Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Apple Stores in India; Subaru’s Memorable Marketing Campaign; Capybaras as Pets; Neanderthal stalagmite constructions

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Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal

“Indian Ministries Divide on Apple’s Retail Vision” – India’s minister for commerce and industry said today she supports waiving rules that could block Apple Inc.’s retail stores. Apple wants its own shops in India for brand visibility; it’s still unclear if that will happen.

What I wrote at

Book Notes — ‘The One Thing,’ by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. For a while now, I’ve kept, on index cards, notes about many of the books I’ve read. I’ve decided to start sharing these notes as blog posts. Stay tuned for more.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) “How an Ad Campaign Made Lesbians Fall in Love with Subaru.” Fascinating. From the piece:

“When we did the research, we found pockets of the country like Northampton, Massachusetts, and Portland, Oregon, where the head of the household would be a single person—and often a women,” says Bennett. When Subaru marketers talked to these customers, they realized these women buying Subarus were lesbian.


Many of them even felt an affinity with the name.

‘Subaru’ is the Japanese name for the Pleiades, a six-star constellation. When Kenji Kita, the CEO of Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, chose the name in 1954, he chose it to represent how six Japanese companies had merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries. But in English, the constellation is also known as the Seven Sisters—the same name as a group of American women’s colleges.

2) Great idea for an app: You can consult Flyover Country while in the air to learn about interesting geologic formations below your plane. More info here. (Note: It’s unclear to me if this works just in the U.S., or elsewhere, as well.)

3) This is an incredible. A Swiss graphic designer spent some 1,000 hours recreating all of 1977’s “Star Wars Episodie IV – A New Hope” – in a single, 123-meter-long, scrollable infographic. #Dedication

4) It appears that Neanderthals built constructions out of stalagmites deep inside a cave in France some 176,000 years ago. But no one knows what they were for. For more, here’s the original paper.

5) I was researching capybaras – yes, you read that right; they’ve been in the news – and came across this amazing video of two people who have made pets of the huge rodents. Here’s a video of the pair, Romeo and Tuff’n, going shopping.

Have a great week!


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Book Notes Books

Book Notes — ‘The One Thing,’ by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Note: I have long kept written notes on index cards about the books I read. I decided to share some of these thoughts here, and will be posting them, one by one on individual books, in no particular order. I’ll group them all together on a central page later. Thanks to Derek Sivers for the inspiration.


The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
By Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
Published: April, 2013
Read: December, 2015
Amazon link.

Brief re-cap: This is a short book with a simple thesis: In every job, there is one single activity that you should focus on that will improve your value to your company or your customers. You should focus on that, above all else, even if it means neglecting other responsibilities, the authors argue.

I didn’t find this book revelatory, exactly, but it served as a useful reminder of the necessity of prioritizing the most crucial projects over all others.

My notes:

  • You must disabuse yourself of several common notions in order to have the biggest impact in your work and life. One is the idea that humans are adept at multitasking, that we can do it all. You can only ever concentrate on one thing at a time. So choose wisely.

    Another myth is the idea that willpower is available on demand. In fact, willpower decreases throughout the day, like a cellphone battery draining bit by bit. That means you must get your most important work done early in the day, while you’re still able to concentrate to the best of your abilities.

  • You should block out four hours on your calendar every day for your “one thing,” and treat it like an appointment that can’t be broken. Day after day of concentration on your most important work will yield big results down the line.
  • Embrace chaos. When you prioritize your “one thing,” some other stuff won’t get done. But that’s okay.
  • Categories

    Mental Health Break: The Joys of a Chewbacca Mask

    “That’s not me making that noise it’s the mask!”

    This video is amazing.


    Norm Ornstein Explains the Rise of Donald Trump

    Norm Ornstein, of the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, explains the rise of Donald Trump:

    When you look at populism over the longer course of both American history and other countries that have suffered economic traumas as a result of financial collapse, you’re gonna get the emergence of some leaders who exploit nativism, protectionism, and isolationism. They’re components — sometimes greater, sometimes lesser — that are baked into the process. So you’ve got a bit of that.

    But if you forced me to pick one factor explaining what’s happened, I would say this is a self-inflicted wound by Republican leaders.

    Over many years, they’ve adopted strategies that have trivialized and delegitimized government. They were willing to play to a nativist element. And they tried to use, instead of stand up to, the apocalyptic visions and extremism of some cable television, talk radio, and other media outlets on the right.

    And add to that, they’ve delegitimized President Obama, but they’ve failed to succeed with any of the promises they’ve made to their rank and file voters, or Tea Party adherents. So when I looked at that, my view was, “what makes you think, after all of these failures, that you’re going to have a group of compliant people who are just going to fall in line behind an establishment figure?”

    Related post from last month: Michael Barone: ‘Trump Can’t Break the Republican Party.’.

    To which Mr. Ornstein might reply: It’s already broken, and that’s why Trump’s the Republican nominee.

    Life Singapore Tech

    Life in 2016

    Tote bag spotted recently here in high-tech Singapore. 

    Books Tech

    Book Coming Out Later This Year: ‘The Art of Atari’

    2016 05 02 atari

    “The Art of Atari,” a book by pop culture author Robert V. Conte and designer Tim Lapetino set for publication in October, looks really amazing.

    From the description on Amazon:

    Sourced from private collections worldwide, this book spans over 40 years of the company’s unique illustrations used in packaging, advertisements, catalogs, and more.


    The Art of Atari includes behind-the-scenes details on how dozens of games featured within were conceived of, illustrated, approved (or rejected), and brought to life!

    There’s more artwork to marvel at on the book’s official site,

    (Via Kottke.)