The billionaire behind Lidl’s fast-growing grocery empire

Germany’s Lidl seen overtaking big rivals Tesco, Carrefour and Aldi

The billionaire behind Lidl’s fast-growing grocery empire

Philip Oltermann in Berlin

The Guardian, Monday 23 June 2014 14.51 BST

A recent report by Planet Retail predicted Lidl owner the Schwarz Group would become Europe’s biggest grocery retailer by 2018. Photograph: Alamy

One of the features that unite all of Lidl’s 9,875 supermarkets in Europeis the “party aisle”, which usually comes after the fresh fruit and vegetables. Walking past the alcoholic beverages and salty snacks, one can’t help wondering if one of the products on its tightly packed shelves might reveal the recipe behind the success of the chain set to become Europe’s leading grocery retailer. Read more of this post

Strategic Humor: Cartoons from the July-August 2014 Issue

Strategic Humor: Cartoons from the July-August 2014 Issue

by Josh Olejarz  |   9:00 AM June 23, 2014

Enjoy these cartoons from the July–August issue of HBR, and test your management wit in theTWO HBR Cartoon Caption Contests we’re running this month. The first contest, for our September issue, is at the bottom of this post, and the second contest, for our October issue, can be found here. If we choose your caption as the winner, you will be featured in an upcoming magazine issue and win a free Harvard Business Review Press book.

image001-8      Read more of this post

For Breakthrough Innovation, Focus on Possibility, Not Profitability

For Breakthrough Innovation, Focus on Possibility, Not Profitability

by Michelle Stacy  |   2:00 PM June 23, 2014

More than 15 years after its founding, Google remains a company that inspires profound admiration — and at times, a bit of confusion.

The company is currently investing in self-driving cars, a futuristic idea that some people believe will never be achieved. It’s also rolling out Google Glass, a wearable computing device that’s inspired skepticism and some mockery.

The derision is misplaced. As someone who’s been involved in marketing breakthrough innovations, I’m convinced Google’s approach is the right one. Google is focused on possibility rather thanprofitability — a mindset that’s necessary to create innovations that transform categories. Many breakthrough innovations I’ve led have suffered when I’ve let the profitability mindset creep in. Google should be admired for first setting out to answer the question: “Is this possible?” Read more of this post

Gates to Stanford grads: Let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism

Gates to Stanford grads: Let your heart break


Miguel Helft

JUNE 22, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

Bill and Melinda Gates deliver a stirring address on optimism to Stanford University’s 2014 graduating class.

How do you inspire a group of unusually smart, hard working, optimistic, and largely privileged youngsters who are already destined for success? Encourage them to learn from those most in need; urge them confront inequity; exhort them channel their optimism with empathy; oh, and remind them that for all their accomplishments, they wouldn’t be where they are without a heavy dose of luck. Read more of this post

Who Can’t Raise Capital?: The Scylla and Charybdis of Capital Formation

Who Can’t Raise Capital?: The Scylla and Charybdis of Capital Formation

James D. Cox 

Duke University School of Law
May 28, 2014
Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper

There has long been complaints that the heavy regulatory hand of Blue Sky Law administrators prevents capital formation by small issuers. Using data recently collected by the SEC, the article reasons that the problems capital starved small issuers encounter is not the state regulator. The problems are elsewhere. The paper explores whether intermediation may ultimately enable more startups to raise needed funds. For this to occur, however, the paper explores the formidable obstacles the broker must overcome in meeting demanding suitability requirements.

Workday CFO: Put Employees First

June 20, 2014, 3:56 PM ET

Workday CFO: Put Employees First


Editor, CFO Journal

Mark Peek is the chief financial officer of Workday Inc., a provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resource departments. Previously, he was CFO of VMware Inc. and the chief accounting officer of Inc.AMZN -0.86% He spoke with CFO Journal Editor Noelle Knox about putting innovation above profits. Read more of this post

5 Signs You’re Going To Make It Big One Day; You need to have an innate fascination with whatever it is you’re working toward. You need to want to be consumed by it. You’ve got to understand the problems and be excited about finding solutions

Ariella Coombs

Content Strategist | Blogger | Managing Editor for | 2+ Years Content Management | @AriellaCoombs

5 Signs You’re Going To Make It Big One Day

June 19, 2014

We’ve all got dreams of making it ‘big’ one day, but how many of us actually follow through with those dreams? We make excuses for our lack of success, saying things like, “Life got in the way,” or “I can’t handle anymore rejection.”

But not you! You’re on the fast-track to fame and success. Or are you? Read more of this post

The 32-year-old Ashish Thakkar dislikes Africa’s youngest billionaire label

June 22, 2014 3:05 pm
Ashish Thakkar: Bob Diamond’s African partner
By Javier BlasAuthor alerts


Disruptive: Ashish Thakkar wants to shake up African banking but disagrees with criticism of his partner, Bob Diamond
When he was 15 years old, Ashish Thakkar told his parents that he wanted to leave his school in Uganda to build a business. His family gave him a $5,000 loan, but he recalls receiving a stern warning from his father too: “If it doesn’t work out within a year then you go back to school, but you’ll be a year behind your friends.” Read more of this post

Three Realities About Venture Capital: Reality #3: Venture Capital Performance is Pretty Much Opaque

Three Realities About Venture Capital

Posted yesterday by Danny Crichton (@DannyCrichton)

This week’s kerfuffle over Yo centered on many facets, but none got more attention than the nascent startup’s $1.2 million in venture capital funding.

The reaction to this investment across the web came in several flavors. Founders complained that their own startups created far more value for society than an app that essentially acts as a doorbell, and yet, they had not received any venture capital funding. Another strain of incredulity focused on the investors themselves, who must have either been stupid or crazy to invest in such a “useless” product. Read more of this post

The 8 Things The Happiest People Do Every Day: They are comfortable expressing gratitude. They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values)

JUNE 22, 2014 by ERIC BARKER

The 8 Things The Happiest People Do Every Day

University of California professor Sonja Lyubomirsky details the things research shows the happiest people have in common.

Via The How of Happiness:

They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.

They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.

They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby. Read more of this post

Is a Ph.D. degree worth it? The 21st century will be a century where professors’ value will depend on how much knowledge they make available on the internet, how accessible they make knowledge to a general population

Updated : 2014-06-22 16:33

Is a Ph.D. degree worth it?

Akli Hadid
Until the late 1990s and the popularization of the personal computer, people with Ph.D.s had a certain amount of prestige. They were the only experts available in the field, the only ones who knew the tools to carry out quantitative, qualitative or historical research. There was no MS Excel for the average person to carry out quantitative research, no Google to conduct reviews of literature.
Ph.D. holders were invited on television to clarify events. They were the ones who read all the books, who went to all the conferences and who knew almost everything about their field. When policy makers needed expert opinions, they relied on people with Ph.D.s to orient them on what decision would be more beneficial. Read more of this post

5 lessons from the Masterminds: An inside look at entrepreneurs’ elite conference

5 lessons from the Masterminds: An inside look at entrepreneurs’ elite conference

Rick Spence | June 22, 2014 7:27 AM ET

Did you ever wonder what goes on at those mysterious “Mastermind” conferences where well-heeled entrepreneurs pay thousands of dollars for a few days of rubbing shoulders with an intimate group of international speakers? What are the secrets they’re learning?

At an intimate Toronto gathering called Mastermind Talks, 40 entrepreneurs from across North America shared two days last week with diverse speakers such as Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple, sales guru Michael Port (author of Book Yourself Solid), and psychologist Esther Perel, who explores the connections between the boardroom and the bedroom. Read more of this post

Beat the heat with six cooling teas

The Straits TimesSun, Jun 22 2014

Beat the heat with six cooling teas

Being outdoors in Singapore’s stifling heat and humidity can be unbearable at times. Things could get worse, with the haze poised to hit Singapore in the coming weeks.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the lungs are most vulnerable to external pathogens. So, the heat and the haze can lead to respiratory problems. Read more of this post

To Make Yourself More Productive, Simplify

To Make Yourself More Productive, Simplify

Small Adjustments in Work Routine Can Vastly Improve Efficiency


June 22, 2014

Kelly Sortino had a tough time recalling what she’d accomplished at the end of each hectic workday. Her job as head of the upper school for the Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough, Calif., often required working 12-hour days, including weekends and evenings. She enjoyed the work but worried that she wasn’t accomplishing everything she needed to. Read more of this post

Adam Grant: Why Behavioral Economics Is Cool, and I’m Not

Why Behavioral Economics Is Cool, and I’m Not

Posted: 06/13/2014 10:57 am

Here are some of my favorite surprising studies. What do they have in common?

• People are more likely to buy jam when they’re presented with 6 flavors than 24.
• After inspecting a house, real estate agents thought it was $14,000 more valuable when the seller listed it at $149,900 than $119,900.
• When children play a fun game and then get rewarded for it, they lose interest in playing the game once the rewards are gone. Read more of this post

Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind

Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts-For Actors, Performers, Writers, and Artists of Every Kind Paperback

by Anna Deavere Smith  (Author)

From the most exciting individual in American theater” (Newsweek), here is Anna Deavere Smith’s brass tacks advice to aspiring artists of all stripes. In vividly anecdotal letters to the young BZ, she addresses the full spectrum of issues that people starting out will face: from questions of confidence, discipline, and self-esteem, to fame, failure, and fear, to staying healthy, presenting yourself effectively, building a diverse social and professional network, and using your art to promote social change. At once inspiring and no-nonsense, Letters to a Young Artist will challenge you, motivate you, and set you on a course to pursue your art without compromise. Read more of this post

The fascinating 600-year history of a French mill, the world’s oldest shareholding company

The fascinating 600-year history of a French mill, the world’s oldest shareholding company

By Max Nisen @MaxNisen June 16, 2014

Many people know the Dutch East India Company as the first modern corporation. But a group of French millers formed the Société des Moulins de Bazacle, a surprisingly sophisticated and modern shareholding company, centuries before the Dutch. (It has the added distinction of not having started or participated in a series of wars in East Asia.) Read more of this post

The Psychology of Your Future Self and How Your Present Illusions Hinder Your Future Happiness

The Psychology of Your Future Self and How Your Present Illusions Hinder Your Future Happiness

Philosopher Joshua Knobe recently posed a perplexing question in contemplating the nature of the self: If the person you will be in 30 years – the person for whom you plan your life now by working toward career goals and putting money aside in retirements plans – is invariably different from the person you are today, what makes that future person “you”? What makes them worthy of your present self’s sacrifices and considerations? That’s precisely what Harvard psychologistDaniel Gilbert explores in this short and pause-giving TED talk on the psychology of your future self and how to avoid the mistakes you’re likely to make in trying to satisfy that future self with your present choices. Picking up from his now-classic 2006 book Stumbling on Happiness (public library), Gilbert argues that we’re bedeviled by a “fundamental misconception about the power of time” and a dangerous misconception known as “the end of history illusion” – at any point along our personal journey, we tend to believe that who we are at that moment is the final destination of our becoming. Which, of course, is not only wrong but a source of much of our unhappiness. Read more of this post

Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers

Why I Teach Plato to Plumbers

By Scott Samuelson

Once, when I told a guy on a plane that I taught philosophy at a community college, he responded, “So you teach Plato to plumbers?” Yes, indeed. But I also teach Plato to nurses’ aides, soldiers, ex-cons, preschool music teachers, janitors, Sudanese refugees, prospective wind-turbine technicians, and any number of other students who feel like they need a diploma as an entry ticket to our economic carnival. As a result of my work, I’m in a unique position to reflect on the current discussion about the value of the humanities, one that seems to me to have lost its way. Read more of this post

Dan Gilbert: Why do we make decisions our future selves regret?

Dan Gilbert: Why do we make decisions our future selves regret?

June 20, 2014 by Shane Parrish

“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”

In the 7-minute TED talk (below), Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert illuminates some recent research on a phenomenon he calls the “end of history illusion,” where we imagine that the person we are today is the person we’ll be until we die. But that’s not the case.

The bottom line is, time is a powerful force. It transforms our preferences. It reshapes our values. It alters our personalities. We seem to appreciate this fact, but only in retrospect. Only when we look backwards do we realize how much change happens in a decade. It’s as if, for most of us, the present is a magic time. It’s a watershed on the timeline. It’s the moment at which we finally become ourselves. Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been. The one constant in our life is change.


The Last Days of the Polymath


People who know a lot about a lot have long been an exclusive club, but now they are an endangered species. Edward Carr tracks some down …

From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Autumn 2009

CARL DJERASSI can remember the moment when he became a writer. It was 1993, he was a professor of chemistry at Stanford University in California and he had already written books about science and about his life as one of the inventors of the Pill. Now he wanted to write a literary novel about writers’ insecurities, with a central character loosely modelled on Norman Mailer, Philip Roth and Gore Vidal. Read more of this post

When mistrust is the new normal

When mistrust is the new normal

Sunday, June 22, 2014 – 12:10

Han Fook Kwang

The Straits Times

When there is anti-government graffiti, constant flaming of authority online, protesters gathering in public, an open letter of rebuke to the Prime Minister, are they signs that Singapore is heading for trouble?

The Government losing its legitimacy?

Or are they part and parcel of what to expect in a democracy? Read more of this post

Steve Jobs Nearly Blew Up His Third Grade Teacher

Steve Jobs Nearly Blew Up His Third Grade Teacher

DYLAN LOVE TECH  JUN. 22, 2014, 12:35 AM

“His name is Steve. He likes to do pranks like you do, and he’s also into building electronics like you.”

When mutual friend Bill Fernandez introduced Steve Wozniak to Steve Jobs, he unwittingly changed computing history. The two were friends almost immediately, each impressed with the other’s intelligence and abilities, and would go on to form Apple in 1976. Read more of this post

How Billionaire Marc Benioff Becomes ‘Yoda’ To His Employees (And You Can, Too)

How Billionaire Marc Benioff Becomes ‘Yoda’ To His Employees (And You Can, Too)


Apple cofounder Steve Jobs isn’t the only person with a “reality distortion field” able to charm people into doing things they thought were impossible.

His dear friend, Marc Benioff, cofounder and CEO of, has a similar trait, one of his direct reports, Leyla Seka, tells Business Insider. Read more of this post

Who are Sweden’s powerful Wallenberg family?

Who are Sweden’s powerful Wallenberg family?

Recently announced flotation offers a peep into the vast Wallenberg empire

The Wallenbergs control a vast business empire made up of large stakes in many of Sweden’s biggest multinationals and worth tens of billions of pounds

By Ben Marlow

7:00PM BST 21 Jun 2014

On the southern coast of a small island in Stockholm, sits an opulent, turreted chateau, set back from the water’s edge. Read more of this post

The adventure of the copyrighted detective

The adventure of the copyrighted detective

Jun 19th 2014, 22:28 by G.F. | SEATTLE

THE curious case of one Mr Sherlock Holmes has completed its journey through the American courts. Who, if anyone, owns the rights to this precise ratiocinator? An appeals court said on June 16th that in the United States the answer is no one. Mr Holmes as a character, plus the majority of his characteristics and those of his chums, are decidedly in the public domain. Read more of this post

Sir Isaac Newton: Magician’s brain; The real Sir Isaac Newton was not first king of reason, but last of the magicians

Sir Isaac Newton: Magician’s brain; The real Sir Isaac Newton was not first king of reason, but last of the magicians

Jun 21st 2014 | From the print edition

The Newton Papers: The Strange and True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts.By Sarah Dry. Oxford University Press; 272 pages; $29.95. Buy from Read more of this post

Star Investor Shares 15 Unconventional Lessons For Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Star Investor Shares 15 Unconventional Lessons For Aspiring Entrepreneurs


On Wednesday, Shana Fisher, managing partner of High Line Venture Partners, spoke to a crowd of aspiring entrepreneurs at Y Combinator’s Startup School in New York City.

Fisher is highly renowned as one of the earliest investors in companies including Pinterest, ShopHers, Makerbot, Vine, and Refinery29.

Fisher mentioned that she has often been told she gives founders surprising advice, which she outlined in her talk. Read more of this post

Economics: The Road to Depression; The Great War created a seismic shift in the global balance of economic power-and paved the way to the Great Depression

Economics: The Road to Depression

The Great War created a seismic shift in the global balance of economic power—and paved the way to the Great Depression.


June 20, 2014 5:35 p.m. ET

The Great War was a financial catastrophe for Europe. For four years, the major European powers devoted some 50% of their GDP annually to fighting the war, only a fraction of which could be financed by taxes. Europe was left saddled with a gigantic overhang of public debt. Read more of this post

Global Leadership: How WWI Helped Unravel the British Empire; The Great War began dethroning a superpower-but it was one of the victors

Global Leadership: How WWI Helped Unravel the British Empire

The Great War began dethroning a superpower—but it was one of the victors


June 20, 2014 5:32 p.m. ET

The First World War helped to dethrone a superpower—paradoxically, one of the victors. In 1914, Britain sat atop the greatest empire history had ever seen. King George V and Queen Mary had recently been crowned, with tremendous fanfare, the emperor and empress of India. London was the world’s banker, and the Royal Navy dominated the seas. Read more of this post

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