Wisereads Vol. 21 — The latest Howard Marks, Ethan Mollick on AI, and The Communist Manifesto

Last week, we shared Make Something Wonderful, an ebook anthology from the Steve Jobs Archive. This week, we’re sharing another installment from Mortimer Adler’s list of classic books that help us understand the fundamental ideas underlying Western thought and culture: The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


So you wanna de-bog yourself

Adam Mastroianni · Experimental History

Adam Mastroianni studies how we perceive and misperceive our social world, most recently reflecting on feeling stuck. “A confession: most of my bogs are imaginary. The world doesn’t stick me there; I stick me there. These are, paradoxically, the most difficult bogs to escape, because it requires realizing that my perception of reality is not reality, and a lot of the mind is dedicated to preventing that exact thought.”


Easy Money

Howard Marks · Oaktree Capital

In his latest memo for Oaktree Capital, investor and author Howard Marks considers the implications of ultra-low interest rates on the economic cycle. “One of the quotes I return to most frequently is Mark Twain’s purported observation that ‘history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.’ For investors, cycles, along with their causes and effects, are among the influential matters that invariably rhyme from one period to the next.”


Signs and Portents

Ethan Mollick · One Useful Thing

Wharton Professor Ethan Mollick draws on current AI trends in work and education to predict possibilities for the year ahead, referencing Amara’s Law: “‘We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.’ Social change is slower than technological change. We should not expect to see immediate global effects of AI in a major way...yet we certainly will see it sooner than many people think.”

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


Learn ANYTHING quickly (using the latest science) with this life changing book

Python Programmer

Data scientist Giles McMullen-Klein shares insights from Uncommon Sense Teaching, highlighting methods to learn more quickly and effectively: retrieval practice, where "testing yourself improves memory and understanding," and spaced practice: “a gap between study sessions." (These are the same scientific principles behind the Readwise Daily Review.)

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


A 21-year-old follower just DMed me asking how to start his first business

Matt Gray

Matt Gray, “The Systems Guy,” shares his blueprint for business success, including personal branding: “Attention is the new oil. Your personal brand is the pipeline,” and architecting systems: “Bulletproof systems unlock exponential growth in any business. Automate, eliminate, delegate: routine repetition builds the castle.”

Most highlighted PDF of the week

The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge

Abraham Flexner

Educator Abraham Flexner traces the origins of discoveries, often born from curiosity rather than an aim for utility. “Throughout the whole history of science most of the really great discoveries which had ultimately proved to be beneficial to mankind had been made by men and women who were driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.”

Hand-picked book of the week


The Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

In The Great Ideas reading list, Mortimer Adler prefaces The Communist Manifesto with a GK Chesterton quote: “For a General about to fight an enemy, knowing the enemy’s philosophy is more crucial than knowing their numbers.”

It goes without saying that we do not support communism as a political or economic ideology, but we do think Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto provides fascinating context for communist principles still resonating in contemporary political debates while helping us to understand the resilience of capitalism in relation to labor, property, and capital. It's also surprisingly easy to read.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another.”

This edition of The Communist Manifesto 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



An anonymous collective of citizen scientists known as SLIME MOLD TIME MOLD burst onto the scene with their environmental contaminant theory of obesity, leading to an ongoing series of vigilante research studies trying to uncover what that might be. From the First Potato Riffs Report: “Eating a diet of nothing but potatoes (or almost nothing but potatoes) causes quick, effortless weight loss for many people. It’s not a matter of white-knuckling through a boring diet — people eat as much (potato) as they want.”