Hard work, perseverance, smarts, are they Keys to success?

“A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”

John le Carre’

Author of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and many other thrillers.


“The Men Who Built America”

A Little Badly Needed Electoral Fun

Econ Recon:  No Recession Yet

Your Life:  Forget Balance….go for Blend

“The Men Who Built America”

Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller Sr., Jim Fiske, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie?    Most business people are either completely ignorant of them of them, or have only a passing acquaintence with their names,  but no real appreciation for  what they did.  In the half century between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the First World War, these men created the very foundations of the modern American economy with their genius, cunning, hard work and not infrequently tactics which, perfectly legal at the time, would land a CEO in jail today.

If you’d like an overview of these individuals, how they made the world you live in and a few lessons on competitive strategy,   I encourage you to watch a new History Channel Series,  “The Men Who Made America.”   Those who feel business is not suffciently regulated today would be shocked to see what was permitted  a hundred years ago.  Every literate business person should be familiar with the achievements of this remarkable group of men.

For those of you looking for a comparable female player in the business history of 1800’s America, check out the story of Hetty Green, known, perhaps uncharitably, in her day as “The Witch of Wall Street.”   She deserves to be better known than she is as she was clearly one of the shrewest and most feared operators on a Wall Street that had few rules.   When she died in 1916 at the advanced age of 82, she was worth $100 million…..or $2.5 billion today.  She had an uncanny ability to buy at the bottom and sell at the top and is considered to be one of the early examples of the “value investing” school that Warren Buffett  has become synonymous with.  Check out a brief overview of her life by clicking here.

A Little  Electoral Fun

With a major election in just a few weeks, voters of every political persuasion need a break from the daily mud slinging that has come to characterize American political races .  To that end, here are the top ten quips exchanged by Obama and Romney at the Annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner which has become a merciful respite from the campaign in recent elections.  During this dinner the candidates poked fun at themselves and each other in a way that you can only wish was the standard operating procedure for the campaign at all times. If you’d like to watch the entire 40 minute interchange, click here. Enjoy!

Econ Recon: No Recession Yet

If this presidential election is about anything, it’s about the economy in general and housing and jobs in particular.   First Trust Economist Brian Wesbury and Vistage Staff Economist and Institute for Trend Research Presient Alan Beaulieu
feel that the overall economy is in no danger of a serious recession in the near term.   Wesbury holds that there is “No Recession Yet” in his most recent Wesbury 101 video.”     Alan Beaulieu’s most recent blog posts takes us on a deeper dive into the housing and employment numbers and finds an economy that should continue to grow, albeit sluggishly, for some months.

Your Life:  Forget Balance….go for Blend

Those over 50 may well remember a time when the promise of technology was an ever increasing amount of leisure.   Instead many of us find ourselves working harder than we ever thought we might have to (assuming we have a job).   Technology has increasingly reduced the amount of time required for repetitive , automatable jobs while amping up the time required for things that only humans can do such as colloborate, commuicate and create.   The resulting time pressure has created demand for more work-life balance and strategies for attaining it.   At least one thinker on the subject, however, has decided we should Forget Work-Life Balance: It’s Time for Work-Life Blend  Check it out…..maybe this is your future.

About budjohnson

Mr. Johnson is a Vistage Chair in the Houston Metropolitan area for CE Group 3502, and HR Key Group 9139. In addition Mr. Johnson is the Co-Founder of the Accelerated Professional's program designed to help young professionals become "Business Savvy.....Presentation Capable. Mr. Johnson also works with private equity investors to evaluate corporate opportunities.
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