Nobel Prize Winner Has a Simple Trick to Learn Anything Quickly

The physicist Richard Feynman believed that simplicity was the key to learning. Feynman worked on the Manhattan Project when he was only 20 years old. He went on to win the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work in quantum electrodynamics, along with Julian Schwinger and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga.

Feynman believed that truth lies in simplicity and that things are easier to learn and retain when they’re simpler. When your knowledge of something is full of complex explanations and terms taken from textbooks, you’re less likely to grasp it.

He’s famously been quoted as saying, “You must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” The goal of learning is to understand the world better. But more often than not, the way we learn doesn’t help us to achieve this.

You end up memorizing something exactly as it’s written in a book or as the teacher explained it to you, so it doesn’t take long for this knowledge to disappear. This is where the Feynman technique comes in.

The idea is to make things simple enough for anyone to understand. In doing this, you can acquire a deep understanding of the topic you’re studying. The Feynman technique has four steps.

1. Choose a topic and start studying it

Feynman’s technique isn’t limited to mathematics or physics. You can apply it to anything.

2. Explain the topic to a child

This step allows you to establish whether you’ve learned what you studied or you just thought you had.Explain the concept in your own words as if you were trying to teach it to a child.

When you try to break things down into simple ideas with plainer vocabulary, you’ll realize whether or not your knowledge of the subject is sufficient. This makes it easy to identify any gaps in your knowledge.

3. Go back to the study material when you get stuck

Only when you can explain the subject in simple terms will you understand it.This means the knowledge will stick with you and not disappear, as it can when you try to memorize something.

Review your notes and study material for anything you still don’t understand.Try to explain it to yourself in an easy way. If it’s too difficult or if you have to use terms from a textbook, then you still haven’t got it.

4. Organize and review

Don’t stop until you can deliver a simple, natural explanation.Go back to steps two and three as many times as you need. It probably won’t take as long as you think.

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Cash-Rich Tech Companies Are Remaking Post-Pandemic Manhattan

Google made waves in Manhattan real estate when it bought the iconic Chelsea Market and its 2.9 million-square-foot New York headquarters building within a few years of each other in the past decade. The technology giant followed up last month with the largest U.S. real estate transaction since the pandemic, a $2.1-billion purchase of the under-construction St. John’s Terminal.

Google’s takeover of Manhattan’s West Side has been mirrored to varying degrees by Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Salesforce, each of which has established a campus in the city.  The surge in real estate occupancy shows how technology companies are rapidly displacing counterparts in banking and finance as the city’s biggest industry in the aftermath of the pandemic: Big tech also leads in employment growth and by volume of companies.

Two decades ago, Tim Armstrong, 50, became Google’s first New York-based employee. “If you were having a cocktail party for all the people who worked in the internet in New York, you could fit them all in a bar,” Armstrong says. “Now I’m guessing you’d have to take over Madison Square Garden, plus the Javits Center to fit everybody in.”

Data provided to Forbes by the New York State Comptroller’s Office provide an expansive view of this phenomenon. The number of tech companies in the city surpassed more than 10,000 in 2020, more than double the number 20 years ago — and almost twice as many as securities companies. Tech employment has also surged: Between 2000 and 2020, the number of tech employees in the city grew from 108,000 to 167,000, while the number of securities employees shrank from 190,000 to 176,000.

The tech takeover of Manhattan has occurred in visible ways — the Salesforce logo replacing MetLife above 1095 Sixth Avenue near Bryant Park, for example — and in more subtle ones, such as the receding of bank offices. Since the wake of the Great Recession in 2008, the five largest banks in the U.S. by total assets — JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs — collectively shedded nearly 5.5 million square feet of office space in Manhattan, according to data provided by Real Capital Analytics.

Over the same time period, just two tech firms — Google and Amazon — acquired about 6.5 million square feet of office space. Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, meanwhile, leased millions of square feet of space across the city. Facebook brought its total Manhattan footprint to 2.2 million square feet when it last year leased 730,000 square feet at the Farley Post Office building in Midtown.

Apple also signed a 220,000-square-feet lease nearby at 11 Penn Plaza last year. Microsoft has an additional 200,000 square feet of leased space at 11 Times Square and last month was in talks to take 100,000 square feet more at an undisclosed building in the Flatiron District.

“The city was always talked about as a financial services city, and now it’s talked about as a financial services and tech city,” says Darcy Stacom, a commercial broker for CBRE who represented Google in its building acquisitions. “It was never said before in my career.” Stacom, who has worked in New York City real estate for more than 40 years, says that the recent activity could put the tech industry on track to surpass finance as New York’s biggest occupier of commercial real estate by the end of the decade.

Google says it is doubling down on New York because of the city’s vast talent pool, a rationale echoed by Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft. Last month, Google said it planned to hire an additional 2,000 people in the city, growing its local workforce to 14,000 people, with sales and marketing employees at its newest property.

“With people fretting about whether New York would come back, we thought this would be the perfect illustration of our corporate commitment to New York,” says William Floyd, Google’s head of public policy and government affairs. “In New York, tech is not only an industry, but tech also cuts across and is a vital part of the other industries of New York.”

The most recent real estate mega-deal could also be chalked up to Google having too much cash and nowhere to spend it, says Rahul Jain, deputy comptroller with New York State. “They have the money, and they are playing the long game,” he says. “It’s a belief in the fact that New York will remain desirable.”

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has cash reserves valued at $135 billion in April, and according to a public filing, holds almost $56 billion in real estate assets as of June 30 — ranging from a new $1 billion building in London’s Kings Cross to a vast portfolio of data centers across the world — making its Manhattan holdings a relative drop in the bucket.

Google has said it will require its employees to return to offices in January, although it has twice postponed the mandate because of concerns about spread of Covid-19. The approach doesn’t align with those of Microsoft, Amazon and Salesforce, which have suspended return to their offices indefinitely.

While the tech industry was born in Silicon Valley, New York’s focus on the sector kicked into gear in the 2000s under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose eponymous data and financial intelligence company was the city’s largest tech tenant at the time. Bloomberg vowed to wrestle away New York’s reliance on the finance sector, launched initiatives and in 2011 spearheaded the $2 billion development of Cornell University’s tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

The bet has had a strong effect on both the tech and finance industries. This month, the Comptroller’s office issued a report on the use of office space in New York City that showed between 1990 and 2020, the finance sector’s office occupancy dropped from 48% of all office space in New York to 35%, citing data from commercial brokerage Cushman and Wakefield.

By comparison, the TAMI sector (technology, advertising, marketing and information companies), now holds 25% of New York’s leased office inventory, up from 16%. The Comptroller’s office also found that 30 years ago, finance companies allocated on average 420 square-feet per employee. Now TAMI companies give their employees that same amount of space, while finance companies have shrunk their floorplates to 372 square feet per employee.


“The tech sector will surpass the financial services in New York very soon”

Nicholas Economides, New York University Stern School of Business professor

Despite all indicators reflecting the tech industry’s growth, one key metric remains out of reach: better pay. Securities workers still earn more — therefore generating more personal income tax for the city — with an average $438,000 salary, compared to $195,000 for tech workers, according to the Comptroller’s office.

However, the information sector is closing in on financial services as New York’s biggest producer of economic output, according to figures provided to Forbes by the Partnership for New York. Citing data from labor market data company Emsi, the organization found that from 2015 to 2020, the information sector’s share of New York’s Gross City Product grew from 10% to 13%, while the financial services industry (excluding insurance companies) only rose from 18% to 19%.

Those figures may not reveal the true breadth of the tech-driven impact, says Nicholas Economides, an economics professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, because many of its largest tech companies are based outside of New York. “The tech sector will surpass the financial services in New York very soon,” Economides says. “Before the end of the decade for sure.”

One other major factor is the role of tech-trained employees within the financial sector. In 2000, Goldman Sachs employed 600 traders on its cash equities desk, only to replace them with automated systems overseen by 200 computer engineers. In 2018, the bank announced that computer engineers made up a quarter of its workforce, or 9,000 employees. “Tech has become a significant part of those companies,” says Armstrong. “You’re going to end up with super-tech corporations living in an ecosystem, in the same environment.”

Armstrong, who left Google as head of its Americas’ operations in 2009 to lead AOL as CEO, has since started his own tech startup in New York, Flowcode, which he launched in 2019 with a QR-code generating product, in addition to investing in other startups based in the city. As one of the first players of the city’s tech scene, he points out that the migration of tech isn’t limited to the finance sector; there are now industries growing around health-tech, real estate-tech, media-tech and fashion-tech. “The tech scene in New York used to be called Silicon Alley,” he says. “Now it’s really become the Silicon City of the world.”

Giacomo Tognini contributed reporting

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I’m a staff reporter at Forbes covering tech companies. Follow me on Twitter at @davidjeans2 and email me at djeans@forbes.com

Source: Cash-Rich Tech Companies Are Remaking Post-Pandemic Manhattan

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Bill Gates’ Investment Firm Buys Controlling Stake In Four Seasons Hotels For $2.2 Billion

Bill Gates will purchase a majority stake in the Four Seasons hotel chain for $2.21 billion, the company announced Wednesday.

Cascade Investment LLC, which manages the Microsoft cofounder’s massive fortune, agreed to buy half of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s stake in the hotel chain. The all-cash deal pushes Gates’ ownership from 47.5% to 71.25% and values the Four Seasons at $10 billion in enterprise value. The deal is expected to close in January 2022.

The purchase is a bet by Gates in part on the rebound of high-end business travel to big cities, which has suffered a blow during the pandemic. At least two Four Seasons hotels —including the one in midtown Manhattan— are currently closed; the midtown Manhattan location, which is owned by Beanie Baby’s billionaire founder Ty Warner, is “undergoing substantial infrastructure and maintenance work,” according to a note on its website.

However, one industry insider told Forbes that luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons lose money unless they operate at very high occupancy rates. In a statement, the hotel operator said the deal “marks a pivotal point in the evolution of Four Seasons” and affirms Cascade’s commitment to provide the Four Seasons “with resources to accelerate growth and expand its strategic goals.”

Through his investment vehicle Kingdom Holding Co., Prince Alwaleed will hold onto his remaining 23.75% stake. Forbes long counted the Saudi Prince as a billionaire — and one of the richest people in the world, but removed him from the Forbes billionaires list after November 2017, when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman kept Alwaleed and other princes and business leaders captive in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh and reportedly extracted billions of dollars from them.

Isadore Sharp, Four Seasons Founder and Chairman, will also retain his 5% stake through Triples Holdings Limited, the company said. Bill Gates is currently ranked by Forbes as the fifth richest person in the world, worth an estimated $132.8 billion fortune.

In addition to its Four Seasons investment, Cascade is the largest private owner of farmland in the U.S. Gates’ investment firm also owns stakes in car dealership AutoNation, farm equipment manufacturer John Deere and other stocks.

Kingdom will retain 23.75%. Four Seasons Founder and Chairman Isadore Sharp, through Triples Holdings Limited, will keep his 5% stake. Cascade first invested in Four Seasons in 1997. It was public at that time, but the company went private in 2007. Founded in 1960, Four Seasons manages 121 hotels and resorts and 46 residential properties in 47 countries. It also has more than 50 projects at various stages of development.

“As we mark our 60th anniversary and look back on the profound impact that Four Seasons has had on luxury hospitality we also look forward with tremendous excitement and confidence in the future of the industry,” Four Seasons CEO John Davison said in a statement. “The unwavering support and partnership of our shareholders has been and continues to be critical as we capitalize on growing opportunities to serve luxury consumers worldwide.”

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering wealth at Forbes. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: Bill Gates’ Investment Firm Buys Controlling Stake In Four Seasons Hotels For $2.2 Billion

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