Raj Chetty and Ezra Klein on culture, communities and representation

Ezra Klein: I think we’re very used to thinking about two levels of context that really matter here – what’s happening in your family, like “Is your dad or mum an inventor? Are your parents married?” and then what’s happening in government policy. And it seems to me that what you show is that this mediating space of your direct…

Responsive (1): In good time

The way we respond to people – family, colleagues, strangers – carries a lot of information. Any response at all suggests that someone matters – whether because we like them or they’re otherwise important to us, or because they’re somehow in our way. The speed of our responses to people speaks volumes, and can send mixed messages. A fast response…

Raj Chetty on return on investment for social programs

Raj Chetty: This was an impressive study conducted by my colleagues Nathan Hendren and Ben Sprung-Keyser at Harvard… and the main punchline that they arrived at… is, programs that invest in kids – that is, programs targeted at developing human capital, at education, at improving development – tend to have very high rates of return, in fact sometimes infinite rates…

Better with time

Some things (and people) disappoint us after first acquaintance. Others seem to gain value as we get to know them better, giving greater satisfaction with time and use: Well-made shoes Good relationships Foundational knowledge in a given field Cast iron pans Empathy Good pillows Life experience Well designed spaces Good sleep Solidly made furniture Kindness, patience, and other virtues Imagination…

Any given day

On any given day, it’s quite possible that you’ll wonder if this is the thing you should be doing. You might be bored, or aimless. You might be stressed and struggling. Something else might look easier or more attractive: more lucrative, more fun, more popular. Any and all of these feelings are quite possible on any given day – which…

Don’t miss a day

Not because they all add up mathematically and contribute equally to the sum of your work. Because they won’t. But because showing up today makes the other days – the days when you do your best work – more likely. Think of it as giving the muse a bigger surface area on which to strike.

The competition

However well things are going, from time to time you might get worried about the competition – people who do what you do, who look like they might be doing it better or cheaper. It’s important to know what’s going on, to think about what you can learn and why. And it’s even more important to think about what it…

Russ Roberts on inequality and poverty

Our age right now – this might change – is obsessed with inequality. And it disturbs me deeply that inequality is conflated with poverty. They’re not the same thing. A lot of people blame the condition of the poor on inequality as if the world was a zero sum game. If you press the person who says that [they’ll say]…

No finish line (2)

“No finish line” applies to most of our work too. There will be tasks to tick off and projects that we complete, but most of the important stuff – helping people who need help, making something important available, working so that things get better rather than worse – doesn’t stop. Won’t stop. This means: That projects and milestones become more…