The problem with conventional wisdom is that academics will insist on testing whether it is truly wise.
So the popular assumption that Lehman Brothers would not have collapsed if it had been Lehman Sisters (to quote, among others, European commissioner Viviane Reding and former UK minister Harriet Harman) seems to take a knock from a new discussion paper published by Germany’s Bundesbank. It concludes:
Board changes that result in a higher proportion of female executives also lead to a more risky conduct of business.
Given the essentially mundane nature of most jobs, few workers will ever live up to mission statements that urge them to “change the world”.
Vint Cerf is one of the few people who indisputably has changed it. Nearly 40 years ago, he co-designed the ubiquitous TCP/IP software protocols that allow closed computer networks to communicate with each other and form a “network of networks”: the internet. Read more
Real Madrid says it has an estimated 300m fans globally, more than half based in Asia. So I shouldn’t be surprised that it wants to put its name to a $1bn theme park in the United Arab Emirates, closer to that growing fan-base.
Computer-generated image of Real Madrid Resort Island (AFP Photo / Real Madrid)
Even so, I worry that such hubristic brand-building projects – the chief executive of Real Madrid Resort Island describes it as “sportainment”, a term I dearly hope never catches on – could distance football clubs further from their roots. Read more
Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs’ biographer, has returned to the man and his idiosyncratic management style in a Harvard Business Review article outlining the 14 “real leadership lessons” of Apple’s late founder. (Number one: “Focus”.)
He addresses the fact that some readers of Mr Isaacson’s biography, rushed out last year shortly after Jobs’ death, “fixated” on the “rough edges of his personality”. Mr Isaacson implies that they were misunderstanding the true nature of entrepreneurship:
The essence of Jobs, I think, is that his personality was integral to his way of doing business. He acted as if the normal rules didn’t apply to him, and the passion, intensity, and extreme emotionalism he brought to everyday life were things he also poured into the products he made. His petulance and impatience were part and parcel of his perfectionism.
Even if you have only half-heard of Gina Rinehart, you will know that she is a force to be reckoned with. She is the Australian mining magnate who controls Hancock Prospecting, founded by her father. Her aggressive approach to business and family relations has prompted three of her four children to sue her. Read more
I’m getting fed up with the UK coalition government’s ritual invocation of Victorian values or visions whenever it wishes to urge a put-upon populace to new heights.
In David Cameron’s latest speech, the prime minister calls on the spirits of Brunel, Telford and Stephenson, to inspire new infrastructure investment in the UK, from nuclear energy to new towns. He accompanies nostalgia for the Victorian era with the inevitable negative comparison with other nations’ superior efforts: the French, Dutch and Swiss have cheaper, less crowded railways than the British; the South Koreans have faster broadband; the Indians have newer nuclear power stations; and the Chinese have bigger airports. Read more