Best in business: The shortlist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year was announced this morning:
- Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed
- Good Value by Stephen Green (coming out in the US in February; available in the UK now)
- Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani
- The Match King by Frank Partnoy
- Animal Spirits by George A. Akerlof and Robert J. Schiller
- In Fed We Trust by David Wessel
The winner will be revealed October 29 in London.
Kafka builds brain power!: Researchers at the University of British Columbia and UC-Santa Cruz report that reading Kafka's delirious story "A Country Doctor" (which includes the sentence "In my house the disgusting groom is wreaking havoc") improves immediate cognitive ability, compared to a control group who read the same story told in a way that "made more sense."
Henry Gibson, 1935-2009: Sad to hear that Henry Gibson, the actor whose creepily deadpan persona was featured to comic effect in everything from Laugh-In to Wedding Crashers (including a memorable cameo in Kentucky Fried Movie: see below), died this week at the age of 73. I remember him most fondly as Haven Hamilton, the patriotic balladeer in Robert Altman's Nashville, and since Altman's been on my mind this week, here's a Nashville production tale from one of Gibson's reminiscences in the new oral biography, Robert Altman:
On the last day of shooting, the assassination, the clouds were as ominous as that scene, when you see the progression of black cars with the lights on. You just have to underline that with organ music, you know? A crowd was assembling with promises of hotdogs and crap. And all of these extra camera operators had been flown in from all over. And the equipment, we were top-heavy, and the film is scheduled to close. There was no more money. And there was an orchestra, Oh, they put tarps over the instruments and over the stage in case it was going to come pouring down. It got darker and darker and darker. He looked up and said "STOP!" He was his own safety net. He was going to hold up the clouds if he could [laughs]. And they obeyed! All I could think of was, "And the Red Sea parted."
P.S. A timely clip of Henry Gibson in Kentucky Fried Movie. I think he'd find it funny: