What I’m Reading: 7/31/2013

These are highlights of what I read (and watched and listened to) this past week:

Wheeler Dixon’s DEATH OF THE MOGULS

deathofthemoguls

“Death of the Moguls is a detailed assessment of the last days of the “rulers of film.” Wheeler Winston Dixon examines the careers of such moguls as  Harry Cohn at Columbia, Louis B. Mayer at MGM, Jack L. Warner at Warner Brothers, Adolph Zukor at Paramount, and Herbert J. Yates at Republic in the dying days of their once-mighty empires.”

I wanted to build on my fundamentals of Hollywood history, to wrap context around what I’m learning today. If this business is all about relationships (a stupid cliche if I’ve ever heard one; without relationship there is no business, period) then I want to trace all relationships back further and further.

A noteworthy quote, on page 80:

“As Zanuck observed at the time, ‘Producing companies no longer could depend on the movie-going habit. More powerful attractions were necessary to lure a public whose leisure time and inflation-shrunken dollar were being savagely competed for by television, pocket books, magazines, sports, hobby industries and a variety of other spare time and money distractions.”

Fighting for attention has always been a challenge. It’s not something sprung on us by the Internet, by Youtube or self-publishing.

On Barry’s Ritholtz’s “The Big Picture”: Value is the Thing

Richard Feynman’s thoughts on “the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something” changed the way I read this blog post. I could define on a superficial level the terms Paul Brodsky used, but that didn’t mean I understood what he was saying. If I didn’t understand, why continue reading?

I’m going back and reading again, deliberately, to tease out and expand on the terms I don’t know so I can gain a better understanding.

Amy Coleman’s The Problem with Making Friends in Your 20

This is my heartbreak.

Scott Dinsmore on How to Plan Your Week

After finding a better way of planning my day, I sought a better way to plan the week. This is it.

Richard Feynman’s THE PLEASURE OF FINDING THINGS OUT

For a full transcription, go here. Favorite part at 27:05 —

“One way that’s kind of a fun analogy to try to get some idea of what we’re doing in trying to understand nature, is to imagine that the Gods are playing some great game like chess. And you don’t know the rules of the game, but you’re allowed to look at the board, at least from time to time, in that little corner perhaps.

From your observations, you try to figure out what the rules are, of the game, of the pieces moving, and you might discover for example, when there’s only one bishop around on the board, the bishop maintains its color. Later on, you might discover that the bishop only moves on the diagonal, which explains the law before that that the  bishop maintains its color. So you’re good, you’ve got all the laws it all looks very good, and then all of a sudden some strange phenomena happens in some corner, so you begin to investigate that and look for it. It’s castling. Something you didn’t expect.

We’re always, by the way, in fundamental physics, trying to investigate those things in which we don’t understand the conclusions, we’re not trying to check all the time our conclusions. After you’ve checked them a few times then you’re okay. The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that’s the most interesting. The part that doesn’t go the way you expect.

You can also have revolutions in physics. After you’ve noticed the bishops maintain their color and they go along their diagonals and so on, for such a long time, and everyone knows it true, and suddenly you discover one day, in some chess game, a bishop doesn’t maintain its color, it changes its color and only later do you discover the new possibility that the bishop was captured and a pawn went all the way down to the queen’s end to produce a new bishop. That can happen but you didn’t know it, so it’s very analogous to the way our laws are, they look positive and then some gimmick shows us they’re wrong and then we have to investigate the conditions under which the bishop change color happened.

So we gradually learn the new rule which explains it more deeply.

Unlike the chess game though, with the rules of the chess game the rules become more complicated as you go along. In the physics, when you discover new things, it looks more simple. It appears on the whole to be more complicated because we learn about a greater experience as we learn more particles and new things, so it appears complicated again. But if you realize all the time, what’s wonderful is that as we expand our experience, every once in awhile we have these integrations in which everything is pulled together in a unification which it turns out is simpler than it looked before.”

Photos Credit: Darkangels

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