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The Week’s Best Reads – 11/17/17

Nov 17, 2017 | Fifteen on Friday

This week’s highlights: DaVinci, Amazon’s Last Mile and the Future of Alzheimer’s research.


Fifteen on Friday – 11/17/17 – Issue 262

$450 Million 

The single highest number ever paid for a painting at auction occurred this week on a ‘newly’ discovered Leonardo – and likely the only Leonardo effectively in private hands.  Interestingly, the painting was in a contemporary art auction instead of an “Old Masters” one.  It remains a head scratcher in many ways as to the reason behind such an astronomical valuation.  But in an uncertain world, where one’s grasp on his wealth can remain tenuous at best (just ask the Saudi Royals currently locked in the Ritz) – maybe no store of value is too pricey?

Have a great weekend,


Food for Thought:

  1. T&C – Here’s Exactly How Much Money You Need To Be Happy.  I actually would disagree with this article’s title – this is perhaps more, how much money to live like the proverbial “Joneses”
  2. MNSS – Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution.  Subcultures and the birth of what we believe is cool.
  3. TheAtlantic – Why Can’t Addicts Just Quit? In some cities, heroin addicts have access to treatment, but many are still using. Now, Seattle is poised to open a safe-injection facility for those who just can’t stop. So why can’t they?
  4. VanityFair – How Don Hewitt Invented 60 Minutes and Changed Journalism Forever In his new book Fifty Years of 60 Minutes, Jeff Fager reports on the rise of CBS’s flagship newsmagazine and the role the producer played in making America’s must-watch TV news program a dynasty.
  5. Vulture – Christie’s Is Selling This Painting for $100 Million. They Say It’s by Leonardo. I Have Doubts. Big Doubts.  This piece was the day before the sale – it ultimately transacted for $450MM – details here.  As I mentioned in my favorite top of the market indicators, record art auctions are a classic sign.


  1. Gizmodo – Amazon’s Last Mile – Credit SF – Who actually is delivering your Prime Now orders?
  2. VanityFair – WeWork’s $20 Billion Journey of Self-Discovery Takes a Detour Into Wave Pools You can’t make this stuff up.
  3. WashPo – Bill Miller is staging one of Wall Street’s most closely watched comebacks
  4. ContraCorner – Mind the Junk—-This Ain’t Your Grandfather’s Capitalism – Credit JC – The financial system is loaded with anomalies, deformations and mispricings—-outcomes which would never occur on an honest free market. For example, the junk bond yield at just 2% in Europe is now below that of the “risk-free” US treasury bond owing solely to the depredations of the ECB.
  5. ZH – Sam Zell Is Stumped: “For Amazon’s Value To Be Justified, It Has To Be Worth 25% Of The US Economy In 5 Years”


  1. GatesNotes – Why I’m Digging Deep Into Alzheimer’s.  Bill Gates is personally donating $50MM+ to Alzheimer’s research, outside of the Gates Foundation.  See also this NYTimes piece from this week.  What if You Knew Alzheimer’s Was Coming for You?
  2. DL – The Most Important Skill of a Founder: Sales – Credit SD –
  3. Axois – How cancer survival rates have changed since the 70s
  4. Curbed – Where is all the good affordable furniture?  In the Ikea era, makers and buyers face a disconnect
  5. Hodinkee – Say Hello To The New HODINKEE Shop (And What That Means) We’re taking nine years, thousands of stories, and millions of miles of experience in the watch world and putting it all to good use


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