As surprising as this may seem, there was more to the business news cycle over the past few days than all the to-ing and fro-ing over the fiscal cliff. Here are some of the articles I found interesting — and sometimes offbeat — in case you missed them:
- In early December, the IRS issued guidance for new 3.8% Medicare tax on net investment income. Financial planner Michael Kitces explains the implications. (Nerd’s Eye View)
- If you have read some of my earlier roundups. you probably know I’m a regular reader of the Corner Office column in the Sunday Business section of the New York Times. From time to time, something really stands out. That was the case when I read “What’s Your Story? The Answer May Land You a Job,” with Karl Heiselman, chief executive of Wolff Olins, an international brand consulting firm. When asked about the culture he is trying to create at his company, Heiselman said: “We’re a creative company, and when you make stuff, you have to be in the right state. If you’re panicked or stressed out or you don’t feel valuable, then you’ll produce bad work. If you feel confident and supported and pushed and motivated and the rest of it, then you’re going to do great work.” (Emphasis is mine.) Of course, this doesn’t just apply to the culture at creative companies and is just as relevant at wealth management firms. It’s so simple, and yet so often underestimated or overlooked. (New York Times)
- I also liked what Heiselman had to say about how he hires and what skills he looks for: “The most important thing is whether I want to hang out and talk with the person. It’s not a likability contest as much as it’s about chemistry. The first thing I always ask is, ‘What’s your story?’ The way somebody answers that is a pretty good indication of what they’re all about.” Think about that for a minute: How would you describe your story and what would it say about you? (New York Times)
- In his inimitable way, Josh Brown shares seven suggestions to make 2013 your most productive year ever. Number seven is “Read More Books.” It’s hard to argue with that; reading more is always on my to-do list. (The Reformed Broker)
- Brown’s exhortation to read more reminded me of a blog post from August, “For Those Who Want to Lead, Read.” As the author, John Coleman, points out, “business people seem to be reading less — particularly material unrelated to business. But deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness”. (Harvard Business Review)
- Sticking with reading, I recently started Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, which won the FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year award for its “enjoyable and compelling business insights.” What drew me to it — aside from oil and geopolitics — was an interview with the book’s Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steve Coll following the awards. Coll describes ExxonMobil as “very closed, very much a black box” with an “unusual” culture. He adds that it is a “very successful operating company” with “a very disciplined and very homogeneous corporate culture.” A question for business leaders, he says, is “whether a unilateral culture of ExxonMobil’s type really works in the world we are in or whether alternative models of collaboration and co-operation are better suited for where we are going.”
- Again, “culture” is something every firm should think about. Once I get through Coll’s tome, I’m planning on tackling Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, as I recently watched Lincoln. Also on my list: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
Social Media: LinkedIn
- Bill Winterberg points out that the new LinkedIn profile design is problematic for financial advisers, as FINRA and SEC regulations prohibit the use of information that can be construed as a testimonial. Here’s a short video where he explains how to hide all LinkedIn endorsements. (FPPad)
- Many of us, apparently, are seduced by data (Hey! It’s been at least 5 seconds since I checked my news stream or my iPhone or TweetDeck). But according to social psychologist Ron Friedman, PhD, too much data disables our decision making. (Psychology Today)
- Imagine traveling the world for eight years. What lessons would you learn? Well, luckily for you, you won’t have to spend eight years trying to find out as”Benny the Irish Polyglot” has come up with 29 life lessons gleaned from his peripatetic lifestyle. (Fluent in 3 Months)
And Now for Something Completely Different
- Vomit, bleeding nipples, and hallucinations. Sound appealing? If not, you’re not alone. As the Economist wonders, when it comes to ultramarathons: Why would anyone run the Spartathlon? Lunacy? (Economist)
Please note that the content of this site should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute.
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