The Times of Your Life

I grew up in a business family. When I was a small child, my mom and dad owned a family paint business and I would go there after school and help customers by making sure they had paint stirrers and the proper brushes to do their work.

When my father decided to shift careers and become a stockbroker, I began to learn the intricacies of stock market charts and understand commodity prices (he told me to stay away from those). I use to sit by my father’s side, as he would go through the Sunday New York Times business section pointing out new highs and lows on the tables that listed hundreds of different stocks.  He showed me how to translate volume figures and why stock moved in one direction or the other. All the technology associated with how stocks moved could be found in those 12 or so pages of those long ago Sunday Times.

Over the past decade, the Sunday Times has shifted how it approaches business reporting. You now have to look hard to find the financial reporting which now just takes up a quarter section (below the fold) o page two and happens to be just below my starting point for my Sunday read which is called the “Corner Office”.

As part of my work with executives, I am always scouring information about how to be a better leader and the Corner Office provides a intimate perspective from CEO’s of large and small companies who are asked about their company’s culture, what they look for in new employees and what are their leadership secrets.

Last week, My thinking is further prompted by an understandable column on macroeconomics where one of my favorite behavioral economists Richard Thaler tied together ideas on how we can be better influencers by watching the good things others do (such as improving dog poop pickup by seeing others carrying a “depoop bag”)

David Segal showed me in his “The Haggler” column that even celebrities such as Alan Alda have problems with customer service and that even when your not paying for a service, you sometimes can’t get away from it

And just in case I was thinking about riding my bike to work in the morning (which would mean a spin around my neighborhood, David Keegan shared his secrets about safely navigating the New York streets on his eight mile daily bike commute (through rain and snow, heat and cold) to his job in mid-town Manhattan.

The Sunday Business Section has come a long way since my dad use to show me those stock charts but so has my understanding of what is important in business. Business today, can be a lot more fun than just making money.

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