What I learnt this week – 27th week 2020

As I return from my week off, I’m creating a syllabus for myself for the summer. I’m planning on learning finance from EdX’s Corporate Finance course, Excel modelling from Skillshare (sign-up for 2 free months here), and Corporate strategy by reading Competition Demystified. If you have learnt or taught yourself any of these skills, then get in touch at contact@callumacdonald.com and let me know what helped.

What I read

The best article I read this week was Do the Real Thing, from Scott H. Young. The core of the article is around how we often avoid doing the real thing because it is hard and we might fail. Instead we suffice with being busy and doing simulations of the real thing, convincing ourselves that we are making progress. I’ve been guilty of this recently in learning German, where I’ve been learning grammar and vocab, but I’ve realized that I struggle to understand spoken German even for words I do know. If I can’t understand spoken German, then I can’t speak German. To do the real thing, I should be having more conversations in German. I’ve been applying this understanding to my other thinking recently about starting a business and practicing my French.

An article I read this week that I’ll be referring back to in the future is on how to network with people you don’t already know. Especially important now as physical networking isn’t a viable option, this fantastic article provides a clear step by step framework for contacting people to ask them questions about their jobs and career path, as well as the reasoning behind the steps.

The final article for this week is an interview from 2009 with the author Christina Bielaszka-Duvernay, where she explores the problems and challenges that new managers face. The main message for me was that new managers find joy in the places they didn’t expect, such as through helping a member of their team succeed, and find challenges where they didn’t expect, such as managing the more complicated network of command that comes with being higher up in the network. I would highly recommend this article to anyone who thinks they want to manage at some point in the future.

What I watched

The most interesting video I watched this week was from Pop Culture Detective. This is a fascinating commentary on masculinity and how even in a community which was originally a counterculture, that the masculine ideal can be toxic. Also, it helps me understand why I don’t find the show funny.

Preview(opens in a new tab)

What book I finished

I recently finished The Man who Solved the Market, by Gregory Zuckerman. For a book about one of the most secretive trading firms in the world, Zuckerman does a fantastic job of getting into the grit of the personalities in this story. What amazed me was the role that the fund has had in shaping the modern world, including Brexit and Trump.

What do you recommend I read next week? Contact me at contact@callumacdonald.com, or find me on LinkedIn.

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