Monday, July 16, 2012
I probably read more business articles than anyone I know. Although I am now on the board of a large company, I didn't start out that way. As a matter of fact, when I started reading business news articles, I wasn't even involved in business. I was in college at the time, and studying to be a literature major. To tell you the truth, the business articles I was reading had nothing to do with my studies. They were just because of a certain suspicion I had – the suspicion that business news was important to everyone. I couldn't have been more right. From business ethics articles to stock prices and analysis, business news affects everyone. For me, reading a business article is not just about staying at the top of my game as a businessman. It is about being an informed citizen. For example, when you go to a high tech expo, you get to preview the technologies of tomorrow. These technologies may be driven by business, but they also are going to affect society profoundly. People who read a lot of business articles know every step the Internet is going to take weeks, months, or even years before it takes it. We know which way the housing market is going to go, how stock prices are going to go, and what new consumer goods are going to be popular. Why is this important? Because it drives policy! From stocks to housing markets, from oil to pork bellies, businesses concerns lie behind every decision that politicians make. As my brother is fond of saying, “It's the economy, stupid”. That is what matters most to everyone, from business leaders to the unemployed. Everyone likes to make money. Of course, there are more practical reasons to read business articles as well. To be honest, most of my business analysis does not come from the business articles I read. Rather, I use them to see what angle the press is taking. Articles are inevitably behind the times, but they do show how business is being represented in the world at large. Some of the more intelligent business magazines can also help you make good decisions from time to time, but ideally you want to try to stay ahead of them. This is not always easy to do, needless to say. Business articles help to ensure that, at the very least, you don't fall behind.