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I publish WendellNotes for significant books I read to make their perspective available to friends and GIN subscribers who may not otherwise have time for them. Before I started writing WendellNotes in 2011, book notes were part of my Journal. [Brackets separate my comments from the author's.]

Quantitative change has led to a qualitative one. Big data refers to things one can do at a large scale that cannot be done at a smaller one. With information, as with physics, size matters. It leads society to abandon its time-honored preference for causality, and in many instances tap the benefits of correlation. Social sciences have lost their monopoly on making sense of empirical social data. There is a premium on diversity within a group and in society at large. Correlations lie at the heart of big data and are now used so frequently that we sometimes fail to appreciate their inroads. FICO is also used as a cheap proxy for people’s income levels. MOOC (massive open online courses) may upend the entire education industry and pop the growing cost bubble. Infrastructures were focused on flows of water and knowledge, as were the telephone and the internet. In contrast, Datafication represents an essential enrichment in human comprehension. It is almost certain that the value of data will show up on corporate balance sheets and emerge as a new asset class. Data is to the information society what fuel was to the industrial economy.

Attachments:
Download this file (Big Data.pdf)Big Data189 kB

[Because the Bakers live in such a desperate part of the world and look for the most difficult cases through which to display the love of God, they experience more than their share of tragedy and sorrow. I know of no one who has faced greater challenges to their faith than Roland and Heidi Baker. It is the army of children cared for by the Bakers’ ministry that are some of the best at bringing a miracle to an impossible situation. Heidi highlights the central key of keeping intimacy at the center of our journey and being lost in love with God. She shows that this is how to be fearless and find hope and perseverance in the hardest moments.] Developing a life in God’s presence above all else is the only way to fulfill our God-given destinies. To the degree we are united with God’s heart and in love with Jesus, we will be fruitful. All fruitfulness flows from intimacy. His method for changing your nation is you. Most of the time you will be confined to activities you know how to produce and control. God wants to take us beyond what we can control. While He is pruning us above the ground, He is also multiplying our root system below. I try to pray for 3-5 hours every day.

Attachments:
Download this file (Birthing the Miraculous2.pdf)Birthing the Miraculous167 kB

Talib was the only one who predicted the 2008 crisis and bet on it with his own money. Categorizing always produces reduction in complexity. Metaphors and stories are far more potent than ideas; they are also easier to remember and more fun to read. Ideas come and go; stories stay. We are better at explaining than understanding. Narrativity can viciously affect the remembrance of past events as follows: we tend to more easily remember those facts from our past that fit a narrative. To avoid the ills of the narrative fallacy, favor experimentation over storytelling, experience over history, and clinical knowledge over theories. It is the asymmetry of the bonus system that got us into the 2008 crisis--no incentives without disincentives. Capitalism is about rewards and punishments, not just rewards.]

Attachments:
Download this file (Black Swan2.pdf)Black Swan175 kB

Mouthbreathing, it turns out, changes the physical body and transforms airways, all for the worse. Inhaling from the nose has the opposite effect. Big, heavy breaths are bad for us because they deplete our bodies of carbon dioxide. Learn how to inhale and exhale slowly. When we breathe slower and hold in more carbon dioxide, pH lowers and blood becomes more acidic. We produce and signal stem cells to build more maxilla bone in the face by clamping down on the back molars over and over--chewing.

King Josiah’s reading of the Bible led to revival simply by reading their history. Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush cited ending slavery as a primary reason to be independent from Great Britain. African Americans started every southern state Republican Party. On the 14th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1866 [granting citizenship to all persons born in the US], not a single Democrat voted for it. Not another civil rights law was passed from 1875 to 1964 because in 1876 Republicans lost control of the Senate. In 1875, the Republican Congress banned all segregation, but in 1882, the Supreme Court struck down the law and in1896 reaffirmed their pro-segregation position. The Klu Klux Klan was started to oppose Republicans and was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party. Not one Southern Democrat voted for either of the civil rights acts even in the 1960s! Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. One simple act of gratitude caused Black America to quickly forget that the Republican Party was birthed in America [in 1854] as the antislavery party to end the scourge of slavery and combat the terror of racism and segregation.

Words sell things. Story is a sense-making mechanism. When we use a story, we create a map. No one can look away from a good story. Companies tend to sell solutions to external problems, but people buy solutions to internal problems. Our website isn’t the only tool but it usually does the heavy lifting. People don’t read websites; they scan them.

Attachments:
Download this file (Building a StoryBrand3.pdf)Building a Story Brand155 kB

Great literature depends upon a passionate commitment to the real world, which demands a foundation in a deeper order of things grounded in the nature and will of God. In the journey of the mind to God, Tolkien helped Lewis to realize that the problem lay not in Lewis’s rational failure to understand the theory, but in his imaginative failure to grasp its significance.

Attachments:
Download this file (cslewis.pdf)cslewis.pdf60 kB

[This is one of the most important books I've ever read]. You already are hearing God’s voice and have been for years. We have made an art form of distancing themselves from God and then blaming God for the distance. He continues to speak to us symbolically through daily events as if they were parables. Prophesy is sharing something God has shown you. Retreating to the supposed safety of “figuring things out for ourselves” is another version of the fleshly mind trying to think independently of God. The Spirit has led us into truth that our Bibles and church traditions alone did not. Christian deism: God set things up in the beginning but has pretty much left the running of things to us, only intervening in our lives if absolutely necessary. Signs are only meant to encourage us along the path of faith not to help us overcome our skepticism. The cynic is a thief of hope. The beatitudes show us a type of “prophetic respiration’ in which the disciple inhales the fullness of the Spirit in contemplative prayer then exhales justice and mercy into the community.

Attachments:
Download this file (Can you hear me 2.pdf)Can you hear me 2.pdf163 kB

This is a short primer on the role and value of financial capital and why slowing growth will accelerate income inequality. Soaring inequality concentrates income in the hand of those who tend to save, which is a deleveraging affect. Does this reflect an advance of the Kingdom of God? To him who has shall more be given.

Attachments:
Download this file (Capital in t 21st Century.pdf)Capitalism in the 21st Century192 kB

Ideas, knowledge, and social relations are intangible. Investment seems low because of not measuring all the investment being made. Intangible investments are in ideas, knowledge, aesthetic content, software, brands, networks, and relationships. They are shot through with systems and rely almost entirely for their success on things you cannot touch. Spillovers from intangibles make living in cities more attractive and increase inequality. As returns on capital exceed the growth of the economy, the slice of the economic pie owned by the rich will grow. What makes new infrastructure valuable is the development of new tools and habits of using them to connect and work together. The least physical form of infrastructure is trust and social capital. The growth of intangibles seems to increase inequality and social divisions, but making the most of their spillovers and synergies requires good social institutions and trust.

Attachments:
Download this file (Capitalism without Capita2.pdf)Capitalism without Capital166 kB

Coaching is management. Effective leaders create a sound strategy, recruit good people, lead by example, adapt to changing conditions, honor their commitments, admit their mistakes, and take responsibility for their failures. Confidence is earned with work, time, and dedication. Winning is a by-product of the process. Positive reinforcement is crucial to team building.

There are 8 conundrums—the Big 8. Christians believe in 5 things: God exists; God is good, God is all-powerful; God is all-wise; and evil exists. The overwhelming majority of pain in the world is caused by our choices. The universe is a soul-making machine. The point of our lives in this world isn’t comfort, but training and preparation for eternity. Suffering is the single greatest challenge to the Christian faith. We find ‘irreducible complexity’ in nature—organisms that could not have evolved. The origin of life is the Achilles heel of evolution. God makes sense of the universe’s origin & complexity, objective moral values & the Resurrection. People assume that what’s wrong for us is wrong for God. Every religion seeks to answer 4 questions: Origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.

Attachments:
Download this file (Case for Faith2.pdf)Case for Faith214 kB

Truth without grace is not really truth, and grace without truth is not really grace. Any religion that de-emphasizes either falls into legalism or license. The concept of idolatry helps people understand their own drivenness, fear, addictions, lack of integrity, envy of others, and resentment in theological terms. Depicting sin as an act of misplaced love, not just a violation of law, is more compelling to many in our culture today. God ties the fortunes of the people of God to the effectiveness of their urban ministry. In Acts the church is associated with the city. If the gospel is unfolded at the urban center, you can effectively reach the region and the surrounding society. The city we see in Revelation 22:1-3 is the same garden we see in  Genesis. When God’s will is finally done and Jesus fulfills the cultural mandate on our behalf, the Garden of Eden becomes a garden city. One of the best ways to reach a region and country is to reach your own city. The kingdom of God means renewal of the world through the introduction of supernatural forces, not through political power. A person is too rich and multifaceted to be fully known one-on-one. We need to see him/her with others in a community environment. Everyone recognizes that the plight of children is part of the deep injustice of our world that we are duty bound to help improve.

Attachments:
Download this file (Center Church2.pdf)Center Church195 kB

The biggest mistakes in my career came from missing big market moves that hadn’t happened in my lifetime but had happened many times before. The British Empire generally occupied the countries in its empire while the American Empire has controlled more via rewards and threats. Human productivity is the most important force in causing the world’s total wealth, power, and living standards to rise over time, always rising for the same reasons—the quality of people’s education, inventiveness, work ethic, and economic systems to turn ideas into output. Capital markets allow people to convert their savings into investments to fund innovation and development. The human propensity to choose short-term enjoyment over long-term well-being exaggerates the highs and lows of the cycle because it pulls the good times forward at the expense of the future by creating the debt boom and bust cycle. The ability to make money, save it, and put it into capital (i.e., capitalism) is an effective motivator of people and allocator of resources that raises people’s living standards. Money and credit are the biggest influences on how wealth and power rise and decline, and along with debt, and economic activity, are inherently cyclical. All markets are primarily driven by growth, inflation, risk premiums, and discount rates. Interactions between what governments want to happen and what is actually happening drive the cycles. Equity markets allow savers to effectively transfer their buying power to entrepreneurs who could put it to productive and profitable use. The invention of capitalism was a key reason behind the shift from slow real GDP growth to faster growth.