Monday, December 17, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018

How to Use the Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal is still probably the best source for substantive financial journalism.

Learn how to use it to maximum effect.

So read the the Irwin Guide to Using the Wall Street Journal.

We also get it in an online version.

Everyday, the Journal prints a lot of data on everything from international balance of payments, to call options, to the performance of mutual funds.

A good guide like this can show you where to find that information, why you should pay attention, and the connections between the numbers.

Here's a complete list of our Wall Street Journal links

Foreign Country Laws Regarding Business

Researching business law can be tricky.  I recommend that you begin with article that summarizes business law on a foreign country in regards to a certain issue: labor laws, the environment, etc 

Go to these databases:
Emerald  (very useful for laws governing labor)
Lexis Nexis (search either foreign news sources or legal journals)
Academic Search Complete 

You will get material that summarizes how the law is actually applied and what matters. THEN you can look up actual laws here. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Book Review: Snakes And Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work

This is a mostly useful book about recognizing and dealing with psychopaths at work. If someone has good social skills - yet makes you feel uneasy -  they just might be a psychopath.  If someone has a work history of changing jobs quite frequently, they just might be a psychopath. 

Psychopaths operate by listening to serving people very closely, and then using people's deepest emotions to benefit the psychopath. The idea of moral ethics strikes a psychopath as actually wrong - might makes right in their world view.

I can do without the pointless fictionalized stories about psychopaths at work.  Other than that it's a very useful introduction to how psychopaths think, and how to identify a psychopath.  This book was also co-written by the preeminent theorist Robert Hare.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Business At The Movies: Glengarry Glenn Ross

This is the famous speech Alec Baldwin gives to his sales force in the movie Glengarry Glenn Ross.
Always be closing.NSFW.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Company's Financials Don't Display In Orbis - Fix

So you've done a search of our wonderful database Orbis, but there are no company financials displaying for your company! Go to my accounts and make sure that the 10 K annual report option has a check mark.

Ad $ Summary

The help video for Ad $ Summary.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Book Review: Two Books By Frank Luntz (Recommended For Marketers)

What Americans Really Want 
Words That Work 

Frank Luntz is a political consultant who pioneered studying how people react to words - instead of actions. He was a master at calculating how people perceive a problem and packaging policies - both corporate and political -that met those expectations.  You didn't have to change your actual policy!

He's also very good at finding the gulf between people's stated values and their actual values and exploiting that.

We have two of his books here.  Interesting guy and a must read for marketers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Estimating Construction Costs

Here is a list of great construction cost estimation books.

Direct link to Means construction estimation books.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States has a really cool PDF that shows you housing starts, types of housing built, and the cost of materials (among other things.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Here are some ways to find out which countries have signed what kind of treaties. Also, bear in mind that membership in international organizations de facto carries some kinds of agreements and cooperation (i.e. European Union).

on the internet:

Organization of American States Free Trade Agreements

U.S. Free Trade Agreements

GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade). Avoid, one of the most famous protest sites on the internet.

UN Database of Treaties - All treaties entered into by any member state.

CIA World Factbook - see which international organizations a country belongs to. Choose your country and click on government to the bottom of the screen.

Treaties in Force - Treaties America has signed.

our databases:

Search Lexis Nexis for the full text of lapsed and current U.S. Treaties.  They also have the European Union treaties.
In Lexis Nexis, go to 1) International Legal Tab then 2) European Union, Commonwealth and Foreign Nations Tab (even for US treaties) 3) choose your selection from the box.

see below:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Finding International Stats In Passport

Passport database contains a lot of international financial and development statistics, but you have to know where to look.

Personal Branding Books

We call it personal branding, but the catalog uses these terms:  



Friday, August 17, 2018

Word of the Day: Rentier

Rentier (REN-TEE-AY from the French) is an important concept. It refers to wealth created by control of the economy, not capitalist competition and innovation. By definition, competition would produce lower prices and promote innovation, but the rentier faction captures government and passes regulations to quash such things.

In short, their wealth is an artificial construct protected by law. They may act like capitalists, but they are not. They derive their income from rents, not real achievements.

Michael Hudson has a fascinating article detailing the need to take such things into account in economic models.  Because economists are lousy at predicting human corruption and irrationality!

Here's the introduction:

"By promoting a misleading view of how the economy works, the above omissions lead to a policy that fails to prevent debt bubbles or deal effectively with the ensuing depression. To avoid a replay of the recent financial crisis – and indeed, to extricate economies from their present debt strait-jacket that subordinates recovery to the overhang of creditor claims (that is, saving the banks from taking a loss on their bad loans and gambles) – it is necessary to explain how credit creation inflates housing and other asset prices, while interest and other financial charges deflate the “real” economy, holding down commodity prices, shrinking markets and employment, and holding down wages in a downward economic spiral. We are dealing with two price trends that go in opposite directions: asset prices and commodity prices. It therefore is necessary to explain how credit expansion pushes asset prices up while simultaneously causing debt deflation."

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

University Reporter Video

Here's the video for University Reporter. This is a great database for getting consumer profiles for various brands, products, and economic activities.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Are Those Ad$pender Numbers Right?

So you ran your search in Ad$pender - and got some results. Company X spent $1.3 million advertising its new product. Is that number accurate?

Well, yes, but here's a trick to put your mind at ease.

Go to Advertising RedBooks databases and USUALLY the company and the total spent will be there.

Go to ABI Inform and enter keywords like Company X and advertising budget, marketing, etc...Sooner or later you will find the ballpark number for the budget in a recent year.

Finding Case Studies

The best databases for finding case studies are

ABI Inform

Limit under to case study under document type.  

Emerald (do not click on the tab marked "case studies," instead do a keyword search for "case studies" and whatever you are researching. Emerald is management oriented.)

Business Source Ultimate.(limit under publication type to case study)

Whatever database you use, I recommend you also do a keyword search for case studies and your topic.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

One View of UBI


Interesting article that breaks down the history of other universal basic income programs throughout the centuries. The article argues that the most effective use of this program is providing a supplement to people's income to remove them from survival mode and get them starting businesses or pursuing life plans.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Austin Ad Agency Lands Pizza Hut Account

From this Statesman article.

Austin ad agency GSD&M has landed a major new account.
The firm learned Tuesday that it had won Pizza Hut’s business when members of the pizza chain’s marketing team showed up at GSD&M headquarters on West Sixth Street on a bus loaded with champagne and, of course, pizza.

Pizza Hut spent $227 million on its marketing and advertising efforts last year, according to AdWeek.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Economic Indicator Links

These sites are where you need to go to find the unemployment rate, consumer price index (CPI), number of housing starts, what people are spending, retail sales, and so on.

Well, you can get deeper. Read the agency name below to get an idea of what to expect there (labor statistics have such data as income, employment, etc...)

Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Bureau of Economic Research's Economic Indicators (Awesome)
U.S. Census Bureau Economic Indicators (Also Awesome)
Fed Data on Money Flow and Supply 

You can also use our handy database Economagic. But the above links will work just fine for most projects.

Mathematics and Logic for Economics

Here's where those books on formal mathematics in economics are (official heading is economics mathematical).

Covers the use of symbols, rules of formal logic, sets, differential equations, theorems, variables and more. Check out one and curl up with it in front of the fire!

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Stock Reports

Many people read investment reports before investing in a stock or mutual fund.

We have two of the best in Valueline and Standard and Poor's. They cover stocks and mutual funds as well as other investments. If you are using Standard and Poor's to search for stocks, enter the stock and then choose stock reports on the left side of the screen. An investment report should appear:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Effective Business Communication

Here's some more subject headings to help out the management majors and salespeople. Heck, any one could benefit from this material.

Also: business communication is a good place to look. You will find information about streamlining your writing, communicating core ideas, and persuading an audience.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

08-09 Financial Crisis Subject Headings

Read up on the  2008 – 2009 crisis and figure out the housing bubble, derivatives, sovereign debt, personal debt, TARP and more. 

Our subject headings:

the best one: US Financial Crises

Global Financial Crisis

Financial Crises United States History

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Austin Influencers on Social Media

If you're a charismatic, good-looking person who wants to blog or make videos about your clothes or  the restaurants you go to you might consider becoming an influencer.

Companies pay you to promote their products on social media but it looks all authentic and street and stuff because you portray yourself as just this cool person rapping about your life. Except your life has product placements.

Read all about it here – some people actually do this for a living.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

My Favorite Easy Statistics Book

Need a little refresher on standard deviation, median, mode, sampling error and more?

This is my favorite, easy to read book for the rest of us - The Joy of Stats.

Covers basic and advanced statistical topics. Other books on stats are in the same area.

Margins in 10-K

10-Ks (a company's annual report) have a wealth of cool information.

Example: listing of profit margins for products.

In this example, here's the 10-K for VF Corp (VFC) the jeans company. Inside the report VFC lists the margins for its products, oftentimes breaking out brands and segments of its business.

10-Ks are long so do a ctr-f (find function) word search for margins

Screen shots

Thursday, April 5, 2018

American and Foreign Companies with Global Operations

Here's a database you may not have heard of. American and Foreign Companies with Global Operations.

Covers over 200 countries and 20,000 industries. A great way to do international business research or how to get a job living abroad.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Business in Movies: The Network Capitalism Speech

Here's the scene in Network where Ned Beatty explains the reality of capitalism and the illusion of democracy and the nation-state to a bewildered Peter Finch.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Book Review: Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, And Future Of Rationing

This is a short, well-written interesting book that presents rationing in a favorable light

We live in an increasingly managed economy and technocratic age, so the notion of planned economies is an important one. There are really two reasons to ration.  One is actual shortage of a good (such as fuel or food in wartime) and the other is a desire to alter human behavior by making something expensive or rewarding behavior. 

Very often, the free market can produce pretty strange results and the book provides some examples of this . Case in point - the case of quinoa. Cultivated for centuries by Peruvian highlanders, Westerners now outbid natives for the grain.  The result is a change in diet to other foods for the natives - ironic that while surrounded by fields of quinoa. Another example is Egypt, where the author asserts that there's much organic agriculture that is exported to Europe while Egyptians are forced to import bread of low quality.

So do you ration the imported food, the native food, what? And what would be fair and moral? This book will help you think about these issues.

The book also discusses when people will accept rationing and when will they reject it. Another concept discussed here is dealing with underground economies.

The author does not really address situations where rationing has failed or produced tragic outcomes.

The ethics of an unelected technocracy (who in reality are often immune or exempt from rationing) deciding what behavior is to be altered is also not addressed. It is, after all, basically a pro-technocrat, pro-rationing book.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Video Tutorial: Library Vs. Google

Google doesn't actually search most of the world's knowledge - that's on the deep web. Which is us, the library!

Down in The Weeds: Researching Commodity Like Products in SIC/NAICS

So you are researching  a product that's almost a commodity. That is, the technology has been around, anybody can make it, and it's not patented. In addition the kind of machines used to manufacture this product could be used to make other kinds of products. So if you search SIC or NAICS for all the companies that make your product, you're likely to get a result of zero to only a handful of companies. How could that be?  

Think alarm clocks, key chains, or even a more sophisticated product like a tachometer. Because I got this question about researching all the companies that make tachometers. I found the official codes for tachometer manufacturing and received almost no responses.

Here is what I think has happened.  Due to the ubiquity of manufacturing equipment and the ease of manufacturing tachometers, there are few companies completely devoted to making tachometers.  Depending on economies of scale, vertical integration, and other factors, you'll find that almost no companies are exclusively devoted to manufacturing commonplace products. So very few companies would only make tachometers and get listed under that SIC/NAICS code (Yes, they should get listed, but the very often don't) . Of course this raises questions about the accuracy and usefulness of these codes, but the question is for another time.

So here's what you do.  Do a keyword search for your product.  You're hoping that it catches your word in the company description abstract. You might get a few false positives, but it's a good method.

When confronted with this problem, you probably need to approach in a different way.  Forget about who is already making your product.  The bottom line is almost anybody can.  You're looking to make it at a lower cost or differentiate yourself. 

In the screen capture below, almost any company with that code could make thousands of different products.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

ABC CLIO Titles Are Great Bibliographic Resources

All ABC-CLIO resources here.

ABC-CLIO publishes books that break down the major sources for a particular topic. Sample topics include countries, historical periods, movements, and more. It's a great way to find out what are the major works in your field. Also includes annotations. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dressing for an Interview or Business - Male and Female

For him: 

Timeless advice from men's clothing legend Alan Flusser.

(This book is located in the oversized section on floor 7.)

Enlighten us, Mr. Flusser:

If using different patterns in jacket and tie, keep the size close.
If same pattern in jacket and tie, vary size of pattern.

Rules for color combinations. And so on in this classic...

For her:

Here's a good book but here are more good titles:

Examples: What to Wear, Where: The How-To Handbook for any Style Situation

Work It: Visual Therapy's Guide to Your Ultimate Career Wardrobe.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review: Give and Take

Chester Karrass's Give and Take is a great book that tells you how to negotiate a business deal, contract, or purchase of a large product.

The book has pretty much any tactic that will ever be used on you and how to counter them.You can bet your opponent has read this book so be prepared!

You'll learn how to react when the other person changes the terms of the deal after an agreement has been reached, how to identify opportunities you otherwise would have missed, when to divulge information and when to keep silent, and how to get concessions from the other side, among many other tips.

Mandatory for business people negotiating a deal, or even if you're just buying a car at the local dealership.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Advertising RedBooks Online

What is Advertising RedBooks Online?

You'll use this database to:

1) Enter a company and find out how much they spend and which agencies they use.
2) Find an agency by specialty (magazine, tv, etc...) and see who their clients are
3) Find companies by industry type (SIC and NAICS) or geography.