“Searing Portrait” of Uber Entrepreneur Travis Kalanick

(p. B3) Mr. Lashinsky’s book gives readers an inside view of the ride-hailing giant’s creation and what created the broken corporate culture that yielded so many negative news stories this year.
“Wild Ride” offers a searing portrait of Uber’s former chief executive, Travis Kalanick, whom Mr. Lashinsky shows to be both a genius and wildly headstrong (and not in a good way). Because of when it was published, the book does not include many of the episodes that consumed Uber in 2017, including Susan Fowler’s viral blog post about the company’s misogynistic culture and the ouster of Mr. Kalanick. But until that book is written — and it surely will be — “Wild Ride” is a good primer.

For the full commentary, see:
Sorkin, Andrew Ross. “DEALBOOK For a Year Filled With News, A List of Books Worth a Look.” The New York Times (Tuesday, DEC. 26, 2017): B1 & B3.
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date DEC. 25, 2017, and has the title “DEALBOOK; In a Year of Nonstop News, a Batch of Business Books Worth Reading.”)

The Lashinsky book mentioned above, is:
Lashinsky, Adam. Wild Ride: Inside Uber’s Quest for World Domination. New York: Portfolio, 2017.

Debt-Free, Focused Year of Tech Ed Yields Good Jobs for High School Grads

(p. A3) As a high-school senior in Hampton, Va., Aidan Cary applied last year to prestigious universities like Dartmouth, Vanderbilt and the University of Virginia.
Then he clicked on the website for a one-year-old school called MissionU and quickly decided that’s where he wanted to go.
Mr. Cary, 19 years old, is enrolled in a one-year, data-science program. He studies between 40 and 50 hours a week, visits high-tech, Bay Area companies as part of his education, and will pay the San Francisco-based school a percentage of his income for three years after he graduates.
This new type of postsecondary education is proving a hit: The school says it has received more than 10,000 applications for 50 spots.
“I think people feel backed into a corner by the cost of college,” Mr. Cary said. “They’ve been waiting for something like this so when it finally came around they could instantly see the value proposition.”
MissionU, which enrolled its first class in September [2017], is part of new breed of institutions that bill themselves as college alternatives for the digital age. The schools–whose admission rates hover in the single digits–comparable to the Ivy League, according to the schools–offer a debt-free way to attain skills in hot areas and guaranteed apprenticeships with high-tech companies. Together those create a pipeline to well-paying high-tech jobs.

For the full story, see:
Douglas Belkin. “One-Year Alternatives to College Pop Up.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, April 10, 2018): A3.
(Note: bracketed year added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 9, 2018, and has the title “One Year of ‘College’ With No Degree, But No Debt And a Job at the End.” In the penultimate paragraph quoted above, the print version has “value” where the online version has “value proposition.” I use the online version.)

Individualistic Cultures Foster Innovation

IndividualismProductivityGraph2018-04-20.pngSource of graph: online version of the WSJ commentary quoted and cited below.

(p. B1) Luther matters to investors not because of the religion he founded, but because of the cultural impact of challenging the Catholic Church’s grip on society. By ushering in what Edmund Phelps, the Nobel-winning director of Columbia University’s Center on Capitalism and Society, calls the “the age of the individual,” Luther laid the groundwork for capitalism.
. . .
(p. B10) Mr. Phelps and collaborators Saifedean Ammous, Raicho Bojilov and Gylfi Zoega show that even in recent years, countries with more individualistic cultures have more innovative economies. They demonstrate a strong link between countries that surveys show to be more individualistic, and total factor productivity, a proxy for innovation that measures growth due to more efficient use of labor and capital. Less individualistic cultures, such as France, Spain and Japan, showed little innovation while the individualistic U.S. led.
As Mr. Bojilov points out, correlation doesn’t prove causation, so they looked at the effects of country of origin on the success of second, third and fourth-generation Americans as entrepreneurs. The effects turn out to be significant but leave room for debate about how important individualistic attitudes are to financial and economic success.

For the full commentary, see:
James Mackintosh. “STREETWISE; What Martin Luther Says About Capitalism.” The Wall Street Journal (Friday, Nov. 3, 2017): B1 & B10.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Nov. 2, 2017, and has the title “STREETWISE; What 500 Years of Protestantism Teaches Us About Capitalism’s Future.” Where there are minor differences in wording in the two versions, the passages quoted above follow the online version.)