What I’m Reading
Wilding: The Return of Nature to a British Farm by Isabella Tree
As someone who is currently trying to regenerate formerly over-farmed land in Kodaikanal with shola species from the local conservation nurseries, I am happy to share that I’m currently in the middle of Wilding by Isabella Tree. Isabella and her partner decided to rewild their 3,500 acre English farmland by just “letting it be”. Granted they are fortunate to have 3,500 acres to spare, and they are also probably living off the royalty of the said book, but what they’ve done is truly remarkable and daring. I believe them to be good role models for other privileged folk that can actually afford to live regenerative lives on such a large scale.
What I’m Viewing
Over the past few weeks I’ve been drawn into the much-hyped Korean thriller series Squid Games. Partial Spoiler Alert.
In summary, it was very violent and very entertaining, despite being widely criticized by Korean fans for being cliched. Squid Games revolves around a handful of people that are deeply in debt, and are willing to be pawns in a billionaire’s private game island, where people die. In fact a 180+ of the 450+ participants die in the first game alone. There are seven such games, all of them gruesomely violent. What makes it especially fascinating is that throughout the game, participants are allowed to opt out, but they just don’t. It highlighted the desperation of the have-nots, the lengths that they will go to well… have, and how the haves find the desperation of the have-nots amusing.
Probably worth noting is that the last big Korean thriller that caught the world’s attention was Parasite, when it won the Oscar for the Best Picture Award in 2020. Parasite was also built on the premise of a growing gap between the wealthy and the poor of Korea.
What I’m Listening To
My near-constant podcast companions are 99% Invisible and Masters of Scale.
Having listened to 100s, if not 1000s, of different podcasts, I have come to believe that 99% Invisible is the most beautifully crafted podcast out there. It’s a design podcast, which talks about the designs of daily objects like door knobs; or once-in-a-civilization’s-lifetime objects like the Airbeacon giant concrete arrows that guided American trans-continental pilots in the 1930s pre-radar and pre-ATC days; or designs that steer humanity, like the design of flags– for which the host, Roman Mars, is probably best known as a TED Talk speaker.
Masters of Scale is another podcast that you will always find on my player because I’m in that start-up space where I’m constantly thinking about building my ventures at an exponential rate. Masters of Scale is a business podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn. In it, he quite simply interviews businesses and non-profits that have experienced rapid growth. He dives into the motivations, systems and secrets behind unicorn growth spurts.