#138: Nuclear Families, Travel, Fame & Movie Escapes
Greeting friends. Enjoy this weeks Sunday Reads
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🔥 New On Boundless: Lessons From 150+ Curiosity Conversations
#1 Nuclear Families in The Modern Age
This essay was one of the best I’ve read in a while. It is from David Brooks and looks at how our family dynamics have changed dramatically over the last 100 years.
Essentially, nuclear families have become isolating and a challenge unless you have the resources to make it work. We crave being part of larger groups but don’t yet have the cultural norms to make that happen.
Some interesting tidbits like how people used to get married later until people started moving away from family for jobs:
From 1890 to 1960, the average age of first marriage dropped by 3.6 years for men and 2.2 years for women.
and some of the wealth dynamics driving the separation from extended into nuclear families:
By 1961, the median American man age 25 to 29 was earning nearly 400 percent more than his father had earned at about the same age.
…and how quickly things have shifted in the last 20 years:
In 2004, 33 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 were living without a romantic partner, according to the General Social Survey; by 2018, that number was up to 51 percent.
👉 Do read the whole thing - I’d love to hear your thoughts
#2 “Passive Income,” Travel & Real Freedom
Enjoyed Nat Eliason’s essay on traveling and passive income and some of the challenges of working less
Assuming you don’t roll over and die when you’re faced with that void, you’ll naturally try to find something to fill it with. And unfortunately, the same drive that can make this lifestyle possible might make it impossible to fully enjoy it.
#3 Coal Towns
I shared this over on the other newsletter, but found this a bit shocking - both for how few coal jobs there are and how the faith in the coal industry has left an entire region behind.
At a national level, US politicians, corporate chieftains and other civic leaders continue to ignore the flaws riddling their own growth model. Like the coal-backed politicians counting on boom to follow bust, the nation’s leaders continue to expect the business cycle to buoy growth, failing to grasp how years of increasing inequality in wealth, income, opportunity, and health have cannibalized the very demand needed to sustain it. While they dither on investing in infrastructure, technology, education and health care, the country’s reliance on welfare continues to climb as labor force participation slides. Taxpayers are subsidizing companies to underpay retail workers, just as they’re paying for coal companies to lop off mountaintops.
#4 Carlos Ghosn Escapes Japan
This whole story of Carlos Ghosn escaping Japan sounds like a movie but is real life. Here’s the case he snuck out in:
#5 Why Not To Become Famous
Some raw reflections from Tim Ferriss on becoming famous including the death threats and harassment he has had to deal with.
Instead, fame is likely to magnify all of your insecurities and exaggerate all of your fears. It’s like picking up a fire extinguisher for your pain that ends up being a canister of gasoline.
Definitely doesn’t seem worth it
📚 What I’m Reading
Black Mass - Just finished this fascinating book on millenarian & utopian impulses and how they have re-emerged in politics in the 2000s (9/10 skip the middle of the book)
Aspiration - Book by Agnes Callard that explores how people really make changes such as going from a non-parent to parent (8/10 so far)
Capitalism redefined: “But there is too little debate about what it is all for. Hardly anyone ever asks: What kind of growth do we want? What does “wealth” mean? And what will it do for our lives?”
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