BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Re: BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

文章Iris Wu » 週二 5月 29, 2018 4:44 pm

(4/27) Iris:
Dear Sapiens Readers:
I am in transit to Honolulu. Just thought to check in with everyone.
How is your reading? Now we’ve reset the final session on 6/12, but 6 weeks will pass in the blink of an eye, so stay focused as much as you can.
(I am moving to this new book, “The Road Less Traveled”, a book on spiritual psychology and personal growth. “Life is difficult”, and the only solution is to confront it and be disciplined.)
So, be disciplined! :)

For those who aimed to finish the Sapiens book, please follow through your reading plan accordingly.
For those who enjoy our discussion, but do not have time to read the book, I will post shorter version of reading and listening materials soon, so you can prepare for our final session.
While I am away, I hope you continue raising new questions, or commenting on any previous questions if you happen to think of something while reading.
Finally, could you give it a thought on the questions/topics listed for our final session? Are they good to spark discussion or too big to have decent discussion? Would you recommend other topics? Since we get more time to prepare this final session, I hope we can work out something better for all of us.

Thank you and wish you all continue having a happy reading!

Vicky:
Bon voyage, safe journey, Iris.
Yeah, I will keep your words in mind. I will be disciplined to confront difficulties. :)

Sherry:
Have a great trip, Iris. We will miss you!!!
I am still in chapter 19 (the same chapter as was two weeks ago :p). Yes, self-discipline is very important…

Luis:
Yeah, to discipline ourself is definitely a key! Have a good one, Iris.

Rock:
Please don't keep your self-discipline while you're on vacation. Have fun.

Kat:
Iris!! I miss you already!!! Can't wait to hear all the stories. Have loads of fun!

Stephen:
@Iris Wu Have a good trip!

Annie:
Hi Iris, have a great trip! Enjoy your journey!
Iris Wu
YOYO member
 
文章: 568
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

文章Iris Wu » 週二 5月 29, 2018 4:45 pm

(5/7) Kooper:
Finally I reached ch18... There 66 more pages to run.

Sherry:
I would say chapter 19 is really worth reading (my personal opinion). Enjoy your reading journey!

Rock:
the concepts of bank making more money and consumerism is interesting. No wonder it is said that shopping is patriotism.

Kat:
Ch 18 is great! I liked the 鄭和 story.

Iris:
Great, Kooper, now you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!
You guys are very disciplined!
I regret I did not bring my notes with me.... which chapter talks about the capitalist creed? I thought the capitalism and consumerism were well-depicted you the author.

Kooper:
Ch16 is the capitalist greed. Ch17 is about the consumerism and industrialized farming.

(5/12) Iris:
FYI only: For people who are interested in the closing session but did not have time to read the book, there are some shorter version of TED Talks, lectures and reading materials. I've posted it on YoYo forum: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4557

The other day, I had "heated debate" with some friends in Silicon Valley on Capitalism. I am wondering what are your opinions/thoughts on the merits/faults of capitalism and the future of the capitalism?

Michael:
Before answering, I have a question first. 北歐國家的制度算是capitalism嗎?

(5/13) Iris:
That’s a good question!
I am definitely not an expert, but I would say it is a mix of socialism and capitalism.
Actually, do you think there is pure capitalism? Is capitalism the most efficient system and the least waste of effort (maximizes each person’s intelligence and effort)?

Rock:
Fundamental capitalism seems easy and fair, but actually is stupid and dangerous.
I believe it's a process on the development of sapiens society. But it's neither the best nor the final.
Iris Wu
YOYO member
 
文章: 568
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

文章Iris Wu » 週二 5月 29, 2018 4:49 pm

(5/14) Iris:
I agree that on the surface capitalism seems fair and straightforward, but it somehow underestimates human’s ability to abuse the free market.
In the book, the author considers capitalism as a form of religion. Do you agree?
Once Dr. Harari said capitalism is “the most successful religion”, because “it’s the only religion that its followers actually do what they were asked to do.”
What do you think about his statement?

Michael:
I think his statement doesn't make much sense to me

Iris:
I wonder which part doesn’t make sense to you? Capitalism is a form of religion? Or it’s a most successful religion?
His definition of religion is interesting and convincing (to me). Some book summary explains his concepts well.
As far as why he thinks capitalism is the most successful religion,
this short interview audio clip highlights his main arguments:
https://m.soundcloud.com/siriusxmentert ... l-religion

Michael:
Actually I don't have the book, and I just browsed it at bookstore. So let me spend some time to watch his ted speech and think about it. Will get back to you later

Iris:
No problem, Michael!
I am not trying to talk people into any theories. It’s good to hear different opinions.
(I start to worry what questions can make people say something in our final session? :)

Wen-han:
Hi Iris, I agree the capitalism is the most successful religion in modern world. Stock markets, oil trading. and even we gauge the position of a nation in the world by their GDP.
in the book, a significant trait of the capitalism mentioned is "investment to profit"
there are some things spiritual, say, love, charity..., which we may not practice capitalism to justify the "gains", but for the rest material matters, more or less, we gauge them by "gains"

Sherry:
Hi Iris, I think these are all thought-provoking questions. I tried not to respond during working hours because I didn’t want you to know that I had been slacking off at work (oops, Wen-han, I am not talking about you…)

I think we all owe a great deal to capitalism. We condemn capitalism for labor exploitation and overconsumption - true, but how many of us would rather go back to agrarian society for self-sufficiency? Today, any ordinary person can have an oversea vacation once or twice a year, enjoy gourmet food from around the world, and benefit by the convenience of modern technology - it’s because of capitalism. Capitalism boosts and nurtures the development of industry, agriculture, and science. That’s why the author said capitalism is the most successful of the modern religions - it caters to people’s need.

I also agree with Rock that capitalism is neither the best nor the final solution. But before we find a better one, I would say capitalism is the lesser devil.

Iris:
Haha! Work is kind of too easy and too boring for you smart guys/gals, so I need to find something more “interesting” at 1:30am PST (my time here) for you to have “fun”! :)

I am probably on the same page with you in regard to capitalism. We do practice it more “faithfully” than any other religions and no matter how much we despise the faults coming from capitalism, (inequality, monopoly, etc.), we don’t seem to have a better solution at this moment.

Rock:
We do have alternatives and many people are living under it. My job is one of the examples.
My pay is not based on my "productivity".
It's hard to value the productivities of teachers, soldiers, priests and housewives.
Iris Wu
YOYO member
 
文章: 568
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

文章Iris Wu » 週二 5月 29, 2018 4:54 pm

(5/24)
Iris:
Regarding Rock’s comments, I got stuck between two thoughts:
- Public sector (including education system) should also be run under the spirit of capitalism (such as, the mindset of competition, setting up KPIs for performance/productivity review and rewards) to pursue the high efficiency.
- Public sector (especially the education system) is not for (short term) profit. Their programs are more service oriented and long term based targeting the whole country and majority people. It should not be run by profit/result-oriented mindset.
Is this a false dichotomy?

Kat:
One book I really liked delves deeply into the question of public sectors turning private / profit-driven: What Money Can’t Buy. Here’s a review of it: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/ ... del-review

Rock: Talking about KPI, now they are really asking us to do it. I myself have been painfully making this KPI for several days.
They say that we should run the school like an enterprise. SWOT….

Julian: Well.. then you'll probably need to do CSF first and proceed different metrics/BCG, CE portfolio or so in the after.. ^^
^^ for those business models they have been under research for years, I'm just happened to know alittle about it. Everybody could learn & know better than me.

(5/26)
Iris:
(First, apologize that due to the traveling on the road, I was not able to focus on thinking and replying on a timely basis. Hope anyone feel free to continue the conversation if you do think of anything. Merci! )
It’s great to hear from Julian! I can see he is working hard and learning a lot! Hope to see you again soon, Julian!
MBA has never ceased to amaze me with new management methodologies (and those acronyms, of course! )
Fairly speaking, many of these theories are more structured and solid from our common sense but less disciplined analysis. Nevertheless, they are usually too academic and lacking insightful solutions for real world issues. Many large corporations use Big 5 (external) consulting services just to ease internal politics.
Personally, I think the best way is to combine these structured analysis methods (disciplines) with our real-world experience (the insights into analyzing our specific issues) and then, become the effective practitioners of these MBA theories.

I am “impressed”. It seems that our educational system has “advanced” to a new level. It is just hard to make a correct judgment call if this is “going too far” or “truly effective”, sometimes it takes “the whole village” to upgrade to certain level in order to see the results; same as democratic system, if the society is not mature enough, it overkills the good intention.

There is no dispute about “what money can’t buy and markets are not morally neutral” (thanks for Kat’s comments and the link), but how we can make public sector more effective and measurable for “public” remains a daunting task. Education is to prepare future “human capital” (a term that I don’t particularly like to use, but it reflects some truth), so is it good or bad to have teachers work on SWOT, KPIs?
Iris Wu
YOYO member
 
文章: 568
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

文章Iris Wu » 週二 5月 29, 2018 4:56 pm

(5/26)
Rock:
It’s stupid. Someone's strength can be another's weakness, and vice versa.
The future "human capital" is about students' performance, and it's the criteria to judge a teacher's teaching. But, what performance? Math, English, or 100m dash?
I happened to have a student who got the 1st place in whole school last time, now he is studying in National Ching Hua University. Does it make me a high-performance teacher?
But I also have a kid from the very same class who is now working in 八大行業, I guess he does drugs, too. So my work actually is terrible.....

Wen-han: We ever discussed the topic that Kat brought up: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3818

Julian:
By the way, I'm not certain if school should use SWOT as an approach to assess teaching, from a marketing perspective, the SWOT serves a purpose in reflecting the condition of a firm. Inevitably business sectors show KPIs to induce brand loyalty and investment, but the principal-agent issue is identical to all other else, I guess this is the reason academia seems more prone to using balance scorecard instead of KPI so far.

Yvonne: You will be an expert after practicing in MBA. But I found it very difficult for government to use KPI in evaluating performance of the policies or employees., or even the balance score card. I am quite stupid and skeptical about it ....Maybe you can share what you learn in the future.

Julian:
Thanks Yvonne. The life is actually quite tough here, just trying my best. My humble opinion the difficulties might relate to the setting of the indicators & mentality of employees. As not being profit-oriented, careful deliberation will be required to tailor the needs in measuring achievements. Although it takes much more than addressed, CSFs could still the foundation of all and I found the article below may shed light on this issue: http://kpi.davidparmenter.com/finding-m ... ic-sector/

Yvonne: know you are doing well in life and in study. UK is not a place that you can fool around. (Right?)
In government, service quality is not easy to define and sometimes very subjective. If you want to make quantitative indicators, it is usually in reality to fake the data for the performance sake. At least in my opinion I observe a quite a lot. CSFs may look good in the first place but later it could be manipulated and turn out to be a failure. Will get back to you with the topic later if we can have any chance to talk in the future. But as I mentioned I am too stupid to have a fair judgment on that. Take good care! You are getting very close to your diploma. Hanging in there.

(5/28)
Julian: Yeah..perhaps qualitative approach is more to the needs, but even the right tools can not guarantee the outcome, as interpersonal issues are always complex and challenging. Indeed, I am experiencing the darkest moment before dawn but anyway, thanks Yvonne for the encouraging & hope to talk to you soon!
Iris Wu
YOYO member
 
文章: 568
註冊時間: 週二 5月 20, 2014 4:33 pm

Re: BR2018-1: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

文章Rock » 週三 5月 30, 2018 6:23 pm

Thank you, Iris. This thorough record of our line discussion is exactly what we need, so we can pick up on each other on that day. Good job la. :lol:
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
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Rock
Vice President
 
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