What I'm Reading (Mar. 14)

By Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA — Mar 14, 2024
Willie Loman 100 little ideas, who needs just one big idea And some nuggets of thought Buckle up for a ride through the corridors of thought control at the NY Times
Image by Лариса Мозговая from Pixabay

It was written just before I was born, but I vaguely remember Death of a Salesman as perhaps the first Broadway play I saw. It was the CBS televised version with Lee J. Cobb playing Willie Loman in 1966. The story has stayed with me since then.

“I see man’s happiness frustrated until the time arrives when he is judged, given social honor and respect, not by what he has accumulated but by what he has given to his society. This ideal is posited not for itself, but because I know that the frustration of the creative act is the cause of our hatred for each other, and hatred is the cause of our fears. We reward our dealers, our accumulators, our speculators; we penalize with anonymity and low pay our teachers, our scientists, our workers who make and do and build and create.”

In a letter by Arthur Miller, Arthur Miller Explains Death Of A Salesman


I have been saving this one for a while. We are always looking for an understanding of how the world works. Morgan Housel has collected one hundred.

“Ringelmann Effect: Members of a group become lazier as the size of their group increases. Based on the assumption that “someone else is probably taking care of that.”

False-Consensus Effect: Overestimating how widely held your own beliefs are, caused by the difficulty of imagining the experiences of other people.”

100 Little Ideas


Of course, while we are on a roll, there is no end to these lists. This is not so much rules or laws but nuggets to consider.

“23. Semantic Stopsign:

One way people end discussions is by disguising descriptions as explanations. For instance, the word "evil" is used to explain behavior but really only describes it. It resolves the question not by creating understanding but by killing curiosity.

24. Toothbrush Problem:

Psychologists treat theories like toothbrushes; no self-respecting person wants to use another’s. Theorists are incentivized by ego and professional pressures to overly rely on their own theories, so they often ignore the best models in favor of their own, applying them ever more widely, contorting them till they’re warped.”

From the Substack, The Prism, 30 Useful Principles (Autumn 2023)


Remember Senator Cotton’s Op-Ed in the NY Times and the subsequent backlash. Here is the story that the individual who edited the piece tells – it is disturbing.

“As far back as I can remember, my parents have subscribed to the Times. As a kid, I’d run out to grab the newspaper from the driveway most mornings, and we’d do the crossword puzzle together on the weekends. When I got a job in the Times Opinion section in 2019, they were thrilled—the last time someone in my family had had anything to do with the paper, it was for my grandmother’s run-in with the law in 1986. In an act of civil disobedience, she had chained herself to her hot-dog cart in Houston after city officials refused to give her a food-vendor license. (She ultimately beat the ticket.)”

From The Atlantic, I Was a Heretic at The New York Times

Chuck Dinerstein, MD, MBA

Director of Medicine

Dr. Charles Dinerstein, M.D., MBA, FACS is Director of Medicine at the American Council on Science and Health. He has over 25 years of experience as a vascular surgeon.

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