The Billionaires and The Guru: How a Family Burned Through $2 Billion


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But they also said it would be “untrue” to suggest that the guru was a cause of their group’s financial troubles. “Malvinder and Shivinder are unequivocal about this: Mr. Dhillon is their spiritual Master,” the brothers wrote. “He has only ever acted out of love and has only ever had their best interests at heart.”

They’re less generous to another follower of the spiritual group, Sunil Godhwani, whom they say was appointed to lead Religare at Dhillon’s recommendation. They say Godhwani was also in charge of their holding company, RHC Holding Pvt., and often took decisions without informing them. They say he was the architect of the financial structures, including the loans to the Dhillon family and companies, that led to their financial troubles.

The complete article

Ari Altstedter — Bloomberg

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No, Rental Cars Aren’t About to Disappear


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That’s … less than stunning. It shows big changes in business-traveler behavior (and by extension in consumer behavior in general). But rental-car companies appear to still account for a 70 percent share of ground-transportation spending by Certify users, more than twice that of Uber and Lyft combined. Which makes sense: If you’re traveling to anywhere but a city center or other densely packed neighborhood in the U.S., renting a car for a few days is still usually more convenient than trying to get by on ride hailing, transit, walking or, well, scootering.

The complete article

Justin Fox — Bloomberg

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Wall Street’s Best-Kept Secret Is a 72-Year-Old Russian Chess Expert


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In contrast with chess’s deliberative reputation, Alburt says the game helps traders think on their feet. “Strong chess players are good at making quick, usually correct decisions,” he says. “Traders are basically doing the same things as chess ­grandmasters: You have to make quick decisions in by definition uncertain circumstances.” Other chess attributes that help those high up on the ladder, he says, are its emphasis on logic and “making people responsible for their decisions.” Or as Icahn puts it: “If he’s a good chess player, he has a good math mind. So if he’s a good player, he’s not an idiot.” Hirsch of Seneca Capital agrees. “There’s a great satisfaction in ­envisioning how something is going to play out and be right,” he says. While playing chess, Hirsch adds, he credits Alburt “with any good moves I make.” The blunders, he notes, “are all mine.”

The complete article

James Tarmy — Bloomberg

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The New World Order Is Leaving the U.S. Behind


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The world order is changing fast. We are seeing the emergence of many countries on the world stage who are powerful in their own right and want to assert themselves at the global stage. The US is not the centre of the earth anymore.

Every hegemon has a sell-by date, and the U.S. is no exception. Even during the halcyon days of the 1990s — remember when the U.S. was being called a “hyperpower”? — President Bill Clinton’s administration was focused on creating institutions and a rules-based international order that it hoped would constrain China’s economic and strategic rise and extend the half-life of U.S. supremacy. For a variety of reasons, that didn’t work out so well (see: “deplorables”).

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James Gibney — Bloomberg

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India’s Illiberal Democracy


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A critical piece.

It is also true that, no matter how horrifying the news from India is, the country remains for many commentators in the West a mostly cuddly democracy and “rising” economic power. A recent article in the New York Review of Books was not untypical in this regard. “In Narendra Modi, India now has dynamic leadership for the first time in many years,” wrote Jessica T. Mathews, the former president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. After nodding briefly to criticism of Modi for restricting civil liberties, Mathews added, offering no evidence whatsoever, that “Modi may be consolidating enough political strength to force through long-needed reforms in New Delhi.”

The complete article

Pankaj Mishra — Bloomberg

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This Team Runs Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Page


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With Donald Trump becoming the President of the US, possibilities have opened for many other super rich public figures. Mark Zuckerberg apparently has set his sights on the presidency. Today’s needull discusses how Zuckerberg’s image is carefully controlled.

While plenty of chief executive officers have image managers, the scale of this team is something different. So is its conflation of Zuckerberg’s personal image with that of his company, the diaper-changing photos next to the user growth stats. “I don’t know that there are a lot of other business leaders that would find the same level of comfort sharing their personal and business stuff in the way that he does,” says Fred Cook, director of the University of Southern California Center for Public Relations, who has worked with Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.

The complete article

Sarah Frier — Bloomberg

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Japan Takes On Its Workaholics


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There has been lot of news coverage on people dying in Japan due to overwork. Today’s needull discusses how Japan is dealing with the problem. With modern societies becoming more and more individualistic, many people are finding some meaning only in their work.

The harm from long working hours goes beyond stress, psychiatric issues and health problems. Overwork might also be a factor behind the country’s low productivity. Stanford economist John Pencavel has shown that if people work more than 60 hours a week, their output flatlines or even declines. Putting in long hours might convince your boss that you’re a diligent employee, but after a point it becomes self-defeating.

The complete article

Noah Smith — Bloomberg

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