Humble Narcissists? Dr. Stephen Hawking; Un-Friendly; Trauma and Our Life’s Story; Econ Recon: Peering Through the Noise

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

Stephen Hawking
Theoretical Physicist
January 8, 1942- March 14, 2018

Good CEOs = ”Humble Narcissists?”

Nobody wants to be fired but sometimes it’s the best thing for you. Steve Jobs was fired from Apple in 1985 and returned over a decade later. Years later, reflecting on the revitalization of the company, he said, “I’m pretty sure none of this (Iphones, Ipad, etc.) would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it.”  Few people would describe Jobs as humble and many feel he was a narcissist. But perhaps the truth is that good leaders need to be a blend of both.

Adam Grant (Wharton Business School’s top rated professor for six years in row) in a recent blog posting explores the power of humble narcissism as vital to leadership. This article may help you decide if you (or your boss) need more or less of each of these diametrically opposed qualities.

Dr. Stephen Hawking, RIP

The one scientist that most people could identify on sight could have been cosmologist Dr. Stephen Hawking who died last week at 76. Dr. Hawking spent nearly 50 of his 76 years coping with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Most of us knew him as a motionless figure bound to a wheelchair who was totally dependent on others for his care and could talk only with the aid of electronic devices.

In spite of daunting physical disabilities, Dr. Hawking made monumental contributions to scientific understanding of the universe and then wrote layperson-accessible books such as the best-selling A Brief History of Time” to explain his discoveries to us. It’s hard to say whether his greatest contributions lay in uncovering the secrets of the universe or showing us that disabilities, even one as extreme as the one he faced, need not prevent the accomplishment of great things.

As he once remarked  “However difficult life may seem, you can always succeed at something.”

You can review his remarkable life in this video obituary from CBS.

Dr. Hawking, rest in peace and thank you for your life and contributions to science, and for your example.


It has not been a good week to be Mark Zuckerberg. Revelations about how Cambridge Analytica accessed data from Facebook caused a $50 billion drop in FB’s market value and about a $5 Billion hit to Zuckerberg’s personal financial statement. Technology watcher Robert X. Cringely shares how those of us who use Facebook may have unwittingly participated in this transfer. Even worse, he points out that you may also have made possible the unauthorized transfer of data of anyone with whom you are “Facebook Friends.”

Mr. Cringely offers some troubling warnings and valuable for all of us in his one page blog posting on “Face Book, Cambridge Analytica and Our Personal Data.”

Trauma and our Life’s Story

Trauma is a word that seems to be used so often that it’s losing its meaning. To be sure its use is more than justified in the context of combat, sexual harassment, recent school shootings and bombings and other truly horrific events; but journalist and author Aminatta Forna thinks the word is over used and we need a new way of talking about terrible events.

Her truly compelling 3.5 minute video aired on the PBS NewsHour suggests that “the power of suffering is in how we tell our story:” …..something that is totally in our control. This is a masterful and powerful commentary that helps us understand, as she explains, that the ”path of your story is in the hands of the storyteller.”

Who is writing your life story?

Econ Recon:  Peering Through The Noise…Extending the Trend

Peering through the Noise: Many investment professionals hold that the type of volatility the stock market has seen in the past week (off 460+ points on Friday alone) is setting the stage for a bear market in equities. Dr. Brian Wesbury thinks otherwise and offers an analysis of earnings and interests rates that leads him to believe the market to be  undervalued in the double digit range. Find out by why he says we need to “peer through the noise” of the recent ups and downs in his latest 4 minute Wesbury 101 video Don’t Fear Volatility.’

Extend the Trend: The economy continues to surge ahead. However, decision makers have to remember that if there weren’t recessions occasionally there would be no such thing as the business cycle ….and the current expansion is getting a little “long in the tooth,” being nearly a decade along. ITR Economics has been forecasting for quite some that a slowdown in growth (not a recession) is coming later this year or the first part of next year.

However, ITR’s Alex Chausovsky says that if you don’t want to participate in the coming slowdown you don’t have to.  His latest blog posting Two Ways to Extend the Rising Trend in Your Businessoffers some advice for getting ready to take advantage of the opportunities that an economic pull back can offer so you can continue to move forward as others are moving back.

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