8 Fascinating Reads

Happy Friday! There are more good news articles, commentaries, and analyst reports on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating ones I read this week.

Bad decisions
NBC writes on a new study about consumer choices: 

Being poor affects your ability to think, a new study shows. Those coping with severe financial stress don't have the mental bandwidth to deal with all of life's troubles, a team of researchers reported Thursday.

They've done a series of tests that show when people are flush with cash, they can stop worrying and make better decisions. But having financial woes takes up so much attention, they often make poor decisions.

How to live a better life 
David Roberts of Grist writes about the concept of medium chill. Read the whole article, it's great: 

About a year ago, I was visiting with an old friend of mine who lives in Portland now. He's helping to run a tech start-up, working 80-hour weeks, half that on the road, with barely enough time at home to maintain a relationship with his dog, much less a romance. The goal, he said, is to grow like crazy, get bought out by Google, and retire at 40. "It's the big chill, man!" (No, Boomers, not the movie.)

I shook my head and laughed. "I'll take the medium chill!"

Playing field
New Zealand found a way to stop patent trolls, writes ZDNet: 

New Zealand has finally passed a new Patents Bill that will effectively outlaw software patents after five years of debate, delay, and intense lobbying from multinational software vendors.

Aptly named Commerce Minister Craig Foss welcomed the modernisation of the patents law, saying it marked a "significant step toward driving innovation in New Zealand."

Waning interest
CNBC viewership is plunging, writes The New York Post:

The business news cable network posted some of its worst ratings in 20 years this month -- attracting an average of just 37,000 viewers aged 25 to 54 over a 24-hour period, according to just-released ratings data.

That's down 35 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen, and the Comcast-owned network's worst performance in the key advertiser demo since April 1993.

CNBC hit a peak of 162,000 viewers an hour in the key demo in January 2002.

Particularly hard-hit programs were "Fast Money," "Mad Money" and "The Kudlow Report" -- each of which saw all-time lows in total viewers this month.

Dominance
The Wall Street Journal shares an amazing stat on Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  )

Amazon.com sells more online than its next 12 biggest competitors combined, including Staples and Wal-Mart, according to the trade publication Internet Retailer. Despite its greater online scale, Amazon continues to grow quickly and command a hefty share of new Internet sales. Its 30% increase in North American sales in the second quarter outstripped the overall e-commerce market and some competitors as well.

Productivity
Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) will manufacturer its new phone in America. That won't cost much more than Chinese-made phones: 

IHS iSuppli on Wednesday revealed that the Moto X costs between $3.50 and $4 more per phone to make than the Apple iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S4 -- both of which are assembled in China.

"In spite of its 'Made in the USA' label, overall costs are still competitive with similar smartphones," said Andrew Rassweiler, IHS' senior director of cost benchmarking services.

Humility
Outgoing Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) CEO Steve Ballmer reflects on his career

Q: Your biggest regret?

Ballmer: Oh, you know, I've actually had a chance to make a lot of mistakes, and probably because, you know, people all want to focus in on period A, period B, but I would say probably the thing I regret most is the, what shall I call it, the loopedy-loo that we did that was sort of Longhorn to Vista. I would say that's probably the thing I regret most. And, you know, there are side effects of that when you tie up a big team to do something that doesn't prove out to be as valuable.

Shifts 
Derek Thompson discusses why the fast-food worker strikes will fail, using this chart showing the change in employment over the last 20 years: 

Enjoy your weekend. 

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (13)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 31, 2013, at 2:40 AM, sliderw wrote:

    Every month, millions of cable customers pay for channels like CNBC that are watched by thousands of viewers.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 5:30 PM, neamakri wrote:

    Morgan; that chart by Derek Thompson is the worst I have seen on Fool. What is CES7072200001 ?

    If it is meant to show the number of workers in each category, then Food Service is increasing. Thus Food Service workers are in higher demand and a strike would be effective. What logic are you using? Otherwise thanks for the article.

  • Report this Comment On September 01, 2013, at 6:36 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    neamakri,

    Thanks for the comments. The blue line is food service employment, as labeled. Derek discusses the logic further in the linked article. I highly encourage you to read it -- it's great.

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