Wisereads Vol. 40 — Tyler Cowen's GOAT, Lyn Alden on the bond market, and more

Last week, we shared a preview of Richard Mulholland's Here Be Dragons, a guide to winning sales with storytelling. This week, we're sharing the entirety of Tyler Cowen's latest work, GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter?

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Most highlighted Articles of the week


The Bond Market is the “Dumb Money” Now

Lyn Alden · lynalden.com

Lyn Alden, macroeconomics analyst and systems engineer, dives into the history of the bond market as a forecasting tool. "The bond market is riding on a lot of reputational momentum. The things that made it the smart money previously are now largely gone... the structure and size of the market is such that intelligent bond traders are not the primary movers of the market anymore. As a result, the informational value that we can get from the bond market is now greatly diminished."


Ben Franklin: The Thirteen Necessary Virtues

Farnam Street · fs.blog

Farnam Street highlights thirteen virtues Benjamin Franklin deemed desirable in his autobiography, including industry: "Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful," and tranquility: "Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable."


Mapping the Mind of a Large Language Model

Anthropic · anthropic.com

Anthropic explores the inner workings of their LLM, Claude 3.0 Sonnet, by extracting patterns of neuron activations, known as features. "Looking near a feature related to the concept of 'inner conflict', we find features related to relationship breakups, conflicting allegiances, logical inconsistencies, as well as the phrase 'catch-22'. This shows that the internal organization of concepts in the AI model corresponds, at least somewhat, to our human notions of similarity."

Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week


How To Talk To Users | Startup School

Y Combinator

Gustaf Alströmer, YC Group Partner, shares tips on reaching out to potential customers, running user interviews, and interpreting feedback. "Users generally have good problems but also generally, bad solutions. In the early days of Gmail, users were asking Paul Buchheit, the founder of Gmail, to view both the Inbox and the actual email that they were reading on the same screen. Now why would they ask for that? Well, the reason was simply that Gmail is too slow and people did not want to wait to load each of the emails in the inbox."

Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week


A “razor” is a rule of thumb that simplifies decision-making

Regen 001

Regen 001 (aka everhusk) offers decision-making rules of thumb, including Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity," and The Arena Razor: "Pay more attention to people who have skin in the game and face the consequences of failure."

Most highlighted PDF of the week

Prompting guide 101

Gemini for Google Workspace

In a guide packed with examples and use cases, Google provides advice on prompting help from Gemini in marketing, sales, and more. Tips include: "Break it up. If you want Gemini for Workspace to perform several related tasks, break them into separate prompts," and "Fine-tune your prompts if the results don’t meet your expectations or if you believe there’s room for improvement. An iterative process of review and refinement often yields better results."

Hand-picked book of the week


GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter?

Tyler Cowen

In his latest work, George Mason University Economics Chair and author Tyler Cowen reimagines what a book can be with AI. GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter? includes both a book and a companion chatbot which readers can engage with to deepen their experience.

"As a vehicle for carrying ideas, economics became a kind of communication medium. In the 1960s and 1970s, for instance, music radio was a major vehicle for carrying ideas. If you turned to the right station, and listened for a few days, you would get a good sense of what people were talking about and perhaps worried about... But in the 19th century, if you had a new idea you might have embedded it in an economics theory about the world."

Cowen's free book takes a deep look into the work and impact of Keynes, Friedman, Hayek and more. If you'd like to explore the book with the custom GPT-4 or Claude assistants, you can check those out here.

Handpicked RSS feed of the week


The Convivial Society

Through meditative prose, Michael Sacasas explores the relationship between technology and culture in his Substack, The Convivial Society. From The Ambling Mind: "The world is not simply present to us in its fullness and depth by virtue of the fact that we are capable of glancing at it. Instead, if we are to see the world, we must attend to it with care, patience, and even love... Past a certain speed, we simply cannot perceive the world in depth."