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Author Archives: Joe Queenan

Joe Queenan is a regular contributor on business issues, corporate culture, and financial follies to Barron's and The Wall Street Journal.

Lionizing Lackeys

Every once in a while, somebody comes along with a theory so brilliant, so iconoclastic and yet so blitheringly obvious that the rest of us sit around grumbling, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Such a theory is “followership,” a bold concept delineated in the new book Followership: How Followers Create Change and Change Leaders. The brainchild of Barbara Kellerman, ...

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Are We Having Fun Yet?

The day the Fox Business Channel debuted, the normally abrasive talk show host Bill O’Reilly advised anchors Neil Cavuto and Alexis Smith to “have fun with it.” Since then, the news team has taken the advice in the spirit it was offered, serving up a frothy mix of happy-face banter and chummy interviews. This reflects Fox’s strategy to make its ...

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Executive Action

High atop the category “Suggestions That Have Been Far Too Long in Coming” is a proposal to establish a corporate version of Doctors Without Borders. The idea, advanced by the Afri can-based journalist Jonathan Ledgard, appears in strategy+business, published by consultants Booz Allen Hamilton. Ledgard proposes that midcareer executives in the mood for a change of scenery, who are seeking ...

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Delusions of Democracy

Back in the 1970s-the Gold en Age of Bad Ideas-scions of wealthy politicians got into the annoying habit of taking summer jobs as garbage men. This didn’t help real-life garbage men much, and it certainly didn’t help the unemploy ed stiffs who could have used the jobs the rich kids got to play at for the summer. The only people ...

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Hedging to Glory

Catastrophe buffs warn that the next global financial cataclysm will involve some massively overextended hedge fund that makes the wrong bet on natural gas or Indonesian munis or the weather, and destroys life as we know it. Frankly, this can’t happen fast enough to suit me. I can remember a time when you could open the New York Times or ...

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Get a Real Job

In a piece of genuinely alarming news, The Wall Street Journal reports that baby boomers reaching retirement age are increasingly taking jobs as “hobbies.” Some are early retirees who lack the wealth to exit the work force entirely and instead are taking low-stress, hobbylike jobs in enterprises they admire or fields they have long dreamed of working in. Others are ...

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Better health care

In a new book entitled The Education of Ronald Reagan, Thomas W. Evans discusses the huge effect exerted on the future president by the years he spent working for General Electric after his acting career went south. People of a certain age will remember that Reagan served as host of CBS’s enormously popular General Electric Theater from 1954 until 1962, ...

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Tempus Fugit

America has often been described as a jobs factory masquerading as a society. Not only does this country constantly create millions of new jobs for its citizens, fueling the most powerful economy the world has ever known, but it ceaselessly creates the kinds of highly specialized and, in some instances, absurd jobs that would never exist elsewhere: life coaches, chief ...

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The Plantagenet Connection

Captains of industry constantly seek to glean valuable lessons from the pages of history, but they usually consult the wrong models. Almost nothing can be learned from the management styles of Attila the Hun or Genghis Khan, who never had to fret about maximizing shareholder value, and the same is true of Julius Caesar and George S. Patton, who rarely ...

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