For our weekend business readers:

THE STATE OF THE NATION
Want an intriguing bird’s-eye view of the “State of the Nation?  Click on this link from Bloomberg Businessweek to get an aerial view of Washington D.C. complete with telling graphics.

And while you’re at it, Bloomberg Businessweek has also posted a piece asking, “Who is Better Off?” But what does that really mean?

To paraphrase another president, whether we are better off now than we were four years ago depends on the meaning of “we,” not to mention the meaning of “better off,” and even the meaning of “four years ago.”

To find out if you are “better off” click on this link.

LEADER READING
If you could pick out a book for leaders to read, particularly a young leader, what would it be?

Reading has a host of benefits for those who wish to occupy positions of leadership and develop into more relaxed, empathetic, and well-rounded people. One of the most common follow-up questions was, “Ok, so what should I read?”

That’s the question Harvard Business Review asked in a recent post.

That’s a tough question. There are a number of wonderful reading lists out there. For those interested in engaging classic literature, Wikipedia has a list of “The 100 Best Books of All Time,” and Modern Library has picks for novels and nonfiction. Those interested in leadership might consult the syllabus for David Gergen’s leadership course at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government or the syllabus his colleague Ron Heifetz uses for his course on adaptive leadership.

There are some interesting choices, but writer John Coleman boils it down even further with his “11 Books Every Young Leader Must Read.” Click here to read more.

RAINY DAY BANK FUNDS
“Rainy day” hardly describes the financial crisis. It was a deluge, an endless monsoon season.

Banks stashed away piles of money in the crisis’s wake. But now, the weather is better, so banks are moving billions from their reserves into the profit column.

“Reserves can be huge” says an analyst for Marketplace Business, and so what are those reserves and how are banks using them?

Banks are in a tricky place as far as how big their reserves should be. Regulators with opposing agendas keep an eye on the number. On one side is the Securities and Exchange Commission, prone to suspicion of swollen rainy day funds.

Want the estimated numbers and the full story?  Click here.

BELT TOO TIGHT IN EUROPE?
It was an austerity plan to solve Europe’s financial crisis.  But in an in-depth post, CNBC challenges after looking in the rear view mirror whether it was that the right approach.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the harsh austerity measures European officials are pushing could produce the opposite effect on struggling eurozone nations like Greece and Spain.

What are those opposite effects and why do some now say, enough is enough?

Go to this link for the full story.

LATEST AFFLECK MOVIE RESTORING HIS CAREER
Actor Ben Affleck had a meteoric rise to fame from the 1997 smash-hit, Good Will Hunting. The box office blockbuster steered Affleck to quick roles in other profitable films like Armageddon and Pearl Harbor, but it didn’t boost his reputation as a serious actor.

Throw in the ill-fated Gigli, a romantic comedy with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and Affleck was considered washed up.

So in 2007, he went behind the camera with Gone Baby Gone, which he wrote and directed. The film, which starred his brother Casey Affleck, didn’t earn much money but it showed that Affleck knew what he was doing behind the camera.

With 2010’s The Town, Affleck earned more great reviews and this time, more money. The film brought in $155 million on a budget of $37 million.

Now with Argo, Affleck has secured his place in Hollywood as one of the most in-demand directors and actors.

Affleck’s resurrection is expected to be completed with his latest endeavor. What is Argo all about? And how has it rebuilt the Boston native? Forbes explores in this post.

LEAST VALUABLE COLLEGE MAJORS
It’s every parent’s challenge: steering your college-bound child into a lucrative career.

You want them to be happy in their work, but they also need to earn a living. Forbes dives into the worst college majors in their latest issue.

Which college majors are the least valuable in terms of career prospects and expected salary? Using data provided by the CEW from the 2009 and 2010 American Community Survey, Forbes discovered the 10 worst college majors based on high initial unemployment rates and low initial median earnings of full-time, full-year workers. The findings?  While the arts may be good for the soul, artistic majors are terrible for the bank account.

Click here to find out which degree tops the list and which ones are runners-up.

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