Genius And Insanity: Do You Need To Be Crazy To Be The Best?


Genius And Insanity: Do You Need To Be Crazy To Be The Best?


Normally the picture I put before a post is loosely connected to the subject matter. This Dilbert image, however, might really sum things up. 10,000 hours is a lot of hours. crazy amount of hours, one might say. I’ve posted a lot about “deliberate practice” and the work habits of geniuses. They’re relentless.

Via Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

“Sooner or later,” Pritchett writes, “the great men turn out to be all alike. They never stop working. They never lose a minute. It is very depressing.”

Here’s the question:

Is that just something that obsessed, crazy people do? Does this prove the often-theorized connection between genius and insanity?

We assume 10,000 hours of practice means passion or dedication. How often does it just mean stone-cold obsessed?

Brilliant, Famous — And Utterly Obsessed

Steve Jobs? Brilliant and obsessed.

Via America’s Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy That Built a Nation:

He insisted that the walls all be painted white. “No white was too white for Steve,” stated Coleman. Jobs would also don white gloves to do frequent dust checks. Whenever he spotted a few specks on either a machine or on the floor, which he was determined to keep clean enough to eat off, Coleman had to arrange for an instant scrubbing. Read more of this post

How to Make a New Product Unique

How to Make a New Product Unique

Posted: August 13, 2013

Alex Kandybin is a Booz & Company partner, based in New York, specializing in innovation in the consumer products and health care industries. Adam Michaels is the head of North American integrated business planning at Mondelez International, based in East Hanover, N.J. Previously, he was a principal at Booz & Company. Also contributing to this entry were Booz & Company senior executive advisors Shaun Holliday and Marc Robinson.

In a previous blog post, we explained why sustainable consumer product introductions are rare. We said two factors help a company stand out from the competition when introducing a new offering:

1. Unique product attributes (difficult for rivals to copy), in technology, packaging, customer experience, or design

2. Differentiated capabilities that create coherence in your company—an alignment between your business strategy and your portfolio of products

How can this inherently tricky blend be achieved? Kraft, in the food and beverage industry, offers one example. Until 2010, its strategy for launching products fared badly. Kraft tended to invest in small ideas that did not attract customers as expected. As Kraft Foods head of innovation Barry Calpino explained it at a presentation at a Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in February 2013, the company acquired a reputation for poor execution and a lack of vision. Read more of this post

Cash-Poor Companies Feed Investor Hunger for ‘Happy Meals’ Convertible Bonds Deals; Hedge Funds Use CBs To Short-Sell Issuer’s Stock

August 19, 2013, 10:36 p.m. ET

Cash-Poor Companies Feed Investor Hunger for ‘Happy Meals’

Critics Say Deals Can Exacerbate Problems for Issuing Companies



When Energy Conversion Devices Inc. needed cash, the struggling solar-panel maker turned itself into what Wall Street likes to call a “Happy Meal.” To make $316 million in bonds more appetizing, the company agreed to lend millions of its shares to hedge funds buying the bonds so they could simultaneously sell the stock in a bet against Energy Conversion’s success. A subsequent crisis in the solar-power industry hit Energy Conversion hard. The bonds, issued in 2008, plunged in value, and last year the company filed for bankruptcy protection, wiping out shareholders. But the negative wagers paid off for the hedge funds. A Wall Street Journal examination showed that hedge funds that bought the bonds were positioned to earn upward of 20% on their investments. Facing meager returns on many fronts, some hedge funds have developed a taste for Happy Meals—deals named after the McDonald’s burger-and-toy combo. Companies strapped for cash serve up everything the funds need to profit: bonds that are convertible into stock if the borrower does well, and tools for betting against the company if its prospects sour. Read more of this post

Banks Work Around China’s Lending Limits; Latest Tactic in Cat-and-Mouse Game With Regulators Hides Risks, Analysts Say

August 19, 2013, 12:38 p.m. ET

Banks Work Around China’s Lending Limits

Latest Tactic in Cat-and-Mouse Game With Regulators Hides Risks, Analysts Say



Chinese regulators have tried for months to rein in lending by the country’s banks, most recently by instigating a cash squeeze that left some scrambling for funds. But the banks have stayed one step ahead, keeping the lending spigots open largely through increasingly complicated transactions. The banks’ latest effort in their cat-and-mouse game with regulators involves making corporate loans appear on their balance sheets as less risky loans to banks. This allows banks to skirt limits on lending to customers but hides risks that they will be hit by big losses. Read more of this post

China’s insolvent toxic-waste dump Cinda for sale; investors would be wise to think carefully before buying in to the IPOs of China’s asset management firms

China’s insolvent toxic-waste dump Cinda for sale

Monday, 19 August, 2013, 12:00am

Tom Holland

Let’s wait and see the prospectuses, but investors would be wise to think carefully before buying in to the IPOs of China’s asset management firms

At some point in the next few months, China Cinda Asset Management is likely to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, in a mega deal that could raise HK$20 billion or more. Meanwhile, Cinda’s counterpart, Huarong Asset Management, is busy lining up strategic investors ahead of an offering some time next year. The two companies will be sold to investors as universal financial services giants, with businesses on the mainland that range from banking and insurance, through asset management and leasing, to securities broking and commodity trading. In reality, they are toxic waste dumps. Worse: by any sensible standards they are insolvent. Both Cinda and Huarong, along with potential listing candidates Great Wall Asset Management and Orient Asset Management, were set up in 1999 to shift bad loans off the balance sheets of China’s Big Four state-owned banks. Read more of this post

Elixir of Life sought from creatures of night prompted by bats’ ability to do better with DNA damage repair, live longer, have less cancer, carry viruses without disease

Bat Man Aims for Elixir of Life From Creatures of Night: Health

Count Dracula was onto something. Bats.

The immortal Prince of Darkness has been associated with the flying mammals since he first flitted through Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel. Now, scientists seek to unlock another trait the vampire shares with bats: the secret of longevity.

The volume of published scientific research on bat viruses has doubled in the past decade with the discovery that they’re probably a natural reservoir for global killers such as Ebola, severe acute respiratory syndrome and the Middle East respiratory syndrome. Along the way, scientists have been startled by how well they respond to the genetic wear and tear that’s a feature of life, aging and diseases such as cancer. Read more of this post

How to avoid breaking your company as it grows

How to avoid breaking your company as it grows

ON AUGUST 19, 2013

Jonathan Basker has seen a fair amount of employee angst in his day. As a headhunter in Silicon Valley, he specialized in ripping workers out of unhappy, dysfunctional companies and landing them new, presumably happier, roles. He applied those lessons to his role as a recruiter at Etsy, where he helped the company scale from 83 to 200 employees, and then again at Betaworks, where he built the startup studio’s hacker-in-residence program and recruited around 40 employees. He’s got plenty of lessons from those days on maintaining a healthy, functioning company as you scale, which he delivered to an audience of entrepreneurs and techies at WeWork’s summer camp over the weekend. Read more of this post

Innovation is the key to a thriving British manufacturing industry

Innovation is the key to a thriving British manufacturing industry

There is a great deal of concern in the UK that this country’s manufacturing sector has dwindled dramatically over recent years.

The latest economic analysis by manufacturing association EEF cautiously predicts growth in the sector by the end of the year, although it does express concern about the impact of specific risks, such as a slowdown in the growth of world trade.

By Maurizio Brusadelli

7:30PM BST 18 Aug 2013

This has become particularly acute since the beginning of the financial crisis, which has led commentators to bemoan Britain’s reliance on the City at the expense of other sectors, and driving many to ask nostalgically “why don’t we make things any more?” So, are reports of the manufacturing industry’s death exaggerated? Recent data shows that all the doom and gloom is a little premature. The latest economic analysis by manufacturing association EEF cautiously predicts growth in the sector by the end of the year, although it does express concern about the impact of specific risks, such as a slowdown in the growth of world trade. And the CBI’s SME trends survey showed that last month small and medium-sized manufacturers’ optimism rose for the first time since April 2012, even though numbers of new orders actually fell in the three months to July. Read more of this post

The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies

The Curse of the Mogul: What’s Wrong with the World’s Leading Media Companies Paperback– Bargain Price

by Jonathan A. Knee  (Author) , Bruce C. Greenwald (Author) , Ava Seave (Author)


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The media industry is facing multiple financial and operational crises on an unprecedented scale. Rampant overpaying for acquisitions and strategic investments make incompetent corporate leaders as complicit in media’s decline as the difficult economy. The authors, professors at the Columbia Business School, focus their sights broadly but home in on the usual suspects—Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Disney and an alphabet of flailing companies (e.g., TBS, CNN, TNT). They discuss the dilemma of new media vs. old, the difficulty of establishing efficient operations, mergers that worked and mergers that didn’t, and attempt to debunk any number of media myths, most assiduously the content is king platitude—considering especially that the movie, music and book industries are all floundering. An interesting subject in theory, but this treatment has the feeling of a homework assignment rather than an exposé and plods along to its meandering conclusion at a snail’s pace. Dull writing and a complete lack of human interest detail make this a tough read and a tougher sell. (Oct.)  Read more of this post

South African Naspers’ Koos Bekker Becomes Billionaire With China Media Investments in Tencent

South African Bekker Becomes Billionaire With China Media

download (12)

Jacobus Petrus “Koos” Bekker became a billionaire earlier this year after transforming Cape Town, South Africa-based Naspers Ltd. (NPN) from a decades-old print business into the world’s largest emerging market media company.

Formed in 1915 as De Nasionale Pers, the company published what became South Africa’s first Afrikaans-language daily newspaper, Die Burger, which went on to defend apartheid rule in commentaries and articles when the segregationist system was put in place, beginning in 1948. Read more of this post

Fashion cents and sensibility: Designers need commercial nous as well as creativity

August 19, 2013 6:23 pm

Fashion cents and sensibility

By Elizabeth Paton

When New York Fashion Week comes to town in the first week of September, a cadre of young designers will host exclusive catwalk shows all over Manhattan, generating a buzz for nascent brands as well as their seasonal offerings of exquisite studio creations.

Yet for many, the whole game has also changed. Today few fledgling visionaries are ever judged purely on artistic ingenuity. To secure a coveted spot at this year’s show calendar – and thereby catch the eye of those at the top – twenty-something talents need to show not just a brilliance for producing creative collections but also a commercially sharpened brain for the business that will foster their survival in this tough climate for the industry. Read more of this post

Sometimes 1,000 Heads Aren’t Better Than One

Sometimes 1,000 Heads Aren’t Better Than One

We are in the midst of an explosion of interest in collective intelligence, sometimes described as “the wisdom of crowds.” The basic idea is that if you aggregate the knowledge of a lot of people, you are likely to come up with the correct answer. If two heads are better than one, then a hundred heads are even better, and once we are dealing with thousands, a good answer starts to look inevitable. This idea has major implications for business decisions, stock markets, political movements and democracy itself.

In 1907, Francis Galton provided a memorable example. He asked about 800 people to guess the weight of an ox. None of them gave the correct answer (1,198 pounds), but the mean response was eerily accurate (1,197 pounds). Many experiments have replicated Galton’s finding, showing that if a large group is asked to make some numerical estimate, the mean answer (and sometimes the average) is remarkably good. Read more of this post

Practice Makes Perfect, If Your Genes Play Along

Practice Makes Perfect, If Your Genes Play Along

Like many others who read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” when it came out five years ago, I was impressed by the 10,000-hour rule of expertise. I wrote a column (for a different publication) espousing the rule, which holds that to become a world-class competitor at anything from chess to tennis to baseball, all that’s required is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

David Epstein has convinced me I was wrong. His thoroughly researched new book, “The Sports Gene,” pretty much demolishes the 10,000-hour rule — and much of “Outliers” along with it. Read more of this post

Inside the collapse of ispONE: Near-death episodes and a broken partnership

Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Inside the collapse of ispONE: Near-death episodes and a broken partnership

Published 20 August 2013 11:41, Updated 20 August 2013 15:56


Zac Swindells (left) and Chris Mochings of ispONE. The two founders started their business in a bar, but Mochings left the business late last year. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

For a business that had its genesis in a barroom argument, it may not be surprising that ispONE’s remarkable run has come to an ugly end. The Melbourne-based business built a lucrative niche as a wholesaler of mobile and internet services. It was a remarkable success story and emblematic of the opportunities on offer in the fast-growing telco sector. ispONE was turning over as much as $55 million last year before trouble struck. The administration of the business will have serious ramifications for its owners, retailers like fellow BRW Young Rich list member Ruslan Kogan, and the 280,000 customers who rely on its services. Like many high achieving businesses, ispONE had an inauspicious start. It was founded in 2002 when Zac Swindells and Chris Monching met at a Melbourne bar. The story goes that a minor altercation followed after one was caught adding drinks to the other’s bar tab. Read more of this post

More Hospitals Use Social Media to Gather Feedback from Patients’ Families; With Some Medicare Payments Based on Patient Satisfaction, More Hospitals Are Relying on Parents as Virtual Advisers

August 19, 2013, 6:57 p.m. ET

More Hospitals Use Social Media to Gather Feedback from Patients’ Families

With Some Medicare Payments Based on Patient Satisfaction, More Hospitals Are Relying on Parents as Virtual Advisers


Hospitals are turning to social media to engage patients and improve the patient experience, which is by its nature often frightening and unpleasant. WSJ’s Laura Landro and virtual advisor Jim Burrows join Lunch Break with details. Photo: Getty Images.

When staffers at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., want to simplify appointment scheduling, make surgery smoother for kids or even work on doctors’ bedside manner, they turn to a special group of experts, a “virtual advisory council” made up of parents on a private social network. Read more of this post

Antibiotics Do’s and Don’ts; Doctors Too Often Prescribe ‘Big Guns’; Impatient Patients Demand a Quick Fix

August 19, 2013, 7:12 p.m. ET

Antibiotics Do’s and Don’ts

Doctors Too Often Prescribe ‘Big Guns’; Impatient Patients Demand a Quick Fix



Doctors aren’t only handing out too many antibiotics, they also are frequently prescribing the wrong ones, researchers and public-health officials say. Recent studies have shown that doctors are overprescribing broad-spectrum antibiotics, sometimes called the big guns, that kill a wide swath of both good and bad bacteria in the body. Instead, narrow-spectrum antibiotics, like penicillin, amoxicillin and cephalexin, can usually clear up many infections, while targeting a smaller number of bacteria. Professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, and public-health groups such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are pushing doctors to limit the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. Among the most common broad-spectrum antibiotics are ciprofloxacin and levofloxacin—a class of drugs known as fluoroquinolones—and azithromycin, which is sold by one drug maker under the brand name Zithromax, or Z-Pak.   Read more of this post

A Dry Pipeline for Psychiatric Drugs

August 19, 2013

A Dry Pipeline for Psychiatric Drugs


Fully 1 in 5 Americans take at least one psychiatric medication. Yet when it comes to mental health, we are facing a crisis in drug innovation. Sure, we have many antidepressants, antipsychotics, hypnotic medications and the like. But their popularity masks two serious problems. First, each of these drug classes is filled with “me too” drugs, which are essentially just copies of one another; we have six S.S.R.I. antidepressants that essentially do the same thing, and likewise for the 10 new atypical antipsychotic drugs. Second, the available drugs leave a lot to be desired: patients with illnesses like schizophreniamajor depression and bipolar disorder often fail to respond adequately to these medications or cannot tolerate their side effects. Yet even though 25 percent of Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in any year, there are few signs of innovation from the major drug makers. Read more of this post

Traveling the lonely planet: the end of guide book publishing

Traveling the lonely planet: the end of guide book publishing

ON AUGUST 19, 2013

Most parents keep secrets from their young children. For some, it could be drugs, a period of alcohol-induced debauchery, the summer before college when Mom crammed all of her worldly possessions into a backpack and followed the Grateful Dead on tour. Or maybe Dad joined a cult or voted for Ross Perot. Twice.

Whatever it is, most parents live by the credo: Do what I say, not what I do (or have done). It’s not that we strive to be dishonest. We’re simply trying to protect our children from potential harm. Of course, how do you tell your kids not to do something you did yourself, and not be a complete hypocrite? It’s something my wife and I have discussed, and we agree that at some point I’m going to have to tell my two young daughters the truth. Read more of this post

Tesla Says Model S Electric Sedan Receives Top U.S. Crash Rating

Tesla Says Model S Electric Sedan Receives Top U.S. Crash Rating

Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), the electric-car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, said its flagship Model S sedan received the highest crash test ratings of any car tested by U.S. regulators.

The battery-powered vehicle, with a base price of about $70,000, got five-star ratings in every safety and crash category set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a statement. The car has the “lowest likelihood of injury to occupants” and exceeds the performance of sport-utility vehicles and minivans, Tesla said late yesterday. Read more of this post

Same-Day Delivery? Not So Fast; How traditional retailers can leverage their bricks-and-mortar stores to outshine their online competitors

August 19, 2013

Same-Day Delivery? Not So Fast

How traditional retailers can leverage their bricks-and-mortar stores to outshine their online competitors.

by Curt Mueller, Andrew Schmahl, and Andrew Tipping

Offering customers free same-day delivery has long been an elusive goal for e-tailers. Their motivation is simple: If e-tailers can give customers the near-instant gratification of buying in a store, they can eliminate one of the most powerful advantages held by their bricks-and-mortar competitors. Alas, costs and complexity have largely kept same-day delivery (defined here as delivery between sunup and sundown on a weekday) out of reach and, at best, a niche offering. Read more of this post

Pocket Shop, a start-up website, has launched the ultimate in fast grocery deliveries – promising to have bread, eggs and milk in the hands of London customers less than an hour after they click ‘send’

August 18, 2013 1:52 pm

Pocket Shop launches speedy London delivery

By Jonathan Moules, Enterprise Correspondent

Pocket Shop, a start-up website, has launched the ultimate in fast grocery deliveries – promising to have bread, eggs and milk in the hands of London customers less than an hour after they click ‘send’. Its system works by allocating online orders to one of Pocket Shop’s team of 20 trained buyers around the capital, using a GPS-based algorithm similar to those employed by taxi-ordering smartphone apps. Read more of this post

Overstock Will Match Amazon Book Prices Permanently

Aug 19, 2013

Overstock Will Match Amazon Book Prices Permanently

By Greg Bensinger said it will make permanent a strategy to keep its book prices on a par withAmazon.comAMZN +0.26%’s. The Salt Lake City-based company will match Amazon’s prices on all of its book inventory, said Chief Executive Patrick Byrne. Overstock hired a firm to trawl Amazon’s site once daily to ensure the prices match. “We think with the rise in sales volume, we can extract better pricing from publishers” at wholesale, said Byrne. “Publishers do want to see more competition for Amazon.” Overstock had offered to beat by 10% Amazon’s prices for a limited time in July. Byrne said that promotion cost it $11,000 daily in revenue from book sales. He estimated that the promotion would have cost Amazon between $500 million and $1 billion in lost revenue annually as it cut prices on its books to keep up. An Amazon spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment. Byrne said that he believed Amazon’s software checks Overstock’s site about three times per day, so during a given day some book prices may be different. Sweetening the price matching deal, Overstock will give 15% rebates on book purchases to members of its $20-annual free-shipping loyalty club. The rebates are good for future Overstock purchases, Byrne said.

Interpublic Teams Up With TV Companies to Build Automated Ad-Buying System

Updated August 19, 2013, 7:34 p.m. ET

Interpublic Teams Up With TV Companies to Build Automated Ad-Buying System


When it comes to television ad sales, Madison Avenue has barely moved since the “Mad Men” days of the 1960s, with deals struck over the phone, via fax and, in a nod to modern day, email. But the industry appears to be moving slowly toward the digital age.

Ad giant Interpublic Group of Cos IPG -0.44% . is teaming up with TV and radio companies, including A&E Networks, Clear Channel, Tribune Co. TRBAA -0.96% andCablevision Systems Corp., CVC -3.36% to build and test an automated ad-buying system for television and radio ads, the companies say. Read more of this post

How Not to Stay on Top: In four short years, BlackBerry went from dominance to being an also-ran

August 19, 2013

How Not to Stay on Top


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the dominant computing device used in corporate America was a word processor made by Wang Laboratories. The company’s founder and chief executive was An Wang, a brilliant Chinese immigrant who was widely hailed as a visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist.

At Wang’s peak, some 80 percent of the top 2,000 corporations used the company’s word processors, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The company’s rise was so heady that Wang used to keep a chart in his desk that showed when he expected to overtake the mighty I.B.M. — sometime in the mid-1990s. Read more of this post

E-Retailers Depend on the Kindness of Consumers; Online retailers can encourage word-of-mouth advertising by appealing to consumers’ benevolence.

Posted: August 15, 2013

Matt Palmquist

E-Retailers Depend on the Kindness of Consumers

Want to get online consumers to spread the word about your e-commerce site? Dial back on extrinsic rewards like mileage points or gift certificates, and start appealing to consumers’ desire to do good and help their fellow shoppers.

Those are the results of a new study that examined how companies can elicit electronic word-of-mouth (e-WOM) to build customer loyalty. Previous studies have largely focused on how reading the complaints or compliments of other customers can affect the attitudes of visitors to a site, but this paper looks at e-WOM from the perspective of the people making the comments. Read more of this post

Elephant in the Room to Weigh on Growth for Oracle, Teradata

August 18, 2013, 9:43 p.m. ET

Elephant in the Room to Weigh on Growth for Oracle, Teradata


What do you get when you cross Google GOOG +1.02% with a toy elephant? A threat to sales growth for some big technology companies, and a new breed of promising IPO candidates.

In developing its powerful search engine, Google cracked one of the toughest “big data” nuts: figuring out how to make a copy of the Internet, digest what it means, and then use that information to answer a seemingly infinite number of user questions in nanoseconds. A decade later, Google’s innovations have spawned new open-source projects such as Hadoop—named after a toy elephant belonging to the son of one of its creators. Read more of this post

Will mobile kill the TV star? Mobile Video Consumption Is Increasing Dramatically In China

China App Index: Will mobile kill the TV star? [July 2013]

by WandouLabs on Aug 20, 2013

China is world’s largest smartphone market, by far. But it’s a black hole for app data.
Here at Wandoujia, China’s leading Android app store, we decided to change that.
The top trend for July 2013? Chinese are flocking to video apps. Find out what’s driving this trend and what will happen to China’s next gen TV stars.

Mobile Video Consumption Is Increasing Dramatically In China


posted yesterday

Android users in China are becoming increasingly avid consumers of mobile video, according to a new report fromWandoujia , one of China’s largest third-party Android app stores with over 200 million users. This underscores the importance of online video for Internet companies as consumers’ viewing habits shift to online content. In China, there have been several high profile mergers and acquisitions in the online video space within the last 18 months. In 2012, Youku-Tudou created what was then the country’s largest online video platform until Baidu took that title by merging its online video service, iQiyi, with PPS, which it purchased earlier this year for $370 million. In recent weeks, rumors have emerged that Alibaba is negotiating the purchase of PPTV, though the video sharing site has repeatedly denied the rumors. Read more of this post

Most Chinese 3D printing companies are struggling to survive

3D printing technology deemed unprofitable in China

Staff Reporter


The hype surrounding 3D printing technology has created market uncertainty in China as unauthorized copies of Western printers have flooded the market. The industry’s progress is being hampered by is its unclear positioning and low product quality. As a result, the Shanghai-based National Business Daily found that most domestic 3D printing companies were struggling to survive. Read more of this post

Life after fame: Renren, once “China’s Facebook”, tries and tries again to remain relevant

Life after fame: Renren, once “China’s Facebook”, tries and tries again to remain relevant

August 19, 2013

by Ken Chester

Every so often I open up Gmail’s spam folder to see if anything important has been misdirected there. Typically, I find at least one notification email from Renren (NYSE:RENN), the faded-out ‘Facebook of China’, coming from another unknown URL among its apparent suite of domains. Last year, there were Renren notifications coming from (a defunct URL from its first name when it was a campus-oriented social network; but still redirects to Then, this April, I began receiving Renren notification emails from its Tongxueshuo domain, which hosts an under-publicized student-focused mobile messaging app. Read more of this post

It Looks Like 1998 Again in China

It Looks Like 1998 Again in China

Of all the reporting trips I made in my Washington days, flying with Lawrence Summers to Beijing so he could kiss Zhu Rongji’s ring ranks among the most fascinating.

Anyone who has spent inside of five minutes with Summers knows he’s not the groveling type. But this was in January 1998, when Summers was deputy secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and Bill Clinton’s White House feared China would devalue the yuan and toss more fuel onto Asia’s already blazing crisis. As we landed in Beijing, Zhu, China’s reformist premier-in-waiting, was the man to see first. Summers won pledges from Zhu not to weaken China’s currency and to keep Hong Kong’s dollar pegged to the U.S.’s. Read more of this post

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