Learning Mandarin isn’t spiritual in itself

Learning Mandarin is often described as something deeply cultural or spiritual. Yes, it’s interesting that the character for home/family (家) originates from a pig underneath a roof, because livestock used to be in every home, or that 目 (eye) coupled the water radical becomes 泪 (tear). But it’s pure trivia, just as interesting as that […]

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Stateless in Shanghai review

‘Stateless in Shanghai’ is a very detailed description of a mundane life in extraordinary times. And I’m glad Liliane Willens doesn’t try to add any grandness to the story, as the situation doesn’t need it. Willens describes her growing up in Shanghai’s International Settlement in the 1930s & 40s, as a child in a wealthy […]

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Timberland Project Better

At KesselsKramer I worked with Timberland for the global rollout of a new slip-on shoe, which was named Project Better. KesselsKramer was involved right from the start when the prototype wasn’t finished yet, and was involved with everything from naming to concept testing with consumer research across multiple countries. Project Better: Striking in its simplicity, […]

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Goblins & Howard Roark

As a teenager, I loved both The Hobbit and The Fountainhead. But while I never confused Tolkien’s Middle Earth with reality, I did so with Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. Perhaps it’s because I’d never held Bilbo’s cowardliness and dislike of travel in such high esteem anyway, but more likely it’s because The Fountainhead — a […]

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Hate flows downwards

The simplified narrative often goes like “Younger generations have trouble buying houses because they spend money on coffee”, instead of “… because salaries haven’t kept up with housing prices”. Too often, ordinary people are being guilt-tripped by *facts* like that you need 7600 liters of water to make one pair of jeans — or that […]

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Don’t Pay for Your MBA review

This book is based on the genius idea that you can assemble your own MBA, low-price and high quality, and it offers practical tips to pick courses and what to do with it, for instance, how to explain to a future employer the difference between your self-assembled MBA and a traditional MBA. This core is […]

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Fudan’s Mini-MBA in Chinese Business

Why is so much education, even in 2019, still held in classrooms and not on screens? You could take the world’s best teachers on any subject, pay them like a rockstar, and simply record seminars. The quality (in theory) should be much higher, always available across the world. Maybe the first law of thermodynamics applies […]

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I am Pilgrim review

The book merges clever plot lines around dozens of characters, but even though the characters are full of details, their stories rarely run deep. The main example is Pilgrim himself, who Hayes has tried to make one-half testosterone-filled-super-spy, on the other hand a deeply sensitive person, a cocktail that never feels believable. It’s still a […]

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Magazines around paperweights

For Freunde von Freunden I was asked to interview workers in a clothing factory, three hours outside of Shanghai. First I had to shoo away the manager who was looking over my shoulder — because it made the workers nervous and all the answers fabricated: “I love my job, and my boss is very good […]

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