Weekly Selection 24 April 2020

Bill Gates, The first modern pandemic

(The Blog of Bill Gates, April 23, 2020)

This is a great (albeit long – 20 min+) read to make sense of the overabundant information about Covid-19. The epidemiological situation changes every day and makes it incredibly hard to grasp all the ideas and policy proposals we read and hear about. Some parts of the article are fairly technical, but don’t be put off - read on to better understand what’s going on, what are the innovations we still need, and how to make informed decisions about dealing with the pandemic.

Nicholas Eberstadt, The “New Normal”: Thoughts about the Shape of Things to Come in the Post-Pandemic World

(NBR, April 18, 2020)

Eberstadt observes that the coronavirus has come as a strategic surprise to thought leaders and political decision-makers alike and that many will “remain trapped in the mental coordinates of a world that no longer exists”. This is an impressive panoramic overview of the many different ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic might adjust, shape, or reorder the world across multiple dimensions. Rich and dense in food for thought in just a 10-15 min read.

Li Jiaming, Every move to stigmatize China evokes our historical memory

(Global Times, April 19, 2020)

We are grateful to Chandran Nair (Chairman of the Global Institute for Tomorrow in Hong Kong) for pointing us to this article. The Monthly Barometer is mainly (but by no means exclusively) a Western-centric business, and as such, sometimes falls short when considering the position of non-Western observers. At a time when the rivalry between China and the US is increasing at a worrying pace, this article written by a media leader is enlightening. What it says is that Western attempts to “stigmatize” China will backfire and it also suggests that the rivalry is unlikely to abate any time soon (reads in 3-4 min).

Mark Sullivan, All the things Covid-19 will change forever, according to 30 top experts

(Fast Company, April 20, 2020)

Tech exec, VCs, and analysts - from WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart to AOL cofounder Steve Case – offer their thoughts on the pandemic’s lasting impact on how we live, work, and think. Topics range from working remotely to the acceleration of the digital migration and virtual education and healthcare. The piece is tech and VC focused - and reads in about 6-7 min.

Harry Kretchmer, A professor of happiness explains how to deal with COVID-19

(World Economic Forum, April 23, 2020)

Mental health has deteriorated due to stress and worry about Covid-19. In this short interview, Laurie Santos, a Yale professor who is the rock star of the science of wellbeing (more than 2 million students have enrolled on her course), shares some evidence-based tips on how to boost wellbeing in such adverse conditions: (1) Socialise – even if it’s on Zoom or FaceTime; (2) Help others (Happy people tend to be really ‘other’ oriented); (3) Be present –practice mindfulness (reads in 5-6 min).