35 Brilliant Insights From Nassim Taleb

35 Brilliant Insights From Nassim Taleb


Facebook is the perfect platform for eccentric author Nassim Taleb, whose knack for thinking outside the box and waxing poetic is unparalleled. Here’s how the acclaimed author of The Black Swan describes his account: “This is for philosophical discussions. Please, no finance (or similarly depraved topics), and no journalists.” Oops. Taleb’s Facebook — which boasts 33,000+ followers — is truly a must-like for anyone interested in success, failure, Brooklyn, the modern condition, philosophy, the sordid state of journalism, or all of the above. Here are Taleb’s 35 most important observations. Each is a quote.

  • The artificial gives us hangovers, the natural inverse-hangovers.
  • The only problem with the last laugh is that the winner has to laugh alone.
  • Intelligence without imagination: a deadly combination.
  • There is no more unmistakable sign of failure than that of a middle-aged man boasting of his successes in college.
  • Never trust a journalist unless she’s your mother.
  • One of life’s machinations is to make some people both rich and unhappy, that is, jointly fragile and deprived of hope.
  • [If] someone is making an effort to ignore you he is not ignoring you.
  • The danger of reading financial & other news (or econobullshit) is that things that don’t make sense at all start making sense to you after progressive immersion.
  • It’s a sign of weakness to worry about showing signs of weakness.
  • Friends, I wonder if someone has computed how much would be saved if we shut down economics and political science departments in universities. Those who need to research these subjects can do so on their private time.
  • I trust those who trust me and distrust those who are suspicious of others.
  • A good man is warm and respectful towards the waiter or people of lower rank.
  • Journalists feel contempt for those who fear them and a deep resentment for those who don’t.
  • When someone starts a sentence with the first half containing “I”, “not”, and “but”, the “not” should be removed and the “but” replaced with “therefore.”
  • High Modernity: routine in place of physical effort, physical effort in place of mental expenditure, & mental expenditure in place of mental clarity.
  • The only valid political system is one that can handle an imbecile in power without suffering from it.
  • Journalists cannot grasp that what is interesting is not necessarily important; most cannot even grasp that what is sensational is not necessarily interesting.
  • Never buy a product that the owner of the company that makes it doesn’t use, or, in the case of, say, medication, wouldn’t contingently use.
  • Just realized that to politely get rid of someone people in Brooklyn say “call me if you need anything.”
  • Injuries done to us by others tend to be acute; the self-inflicted ones tend to be chronic.
  • We often benefit from harm done to us by others; almost never from self-inflicted injuries.
  • You will never know if someone is an asshole until he becomes rich.
  • When someone writes “I dislike you but I agree with you”, I read “I dislike you because I agree with you.”
  • A great book eludes summaries. A great aphorism resists expansion. The rest is just communication.
  • For a free person, the optimal – most opportunistic – route between two points should never be the shortest one.
  • What counts is not *what* people say, it is *how much* energy they spend saying it.
  • Used skillfully, a compliment will be much more offensive than any disparagement.
  • I trust those who are greedy for money a thousand time more than those who are greedy for credentials.
  • Just as eating cow-meat doesn’t turn you into a cow, studying philosophy doesn’t make you wiser.
  • It is a great compliment for an honest person to be mistaken for a crook by a crook.
  • Many want to learn how to memorize things; few seek that rare ability to forget.
  • If you have something very important to say, whisper it.
  • The ultimate freedom lies in not having to explain “why” you did something.
  • A book that can be summarized should not be written as a book.
  • Friends, to confirm: for those who happen to be in Rome, let’s meet 6 PM tonite for a short expresso meeting (I buy, I insist) at Sant’Eustachio caffè, Piazza di Sant’Eustachio, 82.

China Museum Shut Down After Exhibits Revealed to Be Forgeries

China Museum Shut Down After Exhibits Revealed to Be Forgeries

Chinese authorities forced the closing of a museum curated by a local Communist Party boss in northern China after determining that almost all of the items in its 50 million-yuan ($8.1 million) collection were fake.

Forgeries at the museum in Hebei province included an item billed as a five-color porcelain vase from the Tang Dynasty, even though the artistic technique wasn’t invented until hundreds of years later, the Shanghai Daily said in a story today. Another item was purportedly signed in simplified Chinese by an emperor said to have lived more than 3,000 years before the writing system was invented. Read more of this post

IKEA becomes largest foreign landowner in China

IKEA becomes largest foreign landowner in China

Staff Reporter 2013-07-16

In line with the belief that retail outlets built on its own land is integral for the complete materialization of its business concept, IKEA China has insisted on operating only on property it wholly owns since it entered the country 15 years ago. It is now one of the largest landowners in the nation.

Over the past 15 years, IKEA has changed the interior tastes of Chinese people with its simple yet trendy products. The property ownership of IKEA China actually complies with the consistent global practices of the company. INGKA Holding BV, the parent firm of IKEA group, boasted assets of €44.74 billion (US$58.5 billion) in 2012, of which fixed assets — including property, factory buildings, and equipment — accounted for 45%. Read more of this post

Singapore’s PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives, Technicians) = Pampered, Mediocre, Expensive, Timid

Are Singaporean workers… expensive & entitled?

These are the charges some employers have levelled against locals in a recent debate over wages and skills. Robin Chan investigates. 


A YOUNG university graduate walks into his first job interview at a shipping firm waving a salary survey his school provided for him and demands a starting salary above $4,000. But that is what a more senior employee gets only after three to four years on the job. Another, applying for an analyst position at an investment bank, asks if he will have his own office and secretary. There are others: Singaporean professionals turning down overseas postings, job-hopping with a vengeance or wanting more benefits and less work. These stories of professionals behaving badly have emerged in the wake of a Sunday Times commentary last month in which a multinational corporation (MNC) boss asked: “Do Singaporeans deserve the salaries they are paid?” They lack the skills, and the hunger, he observed. Read more of this post

Persistence Pays: Evidence from Investment Style Dynamics in the Venture Capital Industry

Persistence Pays: Evidence from Investment Style Dynamics in the Venture Capital Industry

Amit Bubna Indian School of Business

Sanjiv Ranjan Das Santa Clara University – Leavey School of Business

Paul Hanouna Villanova University – School of Business

June 20, 2013

We examine style drift in venture capital investing using 344,491 VC firm-financing rounds between 1980 and 2010. We locate each VC financing round in one of twenty styles, and develop a measure of a change in a VC’s styles (“style drift”) that is time consistent and independent of firm size. VC firms that exhibit style persistence outperform those that drift. VCs in the early years of their lifecycle exhibit greater style drift. Style drift hurts performance for seasoned VCs and for VCs that drift in a correlated (herd) fashion with other VC firms. We find evidence for economies of style persistence.

Amar G. Bose, the visionary acoustic engineer, inventor and billionaire entrepreneur, dies at 83; “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.”

July 12, 2013

Amar G. Bose, Acoustic Engineer and Inventor, Dies at 83



Amar G. Bose, chairman of Bose, with a Wave radio in 1993.

Amar G. Bose, the visionary engineer, inventor and billionaire entrepreneur whose namesake company, the Bose Corporation, became synonymous with high-quality audio systems and speakers for home users, auditoriums and automobiles, died on Friday at his home in Wayland, Mass. He was 83. His death was confirmed by his son, Dr. Vanu G. Bose. As founder and chairman of the privately held company, Dr. Bose focused relentlessly on acoustic engineering innovation. His speakers, though expensive, earned a reputation for bringing concert-hall-quality audio into the home. And by refusing to offer stock to the public, Dr. Bose was able to pursue risky long-term research, such as noise-canceling headphones and an innovative suspension system for cars, without the pressures of quarterly earnings announcements. In a 2004 interview in Popular Science magazine, he said: “I would have been fired a hundred times at a company run by M.B.A.’s. But I never went into business to make money. I went into business so that I could do interesting things that hadn’t been done before.” Read more of this post

Confronting the Limits of Networks; Business builders should not automatically expect that a network’s value will continue to increase geometrically as new members join

Confronting the Limits of Networks

Magazine: Summer 2002Opinion & Analysis July 15, 2002  Reading Time: 9 min

Andrew McAfee and François-Xavier Oliveau

Around 1980 Robert Metcalfe, the inventor of the Ethernet standard and founder of 3Com, developed a simple but powerful model to describe how networks become more important as they grow. He observed that a network’s value lies in the number of links it enables among members and that the quantity of links increases as the square of the total of the network’s members. Result: The value of a network increases in proportion to the square of the number of people using it. Read more of this post

Diving Into Economic Moats

Diving Into Economic Moats

By Jeremy Glaser and Heather Brilliant, CFA | 07-10-2013 02:00 PM

Jeremy Glaser: For Morningstar, I’m Jeremy Glaser. We’ve recently launched a dedicated economic moat section in our Premium Stock Analyst Reports. I’m here with Heather Brilliant, the global director of equity research, to talk about the importance of economic moats and the best way to use this new section. Heather, thanks for joining me.

Heather Brilliant: Thanks for having me, Jeremy.

Glaser: So let’s talk a little bit about what an economic moat is. I know it’s a term we talk about a lot. But what exactly does it mean? How should investors be thinking about it?

Brilliant: So, we use the term “economic moat” to connote a sustainable competitive advantage. And importantly, an economic moat rating has been available as part of the Premium service for a long time, and what we’re really doing now is trying to give investors a little bit more insight into how we arrive at that economic moat rating, or why we think a company has a moat or not. And so, when you read the section, you can really get a deeper sense of, well, why is this company a wide moat or a narrow moat, or even, why doesn’t it have a moat? And so, I think that will really enhance the direct applicability of some of the research to the ratings that we’ve been putting out for some time. Read more of this post

New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change

Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change


Need for Novelty

In New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change, Winifred Gallagher writes:

[O]ur fast-paced world invites us to see ourselves in yet another light—this time as nature’s virtuosos of change, who are biologically as well as psychologically primed to engage with novelty. Our ability to respond to the new and different is part of what makes us human. We’re simply more interested in whatever is outside of that status quo. Generally, this interest serves us well. In an evolutionary context it has likely saved us from extinction several times. While our affinity for seeking the new offered an advantage in a world without the Internet, it has never been tested in a world like today. The pace of information generation is crazy. Read more of this post

The path to power and how to use it; Collaboration and persuasion are the new tools in a demanding work environment

July 15, 2013 5:04 pm

The path to power and how to use it

By Philip Delves Broughton

Alternative models: the British Museum’s Neil MacGregor is among executives who have used power in different ways to manage their organisations

Power has bad connotations in management these days. It suggests headbangers and table-slammers, cigar-chomping men in smoke-filled rooms. Despite booming profits at JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon recently had to persuade shareholders that being both chief executive and chairman didn’t render him too powerful. Microsoft’s latest management revamp is intended to enhance collaboration across the company and eliminate the powerful fiefdoms that were hobbling its progress. Read more of this post

Forgiveness as a Business Tool

Forgiveness as a Business Tool

By Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change with Jane Williams, Editor Knowledge Abu Dhabi | July 8, 2013

Forgiveness can make us a better person but does it make a better leader? An eye for an eye for an eye for an eye…ends in making everyone blind. (Mahatma Ghandi)

The knee-jerk reaction of too many people in leadership positions when they feel wronged is righteous indignation and the urge for revenge. But one factor that sets truly transformational leaders apart from the run-of-the-mill is the ability to forgive – to let feelings of anger, resentment and blame fall away and become something constructive. Great leaders know the art of reconciliation. Read more of this post

Birds can navigate by the Earth’s magnetic field. How they do it is still a mystery

Birds can navigate by the Earth’s magnetic field. How they do it is still a mystery

Jul 13th 2013 |From the print edition

WHERE would people be without magnetic compasses? The short answer is: lost. By giving human beings a sixth sense—an ability to detect the hitherto invisible magnetic field of the Earth—the compass proved one of the most important inventions ever. It let sailors navigate without sight of the night sky. And that led to the voyages of discovery, trade and conquest which created the political geography of the modern world.

Imagine, then, what animals which had their own, built-in compasses could achieve. They might spend their summers doing the English Season in Glyndebourne or Henley, and then overwinter in the warmth of Mombasa. They might strike out, like intrepid pioneers, from Angola to Anchorage. They might even, if truly gripped by wanderlust and a hatred of the darkness, live in near-perpetual daylight by migrating from Pole to Pole. Read more of this post

Mark Suster Tells Founders To Be Authentic, Hire Co-Founders, And Give Before Taking

Mark Suster Tells Founders To Be Authentic, Hire Co-Founders, And Give Before Taking

DEREK ANDERSEN posted 21 hours ago

Editor’s note: Derek Andersen is the founder of Startup Grind, a 45-city community in 20-countries, uniting the global startup world together through educating, inspiring, and connecting entrepreneurs.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Upfront Ventures‘ (previously GRP Partners) Mark Suster in Los Angeles. While the firm has been in operation since 1996, they recently announced a new $200 million fund. Mark is one of those VCs that is easy for most entrepreneurs to relate to because of his founder background, selling his last company to Salesforce and others before that. Read more of this post

Emma Marcegaglia, Business Europe president and “Italy’s iron lady”

July 14, 2013 4:01 pm

Emma Marcegaglia, Business Europe president

By Rachel Sanderson


‘Brussels bubble’: Emma Marcegaglia intends to spend only one or two days a week in the Belgian capital

When Emma Marcegaglia was four or five years old, she recalls playing a game of dolls with her brother Antonio, her fellow heir to Italy’s Marcegaglia steel multinational. “We’d say this doll is head of the commercial office, this is the head of production. I had all of these dolls working instead of making a party with cakes,” she says with a burst of laughter. It is telling that Ms Marcegaglia’s passion for business was present well before she became co-chief executive of the Marcegaglia group, making her Italy’s most high-profile businesswoman and earning her the moniker “Italy’s iron lady”. Later, as the head of Confindustria, Italy’s influential employers’ body, Ms Marcegaglia was the first woman to take on the role and became almost a daily media presence representing furious business owners in the last years of Silvio Berlusconi’s paralysed government. Read more of this post

The Quiet Force Behind DreamWorks; Bill Damaschke, the chief creative officer of the film studio, is increasingly calling the artistic shots as the head of DreamWorks, Jeffrey Katzenberg, focuses on other areas

July 15, 2013

The Quiet Force Behind DreamWorks



Chief executive of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg, left, and Dreamworks chief creative officer Bill Damaschke.

GLENDALE, Calif. — Inside a modest upstairs office at DreamWorks Animation here — the one next to a framed poster reading “You’ve Got the Goods, Step Out and Show ‘Em!” — sits one of the film industry’s most important executives. His name is Bill Damaschke. Never heard of him? Neither has most of Hollywood. Mr. Damaschke, 49, is chief creative officer at DreamWorks Animation, which means that he runs the factory floor, working with directors, writers and artists to deliver hits like “Kung Fu Panda,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and the “Madagascar” movies. On Wednesday, the studio’s latest computer-animated film, “Turbo,” about a speedy garden snail, arrives in theaters. “I trust Bill’s taste more than anybody else’s, including my own,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation’s chief executive. Read more of this post

Oregon Tuition Plan Punishes Graduates’ Success

Oregon Tuition Plan Punishes Graduates’ Success

Oregon is winning praise for a proposal to make college more affordable. It would allow students to attend in-state public universities at no immediate cost in exchange for 3 percent of their annual earnings for 25 years after they graduate.

The “pay it forward” plan has many details to be worked out, as Inside Higher Ed reported. The Oregon Legislature has unanimously approved a bill, which is awaiting the approval of Governor John Kitzhaber. It directs the state to create a pilot program by 2015 — at which time the idea would be formally considered. Read more of this post

The monk dubbed Myanmar’s Osama

The monk dubbed Myanmar’s Osama


MANDALAY — Radical Buddhist nationalism is sweeping Myanmar and at the forefront of the movement is a group more commonly associated with peace and tolerance: Monks.


MANDALAY — Radical Buddhist nationalism is sweeping Myanmar and at the forefront of the movement is a group more commonly associated with peace and tolerance: Monks. The most prominent among them is controversial cleric U Wirathu, who gives passionate sermons from his Mandalay base, calling on Buddhists to stand up against the “Muslim threat”. “I believe Islam is a threat not just to Buddhism, but to the (Burmese) people and the country,” says the monk, whose boyish face and toothy grin belie the name his critics have given him: The Buddhist Osama bin Laden. Myanmar was formerly known as Burma. Read more of this post

Partial skull removal, used to relieve life-threatening pressure in the brain after a traumatic injury or severe stroke, raises questions about quantity versus quality of life

July 16, 2013

Skull Surgery Offers Perils and Potential



Dr. Geoffrey T. Manley of San Francisco General Hospital held a cranial prosthesis to be fitted in a patient who suffered traumatic brain injury after falling from a window.

SAN FRANCISCO — Following the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 here, one of the first victims rushed to San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center was a teenage girl, unconscious and gravely injured. Her brain was quickly swelling, with nowhere to go but through the small opening at the base of her skull. Such an event, known as “herniation,” crushes the brainstem and can be rapidly fatal. Unable to reduce the swelling with medications, neurosurgeons decided to remove a large portion of the girl’s skull. Once they had done so, her brain bulged through the opening. The operation relieved the pressure and saved her brain, but it was not enough to save her life. The girl, whose parents asked that she not be named to protect her privacy, died of the other injuries she sustained in the crash. Read more of this post

Slapping, shoving tied to kids’ future health problems

Slapping, shoving tied to kids’ future health problems

12:17am EDT

By Genevra Pittman

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Children who are punished through pushing, shoving and slapping are more likely to be obese and have other health problems when they grow up, a new study suggests. “This is one study that adds to a growing area of research that all has consistent findings that physical punishment is associated with negative mental and now physical (health) outcomes,” said Tracie Afifi, who led the study at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Read more of this post

U.S. Blood Supply Threatened as Donors Face Iron Losses

U.S. Blood Supply Threatened as Donors Face Iron Losses

Dennis Gastineau started giving blood regularly when he was in medical school in the 1970s. The $25 he received bought almost enough groceries for a week. Now, it just seems like the right thing to do.

It may also be bad for his health. Gastineau, who happens to be a hematologist, is among the 2.4 million donors who risk silent damage as a result of frequent giving. U.S. government research published last year found this group iron-deficient, which can lead to fatigue, compromised mental function and eventually anemia. Now, iron levels are being examined as part of an $87.2 million study the U.S. is funding on blood donation and transfusion safety. Read more of this post

Scientists find how ‘obesity gene’ makes people fat

Scientists find how ‘obesity gene’ makes people fat

2:49pm EDT

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have unraveled how a gene long associated with obesity makes people fat by triggering increased hunger, opening up potential new ways to fight a growing global health problem. A common variation in the FTO gene affects one in six of the population, making them 70 percent more likely to become obese – but until now experts did not know why. Using a series of tests, a British-led research team said they had found that people with the variation not only had higher levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin in their blood but also increased sensitivity to the chemical in their brains. Read more of this post

Four Drugmakers Face China Probes as Glaxo Woes Widen; GSK is test case in China’s rules laboratory

Four Drugmakers Face China Probes as Glaxo Woes Widen


China is investigating at least four multinational drugmakers as it widens its probe of GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), according to a lawyer in Hong Kong whose firm advises companies on cross-border anti-corruption.

The investigations point to an increased targeting of the pharmaceutical industry in corruption probes as the world’s most populous country faces rising health-care costs and seeks to lower drug prices. While the drugmakers are being examined by local regulators, the results may draw added questions from officials in Beijing and scrutiny by the U.S. government under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Read more of this post

Sting in dragon’s tail for foreign companies in China

Sting in dragon’s tail for foreign companies in China

Sun, Jul 14 2013

By Sujata Rao

LONDON (Reuters) – China’s vast market for foreign goods and services, once seen by global companies as a modern-day El Dorado, is becoming a weight around their necks as its growth slows. The rise of the Chinese economic “dragon” over the last two decades has transformed international business. But now the country is in the grip of a slowdown due to a slump in exports and banking sector excesses, as recent data has shown. That has led fund managers worldwide to re-assess their investments in companies with a focus on the world’s No.2 economy. “Anything China-sensitive is performing poorly and the trend will not go away because there is no sign of growth recovery,” said Maarten-Jan Bakkum, investment strategist at ING Investment Management, which has cut its holdings of China-exposed stocks. Read more of this post

The woeful admission by Treasury Wine Estates that inventory levels had been grossly mismanaged and overstated is going to lead to a major rethink by the market about what this company has been doing for the past couple of years

US wine stocks stain market darling

July 16, 2013

Elizabeth Knight


The woeful admission by Treasury Wine Estates that inventory levels had been grossly mismanaged and overstated is going to lead to a major rethink by the market about what this company has been doing for the past couple of years.

Under chief executive David Dearie, Treasury Wine has been telling a positive story about remaking the company, focusing on the high-end brands and installing proper management disciplines – a goal made possible thanks to winning independence from Foster’s in 2011. Read more of this post

Reform agenda puts China’s economic superagency NDRC under scrutiny

Reform agenda puts China’s economic superagency under scrutiny

6:20pm EDT

By Alexandra Harney

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Behind China’s two investigations into irregular pricing of infant formula and pharmaceuticals announced this month is one powerful institution and its struggle for relevance as Beijing attempts a transition to a more consumption-led economy.

The investigations have entangled big foreign companies including Danone SA (DANO.PA: QuoteProfile,ResearchStock Buzz), Nestle SA (NESN.VX: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz) and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK.L: QuoteProfileResearchStock Buzz). But some analysts say there may be something deeper at work – jockeying over the direction of policy in the world’s second largest economy in the years ahead. Read more of this post

Billionaire Ma’s Alibaba Gets Nod to Stir Up Online Loans

Billionaire Ma’s Alibaba Gets Nod to Stir Up Loans: China Credit

China has authorized billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group to expand funding for its online loans business, designed to shake up an industry divided into heavily regulated state banks and shady financing schemes.

The Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission approved the sale of up to 5 billion yuan ($815 million) of notes backed by loans from Alibaba, according to a July 8 filing. Since starting its microloans business three years ago, Alibaba has extended more than 100 billion yuan of financing to over 320,000 small online businesses and entrepreneurs, it said in an e-mailed statement. Read more of this post

China Slowdown Sends Ordos to Bust as Li Grapples With Credit; “Now the economy has collapsed, they’ve all gone.”

China Slowdown Sends Ordos to Bust as Li Grapples With Credit

Posters of the Chinese character for good luck adorn shops bolted shut in the northern city of Ordos, where cranes stand silently above half-finished developments and doors on workers’ dormitories creak in the wind.

Apartment sales have come to a virtual halt in the central district, real-estate agent Zhang Wei says. With the municipality’s revenue gains diminishing, the Inner Mongolian city that saw a surge in building during China’s record credit boom is now a showcase for the speculative financing Premier Li Keqiang is trying to curb.

“In the past few years there was a lot of coal so people came from all over the country,” says Gao Wei, 30, smoking in an office that deals in second-hand construction machinery and had no clients that day. “Now the economy has collapsed, they’ve all gone.” Read more of this post

Wealth Products Threaten China Banks on Ponzi-Scheme Risk

Wealth Products Threaten China Banks on Ponzi-Scheme Risk

Zhang Defa hurried into an Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. branch in Shanghai on a sizzling July afternoon breathlessly looking for the manager.

The day before, Zhang had received a text message saying the bank was selling a 37-day wealth-management product with a 5 percent expected annualized return, principal guaranteed. He was too late. The offer, requiring a minimum of 500,000 yuan ($81,000), had sold out in less than three hours. Zhang would have netted 2,534 yuan in just five weeks.  Read more of this post

In Abe We Trust as Japan Inc. Buybacks Climb to Eight-Year High

In Abe We Trust as Japan Inc. Buybacks Climb to Eight-Year High

Eight months into the biggest equity rally in three decades, Japanese executives are gaining faith in the nation’s recovery as they reward shareholders with stock buybacks and pledge to increase capital spending.

Topix companies bought 1.78 trillion yen ($17.8 billion) of their own shares in the half ended June 30, the most since 2005, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. With companies from Orix Corp. (8591) to Toyota Motor Corp. to Nissin Foods Holdings Ltd. holding a record 115 trillion yen, plans for capital projects are rising at the fastest rate in seven years. Read more of this post

Ad scientists; Simple tests can overstate the impact of search-engine advertising

Ad scientists; Simple tests can overstate the impact of search-engine advertising

Jul 13th 2013 |From the print edition


SEARCH for a term like “tennis balls” using Google, Bing or Yahoo, and two types of link appear. The majority form a long list of “organic” results. Companies pay the search engines nothing for these. But those at the very top and on the right-hand side of the screen are paid links, a form of advertising that accounts for most of the revenue of search engines. These search ads appear to solve a puzzle that has preoccupied advertisers since John Wanamaker, the 19th-century founding father of marketing, reportedly declared: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” But new research shows that the simple measures often used to assess the impact of search ads may be exaggerating their effectiveness. Read more of this post

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