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Left Brain, Right Stuff by Phil Rosenzweig

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CRUNCH TIME ON A HOT AUGUST NIGHT

            COMPARED WITH MANAGING, TRADING WAS ADMIRABLY DIRECT. YOU MADE YOUR BETS AND EITHER YOU WON OR YOU LOST.

            MICHAEL LEWIS, LIAR’S POKER, 1989

It was a billion-dollar decision, give or take a few million.

On the night of August 12, 2010, Bill Flemming, president of Skanska USA Building, faced a tough choice. Get it right, and the upside could be very lucrative. Get it wrong, and the results could be disastrous.

The story began a year earlier, when the National Security Agency (NSA) announced plans to build a computer facility for the security information it gathers around the world. The Utah Data Center (UDC) would be fully self-contained, with its own power plant and water supply, and would ...

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