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Monday, December 28, 2009

Tom For A Better New Year

It has been a year since my last post. I guess I didn't take blogging very seriously. It's not January yet, but I'm going to make a resolution to be more consistent this year. Starting now.

This year, I'm going to talk about my day job as an attempted savior. I work for the University of Michigan in an institute known as IRLEE (Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy). It's a big title or an organization with big goals. We try to save people from the abyss of unemployment. In this country, it's not good to be out of work.

I work for a program called MB:S2T (Michigan Business: Surviving To Thriving). The idea is that we will help companies that are already hanging in there to do better. Some might think we should be helping all the businesses that are failing, but we don't have the resources. Our business community is like the animal community in general. The strong push out the weak. Somewhere between the strongest and the weakest, there are companies that have a chance at being stronger. Those are the companies we help.

In my job as an adviser, I believe it is important to have a broad understanding the playing field and the rules of the game. So, I read as much as I can. I read books like "The Squandering of America," "The Coming China Wars," and "Surfing on the Edge of Chaos." And, I read magazines like "Harvard Business Review," The Economist," and "Crains."

All this reading provides me with a different perspective on the world than many people. I am particularly interested in trying to make sense of the global economic playing field. It seems that whereas we once were concerned only about how autocratic governments treated their own people, we now need to consider their political aspirations in the context of global business.

That meas that what the central government in China decides as policy can affect your paycheck and the price of the things you buy. It also means that a President in Nigeria could cause a gas prices to double in Memphis.

So, this is my plan: to try to make regular sense of what is going on out there. More importantly, as a reader, maybe you'll start to question what you hear from Fox News or NPR or They all get it right sometimes, but good luck trying to sift through their political agendas.


  1. If you haven't read them already - Freakonomics is GREAT (just released the follow-up, SUPER freakonomics, but I haven't had the chance to read yet) and a book called "The Overspent American" giving a lot of insight both micro and macro on how and why people think the way they do in finance and business decisions. I can let you borrow that one, I've got it.

  2. I skimmed through Freakonomics and gave it a pass. I had read Wikinomics, which was a good "Web 2.0" book. As for The Overspent American, that sounds interesting, but I just finished a book called "The Squandering of America" that sounds very similar. It was extremely well researched and extremely depressing.