8 Fascinating Reads

Good reads, short quotes.

Mar 28, 2014 at 9:05AM

Books

Happy Friday! There are more good news articles on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating pieces I read this week.

Dynastic wealth
Andrew Ross Sorkin outlines one investor's attempt to put a lid on executive pay at Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO):

We can find no reasonable basis for gifting management 14.2 percent of the share capital of Coca-Cola, worth $24 billion at today's share price. No matter how well a management team performs, it is unfathomable that they would require such astronomical sums of money to provide motivation [...] This compensation plan appears to place the economic well-being of management far ahead of the interests of the company's owners.

Charity
Instead of donating to charity, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) co-founder Larry Page has a different idea for passing on his wealth:

Instead of giving it to a philanthropic organization, he'd rather hand over his cash to Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and Solar City.

In a conversation with Charlie Rose at a TED conference on Wednesday, Page said he wanted his money going to capitalists like Musk -- those with big ideas for changing the world -- according to a report at Wired.

He thinks Musk's vision for going to Mars "to back up humanity" is inspired. He said, "That's a company, and that's philanthropical."

Rich poor people
Who lives paycheck to paycheck? Not who you'd expect

Most people living paycheck-to-paycheck aren't actually poor. They make a decent amount, and they have a decent amount of wealth. [...] The researchers found that about 33 percent of households have very few liquid savings, but, of those, about 66 percent have at least $50,000 in illiquid savings. In other words, someone living "hand-to-mouth," as the authors put it, is twice as likely to be middle class as poor. And, as you can see below, that's been true throughout the past 25 years. 

Lessons learned
Singer Rihanna nearly went broke and fired her accountant, who explained her situation well. I love the last line: 

Gounis claims Rihanna blew through millions of her own money by going on endless shopping sprees -- buying roomfuls of designer shoes, clothes, and jewelry -- and throwing extravagant parties for herself. He also claims she bailed on an expensive tour to shoot "Battleship," which turned out to be a massive failure.

And despite Rihanna's accusations, Gounis insists he never directed Rihanna to buy a dilapidated house.

But even ignoring all that, Gounis says, "Was it really necessary to tell her that if you spend money for things you will end up with the things, and not the money?"

Hmm...
Sam Ro shares a chart from S&P showing the percentage of mutual fund managers who have underperformed a benchmark over the last five years: 

G

New era
TVs are going out of style, writes Bloomberg:

The number of Americans who pay for TV through cable, satellite or fiber services fell by more than a quarter of a million in 2013, the first full-year decline, according to research firm SNL Kagan. If the slide continues in the coming years, that means 2012 was the industry's high point.

Gender wars
Women are beating men in college: 

Nearly a third of women -- 32% -- had a bachelor's at age 27, compared with 24% of men, the Labor Department said Wednesday ... A greater share of young women also had at least some college, if not a degree, than did men. More than two-thirds -- 70% -- of female 27-year-olds had a bachelor's or at least attended some college, the report said. That compared to 61% of men.

Innovation
This sounds amazing and terrifying: 

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla's Elon Musk are investing $40 million into an artificial intelligence company called Vicarious alongside actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Vicarious is a company aiming to replicate the human neocortex as computer code. The neocortex is the rather important part of your brain that "sees, controls the body, understands language, and does math." Company founder Scott Phoenix told the WSJ that once they successfully accomplish this task, "you have a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn't need to eat or sleep."

Enjoy your weekend. 

More from the Motley Fool
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report.

Morgan Housel has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Coca-Cola and Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Coca-Cola and Google and has the following options: long January 2016 $37 calls on Coca-Cola and short January 2016 $37 puts on Coca-Cola. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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