Drug prices pose an ethical dilemma. On the one hand, treatments should be affordable to those who need them, but on the other, companies will have to finance many failed drug development attempts in order to uncover the successful few, so each life-saver may carry a hefty price tag. While pharmaceutical companies tend to deal with well-known generic drugs, biotech companies focus on developing new … Continue reading Money Observer: Is it time to invest in biotech?
I recently went to a public lecture at LSE hosted by the Forum for European Philosophy. The discussion was entitled “Does philosophy have to be obscure?” It struck me as a bit odd that both possible responses presume that philosophy is indeed obscure. If we understand “obscure” as “unclearly expressed” or “not easily understood”, so many things seem more obscure – Facebook’s terms of agreement, say, or … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Does philosophy have to be obscure?
We are not rational thinkers, but emotional creatures when it comes to making financial decisions. This idea has been gaining currency ever since the acclaimed psychologist Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics with Amos Tversky for their work on behavioural economics. Many experiments have shown that it’s easier for us to part with money if we’re paying by card rather than in cash, … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur supplement: Taking the emotion out of trading
A new show about consciousness takes a terrifying look at how scientists, philosophers and artists deal with “the hard problem” In the 17th century, Descartes famously argued that the body and mind are two different things. Philosophers have been discussing the difference ever since, and this “mind-body problem” is far from solved. Today, science is still struggling to explain how our soggy grey brains give rise to the … Continue reading The Economist’s 1843: The malleability of our minds
Why don’t surgeons have coaches, just like top athletes and singers? Medical professionals are expected to deliver care in a fast and cost-efficient way, while keeping up to date with the most recent technologies. Even the best-trained professionals can benefit from coaching to improve their skills, according to surgeon and author Atul Gawande. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are set to be in … Continue reading The Times’ Raconteur supplement: Could AR and VR transform surgery forever?
History books have long explored the lives of great individuals, families or countries. Today, the choice of subjects is wider. In Behold, America, for example, Sarah Churchwell addressed two familiar expressions: “the American dream” and “America first”. And now, Norman Eisen has made a grand, neo-classicist building in Prague the protagonist of his book, The Last Palace. It begins — as many a Jewish man’s … Continue reading Jewish Chronicle: Book review of The Last Palace
What makes a genius? Since at least the 19th century, some have said it is down to genetics, while others have argued that upbringing is decisive. More recently, the idea that genius rests on sheer hard work — the “10,000 hours” thesis popularised by the writer Malcolm Gladwell — has gained currency. The latest contribution to the debate comes from the journalist and travel writer … Continue reading Financial Times: How to create a golden age
“Austria comes alive on my divan,” said Berta Zuckerkandl, and this was an understatement. An influential journalist and art critic, Zuckerkandl welcomed everybody from Auguste Rodin and Gustav Klimt to Arthur Schnitzler at her home. There, she promoted their work, found them buyers and introduced them to the luminaries of the day. “Hail to the most marvellous and witty woman in Vienna,” Johann Strauss is … Continue reading Standpoint Magazine: Viennese rooms with a point of view
In his previous book, The Shallows, Nicholas Carr argued that the Internet diminishes our power to concentrate and contemplate. Now he turns his eye to automation: “If you want to understand the human consequences of automation”, he writes, “the first place to look is up”. Air travel has been at the vanguard of automation, and it has become safer on the whole. By the same … Continue reading Times Literary Supplement: Engage neutral
Investors are always on the lookout for a successful fund manager, so there is a vast array of academic research on how to find one. Identifying successful people in active fund management seems easier than in other industries, as there are huge data sets associated with specific fund bosses publicly available; by contrast, there are probably many reasons and people behind the (latest) failure of … Continue reading MoneyWeek: What makes a successful fund manager?