Wisereads Vol. 29 — Amp It Up! by Frank Slootman, The Psmith's Bookshelf, and more

Last week, we shared the entirety of Creative Dysregulation by Kelly Wilde Miller, a guide to investigating chaotic creative output. This week, we're sharing Mike, a satirical novel following two school boys by P. G. Wodehouse.

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


Amp It Up!

Frank Slootman · LinkedIn

Frank Slootman's leadership insights from taking Data Domain and ServiceNow public resurface as he steps down as CEO from Snowflake. "The pace has to be profound, palatable, breathtaking, order-of-magnitude type change. You want to go 20% faster? It’s barely discernible, and you will be back in your old mode before long."


Tyler Cowen’s three laws

Tyler Cowen · Marginal Revolution

Tyler Cowen, economist, professor, and founder of the popular blog Marginal Revolution, developed three laws while he was teaching macroeconomics. One: "There is something wrong with everything," two: "There is a literature on everything" and three: "All propositions about real interest rates are wrong."


The future belongs to those who prepare like Dwarkesh Patel

Shreeda Segan · Meridian

Dwarkesh Patel's meticulously researched interviews have earned him praise from Jeff Bezos, Noah Smith, Nat Friedman, Tyler Cowen, and others. Shreeda Segan covers the 23-yeard old podcaster in her latest Meridian profile. "He approaches his episodes in a more personal way. He refers to a quote by computer scientist Donald Knuth, 'A program is written by an individual to be read by another human being, and it’s only incidentally true that computers can execute it,' and says 'Similarly, with podcasts, it’s really meant for me to learn from the person — both through all the preparation and the conversation — and only incidentally for the audience.'"

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


Why It Was Almost Impossible to Make the Blue LED


Dr. Derek Muller sheds light on how the complexity of blue LED nearly kept white LEDs from replacing fluorescent bulbs. "According to a director at Monsanto, [LEDs] won't ever replace the kitchen light. They'd only be used in appliances, car dashboards, and stereo sets to see if the stereo was on. This might still be true today, if not for one engineer who defied the entire industry and made three radical breakthroughs to create the world's first blue LED… Shūji Nakamura."

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


Here is Claude 3's system prompt!

Amanda Askell

Amanda Askell, formerly of OpenAI and now a philosopher working on AI alignment at Anthropic, explains Claude 3's system prompt. "First, [system prompts] let us give the model 'live' information like the date. Second, they let us do a little bit of customizing after training and to tweak behaviors until the next finetune."

Most highlighted PDF of the week

Halfway Between Kyoto and 2050: Zero Carbon is a Highly Unlikely Outcome

Vaclav Smil

With 47 published books and more than 500 papers under his belt, Vaclav Smil examines the slow pace of global progress towards net zero emissions. "Unless emission can be decoupled from combustion, severing modern civilization’s reliance on fossil fuels is a desirable long-term goal but one that (for many reasons) cannot be accomplished either rapidly or inexpensively."

Hand-picked book of the week



P. G. Wodehouse

Originally published as a magazine serial, Mike is P. G. Wodehouse's first comedic novel following the misadventures of school boys Mike Jackson and Rupert "Psmith." (The P is silent as in pshrimp or pseudonym.)

The Psmith series offers a critique of 20th-century British society, its class system, and the often ludicrous nature of work and leisure among the English upper crust. Psmith, as an agent of chaos and charm, serves as the perfect vehicle for these observations, and is the namesake of our new favorite anonymous book reviewers (see next section).

"'Don’t dream of moving,' said Psmith. 'I have several rather profound observations on life to make and I can’t make them without an audience. Soliloquy is a knack. Hamlet had got it, but probably only after years of patient practice. Personally, I need someone to listen when I talk. I like to feel that I am doing good. You stay where you are—don’t interrupt too much.'"

This edition of Mike is available through Standard Ebooks. You can explore their collection of high quality, carefully formatted, and free public domain ebooks here.

Handpicked RSS feed of the week


Mr. and Mrs. Psmith’s Bookshelf

Somewhere in America suburbia, the pseudonymous Mr. and Mrs. Psmith are finding time to read and write heady reviews of nonfiction while raising a young family. From their review of Scaling People by Claire Hughes Johnson: "This is a bad book. Usually we review books that we like. Sometimes we make an exception and review a book we don’t like, but which is nonetheless extremely interesting. Unfortunately, this book isn’t interesting either. What it is is important, both for what it tells us about some trends in Silicon Valley corporate management and about the broader ideology of the American ruling class."