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.

CNNMoney cites research on the effects of the financial crisis:

New research published in the British Medical Journal showed the impact of the crisis led to nearly 5,000 additional suicides in 2009 compared to the norm. Nearly the entire increase can be attributed to men taking their own lives, according to the survey of data from 54 countries.

In the U.S. and Canada, male suicides jumped by nearly 9% in 2009, while newer members of the European Union, including Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, saw their male suicide rates spike by an average of 13.3%.

Family matters
Want a happy marriage? Pool your money, writes Megan McArdle: 

There is research showing that the more you pool your money, the happier you are with your marriage. These effects seem to peter out at some very high level -- if you keep 5 percent of your income to yourself in order to have a little bit of discretionary spending, it won't make you any less happy than you'd be if you pool 100 percent. But people who pool 80 percent are happier than those who pool 70 percent, and so on. People who keep it all to themselves are the least happy.

Always low price
Bloomberg writes about Wal-Mart's (NYSE: WMT  ) pricing strategy: 

Wal-Mart Stores is so committed to becoming America's biggest beer retailer that it has been selling Budweiser, Coors and other brews almost at cost in at least some stores.

The markup on a 36-pack of Coors Light cans at a Los-Angeles-area store was 0.6 percent, compared with 16.2 percent for a package of Flaming Hot Cheetos, according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Companies typically don't release information about markups so the March data provide a rare glimpse of Wal-Mart's alcohol pricing strategy.

Reuters writes an in-depth piece on the for-profit education industry: 

The people signing up for the courses are, by and large, the ones for whom a traditional college setting isn't ideal. They're usually older, poorer, busier, or some combination of the three. And yet they're spending more money on college. By some counts, 96 percent of for-profit students take out loans, and nearly all of them are drawing from federal financial aid. In comparison, only 13 percent of students going to community college take out loans, because community colleges are a fraction of the cost.

Road ahead 
Analyst Horace Dediu gives an interview on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  )

Q: Turning to Apple, where is it at right now as a company in this post-Steve Jobs period?

[Dediu]: Still too early to tell. They seem to be cooking a lot of things and the great experiment of whether a company can be Jobsian without Jobs is still going on. I have been trying to put together a picture of how it operates. It's hard because that's their biggest secret. It's also a picture that few people have ever seen, even those who worked there a long time. The glimpses so far are tantalizing but there is so much we don't know and thus can't assess how robust it is. One thing that is clear to me is that there is no absorption by mainstream observers of what makes Apple tick. It's hiding in plain sight because what it is isn't anything anyone can recognize. Case in point is the functional and integrated dimensions. It's the largest functional organization outside the US Army and more integrated than Henry Ford's production system. Just describing it sounds medieval and it's so far outside convention that it's not something reasonable people are willing to believe actually exists.

ST50 has a list of insights from famed investor Jessie Livermore. Here are a few I like: 

The obvious rarely happens, the unexpected constantly occurs.

Patterns repeat, because human nature hasn't changed for thousand of years

It is what people actually did in the stock market that counted -- not what they said they were going to do.

Nancy Pelosi recalls the week Lehman Brothers collapsed. The article is highly partisan, but this part is important: 

We then planned to meet at 5 p.m. that day, and I invited Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to join us. Later that evening, the meeting commenced, with Democratic and Republican leaders from both the House and Senate.

Secretary Paulson described a meltdown and financial crisis from the depths of hell.

When I asked Bernanke what he thought of the secretary's characterization, he said, "If we do not act immediately, we will not have an economy by Monday." This was Thursday night. Everyone in the room was flabbergasted.

Business Insider writes about Twitter's user base:

Back in April, Twitter's fake user population was estimated at 20 million accounts out of a total of 500 million. But Twitter spokesperson Jim Prosser also said at the time that 40% of Twitter accounts appear to be inactive because many people set up their accounts simply to "listen" to other people, rather than tweet themselves.

Enjoy your weekend. 

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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 September 20, 2013, at 11:55 PM, colleran wrote:

    As an Apple investor, I was interested and baffled by the description of their organization. I am not sure how to think about it, but I like that no one knows. Why, you might ask? I don't know.

  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2013, at 11:08 AM, silver95z28 wrote:


    That bit of history about the Lehman Brothers collapse and how close we came to a national economic crisis ran a chill down my back. I tell anyone that will listen that most Americans do not realize just how close we came to the brink back then.

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Morgan Housel

Morgan Housel is an economics and finance columnist for Analyst, Motley Fool One. More Articles

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