Friday, March 23, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/23/12

Every morning, we poll the staff and round-up their favorite economic, financial and political reads of the day. Making the office rounds this morning: Jim Yong Kim, energy independence, and a very good day for Etch a Sketch.

"First Responder," by Kai Falkenberg (Forbes). This morning, President Obama tapped Dartmouth College president Jim Yong Kim to run the World Bank — a surprise pick to many, and an unknown name to some. Here, your Jim Yong Kim primer: A profile that Forbes ran last November, when Kim was just an ambitious college president with a very long resume. 

"Fannie and Freddie: Slashing Mortgages is Good Business," by Jesse Eisinger and Chris Arnold (ProPublica). Here’s more surprising news, this time on the mortgage front: Private analyses by housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac found that loan forgiveness will not only keep more homeowners in their houses — it will also save Fannie and Freddie money.

"Hello, Cruel World," by Nathaniel Penn (The New York Times Magazine). Penn tracked down 226 graduates from Drew University’s Class of 2011 and interviewed them about their job search. The results are sad and telling — only 39% have full-time jobs.

"The Case Against Google," by Mat Honan (Gizmodo). Gizmodo has an unsettling long read on your data and what Google does with it. “It needs you to reveal your location, your friends, your history, your desires, your finances; nothing short of your essence,” Honan writes.

"U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence," by Clifford Krauss and Eric Lipton (The New York Times). America produces more gas than ever, and Americans use less of it. The eventual result, if this trend continues: “Independence from foreign energy sources, a milestone that could reconfigure American foreign policy, the economy and more.” 

"The Coming ‘Hunger Games’ Short Squeeze," by Laura Mandaro (MarketWatch). Hollywood insiders expect this weekend’s Hunger Games opening to rank among the top 10 U.S. openings in history. “Hunger Games (need I say more?)!” Writes Kip reporter Neema Roshania. “It’s a positive economic indicator that movie ticket sales are up overall, though. When people are feeling thrifty they tend to stick to renting or using streaming services at home.”

And to end on a lighter note — it is Friday, after all! — Goldman Sachs is scouring its emails to see if anyone actually calls clients “muppets,” and Etch a Sketch stock surged yesterday after Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom mentioned the toy on CNN. 

What are you reading?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/15/2012

Making the office rounds this morning: Goldman Sachs satire, cashless living and cheesy grits. Below, a round-up of recommendations from the Kiplinger staff.

"Why I Am Leaving the Empire" (The Daily Mash). ”Greg Smith’s skewering of ex-employer Goldman Sachs yesterday was ripe for satire,” says senior editor Bob Frick. So ripe, in fact, that we’ve been reading little else. There’s also “Why I am Leaving the Knicks,” “Why I Am Applying for an Executive Director Position at Goldman Sachs,” and ”Greg Smith’s Letter to Goldman Sachs is Straight Out of Mad Men.” (That last one is less a parody and more a clever critique, says our social media specialist Amanda Lilly.) But in more serious responses …

"The Vampire Squid Spills Its Ink," by William Cohan (Financial Times). Cohan literally wrote the book on Goldman Sachs, and considers Smith’s controversial resignation an “existential moment” for the firm.

Yes, Mr. Smith, Goldman Sachs Is All About Making Money” (Bloomberg). The lede to Bloomberg’s scathing editorial: “Apparently, when Greg Smith arrived at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) almost 12 years ago, the legendary investment firm was something like the Make-A-Wish Foundation — existing only to bring light and peace and happiness to the world.” 

"The Devil Wears Pinstripes," by Heidi Moore (Marketplace). Here’s an interesting take: Moore reads Smith’s resignation less as a protest against a morally bankrupt corporate culture and more as “the objection of the underclass of younger bankers and traders stymied by a lack of career mobility.”

"Can You Enjoy a Strip Club Without Cash?" by Seth Stevenson (Slate). Web editor David Mulhbaum reminded us that Greg Smith is not the only news of the day. On Slate, Seth Stevenson’s attempting to live without cash. “It takes a turn for the amusing here,” David notes, not untruthfully.

"A Plan C for Afghanistan," by Doyle McManus (LA Times). Says political editor and Kiplinger sage Ken Bazinet: “It’s becoming clear that in a post-Bin Laden world the mission in Afghanistan is muddled. LA Times wise Washington sage Doyle McManus says it’s time for a ‘Plan C.’”

"Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail," by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone). The provocative Taibbi takes on Bank of America bail-outs, at great length.

"What Every Woman Should Tell Her Daughter About Money," by Sheryl Nash-Nance (Forbes). Says web editor Andrea Browne: “I love the fact that the financial pros featured in this piece are teaching their daughters at a young age the importance of being able to fend for themselves financially as adults.”

"Wolf Blitzer Can’t Get Enough Cheesy Grits," by David Daley (Salon). Today’s token political media story comes courtesy copy editor Liz Whitehouse, who is “tired of newscasters taking one slice of a story and blowing it up. Salon’s David Daley provides a sharp critique of a recent example.”

Did we miss anything? Tweet us your favorites!

Needless to say, we were disappointed to read the assertions made by this individual that do not reflect our values, our culture and how the vast majority of people at Goldman Sachs think about the firm and the work it does on behalf of our clients. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein and COO Gary D. Cohn in an internal memo to Goldman Sachs employees, posted by Politico.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What We’re Reading, 3/14/2012

The web serves up millions of articles every day — and while we can’t guess what portion of those relate to finance, we’re guessing it’s more than you could read in one sitting.

So every morning, your friendly Tumblr curator will tap into the Kiplinger hive mind and ask the staff for the best business and economic journalism they’ve read that day. On this afternoon’s reading list: Goldman Sachs, Atlantic City and what Obama’s drinking.

"Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs," by Greg Smith (The New York Times). ”The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money,” Smith writes in his bridge-burning resignation. Related reading: “Why I am Leaving the Empire.” 

"The Unpersuaded," by Ezra Klein (The New Yorker). Says magazine reporter John Miley: “The president puts so much effort into campaigning for issues. How much influence does he really have? It’s sort of a reality-check question.”

"On the Market," by Alice Gregory (n+1). A former Sotheby’s researcher takes us into the ultra-luxurious and much-maligned world of the fabled auction house, which recently reported the most profitable quarter in its 267-year history — and became a target of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

"Employers Dangle Carrots for Behaviors That Help Lower Costs," by Ann Carrns (The New York Times). Web editor Andrea Browne likens the trend to reality television: “Think about all of the weight loss competition shows that are on TV these days!”

"The Man Who Broke Atlantic City," by Mark Bowden (The Atlantic). Three casinos, four months, $15 million. We’re betting that even non-gamblers will appreciate this take on blackjack economics.

"Obama’s Wine List Corked After $100-Plus Bottle Served," by Margaret Talev (Bloomberg). The White House stopped disclosing the types of wine served at state dinners; drama ensued. For more levity, we also like this Bloomberg piece: “Gap’s Targeting of Broke Young Hipsters Viewed as Flawed.”

Did we miss anything? Tweet us your picks!