Friday, June 25, 2010

FORMER Macquarie banker and mergers and acquisitions guru John Green's new career as a publisher under the management of his daughter Alison appears to be taking off. Yesterday, their Pantera Press launched News Limited NSW political reporter Simon Benson's political bodice-ripper The Betrayal, based on a reported promise by the now Prime MinisterKevin Rudd to then NSW premier Morris Iemma in September 2007.Benson writes that Rudd's promise was that if Iemma held off privatising electricity in NSW until Rudd was elected, thus giving Rudd a clear run without getting the unions offside, Rudd would come back and help Iemma do painful things to the NSW power unions. As we know now, Iemma ended up getting ousted from the premiership in September 2008, mainly as a result of pressure from the unions over his privatisation plans, which still haven't come to fruition. If that sounds dry, by last night Pantera had ordered a second print run to follow the first run of about 9000. "It is selling like hotcakes," Alison Green told our spy Betrayal story sells like hot cakes

Information society? More accurate to call it the interruption society. It pulverizes attention, the scarcest of all resources, and stuffs the mind with trivia. The Uses of Half-True Alarms Google, rock videos, and the Web will no more make you stupid and shallow than propping a heavy encyclopedia on your lap will make you smart and deep

No One Would Listen: A true financial thriller The man who figured it out: Peter W Clark and Jozef Imrich
Simon Mann meets the mathematical genius who tried to warn the world about Bernie Madoff and the biggest fraud in history.

Harry Markopolos describes himself as the ''proud Greek geek''. Raised in a family that ran fish and chip restaurants and diners in Maryland and Delaware, he's a maths natural, who ''gets'' logarithms and differential equations. He can unpack complex financial instruments such as derivatives and can run his mental slide-rule over a balance sheet and know, instinctively, that there is fraud lurking within a company. He wears the sort of clobber that makes him look every bit the chartered financial analyst that he is.
Which might help explain the bemused reaction of the local police sergeant in a small town in Massachusetts back in 2005, when a panic-stricken Markopolos burst in pale as a ghost, sweating profusely and carrying his Model 642 Smith and Wesson.
This was no Dirty Harry, you understand, but Harry the accountant, a man who had taken to checking under his car for bombs before turning the key in the ignition and who had equipped his wife with a gun. ''I laid out the broad strokes for him,'' writes Markopolos in his new bestselling book. ''Basically, I told him I had uncovered a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that was global and the biggest fraud in history and I was afraid people might try to kill me to shut me up.''Part of his desperate pitch was lost in translation. The sergeant had no idea what a Ponzi scheme was, though he understood the concept of billions of dollars.And that was another irony, because here was Markopolos, a former National Guardsman who had been instructed in the triumvirate defence of shoot-move-communicate, still trying to communicate what he'd discovered almost five years earlier about a rogue named Bernie Madoff, the so-called Jewish T-bill, who was running the biggest-ever heist on Wall Street and yet no one wanted to know.

MAD Off [The vampire story was born in the 19th century, wicked love child of rural folklore and urban decadence, refined from the raw ore of peasant superstition. All the Dead Are Vampires ; As pieces of Henry Roth’s amorphous body of writing are sliced off and honed as “novels” and “stories,” his very sense of life may be polished out of his work... The Skinless Novelist; Greedy publishers gouge libraries for digital journals. Now at last the University of California libraries are ready to fight back. Jennifer Howard reports. Rising Journal Costs ]
• · The Terminator Comes to
Wall Street - How computer modeling worsened the financial crisis and what we ought to do about it Computer-based program trading ; The economics of happiness, nature and nurture has an answer: Parents’ sacrifice is much smaller than it looks. Having kids – what’s in it for me?
• · · These users comment on everything from today’s news to hotel rooms. Many are harmless. But some are ruthless. Who are they exactly, and why do they do what they do? Anonymous online comment forums; Since the 15th century, the world has been taught by Europe and exploited by Europe and made by Europe. Maybe Europe has had enough. Eating Vichyssoise in Athens
• · · · An article from the New York Times on the merits of sitting or standing at work piqued my interest recently. At work some of us are sitters, some standers, some pacers, (some sleepers) and – for reasons of comfort and concentration – most of us like to mix it up... Sit. Stand. Go. GOSSIP if you are Adrian Low with gossiping earing in your ears ;-) Workplace gossip is not simply idle chatter. It’s a form of “reputational warfare,” says sociologist Tim Hallett. It is ubiquitous, occurring by the proverbial water cooler as well as within the formal setting of a meeting. Once a bad reputation has been solidified, justified or not, it usually sticks—often with consequential results for the entire organization. Hallett’s findings, published in the fall in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, illuminate not only how gossip occurs in the workplace but how it can be handled before it dilutes a person’s ability to manage effectively, poisons workplace congeniality and contributes to employee turnover. “If we can understand how gossip works,” says Hallett, an assistant professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, “and how it unfolds and what people are doing as they are engaging in gossip, that gives you an opportunity to manage it.” .... >
• · · · · Managers should look to the findings of happiness research for new ways to manage the needs The economics of happiness: give your workers something to smile about ; Steve Sedgwick Australian public sector reform
• · · · · · New ratings from, a website that takes employees’ temperature on how they rate their bosses A Long Time At The Top –; Decent scholarship is drowning in an ocean of low-quality journal articles. We Must Stop the Avalanche of Low-Quality Research