To Be And To Last 2 June 2020

Deep Reads

Freedom of speech on the internet is actually a surprisingly nuanced topic, with some glaring issues and unclear solutions. Most US freedom of speech laws are focused on protecting private parties from government interference. But what happens when the public square is replaced by private platforms? Or when foreign governments use threats to coerce private platforms without explicit laws? I spent an afternoon reading Daphne Keller’s fantastic ‘Who Do You Sue?’ last year, and I really can’t recommend it more highly.

I recently finished reading The Things They Carried. It’s a painful look at the human heart, how quickly we can find ourselves doing things we hate, and the evil of war. It also reopened my eyes to just how little I know about the Second Indochina War (known in America as the Vietnam War and in Vietnam as the American War). Please do let me know if you have recommendations on the topic.

Small But Powerful

“Sales is about people and it's about problem solving. It is not about solutions or technology or chemicals or lines of code or artichokes. It's about people and it's about solving problems.”

Anyone can write a long book, but true maestros can distill to a few hundred words. This 292 word Hacker News comment covers everything you need to be great at sales.

Current Affairs

(Chart from Bruegel)

As I sought to educate myself on the continued unrest in Hong Kong, this detailed view by Radigan Carter illuminated some of the history (Hong Kong was ceded to the British after the First Opium War*), the economics (HK’s relative financial value is much smaller than 20 years ago), and the politics (the CCP can’t lose). See here for an alternate take on HK’s financial value.

Don’t expect this newsletter to be your source for US current affairs - plenty of other publications already cover that in tremendous detail. However, I do think it’s important to address the systemic racism continuing in the US:


To Be And To Last: Thinker Nate Desmond’s weekly roundup of long reads, contrarian thoughts, and hidden jewels that aren’t getting enough attention.

Please send recommendations to nate+newsletter@natedesmond.com.