Great Business Articles from Sorta Way Back

About a year ago, I was browsing through the $1 bargain shelves at Strand near Union Square when I found a copy of Best Business Stories of the Year: 2002. I bought it and read a few articles about junk bond king Michael Milken, Lazard, and some other financial companies but didn’t pay too much attention to the other stories. Recently, I picked up the book again and started reading with renewed interest, especially in the entrepreneurial realm. I found several that were very insightful and exciting to read, even five years after they were written. Some business stories are just timeless, and it’s great to see that many of the same rules of business apply even if we think the Internet and technology has changed so much.

Luckily, I was able to locate three full stories online – perfect for printing out and reading on your commute or to occupy your mind on an extended bathroom break. Here they are:

Why Is He Still Smiling? Bill Gross blew through $800 million in 8 months (and he’s got nothing to show for it). by Joseph Nocera for Fortune. Although the whole Web 2.0 craze has led to some reckless investments and optimism, I don’t think we’ll see the likes of another Idealab-caliber collapse this time around. (Note: they’re still around!)

The Mystery of The Blood Red Ledger by Samuel Fromartz for Inc. Magazine. This is an incredible story about how a newly-hired restaurant chain CEO took on a bankrupt company and turned it around through meticulous attention to details and a steadfast march towards competence. It also sheds light on just how hard it is to run a restaurant – it’s not cake, and it’s easy to see why so many restaurants fail.

The Pitchman by Malcom Gladwell for The New Yorker. We’ve all caught, at one time or another, a glimpse of Ron Popeil pitching the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie & BBQ on a television infomercial. This is an extraordinary story about a lifelong salesman who perfected the art of selling to the masses.

Read up and gain knowledge! Happy Holidays!

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