two of my all-time heroes connect via the supreme essential econtalk podcast. look out for it this monday.

re-cross-posting from another blog written sep 2008 on discovering arthur de vany and the web’s beautiful serendipity.

  • relationships really are different on the internet.

    i fret about aging. always have. and so i am always curiously trying out strategies for resisting or enhancing the inevitable process and its physical consequences.
    thusfar my philosophy on health, diet, fitness etc has been to aim for a kind of (never fully realizable) balance. i’ve never adhered to a restrictive diet before. during my last year or two in dubai i used several nutrition-based catering services that would deliver five healthy and balanced meals a day to me during the work week (previous to those i ate the trad three meals without really thinking), i worked out with a personal trainer three times a week, practiced yoga with an instructor three times a week and would run a few times a week. a pretty balanced lifestyle – dubai is good like that. (it’s also obscenely accommodating of armies of life-helpers: shrinks, nutritionists, physiotherapists, manicurists, house-help, drivers, personal assistants, etc etc etc!).
    strangely, or not, since moving from dubai this summer, living life without assistance / assistants has been a refreshing change!
    recently though, the combination of being thirty, geographically unsettled and (physically) lazy this summer (the amazing food in beijing didn’t help either) has for the first time introduced me to the belly. i have never been a stranger to flab but this recent development is of a whole-together different class. it’s like i have two bodies, my original one and my uncorrelated belly. during long under the sun shirtless runs on entering that slightly delusional place i sometimes find myself looking down and having motivational conversations with the belly.
    i’ve always said better to be fit and fat than thin and unhealthy and now that i’ve actually tested it out i still hold it to be true.
    nevertheless, it’s time to lose the belly!


    so months ago when i was looking for some pre-MBA media related reading, i kept coming across this Hollywood Economics: How Extreme Uncertainty Shames the Film Industry (Routledge Studies in Contemporary Political Economy) book by arthur de vany. and i ended up subscribing to his blog. it turns out arthur is retired and is now primarily concerned with developing his evolutionary fitness philosophy, over time i slowly became more and more interested in his ideas and the community he is nurturing online around them. so much so that having ignored evey sinlge call to restrict my dieteray intake all my life i have know succumbed to the EF way. i am eating no carbs, eating irregularly and exercising intermittently.

    A recent article in the Times of London touches on Arthur’s outlook and how it influences his takes on movies and health:

  • There is a parallel with his work on the economics of movies. Hollywood producers sit around in meeting rooms telling each other stories about why a film succeeds or fails – the stars, the directors, the trailers, anything. Marketing men join them and tell them more tall tales. And everybody feels good about themselves. “The stories give them the illusion of control, they reinforce prejudices and biases, and they all like to feel important.”

    But the stories are all false. The reality, as Arthur discovered, is that 5% of movies pay for the other 95%, and success or failure is unpredictable. The best the studios can hope to do is find contractual mechanisms that back success after it happens and thus leverage their profits. This was what they had with distributors and cinemas, and it worked. They just didn’t realise it was these deals and almost nothing else that was paying for their Cohiba cigars. The movie industry was what Arthur loves best: “a complex, adaptive, decentralised system”. Exactly like the human body.

    de vany preaches a palaeolithic lifestyle (he argues our bodies haven’t evolved for the modern one): no carbs no packaged foods, plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables, intermittent and irregular eating and power-law working out.

    these are the ways trust can be built on the web. i mean to entrust my health to some 71 year old retired economics professor in Utah who keeps a blog on the internet over those who i have known for years or other professionals (including doctors and trainers) i have met in person – something’s going on here.

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