyond when the founders  themselves change. definitely not beyond a generation, which i consider to be 15 years these days, unless the next generation also has a common set of values and needs, and can change from the original vision while staying together
  • kids paid for their parents dreams, values and actions. paid dearly.

a good friend recently told me he wants to be my partner. ‘do you know what partnership means?’ he asked and answered:

you do all the work, we split the profits 50/50


April 26, 2010

what is invisible?

everything that matters, except every thing and (except) matter.


John Lloyd, Cambridge educated comedy writer and television producer, ex room mate of douglas adams (hitchhiker guide to the galaxy), is a great speaker and thinker

some of my thoughts about the invisible (probably borrowed from him):

  • we choose what to see (and therefor what not to see)
  • the invisible is so often more important than what is visible. it is interesting that you need darkness to see stars
  • and despite the fact that i love photography and try to capture the moment, what is visible is over rated.

agree? disagree? press here to watch his talk about the invisible at TED.

JD Salinger and dry dates

January 30, 2010

JD Salinger, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature is gone

a few thoughts:

  • i may or may not be still in my adolescence, but agree with holden that most adults are “phony”
  • where do the central park lagoon ducks go during winter? they have a recluse in the park
  • it is hard to walk in Central Park and not think of holden, the book and my brother, Ofer, who connected to its loneliness so fully

for trivia lovers, worth while to read on


JD salinger had a broken heart. this is where some of the best art comes from

out of fracture, comes greatness.

the girl’s name?

oona o’neill daughter of of Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning  playwriter  Eugene O’Neill and writer Agnes Boulton.

for those who may remember, O’neill was played by  Jack Nicholson in the movie Reds (for a review of this great film, click here)(along side the fantastic Diane Keaton). which directly makes me think of Reds’ star, co-writer, producer and director Warren Beatty about whom Carly Simon sang, ‘You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you’. more about beatty simon and their dates in a second.

oona o’neill also dated

  • cartoonist Peter Arno,
  • director Orson Welles,
  • (and as stated above, author J. D. Salinger). To Salinger’s disappointment, however, their relationship ended when she met
  • Charlie Chaplin and later become Lady Chaplin, (therefore Salinger’s broken heart).

arno who perhaps is least known today was multi-talented, rich, and handsome.  He exuberated confidence. his sketches were funny, satirical, unique and risky. like the one above.

anyhow, seems that oona had something about her


Beatty has had several high-profile relationships with his costars, including Natalie Wood (Splendor in the Grass), Julie Christie (McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Shampoo, Heaven Can Wait), Diane Keaton (Reds), Isabelle Adjani (Ishtar) and Madonna (Dick Tracy).

not bad

back to carly simon

who i think is totally wonderful

is also well known for “Anticipation“, which was used as the soundtrack for TC commercials  for Heinz ketchup in the 1970s. The song relates Simon’s state of mind as she waits to go on a date with Cat Stevens. After their brief liaison during 1970-1971 ended amicably, Stevens wrote his song “Sweet Scarlet” about Simon, who also had highly publicized relationships with Warren Beatty, Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, and James Taylor during this period.

Oona dated cartoonist Peter Arno, director Orson Welles, and author J. D. Salinger.[citation needed] To Salinger’s disappointment, however, their relationship ended when she met Charlie Chaplin

pitching a VC – mistakes no one tells you about

September 21, 2009

sandy koufax the pitch

i have been a VC for over 10 years. have been in over 1000 first time meetings

the purpose of this series of posts is to share with you some thoughts about what i consider mistakes entrepreneurs make in a first time meeting.

press here for the entire series.

often, these items are not discussed and the knowledge that can be shared is lost

that is why i am writing

it seems that the gap between entrepreneurs and VCs especially in israel is growing. and it is Gemini’s role and mine to try and reduce it through blogs and events. i would like to think of the israeli hi-tech sector as a big virtualized company. i am right now in the finance department of this virtual organization. most entrepreneurs are in r+d or biz dev or product management. the fact is, this organization is under threat. it does not innovate well enough. it does not scale. who will suffer from this? our country and our kids. so this is a small attempt to help us work better together

i do not own ‘the truth’. to many of these ‘rules’ there are some very smart and experienced people who will advice you to do exactly the opposite of what is said here. i will try and present an alternative argument as part of good dialectics.

i strongly recommend a book by guy kawasaki called ‘the art of the start‘. many of my thoughts on these and other ‘VC 101’ issues are influenced by his ideas.  some have evolved, some have been polarized.

what is the purpose of ‘the pitch’?

to engage, and get interest for more meetings, a process. so if you do a good enough job presenting your idea, there will be more meetings:

the bridge at the edge fo the earth

October 15, 2008

discussion with author on his book, the bridge at the edge of the earth

can capitalism sustain the environment? can the environment sustain capitalism?

key takeaways:

  • why ‘green’s are not effective: change from within the system will not work. must change the system.
  • we live in corpo-tacracy – corporates rule.
  • GDP as a poor measure of progress: growth in money supply can be reflective of a loss of well-being: that lacks of essential natural and social services were being paid for in cash and that this was expanding the economy but degrading life
  • the ability of nature to provide services
  • US would be much more secure if it had half the power.
  • over-silo specialization creates ineffectiveness and experts with no common space. this can have a spillover effect to private-public sphere. fudraising could be a reason for a multitude of 1-casue organizations. this survival by fragmentation, differentiation and niche development causes inefficiency and inter-broker co-ordination problems resulting in incoherency.


must see movie documentary. ‘the corporate’. corporates are sociopaths. book by UBC professor bakan. read review. if corporate was a person it would be:

    • Irresponsible – it puts others at risk in pursuit of its own goals.
    • Manipulative – it manipulates people an opinion in pursuit of its goals
    • Grandiose – it always insisting that it is the best
    • Reckless – it refuses to accept responsibility for its actions
    • Remorseless – it cannot feel remorse
    • Superficial – it relates to others always in a way that does not reflect their true selves
    • Put this all together, and you have a psychopath.


only major success to today is CFC

ozone was depleted greatly before that effect was discovered, and it was discovered by accident.

Key terms and ideas:

Leiserowitz, values attitude and behavior discuss five value required for sustainability and has some good graphs and notions

the genuine progress indicator (GPI). modify gdp according to welfare.

  • The GDP vs the GPI is analogous to the difference between the Gross Profit of a company and the Net Profit; the Net Profit is the Gross Profit minus the costs incurred. Accordingly, the GPI will be zero if the financial costs of crime and pollution equal the financial gains in production of goods and services, all other factors being constant.
  • if policymakers measure what really matters to people—health care, safety, a clean environment, and other indicators of well-being—economic policy would naturally shift towards sustainability.

According to Lawn’s model (no wiki, University of Southern Australia), the “costs” of economic activity include the following potential harmful effects:

  • Cost of resource depletion
  • Cost of crime
  • Cost of ozone depletion
  • Cost of family breakdown
  • Cost of air, water, and noise pollution
  • Loss of farmland
  • Loss of wetlands

income vs capital depletion

Hicks (1946) pointed out that the practical purpose of calculating income is to indicate the maximum amount people can produce and consume without undermining their capacity to produce and consume the same amount in the future. From a national income perspective, it is necessary to answer the following question: ‘‘Can a nation’s entire GDP be consumed without undermining its ability to produce and consume the same GDP in the future?’’

enjoyment of life vs production of goods

Fisher (1906) contended that “economic welfare depends on the psychic enjoyment of life,” not just the production of goods.

an interesting measure of environmentally friendly countries is misnamed – happy planet index. take a look at rankings. surprising. perhaps we should travel to countries according to this index.

jazz is negotiation

October 13, 2008

michael wheeler, HBS

for his articles, press here. including ethics, rules change, and credibility

key takeaways:

emotions are contagious. they  also reinforce themselves. smiling makes you happy

’emotional wake’ the after-taste, what people remember after you left.

likeability‘ can be learned. based on four traits: friendliness, relevance (do you connect on interests or needs?), empathy and “realness” (genuineness or authenticity).


how can people who do not know each other create music together. is there a paradigm here. jazz is negotiation

two anxious people could connect positively as well


emotions are not mood.

youtube rushmore bill murry herman meets max’s brother

they are used for interpersonal

are we good at interpreting emotions?  trying to understand what others are feeling is difficult

seven universal emotions:

sadness, anger,surprise, fear, happiness

what about ‘nachat’ and ‘simcha l’ed’?

look at plutchik circumplex

good negotiator needs to be in 2 places both time. center stage, involved, engaged and on he balcony, observing. this cultivates curiosity, calm, creativity

book: ‘beyond reason‘, fisher shapiro: appreciation, affiliation, autunomy, status, role (identity). worth a visit

damasio: descartes’ error

emotions may disable decision-making but enable creativity

book: emotionally contagious

darren brown youtube russian scam.

book: fierce conversations. creating negative memory and positive emotions. very relevant about me:

“As a leader, in stressful circumstances, you may make
an off-hand, negative comment that might devastate someone who works for you.
Sometimes, you may not even be aware of the impact that your words have had.  Often, you
forget the incident, but the recipient can recall your words verbatim.  And long after he or
she has left your company, they will remember the negative psychological experience that
was created.”
book: Likeability factor.

adi’s emphasis/bias:


feel fun, (not calm) not anxious. calm is over rated.


use breaks. silence is over used.

prepared – backwards induction. personal research.

trust your emotions


about me, emotional afterglow, vs aftermath

sacred violence

October 13, 2008

talk about the book sacred violence

key takeaway:

torture can be done unto only someone you deem not equal, lower being

history is driven by extremists, not moderate majority. violent extremists can blow every plan

geneva convention is a joke. it was written by majorities to control violence.

international law ignores politics (as economic policies) and therefore are irrelevent

rather than write a book on law, get politically involved


October 13, 2008

power, manipulating people. use there biases to get to the decisions you want

key terms/resources for lecture

nudge is a must read book. sets a libertarian paternalism tone for government to create bias to people’s behaviors. becoming a big policy book. e.g. government should make organ donation as an opt-out.

for a critique of nudge, take a look at

for a review:

for top 12 nudges look at:

dan ariely’s book – predictably irrational is makes waves.

save more tomorrow. creating a bias for long term saving vs short term . opt-in vs opt-out. organ donation.

key takeaways:

manana – i will do it tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes

start retirement savings at 20, 10 years x 2K

common information bias. groups tend to share the common information, not the unique. so if we all know 5 good things about james and each knows 3 different good things about david, james will come out as the better guy

how to solve, facilitation, experts, straw man, delphi system

The power of example vs the example of power

October 3, 2008

discussion re book: The Power and the Story

author Evan W. Cornog, PhD. dean, Columbia school of Journalism and was press secratery

He is the author of, The Power and the Story: How the Crafted Presidential Narrative has Determined Political Success from George Washington to George W. Bush (2004); Hats in the Ring: An Illustrated History of American Presidential Campaigns [with Richard Whelan] (2000); The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769-1828 (1998)

key takeaways:

it seems people need to hear a good story

we are in the age of soundbites which are powerful in memory.

e.g “John Kennedy was a friend of mine”.

political campaigns are not about debates or opinions, but a battle of stories, crafting images and reputation.

journalism is losing its value-add. no longer more of a point of view or predicting the future.

humor is very powerful, devastating.


in political candidacy, it seems to matter less if the story is true, you need a powerful personal narrative.

think how many ‘heros’ in our lives, including sports teams actually write a story.

it is tough to change a story, but it is possible (red sox).

we are now seeing the end of the free-market reagan narrative. now, regulation is american motherhood like apple pie. democrats are out of a narrative for a long time. roosevelt built it, it lost touch with lack of inclusion of afro-americans since the 60s, and now the democratic party is coming up with a new story

the press has a strong role here. see jefferson comments.


it seems this is more american than rest of the world, but difference is decreasing.

why? party system is loosing power vs candidate. age of celebirty

the post debate analysis is just as important as the debate.

you tube is powerful in this reconciliation. that is hard to over-turn


A sound bite is an audiolinguistic and social communications phenomenon whose nature was recognized in the late 20th century, helped by people such as Marshall McLuhan. It is characterized by a short phrase or sentence that deftly captures the essence of what the speaker is trying to say. Such key moments in dialogue (or monologue) stand out better in the audience’s memory and thus become the “taste” that best represents the entire “meal” of the larger message or conversation. Sound bites are a natural consequence of people placing ever greater emphasis on summarizing ever-increasing amounts of information in their lives.

trusting your gut

October 1, 2008

even-though Blink was popular, it cherry-picked

key takeaways:

do not always trust your gut, although it is a great feeling to do so

trust someone else’s gut?

whatever you will look for, you will find it. make sure you look for evidence.

find out what you want to be true, and test the opposite

moral dumbfounding. evidence (haidt) : our gut makes ethical or moral decisions, then we justify it


do trust it when:

  • your gut has subconscious access to information
  • your gut has been there before and got clear feedback
  • your decision is close or trivial, but

check, is it really close?

bayes helps here because we tend to think things are close when they really are not

  • no time for anything else
  • when it is about how you feel, but

moods are a big factor in recall and affect decisions. so beware

and check your gut during different modes

Bayes rule:

how you should change your existing beliefs in the light of new evidence?

Mathematically, Bayes’ rule states

                 likelihood * prior
posterior = ------------------------------
          marginal likelihood or normalizing factor


wilson uva article suggests that choosing a poster based on gut, vs based on logic, some time later satisfaction is higher if you choose because of gut

carter racing case (dispute resolution research center)

you are a racing team, an engineer feels something is wrong, has to do with temperature.

do you trust his gut?

moral dumbfounding

we have an ethical knee jerk

case of safe sex amongst brother and sister

people decide it is wrong, but logically can not support it

moral nihilism

the 4 questions of ethics and suggest moral relativism. wiki

  1. non-cognitivism. there are, in fact, no moral facts (van Roojen, 2004). But if moral statements cannot be true, and if one cannot know something that is not true, non-cognitivism implies that moral knowledge is impossible (Garner 1967, 219-220).
  2. what is the test for right or wrong
  3. even if there are right and wrong, why should i care (social norms)
  4. what are the right and wrong things

business ethics

it is hard to take personal ethics into business

tool: test your intuition with unnatural thought ‘violinist case’

you go to a concert. you wake up in a hospital. you have been operated. you find out your are the support system of the violinist. do you want to disconnect? if you do he dies. do you have to stay in the hospital to keep him alive? this is exactly an abortion case after rape. but people come up with different answers.