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This week’s highlights: A transparent look at the US government budget, small scale shareholder activism, and the prehistoric creature on the cutting edge of science.

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Happy Friday

Spring continues apace here in Nashville – with flowers, trees, and seasonal allergies in full bloom.  A few quick things to highlight this week:

  • Original Content – Thinking about Retirement? 10 Steps to Take Today.  Since the first of the year, Woodmont has worked with a number of clients who are nearing retirement and want a ‘status check’ on their investments and preparation for retirement. In light of these conversations, we wanted to share a few key considerations, if you decide to under-take a similar exercise.
  • What else we’ve been reading – Finally got around to J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy.  A fascinating read – especially having grown up in Southwest VA.

Food for Thought:

  1. NYT – Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove.  The former Microsoft chief executive is unveiling a website Tuesday aimed at giving United States citizens a transparent look at government budgets.
  2. HBR – What Sets Successful CEOs Apart
  3. NYT – Amex, Challenged by Chase, Is Losing the Snob War
  4. HBR – Leading People Too Smart to Be Led
  5. MM – Smartphones are the new Cigarettes.  As with all of Mark’s pieces, the language is a bit PG-13 – so consider yourself warned.

Business/Economics:

  1. TheAtlantic – Frank and Steven’s Excellent Corporate-Raiding Adventure.  Two law professors tried to mimic big activist hedge funds, investing their retirement savings in a small, languishing public company and trying to shake it up. Here’s what happened.
  2. Bloomberg – Larry Fink Q&A: “I Don’t Identify as Powerful”  Is $5.1 trillion enough? Not if you’re Larry Fink. The man who built BlackRock Inc. and helped popularize exchange-traded funds now has ambitions to turn the world’s largest asset manager into something more like Google.
  3. MITIMCO – MIT Endowment 2016 Annual ReportCredit DH
  4. HR – The Next Market Crash Will Be Facilitated By ETF’s – Credit JC
  5. WSJ – Calpers Is Sick of Paying Too Much for Private Equity.  Pension fund’s private-equity returns were 12.3% over 20 years, but they would have been 19.3% without fees and costs

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. AOM – A Place for Pleats.  Pleats have been out in men’s pants for close to 10 years.  With a cautious resurgence in the runway shows, here’s the manual of when/where/how pleats make sense.
  2. Economist – Alabama politicians keep having to resign  The state has lost the leaders of all three branches of government in a matter of months
  3. NYM – A Portrait of I. M. Pei at (Nearly) 100
  4. NYT – They Can Hit 400-Foot Homers, but Playing Catch? That’s Tricky. – Credit FarnamStreet –  With the proliferation of private coaching and specialized camps, coaches have seen a deterioration of fundamental skills.
  5. PM – The Blood of the Crab  Horseshoe crab blood is an irreplaceable medical marvel—and so biomedical companies are bleeding 500,000 every year. Can this creature that’s been around since the dinosaurs be saved?

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