What caught my attention – week of 9 December 2019

This week’s post has a selection of articles from HeartMath, on the development of US corporate profits, future of the UK and since it’s Christmas soon a few of the cool seasonal ads I’ve seen so far.


1.  HeartMath

Title: When the Heart Leads to Wise Reasoning

Link: HeartMath

Would it surprise you to know that a recent study proposes that wisdom, or good judgment is not exclusively a function of your brain, but also of your heart? More precisely, “wise reasoning,” the study’s authors say, is closely dependent upon what scientists refer to as heart rate variability as well as an ego-decentered mind. Both are key determinants of wiser, less-biased judgment. Scientists at HeartMath Institute and elsewhere know that optimal levels of heart rate variability – the slight time differences that can occur between heartbeats – typically reflect healthy function of a body’s systems. Now, according to a recently published study, high heart rate variability (HRV) in an individual may be associated with a greater ability to reason wisely. This is according to researchers who conducted the study, A Heart and A Mind: Self-distancing Facilitates the Association Between Heart Rate Variability, and Wise Reasoning.

2. US corporate profits

Title: Mid-Quarter Report: Spotlight on US Corporate Profits

Link: Advisor Perspectives

Summary: US corporate profits are down from the 2014 peak. In this mid-quarter special report, we dive deep into corporate profits, taxes, profit margins and the increasing government debt levels that have propelled stock and bond prices higher, in our view, leading to rising equity and government bond valuations.


3. China and western manners

Title: Why Chinese Elites Are Mastering Western Manners

Link: Sixth Tone

One interviewee, the owner of a design company, told me she frequently visits Europe and sees mastering etiquette as crucial to building good business and social relationships there. Others expressed interest in knowing how to navigate office cocktail parties or dinners hosted by their European friends. A few recalled embarrassing social gaffes from their travels abroad and said they hoped to learn how to avoid such awkward situations in the future. And because fluency in Western social etiquette has become a status symbol for aspiring citizens of the world and a tool for gaining global social mobility, many of my interviewees not only wished to master it themselves, they also hoped to school their children in it as well. About half of my interviewees had young kids who attended etiquette classes. Some said they wanted their children to study abroad one day and hoped that learning foreign etiquette from a young age would help their kids make friends and integrate more easily.


4. Future of the UK

Title: The Cutting Room Files, Part 5: The Future of the United Kingdom

Link: Peter Zeihan

The issue with London from the American perspective is harsh in its simplicity. Only three countries have ever threatened the U.S. mainland directly. The Soviet Union aimed nukes at the United States, and so Washington will typically take steps overt and covert to whittle away at Russian power. Mexico and the United States fought a land war, that ended with the Americans taking half of Mexico’s territory. The third country to threaten the American mainland is the Americans’ former colonial master, the United Kingdom, and Washington will always – at a minimum – keep an eye open for opportunities to ensure that the balance of power in the bilateral relationship never again tips against the United States. Are the two countries allies and family? Certainly. But as we all know, family drama trumps pretty much everything else. Which brings us to the current day: Brexit is providing Americans with the biggest opportunity to lock the Brits into strategic enslavement since Lend-Lease.


5. Christmas is around the corner

For something a little lighter. Here are a few Christmas ads that I enjoyed watching so far.

John Lewis








+1 Book of the week

Author and title: Barbara Coloroso – Kids are worth it

One of my favourite writers on parenting. P.s. this book is also a useful tool for adults dealing with other adults…just saying.

“Our love for our children need to be unconditional. Our likes and dislikes can be and usually are highly conditional. We don’t have to like the funny-looking hair, the earring in the nose, and the silly-looking shoes. But our live needs to go beyond all that.”

“When children are rewarded or punished, what is often lacking is any constructive feedback on what they are doing. Without the feedback, they will find it difficult to develop a strong sense of self; they will become hyper-vigilant or hyper-critical, or self-absorbed. Feedback enables kids to look at their expression of feelings, their behaviour, and their deeds honestly and realistically.”

“There are three kinds of families: brick-wall, jellyfish, and backbone. What distinguishes them is the kind of structure that holds them together. A brick wall is a nonliving thing, designed to restrict, to keep in, and to keep out. In brick-wall families, the structure is rigid and is used for control and power, both of which are in the hands of the parents. A jellyfish had no firm parts at all and reacts to every eddy and current that comes along. In jellyfish families structures is almost nonexistent; the need for it may not even be acknowledged or understood. A backbone is a living, supple spine that gives from and movement to the whole body. In backbone families structure is present and firm and flexible and functional. […] Brick-wall and jellyfish families, although at opposite extremes, tend to raise children who know what to think but not how to think or feel, and who lack a sense of a true self.