bankbryan.com/reading



I have read many things on the internet, and these are some of my favorites.

If this does not slake your thirst for reading material, you might also enjoy my top bookmarks.







Susan Silk and Barry Goldman
Los Angeles Times
April 2013
793 words

“When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it.”


Maciej Cegłowski
August 2005
4,101 words

“Taken on its own merits, the Shuttle gives the impression of a vehicle designed to be launched repeatedly to near-Earth orbit, tended by five to seven passengers with little concern for their personal safety, and requiring extravagant care and preparation before each flight, with an almost fetishistic emphasis on reuse. Future archaeologists trying to understand what the Shuttle was for are going to have a mess on their hands.”


David A. Fahrenthold
The Washington Post
May 2013
1,576 words

“This was pattern No. 10. The Pentagon’s long and expensive search for new camouflage uniforms had previously defied logic. Now it would defy camouflage itself.”


Po Bronson
Salon
October 1997
3,895 words

“There was something about me, something that must have come out in that first interview. How do I know that I wasn't just chosen randomly, or handed down the duty by some assistant who didn't want to show up an hour early? Because it had happened before. It had been happening my whole life.”


William Prochnau
Vanity Fair
May 1998
10,017 words

“You can buy the conventional plan at annual premiums ranging anywhere from $10,000 to more than $150,000 per person. One South American billionaire has insured 90 members of his family; many insure their mistresses. Or you can buy a vacuna, or vaccination, directly from the kidnappers. In Bogota, a $60,000 vacuna will protect you from a half-million-dollar kidnapping. This saves both sides wear and tear.”


Ezra Klein
Wonkblog
April 2013
4,228 words

“There’s this amazing double standard in medicine. For the kind of thing we do, if it’s more difficult than making a phone call once in awhile, then it’s not scalable. But you provide enough economic incentives and all of a sudden every hospital has an open-heart surgery program.”


Tim Kreider
Opinionator
June 2013
1,176 words

“Hearing other people’s uncensored opinions of you is an unpleasant reminder that you’re just another person in the world, and everyone else does not always view you in the forgiving light that you hope they do, making all allowances, always on your side.”


Rohin Dhar
Priceonomics
April 2013
3,526 words

“The people who view medallions as a public asset are the beneficiaries of the current system: medallion holders, taxi companies insulated from competition, and, most likely, public officials whose job it is to dole out medallions. A public asset is safe, efficient transportation, not a scarcity of taxis.”


Ross Andersen
Aeon
February 2013
7,940 words

“If you want to conceal what the world is really like from a superintelligence, you need a really good plan, and you need a concrete technical understanding as to why it won’t see through your deception. And remember, the most complex schemes you can conceive of are at the lower bounds of what a superintelligence might dream up.”


John Siracusa
April 2013
1,484 words

“Beneath what seems like a reasonable feature request lurks the heart of technological conservatism: what was and is always shall be. At some point, we’re all guilty of looking down upon things that have changed since our own formative years, but ideas should not be rejected based merely on a lifetime of having lived without them.”


Atul Gawande
The New Yorker
August 2012
9,636 words

“We’ve let health-care systems provide us with the equivalent of greasy-spoon fare at four-star prices, and the results have been ruinous. The Cheesecake Factory model represents our best prospect for change.”


William Langewiesche
The Atlantic
December 2000
17,343 words

“The word terroir has no concise translation, but relates strongly to history, class, and pedigree; it means the soil both real and metaphorical from which a vine, a wine, or a person emerges. Because weather matters too, as do changes brought about by economics and technology, there is a need to consider the vintage. But for the aristocracy of Bordeaux, terroir matters most of all.”


William Langewiesche
The Atlantic
November 2003
20,419 words

“It has been scorched into my mind that bureaucracies will do anything to defend themselves. It’s not evil—it’s just a natural reaction of bureaucracies. Now when I hear NASA telling me things like ‘Gotta be true!’ or ‘We know this to be true!’ all my alarm bells go off. Without hurting anybody’s feelings, or squashing people’s egos, we’re having to say, ‘We’re sorry, but we’re not accepting that answer.’”


Jeanne Marie Laskas
GQ
April 2009
8,420 words

“Kennedy, just twelve miles south, is obnoxious. If Kennedy goes into delays, it’s LaGuardia that has to change its runway configuration to help Kennedy get out of delays. The complications make this place so much more awesome than a place like Atlanta or Denver. This, anyway, is the LaGuardia mystique.”


Michael Idov
GQ
November 2011
4,332 words

“Finable offenses include tardiness, which costs a whole day’s pay, and failure to renew the fake Institute pass. The fine system has also fostered a robust culture of snitching. ‘In a totalitarian regime, mechanisms of suppression trigger mechanisms of betrayal,’ the director explains. ‘I am very interested in that.’”


Brendan Greeley
Businessweek
September 2011
4,515 words

“In 1888 the city of Sundsvall in Sweden, built of wood, burned to the ground. A group of reinsurers, Swiss Re among them, let Sweden’s insurers know there was going to be a limit in the future on losses from wooden houses, and it was going to be low. Sweden began building with stone. Reinsurance is a product, but also a carrot in the negotiation between culture and reality; it lets societies know what habits are unsustainable.”


Joe Morgenstern
The New Yorker
May 1995
7,316 words

“Before the city officials left, they commended LeMessurier for his courage and candor, and expressed a desire to be kept informed as the repair work progressed. Given the urgency of the situation, that was all they could reasonably do. ‘It wasn’t a case of “We caught you,”’ Nusbaum says. ‘It started with a guy who stood up and said, “I got a problem, I made the problem, let's fix the problem.” If you're gonna kill a guy like LeMessurier, why should anybody ever talk?’”


James Fallows
The Atlantic
June 2002
10,792 words

“‘There is a category of savvy managers in the government that industry lives in fear of,’ a veteran Pentagon official told me. ‘That is her. People don't take her on because she is too tough to take on.’ Another man says, ‘People live in fear of her, because she not only speaks her mind but they know that in any argument on the merits, she will prevail over the political people. She always knows more.’”


Neal Stephenson
Wired
December 1996
42,138 words

“One day a barge appears off the cove, and there is a lot of fussing around with floats, lots of divers in the water. A backhoe digs a trench in the cobble beach. A long skinny black thing is wrestled ashore. Working almost naked in the tropical heat, the men bolt segmented pipes around it and then bury it. It is never again to be seen by human eyes. Suddenly, all of these men pay their bills and vanish. Not long afterward, the phone service gets a hell of a lot better.”


John McPhee
The New Yorker
February 1987
28,424 words

“General Sands cheerfully remarks that every time he makes one of these trips he gets ‘beaten on the head and shoulders.’ He continues, ‘In most water-resources stories, you can identify two sides. Here there are many more. The variety of competing influences is phenomenal.’”


Luke Dittrich
Esquire
April 2011
7,735 words

“There’s a sign on the other side of the road. It’s bright yellow and busy with pictographs: A sun, some mountains, a rattlesnake, a cactus, and a little drowning man, one arm raised, sinking into a pool of water. CUIDADO! the sign reads. NO VALE LA PENA! It’s not worth the trouble! But of course it is.”


David Cain
January 2011
1,198 words

“I awake in bed. Iím warm and safe, like every morning. The sun won’t rise for another hour, but I don’t need to light a fire or candles. I have artificial ones, mounted on the ceiling. Hit a tiny switch and I can see everything, any time of day. I bathe while standing. The water comes out whatever temperature I like.”


William Langewiesche
Vanity Fair
January 2009
13,026 words

“Until recently, head-on airplanes mistakenly assigned the same altitude and route by Air Traffic Control would almost certainly have passed some distance apart, due to the navigation slop inherent in their systems. But this is no longer true. The problem for the Legacy was that the Boeing coming at them had equipment that was every bit as precise.”


Maciej Cegłowski
March 2010
5,402 words

“They had a theory of the disease that made sense, fit the evidence, but was utterly wrong. In one sense, the additional leap required for a correct understanding was very small. In another sense, it would have required a kind of Copernican revolution in their thinking. It was pure luck that led to the actual discovery of vitamin C.”


Michael Lopp
November 2007
2,570 words

“The nerd has based his career, maybe his life, on the computer, and as we’ll see, this intimate relationship has altered his view of the world. He sees the world as a system which, given enough time and effort, is completely knowable. This is a fragile illusion that your nerd has adopted, but it’s a pleasant one that gets your nerd through the day. When the illusion is broken, you are going to discover that… Your nerd has control issues.”


Paul Graham
May 2008
5,207 words

“Whenever we lie to kids to protect them, we’re usually also lying to keep the peace. One consequence of this sort of calming lie is that we grow up thinking horrible things are normal. It’s hard for us to feel a sense of urgency as adults over something we’ve literally been trained not to worry about.”


Nick Paumgarten
The New Yorker
April 2008
7,992 words

“In elevatoring, as in life, the essential variables are time and space. A well-elevatored building gets you up and down quickly, without giving up too much square footage to elevator banks. You hear that interfloor traffic kills.”


Paul Graham
March 2008
1,485 words

“An eloquent speaker or writer can give the impression of vanquishing an opponent merely by using forceful words. In fact, that is probably the defining quality of a demagogue. By giving names to the different forms of disagreement, we give critical readers a pin for popping such balloons.”


Atul Gawande
The New Yorker
December 2004
7,839 words

“I could tell myself, Someone’s got to be average. If the bell curve is a fact, then so is the reality that most doctors are going to be average. There is no shame in being one of them, right? Except, of course, there is.”


Paul Graham
January 2004
5,431 words

“It seems to be a constant throughout history: In every period, people believed things that were just ridiculous, and believed them so strongly that you would have gotten in terrible trouble for saying otherwise. It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right.”