Independent in All Things, Neutral in Nothing

Four for Thursday: Articles I’ve Read and You Should Too

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Health care dominated the business news this week. Unemployment dropped a bit, and the debate over investing in gold continued. The articles in this week’s ‘Four for Thursday’ hit on leadership themes, doubts about any economic recovery and the efforts to create jobs in the country. Enjoy.

Do You Want to be a Leader?, by Preston Bottger and Jean-Louis Barsoux. Doctors Bottger and Barsoux ask some pointed questions of aspiring leaders. Their take: like many things in life, leadership is an act of self-selection. Malcolm Gladwell makes a similar point in Outliers that ‘geniuses’ hone their crafts for 10,000 or more hours – which goes a long way toward making them so successful. I wonder: do great leaders also practice the art and actions of leadership, in small ways, which paves the way for greater manifestations of their leadership abilities?  

Vision, in The Economist. The importance of vision: I keep debating it. Sometimes I think ‘the vision thing’ means a great deal to a leader’s effectiveness. Other times, I have worked with successful leaders who did not really possess it, at least in any dramatic way, but I looked to them as a leader because of superior moral characteristics or a solitary focus on accomplishing a mission, in small, minute steps.  

New Underground Economy, by Richard Rahn. Mr. Rahn observes that the population of ‘unbanked’ and ‘underbanked’ Americans has risen in these tough economic times. More evidence of persistent tough economic times.

Washington as the New Jobs Creator, by Matthew Bandyk. Mr. Bandyk argues that entrepreneurs may not wish to play the political game to get access to federal funding. In certain ways, I think of entrepreneurs like the frontiersmen of the old West. That comparison only goes so far, but I think it goes far enough to say that neither really has much use for government, except to establish and maintain the rule of law and enforce protections of private property.


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