1st Selected Links

2 min read

I hope you're having a relaxing break! I thought I'd share some links to things I enjoyed this year or have been enjoying over the holidays.

If enough people open said links, I'll consider doing this on a regular, say weekly, basis. And now the links:

1. The journalist who fell in love with Martin Shkreli. This is one of the best interviews I've read this year, and ends with a jaw-dropping twist.

2. Speaking of great interviews, the two best video interviews I've watched this year are Charlamagne and Kanye West and Conan O'Brien and Paul McCartney. The Kanye interview is long, but the best parts are when Charlamagne challenges him in a non-zero-sum way. And the production quality is perfect, particularly the ending scene where they walk along a ridge on Kayne's ranch. The McCartney interview is from 1997 but it is the best McCartney interview I've ever seen. A youthful O'Brien is confident and witty and you get the sense McCartney really likes him. He also manages to get McCartney to be genuinely funny.

3. I've recently tumbled down a Beatles rabbit hole, thanks to Peter Jackson releasing a sneak peak of his upcoming music doco The Beatles: Get Back. You can watch it here. It was delayed by the pandemic and its release is now slated for September 2021. It looks awesome, and not just because Jackson has restored the previously-unseen footage replete with colour: it's also much more uplifting in tone than the other major The Beatles doco Let It Be (1970), which focused more on the band's in-fighting during its dying days.

4. Last week, McCartney released a new solo album, McCartney III. You can listen to it on Spotify here. McCartney's favourite track is the bluesy Women and Wine. Find My Way is also great - here is the music video. McCartney plays all the instruments himself in this album, and it's a good album. To still be producing output of this quality at 78, after the career he's had, is freakish, a once-in-a-generation talent kind of thing (Tyler Cowen has written about this here). God I would love to have him on the podcast.

5. The (very) best books I've read this year are, in no particular order: Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin, Stubborn Attachments, by Tyler Cowen (who appeared on the podcast), Strangers In Their Own Land, by Arlie Hochschild (who also appeared on the podcast), The WEIRDest People in the World, by Joe Henrich (with whom I recorded a podcast that is to be released) and The Price of Peace, by Zachary Carter (with whom I will soon be recording a podcast). I've included Henrich's book not because the writing is outstanding (though it's still good) but probably because it was the most important non-fiction book of 2020. Carter's book was less important but still very enjoyable. The other three were not published in 2020 but I read them this year and they rocked my world in various ways. At some point I might publish a longer list of the best books I've read this year, but these are the five that, right now stand out as stand-outs.

6. Recently, I re-read Hayek's 'The Use of Knowledge in Society'. So, so good. A link to an online version is here.