Nov 29, 2013 12:28 UTC

Review: A no-nonsense recipe for retail success

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By George Hay

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Malcolm Walker has a no-nonsense recipe for retail success. While larger supermarkets have expanded upmarket, overseas, and away from food, he’s made a fortune selling cheap frozen dinners to hard-up Britons through his Iceland Foods chain. It’s all about meeting customer demand, controlling costs, and staying focused, his autobiography shows. Still, Walker’s travails down the years are a reminder how easily things can go wrong in the food business.

Nov 15, 2013 17:14 UTC

Review: At Apple’s core, a fitting man of mystery

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By Richard Beales
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Jonathan Ive is the British perfectionist who leads Apple’s design team. A new book about him by journalist Leander Kahney shows his huge influence uniting form and function at the U.S. tech giant. But Ive the man remains largely hidden behind a screen that’s as obsessively crafted as any of the company’s gadgets.

Nov 8, 2013 18:12 UTC

Review: Frackers needed long view to make history

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By Christopher Swann
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The revolution in U.S. energy came from an unlikely source, as Gregory Zuckerman recounts in “The Frackers: the Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters.” Tiny drillers like George Mitchell and Harold Hamm persisted with shale while deep-pocketed giants such as Chevron gave up. It was a triumph of leadership over short-term shareholder value.

Oct 25, 2013 15:30 UTC

Review: Buffett clan puts up a good food fight

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By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Warren Buffett has made billions of dollars investing and his farmer son is helping give them away. In the new book “Forty Chances,” Howard Graham Buffett chronicles his efforts with his own son Howard Warren to combat the mind-boggling inefficiencies and bad philanthropic habits that get in the way of ending world hunger. It’s hard at times to relate to the plight, but reassuring to know the Buffett family is on the case.

Oct 11, 2013 15:19 UTC

Review: Inequality is the dark side of leaning in

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By Christopher Swann

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Inequality is the dark side of leaning in. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, used “Lean In” as the title of her book about how women should be more assertive. Alison Wolf shows in “The XX Factor” that elite females are already catching up with male peers. Wolf, a professor of public sector management at King’s College London, shows gains at the top have only been possible because of a revival of a distinctly non-elite occupation: the “female servant”. The result is a rising income gap among women.

Oct 4, 2013 15:50 UTC
Edward Hadas

Review: Economic history makes a happier return

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By Edward Hadas
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

It is easy to tell grim stories about the world economy. A billion people still live in desperate poverty. The world’s rich are pulling further away from the poor. Many developed economies are still in a rut, five years after a financial crisis. In “The Great Escape”, Angus Deaton provides a more optimistic, and much more accurate, narrative.

Sep 27, 2013 18:28 UTC

Review: U.S. can’t afford to forget the little guy

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By Christopher Swann
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Occupy Wall Street movement failed to ignite popular indignation about the widening gap between poor and rich in the United States. “Inequality for All”, a documentary based around Robert Reich, President Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary, makes a strong case for action.

Sep 20, 2013 15:32 UTC

Review: Merkel’s hidden European agenda

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By Olaf Storbeck

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Angela Merkel is usually described as an utterly pragmatic politician, lacking either strong convictions or a grand political vision. Stefan Kornelius, foreign editor of Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung, takes issue with this view. In his biography of the German chancellor, published in English on the eve of the Sept. 22 German elections, he claims that Merkel has a bold blueprint of Europe’s future. She just stays mum about it in public.

Sep 6, 2013 03:16 UTC

Review: Will the real Mao please stand up?

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By Katrina Hamlin

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

The portrait of Mao Zedong watches over Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, but it’s still impossible to know the man behind the myth. Nearly four decades after his death, China’s modern leaders invoke his name at their own risk. Consider two of the most popular English-language biographers of the Great Helmsman.

Aug 2, 2013 15:36 UTC

Review: Venezuela’s revolutionary leaves chaos behind

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By Ian Campbell

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

“Comandante” sounds like the title of a wide-eyed hagiography. But the book by Rory Carroll, the Guardian’s Venezuela correspondent, is something far more welcome: a clear-eyed account of the whims, machinations and follies of Hugo Chavez, the late Venezuelan leader. It leaves the reader wondering just how the country can find a way forward. The book’s weakness is that the account is far from atmospheric and its structure might have been dreamed up by Chavez’s planning ministry.