Books I’ve Loved | Kevin Kelly on The Tim Ferriss Show

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Key Takeaways

  • Open Borders by Bryan Caplan, illustrated by Zach Weinersmith
    • It’s about the science and ethics of immigration
      • The author makes a strong case about why having open borders is the “most and best economic thing we could possibly do for ourselves and for others”Kevin Kelly
  • How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand
    • The author makes the argument that buildings should be designed in a way that makes them easily modifiable
      • “You’re going to design it for certain uses in mind and like all predictions, most of these buildings will be not used over the long-term for what they were originally built for” – Kevin Kelly
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
    • The book shares the idea that there’s a dilemma with innovation: In the short-term, it makes more sense to incrementally improve what’s already working since that’s where the majority of your revenue is coming from
  • Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
    • With finite games, there are winners and losers. They are also called a zero-sum game as for each winner, there is a loser.
      • In infinite games, there are no fixed winners or losers. The purpose of the game is to keep the game going. It is a positive-sum game. 

Intro

Books Mentioned

4 Non-fiction Books That Changed Kevin’s Mind

  • Open Borders by Bryan Caplan, illustrated by Zach Weinersmith
    • It’s a graphic novel written by an economist
      • It’s about the science and ethics of immigration
        • The author makes a strong case about why having open borders is the “most and best economic thing we could possibly do for ourselves and for others”Kevin Kelly
          • “Very new, very current, very radical, very persuasive, and fun to read”
            • The book also answers many common objections and shows why those beliefs aren’t true
  • How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand
    • The main thesis of this book is that when you make a building, you’re making a prediction as to what it will be used for
      • “You’re going to design it for certain uses in mind and like all predictions, most of these buildings will be not used over the long-term for what they were originally built for”Kevin Kelly
        • Commercial real estate becomes residential and residential real estate becomes commercial
          • The author makes the argument that buildings should be designed in a way that makes them easily modifiable
            •  “We want to make adaptable structures”
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
    • The book shares the idea that there’s a dilemma with innovation: In the short-term, it makes more sense to incrementally improve what’s working since that’s where the majority of your revenue is coming from
    • However, in the long-term, you need to take a chance on something new
      • Innovation doesn’t make short-term economic sense because a lot of innovations fail. It only makes sense if you’re thinking about the long-term.
  • Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse
    • For this book, Kevin recommends just reading the first and last chapters
      • The basic premise of the book is that there are 2 kinds of games: Finite and infinite
        • With finite games, there are winners and losers. This is also called a zero-sum game as for each winner there is a loser.
        • In infinite games, there are no fixed winners or losers. The purpose of the game is simply to keep the game going. It is a positive-sum game. 
          • A company is an infinite game, it’s creating jobs and products
            • “It’s in some way, enlarging the pie rather than just taking a slice of the pie” – Kevin Kelly

Additional Notes

  • “I think the power of a book to change people’s mind is an amazing superpower” – Kevin Kelly
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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