The Most Curious Nation On Earth

(First picture: Golden Temple in the capital city, Elista, second picture: main square in Elista, third picture: Kalmyk Lama from early 1900s)

I’m well-travelled, I read a lot and I take a keen interest in the non-mainstream, yet until recently I had no idea that Europe had  a Buddhist nation. The Republic of Kalmykia is that nation. It is an autonomous region in Russia, the size of Scotland and has a population of 290,000 people. It is located near Ukraine (to its west), Georgia (to its south) and the Caspian Sea (to its west).

You may wonder why it’s Buddhist. It is not because nation recently discovered the wonders of mindfulness, Deepak Chopra and yoga, Continue reading “The Most Curious Nation On Earth”

What I Learnt From That Trump Book (“Fire and Fury”)

I get it, I get it. Donald Trump has no attention span, doesn’t read, doesn’t listen, obsesses about the media, eats fast food, watches too much TV, speaks before he thinks and acts impulsively. That’s what commentators have concluded on the release of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House”. I’ve now read the book, and it’s certainly true that Wolff does everything he can to present Trump in that way.The trouble is no story is ever that clear.

Continue reading “What I Learnt From That Trump Book (“Fire and Fury”)”

12 Great New Podcasts I Discovered In 2017


     

     

I love podcasts. They’re one of my favourite ways of learning. They’re also incredibly efficient as you can listen to them while you’re walking or on the subway. I have my favourites, but I’m still scouring the world for new podcasts. This year has been great in that regard, and while there have many duds, these 12 are excellent: Continue reading “12 Great New Podcasts I Discovered In 2017”

3 Things You’re Not Supposed To Talk About (8 min read)

The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, or TALOS will be made of liquid armor that can solidify on command.

I recently gave a speech at my bank’s Megatrends conference in Madrid. This is what I said:

1. The US Military

(Who’s the biggest of them all?)
Let me start by asking you:

“What is the largest organization in the world by revenue?” Continue reading “3 Things You’re Not Supposed To Talk About (8 min read)”

How To Have a Coup In a Democracy (2 mins)

I had great fun reading a 1982 novel called A Very British Coup by a former UK politician Chris Mullin. It charts the stunning rise (and fall) of Harry Perkins, a left-wing anti-establishment leader of the Labour Party. It may not be the most well-written book and some bits are dated, but its plot seems remarkably prescient in a world where the UK’s Labour Party has Jeremy Corbyn as its leader and the US is led by Donald Trump.

Continue reading “How To Have a Coup In a Democracy (2 mins)”

The Five Types Of Trump Supporters (3 min read)

It’s easy to stereo-type the supporters of American presidents. I remember when Obama was in office his supporters were called “latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies”. I’ll leave it to your imagination on what the stereotype is for Trump supporters, but a new research report questioned 8,000 Trump supporters to determine how they could be characterised. Using cluster-analysis, the report found there are 5 types of Trump supporters: Continue reading “The Five Types Of Trump Supporters (3 min read)”

Who Governs Britain? (5 min read)

A hung parliament, a disgruntled working class, terrorist attacks, immigration fears, a country torn on its relationship with Europe, and a US administration under investigation make a startling backdrop. And that was just 1974.

Today’s result of a hung parliament therefore has an apparent precedent. Continue reading “Who Governs Britain? (5 min read)”

How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)

Purpose

What is the purpose of our life? We don’t often think of that question, especially when at work. Many of us will say that it is to be happy and healthy. Others may say to have a fun time. For me, it would have to be leaving the world in a better place than when I entered it. This would be at every level from family to work to community to the world. Another related question, then, is what is the biggest problem in the world? Some may say climate change, others income inequality, yet others war and terrorism. For me though, when I think about this I think is the lack trust that pervades our culture. Continue reading “How Bankers Can Save the World (8 mins)”

What Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) Told Me…

…(and 85,000,000 others) a few weeks ago in a 6000 word essay entitled “Building Global Community” was fascinating.  He essentially formulates a view on how we can create a global community that works for all. Within the essay, he makes some astute observations on human behaviour and polarisation: Continue reading “What Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) Told Me…”

An Imagined Conversation Between China’s Xi and Trump

China’s President Xi Jinping gave a striking defence of globalisation at Davos in January. This stands in contrast to US President Donald Trump’s attack on globalisation. I thought I’d splice President Xi’s Davos speech with Donald Trump’s key quotes on the topic to produce a remarkable conversation between the two men: Continue reading “An Imagined Conversation Between China’s Xi and Trump”