What caught my attention – week of 11 November 2019

Wide range of articles, videos and books from last week, from Zen Buddhism through big tech back to Zen.

1. Zen Buddhism

Title: Bhaddekaratta Sutta: The Sutra of Knowing the Better Way to Live Alone

Link: DailyZen

The Buddha taught: Do not pursue the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. The past no longer is. The future has not yet come. Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here and now, the practitioner dwells in stability and freedom. We must be diligent today. To wait till tomorrow is too late. Death comes unexpectedly. How can we bargain with it? The sage calls a person who dwells in mindfulness night and day ‘the one who knows the better way to live alone’.

2. Family businesses

Title: Heineken’s Charlene de Carvalho: A self-made heiress

Link: Fortune

Until her father’s passing, Charlene had no money to her name except a single share of Heineken stock—then worth 25.60 euros, or $32—that her father had given her. Now, as his only child and the sole heir to the Heineken fortune, she was inheriting about 100 million shares, equal to one-quarter of the company’s total stock outstanding. This 25% stake came with voting control, meaning that her single vote outweighed the votes of other investors on any board matter. Charlene had not thought much about her new responsibilities until that dreary morning at the cemetery. As she left her father’s grave, her husband put her on the spot. “Charlene, you have to make a decision within 10 days if you want to inherit the role that your father played”.

3. Music industry

Title: Coldplay and Selena Gomez: How two music releases reflect a changing industry

Link: BBC

It’s been a big day for fans of Selena Gomez and Coldplay. The former Disney star announced a surprise single in a post to her 158 million Instagram followers, while – in contrast – the British group chose to reveal the tracks of their latest album in a local newspaper. Coldplay’s retro marketing move harks back to a time before artists made announcements on Instagram. So how has the internet changed the way music is released, and is it really that different?

4. Big tech

Title: Unnecessary evil – big tech and surveillance capitalism

Link: Real Vision

Rana Foroohar (author of Makers and Takers), global business columnist and associate editor for The Financial Times, discusses her upcoming book “Don’t Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles — and All of Us.” Foroohar charts the course of a twenty-year progression in Silicon Valley from the utopian vision of the dot-com bubble to today’s dystopian reality, focusing on data surveillance, regulatory & cognitive capture, and monopoly capitalism.

5. Philanthropy

Title: Decolonising wealth

Link: YouTube

Edgar Villanueva, an expert in social justice philanthropy and author of Decolonizing Wealth, encourages those working in philanthropy to lean into the uncomfortable history of how wealth was accumulated and to “give money away in a way that respects history.” He believes that the same wealth that inflicted trauma can also be used to facilitate healing and connection.

+1 Book of the week

Author and title: Ichiro Kishimi – The courage to be disliked

The premise of the book revolves around the idea that we are not determined by our experiences rather the meaning we give them (this was the topic I was exploring in my book as well) and told as a conversation between an angry student and a patient teacher.

I have a young friend who dreams of becoming a novelist, but he never seems to be able to complete his work. According to him, his job keeps him too busy, and he can never find enough time to write novels, and that’s why he can’t complete work and enter it for writing awards. But is that the real reason? No! It’s actually that he wants to leave the possibility of “I can do it if I try” open, by not committing to anything. He doesn’t want to expose his work to criticism, and he certainly doesn’t want to face the reality that he might produce an inferior piece of writing and face rejection. He wants to live inside that realm of possibilities, where he can say that he could do it if he only had the time, or that he could write if he just had the proper environment, and that he really does have the talent for it. In another five or ten years, he will probably start using another excuses like “I’m not young anymore” or “I’ve got a family to think about now”.