Matt Ridley on free trade – @mattwridley

Matt Ridley’s column from the Times, now on his own site, offers a powerful, evidence-driven, argument for free trade:

The “ultimatum game” is a fiendish invention of economists to test people’s selfishness. One player is asked to share a windfall of cash with another player, but the entire windfall is cancelled if the second player rejects the offer. How much should you share? When people from the Machiguenga tribe in Peru were asked to play this game, they behaved selfishly, wanting to share little of the windfall. Not far away, the Achuar in Ecuador were much more generous, offering almost half the money to the other player — which is roughly how people in the developed world react.

What explains the difference?

The answer is, here.


A 3d CV to stand out from the crowd – Andy Morris, @dezeen #Lego

Design graduate Andy Morris stands out from the CV (resume) crowd. Dezeen has the story:

Instead of a typical paper CV, graduate designer Andy Morris has created a Lego Minifigure in his own likeness to send out to potential employers.

Morris, 34, recently completed an interior design degree at the University of South Wales, and is now looking for a full-time design role. He decided to create an unconventional CV to help him stand in a competitive jobs market.

What a cool idea.

Tools and kit – desk and office

For many sovereign professionals, your desk and your office will be where you do your greatest work. But, more than that, it’s your anchor, your lair and your retreat.

Invest the time to find the best desk for you, and to make your office the best possible environment in which to create your greatest work.

It may not be what you imagined. You need to balance form with function. I love the look of traditional, pedestal desks, but I have long legs and I hate the constriction of tucking them out of the way. In the end, leg space and a large, flat surface won out.

The Gentleman’s Gazette is always worth a visit and, here, it offers a guide to the Well-Appointed Office:

The desk should be the central piece of your office, both at home or external. It is there that you will write, read and – in a word – work. I like the mixture of old and new, of antique and contemporary: my desk is an English oak measuring 33 x 58 inches, over a hundred years old, that I bought at a local antique furniture shop.

And, here, to the all-important desk, where I learn that my personal preference is for a Bureau Plat:

On the matter of desks and offices, Cultural Offering has a long-running series on studies that you should check out, here. It includes this object of envy:

Pinterest is also, of course, a great source of inspiration.

We spend so much of our working day at our desk, in our offices, even with the liberty of flexible working and neighbourhood coffee-shops. It’s worth getting this grounding right.


Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Blue Valley @Thomas_Blug

Blue Valley is my all-time favourite guitar instrumental. It’s from Thomas Blug’s debut (?) album, The Beauty of Simplicity.

Why’s it on the list? Tone and dynamics. Just listen to the open, expansive ring that is 100% Fender Stratocaster. Also, listen to the guitar come back in at 2:29, with that very slight Strat “bark”.

It’s such a beautiful, uplifting track.

Blue Valley was actually my first choice for Songs for Sovereign Professionals (it’s number two on my personal playlist, after Alice Cooper), but I could never find a version on YouTube to share. In desperation to share, I instead offer this link to Spotify.

You can also find it on Last.FM, here.

And, it features on the compilation, The Best of Thomas Blug.

Blug is a German guitarist who might be described as somewhere between Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix in sound. These days, he might be better known as a gear-head, having formed his own amp company, BluGuitar.

There’s an interesting, gear-focused interview, here.

Echoes through time: the very best that can be said or done

What is the very best that can be said or done with the materials at your disposal?  Be it what it may, you have the power to say it or do it; let there be no pretence that you are not a free agent.”

Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations

Songs for Sovereign Professionals: Little Wing

Maybe it’s because I’m so easily distracted, but as a writer, my standard work playlist consists almost entirely of instrumentals. I still get arrested by a phrase here and there, but not the kind that end up inadvertently in my work.

This is one of the tracks that’s been catching my ear, lately.

Little Wing is a Jimi Hendrix composition that originally appeared on Axis: Bold as Love and, according to Charles Cross’s excellent Hendrix biography Room Full Of Mirrors, it’s one of two songs Hendrix wrote about his mother.

The song was also covered, in a much heavier version, by Derek and the Dominos on the Layla album.

However, for easily distracted sovereign professionals, the version I recommend here is Stevie Ray Vaughan’s instrumental from the posthumous, 1991 album The Sky is Crying.

Here are a couple of live versions.

One from 1983 …

And one from 1984 …