Text Archives

Social currency: In today’s mind-bending piece, we accompany Kevin Simler on a quest to understand how ‘social status’ operates as an economic good – and how its transactional nature affects our day-to-day lives.

The Korean Wave: If you use Netflix or Spotify, you might have been recommended a K-Drama or a K-Pop song at least once. From BTS to Blackpink, from Start-Up to It’s Okay to not be Okay, if the Korean Wave has ever hit you, you’ll love this 2012 piece by John Seabrook for The New Yorker.

Questionable behaviour: Have you ever wondered why you are asked to answer the same question over and over again in a psychometric test? Read this article from The Economist to find out what testers look for when they design such test

Japan’s Kit Kat obsession: In Japan, there is always a more perfect way of doing things. And, there is always a way to customize products to suit the local marketplaces. Nestle’s Kit Kat did a fantastic job in merging these two processes, as you will find in this visual essay from The NY Times.

Why is listening to new music so hard?: Isn’t it? This piece by Jeremy Larson tells us why we keep reaching for the same old tunes – and why we should try listening to new music anyway.

Students in the wild: For 45 years, eighth graders in Ketchikan, Alaska, have gone on an overnight survival trip to a remote island. In this piece by Susan Shain, we learn more about the beauty (and mild terror, we won’t lie) of this trip.

The future library: Remember the days when a school project meant schlepping our way to the library, requesting the librarian locate the right tome of wisdom? Ever wonder what will happen to libraries and librarians now, with the Internet at our fingertips? Perhaps this piece by Seth Godin will help.

Is this real life?: From simply applying a filter to presenting few choicest happy moments as our life-logs for the world to see, the lines between the real & the imaginary continue to blur. But a bigger phenomenon is guiding these blurred lines, as you will find in this wonderful post by Julian Lehr.

No Michelin star, please!: Some dreams keep you awake. A Michelin Star goes a step further. You lose sleep to get one, but once the dream becomes a reality, sleepless nights never go off the menu. Join Sam Kashner, as he uncovers what it takes to get and retain a Michelin Star, in this piece from Vanity Fair.

Is Google making us stupid?: Find yourself relying on your maps more than you’d like to? Or wanting a summary of our articles as they seem too long? Or drifting too frequently while finally reading one? You are not alone — as you will read in this 2008 article by Nicholas Carr for The Atlantic.

Why books don’t work: There is no shortage of fantastic non-fiction books that feel almost custom-made to transform our lives. Yet, the only trace of them in our heads is the fact that …we found them great. We explore why books necessarily don’t work in this piece by Andy Matuschak.

Becoming a magician: Ever watched the news, seen a bunch of really agitated people, and thought to yourself …’I don’t get it?’. As the world around us divides, this piece by Kevin Simler is a fantastic way to figure out how those ‘ridiculous’ beliefs around us find such an enthusiastic audience.

How to pick your life partner?: If you haven’t already picked one, read. If you have, there must be a clueless friend who could use some advice, right? So do yourself or your friend a favor by perusing this fantastic piece by Tim Urban on Wait but Why.

Crony Beliefs: Ever watched the news, seen a bunch of really agitated people, and thought to yourself …’I don’t get it?’. As the world around us divides, this piece by Kevin Simler is a fantastic way to figure out how those ‘ridiculous’ beliefs around us find such an enthusiastic audience.

The Man who killed Osama Bin Laden: This is the story of the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden. Phil Bronstein covers the events on ground zero and the personal aftermath for “the shooter” who killed Laden, in this definitive account on Esquire.

Zuckerberg’s lost notebooks: You’d think nobody knew how huge Facebook would become when it first started – but Zuckerberg came pretty close. In the early days of the company, he kept handwritten journals with his plans and dreams for Facebook, which Levy delves into in this fascinating piece.

Love Running: Ever got into a hobby to impress someone? In this personal essay from Sun Magazine, Joseph Holt describes how running reminds him of his old relationship but also helps him heal after their break-up.

The life & travels of Pico Iyer: Today, we offer solace to our cooped up selves by walking through different countries and cultures from the perspective of traveler extraordinaire Pico Iyer, in this wonderful interview by Scott London.

The Gervais Principle: If you’re a fan of The Office and there’s one thing you read today, it’s this – in this brilliant piece from Ribbonfarm, Venkatesh Rao teaches us about the “sociopaths”, “clueless” and “losers” that make up any organization by drawing parallels to our favorite characters.

The world of Wikipedia: The sheer existence of Wikipedia baffles us to this day – how did they get people to build it ‘for free’ and why do people keep doing it? Here is a sneak peek into the history of this go-to-resource by Richard Cooke.

Lost & Unfound: Our read today is a heartfelt & profound personal essay from The New Yorker. Join Kathryn Schulzas as she scours the various aspects of what is meant by ‘loss’ – from the loss of keys to the loss of a loved one.

Life at Stanford: Ever wondered what life would be like as a student at the prestigious Stanford University? This hilarious/terrifying piece walks you through life for these ‘students destined to rule over mega-platforms and other digital fiefdoms’

Cost of simplicity: In this piece from Real Life Mag, Tatum Dooley uncovers the irony that is the “minimalist influencer” —austere in appearance, but comfortably extravagant in advice.

An Indian Classic: If you have ever wondered how large industrial clusters are created, look no further than this nostalgic read from Quartz — join Devjyot Ghoshal as he dives into how Maruti created an entire ecosystem during its quest to create an affordable Indian car.

What’s your default setting?: Touted as one of the finest commencement speeches ever given, here is a glimpse into the ever-so-electric-mind of David F. Wallace. Join the Class of 2005 at Kenyon College as Wallace tries to uncover what allows one to traverse the trenches of adult existence in this thought-provoking read.

Wu’s Hollywood Destiny: In this beautiful profile by The New Yorker, we explore the rising celebrity that is Constance Wu, and the privilege and burden she faces of representing all Asian-Americans

Email from Bill: In today’s throwback read from 1994, author John Seabrook delves into the life and thoughts of Bill Gates, in context of the coolest ‘inside track’ that a journalist can dream of – an ongoing email correspondence with Gates himself!

The art of Addiction: Today’s read is a fantastic account of the incredible research that goes behind our junk food. Learn about how Lays tried to sell to its baby boomer crowd, Lunchables profiteered from the busy mother’s guilt, and more in this article by Michael Moss.

He is a transponster!: Today’s read from The Atlantic revisits the age-old pop culture question – “What is Chandler Bing’s job?” Join Megan Garber as she digs deeper into the larger phenomena behind Chandler Bing’s job.

Career concerns: The idea of planning one’s career, in the wake of the chaos that is 2020, might seem laughable. Luckily, in this invaluable three-part series from Marc Andreessen’s archives, the first rule of career planning is “Do not plan your career”

Heel your sole: In this ode from Aeon, Randy Laist expounds the facets of a simple pair of shoes – facets which make shoes one of the most visible foundations for human identity.

Let’s make a deal: In 2012, Facebook agreed to acquire Instagram for $1B – a decision that the respective founder-CEOs came to over a fascinating email exchange. To know the absolute clarity of thought (and speed) that went into this high stakes decision, read this publicly available memo.

India calling: What happens when a nosy podcast host comes face-to-face with “jugaadu” scammers from India? Well, it makes for a riveting podcast for sure! Enjoy this cautionary tale from Gimlet.

The bus ticket theory of genius: In another delightful piece by Paul Graham, we learn about the secret to doing great work: allowing yourself to be obsessed for no reason 

Like for Like: In yet another “blast from the past” piece from 2012, Esther Dyson discusses the rise of “cognitive surplus” – the intrinsic, non-monetizable value individuals generate for themselves by spending their personal time attracting others’ attention for free.

Spoiled Rich Kids: Ever wondered why the world seems to instantly abhor the stereotypical spoiled rich kid? In this little piece by Agnes Callard, we learn about the ‘normative equation’, which works like a strange mental compass governing our idea of fairness.

The science of scarcity: In this eye-opening read, Rutger Bregman from The Correspondent delves into an age-old question – is poverty a lack of character (Margaret Thatcher would even say a “personality defect”) or a lack of cash?

The last of the Zoroastrians: In today’s read, writer Shaun Walker walks us through the fascinating traditions that define India’s tiny Parsi community and tries to decipher what (if anything) might prevent its decline.

It’s okay to be (just okay): If you are reading this, you already subscribe to the ‘best things only’ school of thought (heh). Today, however, we bring an alternative – a case for the average, the mundane, the bland and the basic, through this 2015 blog post from Mark Manson.

Japanese Americana: Looking for the best of American culture & cuisine? You will probably find an answer in the streets of Osaka, Japan. Join Tom Downey from Smithsonian Magazine as he uncovers Japanese mastery of American treasures in this 2014 piece.

The Rainmaker at Yale: Today, we explore the larger-than-life world of university endowment funds. Read this succinct piece, originally published on Bloomberg, which walks us through David Swensen’s 30+ years generating Yale’s multi-billion dollar pool of money.

Becoming Obama: Interested in the making of Obama? This NPR podcast series delves into the choices, the conflicts & the conviction that led to his climb from Chicago to the White House.

What got us here?: This 2013 piece from The Atlantic gives you a quick peek into the top 50 breakthroughs since the wheel – breakthroughs that have been instrumental in defining our life today

Amazon in its Prime: In this beautiful piece of analysis, Zack Kanter shows us how Amazon – by successfully carving out operational pieces of its ecosystem into independent revenue streams – has become an empire that’s massively unlikely to stagnate. 

The Ketchup Conundrum: In today’s fantastic piece from 2004, Malcolm Gladwell walks us through the history/math/science/art? that goes behind the world’s favorite condiment – ketchup! 

Love me Tinder: In today’s pick, we jump all the way back to 2014, when Tinder was the new kid on the dating-hookup app block. Through Emily Witt, we get to walk through the early days of the app and meet a multitude of people figuring out their game-plan to swipe right.

Cluing in on crosswords: Puzzled on how to spend your free time during the pandemic? We’ve got you covered – this nifty little guide by Deb Amlen gives you all the clues you need to dive into the wonderful world of crosswords!

Musical.ly Notes: In today’s pick, Alex Zhu walks us through his Musical.ly journey to demonstrate what true growth hacking looks like. Very rarely have we seen such immense clarity of thought bundled into one interview – Robbins’ notes are perfect, but do watch the whole video if you can!

Love Poem: For our very first video recommendation, we thought we’d keep it simple. So here is some heart-warming spoken word poetry by Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye. The topic is the simplest (and the most complicated) thing – Love!

Lady Beard: In one of our more eccentric picks, read about the rise of kawaiicore (where saccharine Japanese pop meets extreme metal) by walking through the meteoric success of the gender-bending Ladybeard.

Busy, busy: If you look around you, everyone seems to (want to) be busy. Self-imposed work, an urge to take on more obligations, and the need to plan “productive” use of free time to a tee – explore the rise of all this and more in today’s piece from The Economist.

I trade butterflies!: Today, we delve into the colorful lives of the butterfly catchers of Indonesia. Be it Matthew Teague’s words or Evgenia Arbugaeva’s photography, every facet of this NatGeo piece helps bring this peculiar industry to life.

Healthy food for thought: Do you find yourself obsessing over (or dreaming about) eating right? In this comprehensive piece from Grubstreet, Mark Bittman and David Katz patiently answer every pertinent question on a healthy diet to have ever crossed your mind.

Canva uncovered: This story of a kite-surfing badass building a company with a $6B valuation – which is (cue gasp) profitable – is a different level of unreal. Read this amazing account of Melanie Perkins’ meteoric rise to success by Alex Konrad from Forbes.

The Serendipity Premium: In 1983, a mid-air conversation between Jane Birkin and the CEO of Hermès led to the creation of the epitome of luxury. Join Brooke Unger from The Economist as he explores the economics behind Birkin, the world’s most expensive handbag

Federer Moments: When a great writer is in awe of one of the greatest tennis players of all time, you end up with nothing short of a relic. Join David F. Wallace from The New York Times as he reflects on the human beauty that is Federer in action.

Santacruz Girl: Possibly one of the most beautiful odes we’ve read to the city of Bombay.  Read this nostalgia-filled account by Lathika George on The Ken, as she takes us through the idyllic and jazz-filled life of a Santacruz girl.

Do things that don’t scale: In this succinct piece, observe Paul Graham throw out some fantastic gems on all the pretty and not-so-pretty things that go into the success of a start-up, replete with examples from his Y Combinator picks

People you may know: Today, we delve into the gripping tale of how Chamath Palihapitiya spear-headed one of the most controversial yet effective growth hacks of the century, in this excerpt from Steven Levy’s ‘Facebook: The Inside Story’

I am the captain now: In 1864, Jourdan Anderson escaped a life of slavery. When his old master begged him to come back, he wrote a heart-wrenching letter to him as a newly free man. Open a bag of emotions through this piece from Letters of Note

Run, Forrest, Run: Today, we bring to you a gem of a conversational piece by best-selling author Haruki Murakami – first published in The New Yorker in 2008, and changing lives ever since. We get to dive into the several beginnings Murakami brings onto himself – first as a jazz club owner, then an author, and finally a marathon runner – all while learning a thing or two on how to take a chance on yourself

Johny Johny, yes YouTube: Say hello to the hottest babysitter in town, ChuChu TV. Today’s piece from The Altantic shines light on this YouTube phenomenon acting as a scaringly effective pacifier during trips, dinners, and now, those all-important Zoom calls

Sushi for the North Korean Supreme Leader: In this remarkable piece written in 2013, Adam Johnson from GQ meets with a man who, through a series of bizarre events, found himself in the role of first Kim Jong-Il’s personal chef, and later one of his closest confidants

Till where can a platform grow?: Brace yourselves: this is a long read, and one of our absolute favorites worth every minute and more. Read Eugene Wei do some fantastic analysis as he delves through what users seek from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and more, and identifies what each might be up against as they grow bigger.

What’s that song that’s stuck in my head?: You know that feeling of overwhelming annoyance when a tidbit of a song plays over and over in your mind, but you have no clue which song it is? How far do you think you’d go to quench your curiosity? Today we bring to you the riveting tale of the hunt for a lost song – join Tyler Gillett as he scours heaven and earth for a song that he can’t quite seem to place, in this podcast from Gimlet. 

Why you should know about BTS?: In Volume 1 of our first original piece, we dive into the world of K-pop and begin to unpack the global phenomenon that is BTS. Yes, they are a boy band — but they are so much more, and we are hooked!

The language of our private spheres: A heart-wrenching read that captures the feeling of one’s ancestral language falling out of one’s grasp. Perhaps best summed up by the author, Dur e Aziz Amna … “Emotionally, we are fluent – native proficiency. Technically, we haven’t shown up to class

C mane Comfort Food: As the lockdown affects the wealthy and poor alike, one product binds them all – the age-old Parle G. An exquisitely well-written piece on how this biscuit, synonymous with comfort, weaves its presence through India’s pandemic tribulations

Why we forget most of the books we read?: A phenomenon that’s all too familiar, and we can never quite seem to figure out why – in this piece, Julie Beck gives us the chills as she walks us through how our recall memories are fading away.

The Irrefutable Steve Jobs: In his trademark style, read Steve Jobs refusing to flinch in his belief that computers will revolutionize our lives, in this 1985 interview with Playboy.

Hey Dad, where’s Mom? In this in-depth piece, Sarah Boxer from The Atlantic pores through the long and storied history of the dead mother – a strange common thread that appears in so many of the animated movies we know and love

What makes a digital marketplace like Uber tick: In this decade-old piece that still rings true, read Bill Gurley unpack the secrets to figuring out if a new marketplace opportunity is the next big thing

The shallow end: In this piece, Chris Anderson forecasts how, a la Netflix, aggregating the shallow end of the media market allows the Internet to revolutionize entertainment

Defining the 21st Century: A short but beautiful ode by Horace Dideu on the sheer magnificence of what he believes is the defining invention from the 21st century.