Mr. Bloomberg, 72, has vowed to give away his $32.8 billion fortune before he dies. In doing so, he hopes to sharply reduce high smoking rates in Turkey, Indonesia and other countries; bring down obesity levels in Mexico; reduce traffic in Rio de Janeiro (and Istanbul); improve road safety in India and Kenya; prevent deaths at childbirth to mothers in Tanzania; and organize cities worldwide to become more environmentally friendly and efficient in delivering services.

You have to appreciate the ambition of Bills Gates and Michael Bloomberg. Gates is focusing on fixing third world issues (malaria, polio, extreme poverty, clean water) and Bloomberg is focusing on the first world ones (obesity, smoking, pollution). With all their billions being thrown around, it will make for an interesting next 20-30 years. 

I really enjoy Bloomberg’s impatience too.

“I don’t have anything in common with people who stand on escalators,” he said with a sad shake of his head. “I always walk around them — why waste time? You have eternity to rest when you die.”

Steve Levitt:

There could be no two disciplines closer than evolutionary biology and economics. They study different questions and they use different methods, but the way that evolutionary biologists think is exactly like the way that economists think. Both are very much a model of behavior, of individual behavior, and individual behavior that’s motivated by costs and benefits. The other thing is that at its heart, both economics and evolutionary biology strive for simplicity. The simplest story which can explain a set of facts is the one we gravitate to. As opposed to other disciplines. History, history is all about complexity. And you know, literature is all about complexity. Even sociology I think at heart is about complexity. But economics is about simplicity.

I love this quote from the recent Freakonomics podcast. Why We Get Sick and Survival of The Sickest have been two of my favorite books forever. The darwinian approach to medicine is very logical which makes it easy to appreciate for any economist. 

Mathematics and design should be included in this group as well. Theres a beauty and elegance in simplicity that drew me to these disparate fields. 

 Rather than the darkly roasted coffee popularized by Starbucks—the emblem of “second wave” coffee—third-wave roasters cook the raw green beans lightly, to bring out their distinctive profiles. Brewing for peak flavor requires scientific precision: how finely or coarsely to grind a particular strain of bean, steeped in how much water and at what temperature. All this adds up to a cup of black coffee so dimensional, they believe, that there’s no need to pollute it with milk or sweeteners—and so valuable that it can earn a price tag as hefty as $7 a cup.

Premium coffee is set to follow the craft beer path. It’s already happened in chocolate, yogurtthermostats, and computers

Once mainstream consumers are educated on the intricacies of a product, they choose the better experience even if it costs a little more.

The preference for carefully crafted products over commodization is moving through all industries. 

Jeans are next…