February 2015

February 2015

The rich just keep getting richer. Not so fast there, Monsieur Piketty. The latest study says the very topmost income earners made an average of $39.4 million a year in 2007 (their mothers must have been proud). That plummeted to $21 million a year in the crash. It now lags $10 million below the peak year (please don’t tell mother). That’s an overall drop of 26 percent. The rest of us slid 15 to 21 percent if we were merely “prosperous” to “rich.” Members of the other 99 percent, in the same period, saw a 13 percent drop. Rollo says he would settle for graduating from Pontius College on time and spending just one year at the very top. (Just one.)

Not again?!! An eponymous member of The Ledlie Group forgot to attach a file to an email, received this response from a leading litigator and (thank God) friend: “I am glad to see that I am not the only person who cleverly builds suspense by delaying the transmission of my email attachments. Very shrewd.”

Just come get the barn. A talented brother suddenly turns his hands to wood sculpture with startling results in his little town outside Savannah and beyond. Impressed, one of his buyers promptly donates a barn for his next…oh…4,000 or so works.

Stress relief. As an eminent octogenarian once put it: “The only thing I want to see tonight is the bottom of a whiskey glass.” Nay, nay, say the psychologists. Build in some “boundary work.” Each evening, hit the gym, stop off for an espresso, do errands you enjoy, or go methodically through the tie rack at Filene’s. Enter the house through the graceful, welcoming front door, not the workaday portal at the back. Whatever it takes to build mental space. That will vaporize the chain reaction of hormones you developed in your blood stream at work.

“Best movies” aside. If you want to know about a model boyhood, find a proper manhood and work back, we always say. Here’s one. A teen-aged Belgian noble joins the navy (early, thanks to Grandma), is shot in the leg on D-Day while trying to free up a jammed ramp, joins Newsweek in postwar Paris and rescues Benjamin C. Bradlee from an embassy job, travels to combat zones with a tuxedo and a safari suit, interviews dozens of heads of state, writes two best-sellers, becomes a think-tank expert on terror, and smartly heads the small staff of the No. 2 daily, The Washington Times. “The fewer the men, the greater the glory,” said Arnaud de Borchgrave, who eventually abandoned his title and became an American citizen. He once suggested his tombstone might read: “I knew this would happen.” Sure enough. He was 88. RIP.

Extra. Readers of Jodi Kantor of The New York Times now know how more and more lawsuits are being deliberately larded with newsworthy details by the drafting lawyers: the bad boys at the office sending around nasty notes about an attractive co-worker, for example. A copy of the newsy suit makes its way to a reporter and then onto the front page of a newspaper. Possible results (in our experience): fired employees, weeping wives, tainted jury pools, a hasty and costly settlement – long before court looms. “It’s almost like the first half of a game has been played before the other team ever gets on the field,” says our colleague Philip Hauserman. By design.

Thanks for reading,

Quote to note. “One joy of working in advertising is that you get paid to have the kind of conversations when sober which other people are only allowed to have when drunk or stoned.”
– Rory Sutherland, The Spectator, January 30, 2015

February was book month of a sort for The Ledlie Group. An annual report for a non-profit was completed, and initial work begun on a Ph.D. business consultant’s “how to.” Looming: an investment manager’s second book. (We did his first four years ago. Guess it worked.) 

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