The Profile: Silicon Valley’s favorite doomsayer & the power boss of Hollywood

Good morning, friends!

Apologies for the delay today. But I ran the “original” marathon & came out alive … well, for the most part. I needed medical attention before the marathon even started thanks to a stretching routine gone very wrong. ANYWAY, we’re done, we’re in Greece, and this week’s profiles are fire.

Hope you’re having a very relaxing, safe, and marathon-free weekend!

Silicon Valley’s favorite doomsayer [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
The world’s greatest athletes
— The chessmaster fighting for glory
— The media pioneer trying to clean up Vice
The power boss of Hollywood
The organization selling you a life cleanse


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PEOPLE TO KNOW.

Silicon Valley’s favorite doomsayer: The futurist philosopher Yuval Noah Harari worries a lot. He worries that Silicon Valley is undermining democracy, that big tech companies are destroying the idea of a sovereign individual with free will, and most of all, that one one else seems to be worried at all. So what does our future look like, according to Harari? It’s one in which we worship big data, AI surpasses human intelligence, and some of us develop God-like abilities. If you work in tech, this is an absolute must-read.

“Utopia and dystopia depends on your values.”

The world’s greatest athletes: The Players’ Tribune brought together two of the greatest athletes in the world to hang out at the oldest basketball court in the world. Basketball sensation Steph Curry and soccer phenom Neymar Jr. sit down for a candid conversation about life, fatherhood, and their relentless desire to achieve greatness. The stories they share are pretty epic.

“It’s like a laser focus that you tap into that you never really thought was possible.”

The chessmaster fighting for glory: If you ask the people who know Fabiano Caruana what Fabiano Caruana is like, they will tell you he’s … just a normal guy. He likes movies. He works out. He goes on dates. Just a normal guy who, you know, also happens to be ranked second in the world in chess and got pulled out of seventh grade to do nothing but play the game. This week, he faces off Magnus Carlsen for the chance to become the first American to win the world championship title since 1972. This is a really good one.

“Fabiano does not think about a life without chess.”

The media pioneer trying to clean up Vice: Hype, sex appeal and the promise of young audiences turned Shane Smith's wild brainchild Vice into one of the hottest digital brands on the planet. Then came scandal, skepticism, and sexual harassment allegations. Now it’s up to new CEO Nancy Dubuc to clean up the $5.7 billion media company’s culture and balance sheet while stitching its disparate businesses into something cohesive.

"If you do smart context on news and information in a world that is so filled with misinformation and confusion, there's a real audience for that."

The power boss of Hollywood: We’ve seen Jennifer Lopez successfully transition from dancer to actor to singer to producer to businesswoman. With a new movie and other deals in the works, she’s come to realize Hollywood hasn’t given her her fair share. She credits boyfriend Alex Rodriguez for helping her realize that J. Lo the artist is one of the most powerful brands on the planet — and she should be 100% in control of it. “I want what I deserve,” she says.

“There is racism. There is sexism. There is ageism. There is all of this and you know what, that’s still not going to stop me. I believe that 100 percent, to the bottom of my soul.”

COMPANIES TO WATCH.

The organization selling you a life cleanse: We’re living in a time of tremendous dislocation in people's careers, political polarization, and the fragmentation of community. It’s only natural that people are craving meaningful connections and searching for self-help programs that vow to alleviate their anxiety. A GQ reporter went on a one-month wellness retreat that plunged him into the dark depths of his psyche, and it’s just as horrifying as you might imagine.

“If there’s one thing that connects many of the people I spoke to for this story, it’s that they’re searching. Searching for meaning. Searching for purpose.”