Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Review: Busted: Life inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown

You may know business, but do you know personal finance? It's actually a whole different skill set.

So today we're going to read a book that shows you what NOT to do.

Busted: Life Inside The Great Mortgage Meltdown is a sad and in hindsight predictable tale of the consumer real estate excesses of 2000s America. The land where credit was inexhaustible and enormous home mortgages just didn't matter. In fact, critics of this debt-doesn't-matter mentality were widely derided. It goes to show you that a culture can develop temporary insanity.

This is the story of a New York Times business (!) reporter who attempted to keep up with the Joneses. He bought a house with a disastrous adjustable rate mortgage, continued to pile up huge credit card debts (with the assistance of his materialistic second wife), all while paying out punishing amounts of alimony and child support to his first wife and children.

Eventually reality came a- knockin'.

No, this is not a book with abstract theories but rather a personal history of America's experience with debt.

Read it to absorb the cultural milieu of the time and also to remind yourself that a culture can be very, very wrong.

Keep your eyes open out there!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breakdown of Income Taxes By Income

This one is for the people interested in who pays INCOME taxes and how much and what their contribution is to the national tax receipts.

The IRS breaks down income tax stats by income group. If you follow this link, you'll have to negotiate a rather busy page of links to various tables.

But it's worth it to see how the economy is doing (less wages=less taxes) or if you want to wade into the waters of tax politics. Just remember, this represents INCOME taxes - not payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes or which socio-economic groups serve in the military ;)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Business Source Complete Database has Videos

The database Business Source Complete has a limited number of videos that are filmed lectures of Harvard B-School people.

Access the database
then choose videos on the right side of the screen. Then search by keywords.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Body Language

Here's another important subject for the businessperson - and especially salesperson - to manage.

Books on body language.

Fun quiz on spot the fake smile

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Future of Work

"How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America"

This is a thoughtful article from The Atlantic that seems unhappily prescient about how rootless, disconnected part-time work will become the norm and how that will affect our society.

I'll let the magazine summarize the content:

"...The Great Recession may be over, but this era of high joblessness is probably just beginning. Before it ends, it will likely change the life course and character of a generation of young adults. It will leave an indelible imprint on many blue-collar men. It could cripple marriage as an institution in many communities. It may already be plunging many inner cities into a despair not seen for decades. Ultimately, it is likely to warp our politics, our culture, and the character of our society for years to come."

No-one has a crystal ball, but sometimes these things turn out to be remarkably on-target. This stuff will affect the life course of a nation. See: Russia.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Let's get you up to speed on what gold is - money.

Understanding this stuff is key to deciphering how gold fits into the big picture of the global monetary system. So I'm going to lay a little knowledge on you.

Peter Bernstein's A Primer on Money, Banking and Gold is still one of the best books about this subject.

Here are some books about Bretton Woods, which was the international monetary conventions that lasted from World War II until the early 1970s and is still often referenced today.

Finally, Peter Bernstein's (again) delightful book is an overview of the history of gold in human affairs.

Hopefully this information will get you beyond the day to day of the market and into a deeper understanding.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Liber8 Website Is A Great Data Source

The St. Louis Fed has a great collection of data called LIBER8. Search a panoply of stats including money supply, sales of consumer products, unemployment rate, money in circulation, any economic indicator you can think of - and more.

Business Etiquette Books

Business etiquette is an interesting topic. This is a hidden dimension of business success because it involves human psychology - something we don't always take into account.

Good human relationships are essential to making the difference in your success.

These books cover when to take calls, write an email, conduct a meeting, maintain social business relationships and so on.