Weekend Digest: The 2014 Good Start Edition

by Larry Brannan (ltbrannan@aol.com) 17 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

Forbes has some tips that could move you ahead.

When it comes to management, I’ve always been a bigger believer in fundamentals than fancy. Sure, there’s nothing at all wrong with, say, presentation skills that spellbind an audience of thousands, but when it comes to operational effectiveness, chances are that will be determined by how well you execute fundamentals day in and day out.

So in that spirit, here are 6 fundamentals that can make you a better manager in 2014.

Go to this link to boost your managerial skills.

Okay, let’s be rational.

It’s called goal factoring and “is one of the techniques taught by the Center for Applied Rationality.”

The Center for Applied Rationality hosts a three-day workshops that teach attendees how to use science-based approaches to achieve goals. A November workshop in Ossining, N.Y., instructed 23 participants on how thinking about one’s future self as a different person can help goal-setting and why building up an “emotional library” of associations can reduce procrastination.

Sound interesting, well “CFAR, a Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit, is prominent in the growing rationality movement, which explores the science of optimized decision-making.”

Make a rational choice, and click on this link from The Wall Street Journal to learn more.

After a $4.35 billion deal by Fiat to gain control of Chrysler, the Italian automaker’s stock went through the roof.

Fiat’s $4.35 billion deal to gain full control of Chrysler Group LLC sent its shares to a near 2-1/2-year high on Thursday, despite doubts over whether the Italian carmaker could use the merger to cut losses in Europe.

Investors welcomed the deal struck by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, under which Fiat will buy the 41.46 percent of the No. 3 U.S. automaker it does not already own, without raising funds from the stock market.

They paid less than the market had expected, and there will be no capital increase to fund this, so no wonder the stock is flying,” a Milan-based trader said.

But is this really a good deal for Fiat especially with “debt that would become the highest for any European motor manufacturer?”

For a full analysis go to this link from The Chicago Tribune.

We all love politics, but the conduit for all those sensational stories comes from journalists. True pros who give us the headlines and scoops.

But who are the best?

POLITICO has picked it’s “10 Journalists to Watch in 2014.”

Several journalists came into the national spotlight this past year, but 2014 is when they’ll be asked to prove themselves.

Who are they?  Click here to find out.

We’ve all seen those hokey, dumb ads by politicians who should have known better. Want to see possibly the worst ever?

Click on this link from The Washington Post and hold your nose.

What does President Obama watch on TV to relax? Not surprising it’s an eclectic mixture that The New York Times reports, “Is anything edgy with a hint of reality.”

War, terrorism, economic struggle, mass shootings — such is life in the Oval Office for President Obama.

Yet in his few quiet moments, this president seeks not to escape to the delicious back-stabbing of the “Real Housewives” or the frivolity of the singing teenagers on “Glee.” By his own accounts, Mr. Obama is drawn in his spare time to shows like HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire,” the kind of heavy, darkly rendered television that echoes the sadness and strife that make up so much of his workday.

To learn more about the president’s retreat from what’s real to another kind of reality, go to this link.

His name was John Dominis and he passed away this past week at the age of 92. He was a brilliant photographer mostly for Life magazine, and in an amazing array of his work, Life.com heralds his career.

There are great photographers whose work is so phenomenally varied — a uniform, unbroken excellence the only common thread running throughout — that every new shot one encounters might have been made by a different individual. John Dominis is such a photographer, and the photos presented here serve as a testament to the man’s enviable ability to see and to capture anything.

For unmatched beauty and brilliance, click on this link to view his best work.

That’s what science fiction writer Isaac Asimov did with a 1964 essay 50 years ago.

The scenes, set in or about 1900, 1920, 1940 and 1960, show the advances of electrical appliances and the changes they are bringing to living. I enjoyed it hugely and only regretted that they had not carried the scenes into the future. What will life be like, say, in 2014 A.D., 50 years from now? What will the World’s Fair of 2014 be like?

I don’t know, but I can guess.

What was his guess? You might be surprised. Go to this link for a look at the future from the past.