Monday, January 30, 2012

"You will end up at inbox-zero, but accomplish nothing."

What a fortune. Read more at (Thanks, Cassie)

The New American Divide

The ideal of an 'American way of life' is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated. Charles Murray on what's cleaving America, and why. Read more in the Wall Street Journal. (Thanks, Tom)

Obama Blasts GOP Candidates on Booing of Gay Soldier

Proud. (Thanks, Claire)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Euro Zone's German Crisis

"When it comes to productivity, Germany has pulled away from the rest of the eurozone, writes Alan Blinder, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. Partly because of thorough-going labor-market reforms in the last decade, Germany has achieved vastly higher productivity growth than its euro partners. Since 2000, German unit labor costs have risen about 20 to 30 percent less than unit labor costs in the other euro countries. That gap has left Germany with a large intra-Europe trade surplus while most other countries run deficits.

"If we were talking about China, at this point we would accuse the Chinese of manipulating their currency to gain an "unfair" trade advantage. But, of course, Germany has not manipulated anything. It has acquired a seriously undervalued currency by locking into fixed exchange rates with Greece, Spain, Italy, and the others.

"There are three ways for the other countries to close the gap with Germany: first, Germany can volunteer for higher inflation than its euro partners by, for example, implementing a large fiscal stimulus or ending its wage restraint.

"Second, the other countries can engineer German-like productivity miracles through structural reforms while Germany, relatively speaking, stands still.

"Third, the other countries can experience deflation, meaning a prolonged decline in both wages and prices, which is incredibly difficult and painful - and generally happens only in protracted recessions. Sadly, this may be the most likely way out." Read more in the WSJ. (Thanks, Tom)

A Post Gender Normative Man Tries to Pick Up a Woman at a Bar

Check out Jessie Eisenberg's post at McSweeney's. Hilarious. (Thanks, Nikhil!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

To Find Happiness, Forget About Passion

Think this rings true!
Like myself, today's twentysomethings were raised to find our dreams and follow them. But it's a different world. And as the jobless generation grows up, we realize the grand betrayal of the false idols of passion. This philosophy no longer works for us, or at most, feels incomplete. So what do we do? I propose a different frame of reference: Forget about finding your passion. Instead, focus on finding big problems.

Putting problems at the center of our decision-making changes everything. It's not about the self anymore. It's about what you can do and how you can be a valuable contributor. People working on the biggest problems are compensated in the biggest ways. I don't mean this in a strict financial sense, but in a deeply human sense. For one, it shifts your attention from you to others and the wider world. You stop dwelling. You become less self-absorbed. Ironically, we become happier if we worry less about what makes us happy.
And my favorite line:
Happiness comes from the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, and what the world needs.
Read more in HBR. (Thanks, Joyce and Alex!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Financial terrorism: the war on terabytes

"Leon Panetta, the US defense secretary, has suggested that a cyberattack on financial markets, the power grid, and government systems could be "the next Pearl Harbor." Officials' anxiety has grown amid circumstantial evidence that malefactors helped to exacerbate the market turmoil in late 2008.

"In response, regulators have been tightening the rules. Just how much danger the US financial system is in from deliberate attack is hard to judge from the outside. What is clear is that politicians, regulators, and the industry have struggled to forge a coherent response.

"The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC), an industry group that works under the auspices of the US treasury, has developed a "threat matrix" in consultation with a group of financial regulators with an equally snappy name, the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee.

"But information is not always shared promptly. Banks were miffed that regulators did not tell them about a big attack on NASDAQ in 2010 until more than three months later. Within government, responsibility is fragmented." Read more in the Economist.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Volunteering - A Great Way To Learn Real Executive Leadership

"One of the most powerful ways for younger managers to understand and experience the type of leadership needed for the C-Suite is to do volunteer work early in their careers.

"This is because the type of leadership at the top is akin to being a leader of volunteers, it is not about carrots and sticks but about persuasion and getting people to grasp and follow your vision."

Read more in Forbes. (Thanks, Kevin!)

Five Resolutions for Aspiring Leaders

John Coleman wrote an article in HBR for aspiring leaders. Especially like the angle on volunteering! (Thanks, Jules)

Haiti: Seven Places Where Earthquake Money Did and Did Not Go

Stunning. Read more at Common Dreams. (Thanks, Charlie)

The Joy of Quiet

Read more in the NYT. (Thanks, Claire and Joyce)

On Modern Time

A philosophical post by Espen Hammer. Connected with the idea of "clock time." Read more in the NYT Opinion pages. (Thanks, Lucy)

Birth of a Salesman

Behind the rise of Jeff Bezos and Amazon: Richard L. Brandt on the founder's Texas roots, the site's chaotic early days, why negative reviews are allowed and his increasing use of personal data.

Read more in the WSJ. (Thanks, Lucy)

Consultant Theme Song: Bottles and Models

(Thanks, Jillian and Meg)

The Rise of Consumption Equality

Great reality check! Getting rich requires serving a mass market, which means the rest of us can buy what the rich buy. Read more in the WSJ.

(Thanks, Claire)

Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s, According to Women Who Almost Were

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers." Read more in the NYT .