Suze Orman, the ubiquitous guru of personal finance, released a new book on Jan. 10, and her fans couldn’t part with their $16 a copy fast enough. In less than two weeks, “The Money Class” rose to fourth place among paperback advice books on the New York Times best-seller list.
McKinsey & Co., the global fix-it firm for companies and governments, labored in Tanzania in the late 1960s and charged fees so high that they merited a line item in the country’s budget, according to “The Firm: The Story of McKinsey and Its Secret Influence on American Business.”
Anita Hill sits at a tiny conference table in her office at Brandeis University, just outside Boston, as I quiz her on the obvious themes. Her testimony during hearings to confirm Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court? Admittedly a “terrible” experience, “but I want people to understand that I survived it.” Attacks on her character? A good thing for women in the workplace because now “they know what to expect” should they ever go public about harassment.
Is it possible that, even after the uncountable lessons of the past three years, investors have learned nothing? A popular financial planner and blogger made a very public disclosure of his personal economic meltdown last month, telling the story of how he got in over his head with a Las Vegas house that had two mortgages, no equity, and a date with destiny for a short-sale with Wells Fargo & Co.
A thriving, sex-and-gossip newspaper has been shuttered, big shots in media, politics and law enforcement have resigned, and arrests have been made. It has resulted in a lot of headlines, but considering how old the real news is, I wonder what all the fuss is about.
The mutual fund industry raked in $9.5 billion from the esoteric sales charges known as 12b-1 fees in 2009, and that was a lousy year. In the headier markets of 2007, often-clueless investors forked over $13.3 billion in these misunderstood charges, which go mostly to line the pockets of brokers, not to manage investments.