Lack of confidence, sometimes alternating with unrealistic dreams of heroic success, often leads to procrastination, and many studies suggest that procrastinators are self-handicappers: rather than risk failure, they prefer to create conditions that make success impossible, a reflex that of course creates a vicious cycle.
Academics, who work for long periods in a self-directed fashion, may be especially prone to putting things off: surveys suggest that the vast majority of college students procrastinate, and articles in the literature of procrastination often allude to the author's own problems with finishing the piece.
By the time of the '90s boom, CEOs had become superheroes, accorded celebrity treatment and followed with a kind of slavish scrutiny that Alfred P. Sloan could never have imagined.
Unlike fuel-economy standards, the most common method of reducing demand for oil over the past thirty years, a gas tax doesn't tell people what kind of car to drive. It simply raises the price of gasoline and lets people adjust their behavior accordingly.
Most corporate name changes are the result of mergers and acquisitions. But these tend to be unimaginative.
Speculators get a bad rap. In the popular imagination they're greedy, heedless, and amoral, adept at price manipulations and dirty tricks. In reality, they often play a key role in making markets run smoothly.
If you thought the advent of the Internet, the spread of cheap and efficient information technology, and the growing fragmentation of the consumer market were all going to help smaller companies thrive at the expense of the slow-moving giants of the Fortune 500, apparently you were wrong.
The reason advertising is governed by fear, after all, is that most agencies rely on just a few clients to bring in the lion's share of their revenues.
Businesses that have gone through an episode of hyperinflation become understandably alert to the threat of it: at the first hint of inflation, they're likely to increase prices, since they've learned that if they don't, and inflation hits, their businesses will be wrecked.
If someone really wants my company's business, why shouldn't he be able to do everything he can - including paying me off - to get that business? Because bribery encourages people to make decisions based on the wrong criteria, which means in the business world that it distorts the efficient allocation of resources.
Real politics is messy and morally ambiguous and doesn't make for a compelling thriller.
For most Americans, work is central to their experience of the world, and the corporation is one of the fundamental institutions of American life, with an enormous impact, for good and ill, on how we live, think, and feel.
In the heart of the Great Depression, millions of American workers did something they'd never done before: they joined a union. Emboldened by the passage of the Wagner Act, which made collective bargaining easier, unions organized industries across the country, remaking the economy.
The autocracies of the Arab world have been as economically destructive as they've been politically repressive.
The Internet has become a remarkable fount of economic and social innovation largely because it's been an archetypal level playing field, on which even sites with little or no money behind them - blogs, say, or Wikipedia - can become influential.
Lower oil prices won't, by themselves, topple the mullahs in Iran. But it's significant that, historically, when oil prices have been low, Iranian reformers have been ascendant and radicals relatively subdued, and vice versa when prices have been high.
In the auto industry, there's one thing you can always count on: if a new environmental or safety rule is proposed, executives will prophesy disaster.
The world's central banks and the International Monetary Fund still have vaults full of bullion, even though currencies are no longer backed by gold. Governments hold on to it as a kind of magic symbol, a way of reassuring people that their money is real.
In the business world, bad news is usually good news - for somebody else.
The ban on sports betting does exactly what Prohibition did. It makes criminals rich.