Even if you write something of poor quality but do it quickly, you’re already getting somewhere. Reflecting on writing is fine sometimes, but it doesn’t actually bring you any closer to completing a work, whereas having a draft, even if it’s bad, gives you material to hone.
Jacques Delors, a former head of the European Commission who championed closer integration, rightly pointed out that “nobody can fall in love with the single market”. There is nothing flashy about reworking bankruptcy rules or tax regimes.
—The Economist in ‘A singular opportunity’
This is very relevant in the times of Trump, BoJo and social media memes. Michael Lewis’ book, The Fifth Risk, touches on this in the US context. But like Jacques points out, it’s unglamorous work and his writing can only make it so much more interesting.
“The bad will be there no matter what, while the good requires major efforts,” says Vladimir Kattsov, director of Russia’s Voeikov Geophysical Observatory.
—The Economist in ‘Why Russia is ambivalent about climate change’
He’s talking about the potential benefits of climate change to Russia—opening of Arctic route and availability of Tundra lands for farming—versus the threats—more frequent droughts, floods and crop failures in current farmed areas.
When the British empire was expanding, a saying went, “trade followed the flag”.
—The Economist in ‘Masters of Business in Asia’
He says that Sami saw a boy walking on his own in the road. Vega and the others called out and asked him if he wanted to play, but he didn’t understand. So Sami rolled a ball over to him, and then he kicked it…
—From “Britt-Marie Was Here” by Fredrik Backman
“Only when the generation that survived the war is no longer with us,” said Angela Merkel last year, “will we discover if we have learned from history.”
—The Economist, in ‘Historical memorials are not enough to stop anti-Semitism in Europe’
The dispirited remnants of Egypt’s civil society miss the relative openness. Mr Mubarak allowed a bit of space for opposition, as a safety valve and a sop to the West. Mr Sisi has ramped up executions and persecutes even supporters who step out of line. “They were professionals. Now they’re amateurs,” says one activist of those in charge.
—The Economist, in ‘Many Egyptians miss their deposed president, Hosni Mubarak’
A Forsterian summary might read: “The bubble burst, people became cautious and the economy got stuck in too low a gear to stop prices and interest rates from falling.”
—The Economist, in ‘The Japanification of bond markets’
Shunning is a powerful tool, it is a sanction that society uses to maintain norms. But it’s an absolute tool, a final resort.
It’s possible to connect with people without endorsing their worst actions. In fact, the best way to undo negative actions may be to engage with people to persuade them that there’s a different way forward.
—Seth Godin, in ‘The shunning’
Sometimes when potential clients send me long emails I turn those emails into PDFs (by printing them to PDF), then load them into Notability with very wide margins, and write my notes in the margins, with screenshots, captions, and diagrams, and send them back. It’s a way to let people know that I’m really listening and trying to help them, not just talking. They see handwriting and know I’m committed. It’s the opposite of robotic interaction.