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===========================

  HARLEY HAHN NEWSLETTER
           #54

    November 16, 2006

===========================


"You never know if you have good taste
 until you get rich."

 -- Harley Hahn


====================================
The Name the Kitten Contest is Over!
====================================

Some time ago, I had a contest to find a name for my
kitten.  In all, 211 people sent in entries and now,
finally, the contest is over.  The kitten has a name:

What is the kitten's name?

To everyone who suggested a name, thank you.  So many of
the names were good, I only wish I had 211 unnamed kittens.

===================
Understanding Money
===================

Whether you love it, hate it or try to ignore it, money is
one of the most important things in life.  All of us spend
hours thinking about money: working for it, spending it,
saving it, investing it, and — all too often — worrying
about it.

But how much do we really understand about money?

What is it?  Where did it come from?  How does it work, and
why does it work that way?  Why is gold important?  Does
the Federal Reserve actually create and destroy billions of
dollars?  And who are these guys anyway?

In this essay, you'll find answers to these questions— and
a lot more.

-----

"We live in a society that is, to a large extent, cashless:
we spend most of our money using checks, credit cards,
debit cards, automatic billpay services, and other abstract
tools. When we use the Internet, it is even more extreme:
everything is cashless, and all transactions are abstract.

"Nevertheless, no type of abstract transaction — including
Internet commerce — operates in an isolated environment..."

Understanding Money

===============================================
Reading: The Wisdom of Crowds and Johnny Carson
===============================================

Is it possible that, much of the time, large groups of
people are actually smarter than individuals?  If so,
wouldn't that be an enormous insight into human behavior?

Well, maybe yes.  After all, within a large group of
people, there will usually be a diversity of opinion.
Moreover, although individuals can make mistakes, in a
group it might be that mistakes might cancel one another.
In the "Wisdom of Crowds", you'll find these questions
posed and answered.

And speaking of groups of people, from October 1962 to May
1992, millions of people tuned in each night to watch
Johnny Carson, host of America's most popular late-night
television talk show. For over thirty years, while Carson
told jokes, interviewed guests and did his best to
entertain late-night viewers, his announcer and sidekick,
Ed McMahon laughed at the jokes, no matter how bad, and did
whatever was necessary to make Carson look good.

The book "Here's Johnny" relates the story of Carson and
his career as seen by McMahon.

What is Harley Reading?

-----

The book reviews I write are part of a larger project,
Harley Hahn's Guide to Reading. If you like reading, I know
you will enjoy this guide:

Harley Hahn's Guide to Reading

-- Harley Hahn