1) The World's Billionaires (Forbes) - Thought I'd start this week off with a little porn for the avaricious among us. This year's Forbes 400 revealed that Mexico's Carlos Slim made everyone else on the list his pool boy by increasing his net worth over $20 billion in a year to top out at a staggering $74 billion. Bill Gates runs a distant second at $56 billion, and it looks like it might be the Walton family's last appearance in the Top 10. Extra Special Bonus Bonus Banana: Billionaires Under 30.
2) Debit cards: $50 spending limit coming? (CNN) - Jamie Dimon seems determined to play Darth Vader to Lloyd Blankfein's Emperor Palpatine. Not content to just foreclose on homeowners who've never missed a payment, is now considering limiting debit card transactions to $50. At issue are the now-limited interchange fees on debit cards - capped at 12 cents per transaction. So I guess the bank's strategy is to make consumers swipe the card four times for a $200 purchase, thus generating four interchange fees. Nice.
3) Most admired for talent (Fortune) - #1 on the Top 10 list of companies known for grooming talent, besting Apple, Google, Disney, and among others. Reputation notwithstanding, the firm has no trouble finding candidates and still has the pick of the proverbial litter. Following my earlier example, does this make rank-and-file Goldmanites imperial stormtroopers? Cool outfits, anyway.
4) Dead soldier Liam Tasker and Army dog return home (BBC) - Incredibly sad but poignant story of a British soldier and his bomb-sniffing dog who died within hours of one another in Afghanistan and are being laid to rest together. Now they're both at peace. I feel sorry for people who've never shared the obvious bond between dog and man that these two shared.
5) The Happiest Man in America (NY Times) - This one made me chuckle. The New York Times recently published a hypothetical profile of the happiest man in America based on statistics that indicated he was a tall, Asian-American, observant Jew, 65 and married with kids, living in Hawaii, running his own business, and making over $120,000 a year. Then they decided to see if he actually exists. Meet Alvin Wong.
6) Trading Wall Street For Life In A Monastery (NPR) - Fascinating story about Henry Quinson, a currency trader managing a $15 billion portfolio who threw in the towel to join a Trappist monastery at age 27. He gave all of his money to charity, took vows of poverty, obedience, and silence and lived in a monastery in France for six years. He now teaches Muslim kids in Marseille and recently served as a monastic consultant on a French film. Talk about the road less traveled.
7) Budding Hedge Fund Manager Arrested In Grade-Fixing Scam (FIN Alternatives) - Bess covered this earlier in the week over at Dealbreaker, but it's just too funny to risk anyone missing it. This was a kid who decided in high school that he wanted to be a hedge fund manager and part of his strategy was to hack the school's computer system and raise his grades to a 4.54 gpa - making him his class salutatorian. Then he decided to sell his grade-fixing services to other high school kids and got busted earlier this week. Looks like he was making fake id's, too. Sounds like he'd fit right in over at Galleon.
8) How Business School Killed the Entrepreneur (Reading For Your Success) - What is the purpose of B-school? What used to be a boot camp for entrepreneurs has become a stepping stone to getting a raise in banking and consulting. Anyone considering business school should read this article. Guys like Patrick are the exception, not the rule.
9) How Twitter Is Transforming Trading in Commodities (CNBC) - I've been promising to do a post comparing the relative valuations of Facebook and Twitter and why they're way off, and I will get to it soon, but in the meantime CNBC shows how Twitter is changing the way people trade commodities. While I generally regard Facebook as self-obsessed navel gazing, Twitter and sub-sites like StockTwits are changing the way financial information is disseminated.
10) Homeowner Suffers Horrific Injustice at the Mandelman Matters) - I alluded to this earlier, but here is the actual story of a family who had their house sold out from under them by JP Morgan Chase after paying every cent the bank asked for on time. What makes it even worse is that Chase kept telling them to ignore the various notices of default while the bank was selling their house out from under them - all the while insisting everything was fine and telling them to continue to make the payments. Despicable.(
This week's video is the trailer for Limitless, which opens next week. Looks pretty great to me. If you could take a pill to access 100% of your brain, would you do it? I'm not sure. There's some pretty dark shit in this head of mine. Enjoy: