Money Talking

Money Talking

From WNYC Radio

New Yorkers crave informed and intelligent business and economic news. WNYC's Money Talking brings you just that with lively conversations that go beyond the headlines and the jargon to explore the most important business stories of the week. Every Friday join Jeff Greenfield as he hosts regular WNYC contributors Joe Nocera (The New York Times) and Rana Foroohar (Time). Context, conversation and insight. That's WNYC's Money Talking.More from Money Talking »

Most Recent Episodes

The Clash of Two Tech Titans

On Tuesday, Google's parent company Alphabet overthrew Apple as the most valuable company in the world. The tech giant ended the day on Wall Street valued at $531 billion, compared to Apple's $523 billion. But Alphabet's reign was short-lived. By Wednesday, Apple situated itself back into the number one spot, with Alphabet, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil and Facebook behind it. While this is not the first time Apple and Google have gone head-to-head over the title, the battle may signal a shift in what's valued in the economy. This week on Money Talking, guest host Stacey Vanek Smith from NPR's Planet Money speaks with Sheelah Kolhatkar from Bloomberg Businessweek and Seth Fiegerman from Mashable about the impact of this turf war and how it translates into consumers' lives.

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At Work: To Thine Own Self, Don't Always Be True

Many of us have been told that "being true to ourselves" is a key to success. But in the workplace, being "authentic" might actually wreak havoc. "The more one looks at the notion of authenticity, the more one realizes, or the more I realize, it's a crock and it's nonsense, and it's more likely to be self-destructive than value-added," Michael Schrage, contributor to the Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan School research fellow, tells Money Talking host Charlie Herman. When you're in the office the point is to be productive; you have to ask yourself, "Is it productive to portray my most authentic self in this scenario?" In many cases, the answer actually is, no. Instead, it's helpful to engage in the type of work-behavior that will get you the best results, and sometimes this might not be your "true self" (which can change depending on how you are feeling at that moment versus ten minutes later). If you shouldn't be your utterly unfettered authentic self, what should you be then? Schrage suggests replacing it with respectfulness. In the workplace, a balance of respect among colleagues is ultimately a much more valuable commodity. [Click on "Listen" above to hear Schrage's reasons for why you should ditch authenticity in the office and trade it in for good manners, civility, and respect with Money Talking host Charlie Herman.]

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The Economics Behind Bundy's Militia

In early January, an armed group took over the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, in protest of the federal government's control of the land. The standoff, led by brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, came to a head this week when several militia members were arrested. After a nearly month-long stalemate, Ammon Bundy urged the remaining protesters to "go home." Even so, the situation continues to evolve. So what's at the heart of this standoff? About a century of history, some suspected arson, and a whole lot of economics. Over the course of it, the militia members have been demanding that the Malheur land controlled by the federal government be turned over to the local government. In more basic terms: give the land back to the ranchers and loggers who can then live off and prosper from it. Unfortunately in today's economy, that might not work. This week on Money Talking, host Charlie Herman talks with James Surowiecki with The New Yorker and Zoë Carpenter from The Nation about the motivations fueling the militia movement and what benefits, if any, the protest has prompted.

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Paying the Ultimate Price for Online Tickets

Recently, it seems like you have more chances of winning the Powerball jackpot than getting tickets to see Adele or Hamilton. When Adele's pre-sale tickets went on sale in December of last year, so many fans were locked out of the 56-date tour that a social media frenzy erupted. (Including the meme: "Hello from the ticket line. I've clicked refresh a thousand times.") Soon after, tickets appeared online for hundreds and even thousands of dollars over face value. But who's snatching up all those tickets? And while Adele fans lament, there are plenty of other sporting events, plays, and concerts that we're getting locked out. So it begs the question: Why do the re-sellers and the scalpers seem to have all the luck? And is there ever a way to beat them at their own game? This week on Money Talking, Charlie Herman talks with Jason Abbruzzese from Mashable and Ethan Smith from the Wall Street Journal about the economics of online ticket sales and what you can do to get a ticket.

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At Work: Keeping Your Cool at Work

Work can be full of things that just set you off. In fact, the office itself might even be the trigger. And once that trigger is pulled, your response could turn into raised voices or in your wildest dreams (or nightmares) thrown phones and flying chairs. But you can break the habits of counterproductive and even detrimental behavior without spending years lying on a couch. "It doesn't take long to change a habit. But it's hard. Really hard," writes Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners a leadership consulting and coaching firm, in a recent Harvard Business article "Quash Your Bad Habits by Knowing What Triggers Them." In the article, he suggests a simple a three-step process to change your behavior in the office. Be aware. If you take a moment to pause before you react, you slow down your neurological response. That reaction comes from the part of the the brain where fight/flight/freeze reactions are decided. But by taking a beat, you can let whatever is happening get to the part of your brain that makes more rational choices. Resist urges. You might have an urge to react immediately, and that reaction might be a poor one. Before acting, ask yourself: What is the outcome I want from this situation? When you've thought about the desired outcome, you will react accordingly to get you closer to that goal. Replace behaviors. You need something to de-trigger you and get you to the desired result. So whether you enlist daily meditation or use a "serenity now" mantra, any sort of replacement will be an improvement from your trigger-happy reaction. [Click on "Listen" to hear Bregman talk through these steps with Money Talking host Charlie Herman.] Think of your reactions as if they were a train and you were riding it to get to a final destination. Instead of sleeping through all the stops until the moment you arrive when you are forced to sprint off the train and completely forget your bag, consider five or six places to stop before you arrive at the destination. Maybe one stop is taking a deep breath and another is cracking your knuckles; identify what each stop is, get off on at each one, hop back on afterwards, and you'll arrive at a much more productive destination.

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The Oil Price Plunge And You

Oil prices have dramatically dropped to levels not seen since 2004. This week, the price of a barrel of oil traded below $30, down more than 60 percent from the recent highs in June 2014. For consumers, the fall in oil prices has given them a little money in their pocket. Nationwide, the average price of gasoline is $2.00 a gallon. And for those who heat their homes with heating oil, bills are expected to be 41 percent lower compared to a year ago. So, cheap oil is good, right? This week on Money Talking, Rana Foroohar with Time Magazine and Gregory Zuckerman with the Wall Street Journal and author of The Frackers review the good, and the bad, about low oil prices and what it means for the economy in 2016.

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Running Out of Cash in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is struggling with a massive debt crisis of $72 billion that it can't pay back. The territory is running out of money. Its economy is shrinking. Nearly half of its residents are living at or below the poverty level while unemployment is more than double what it is on the mainland. As a result, thousands of residents have fled the island and moved north to look for work and a better life. Then this week, for the second time in less than a year, Puerto Rico defaulted on millions of dollars in payments, placing the island in an even more precarious economic state. If the island is forced to contend with lawsuits filed by creditors, then "every dollar used to pay lawyers will be a dollar...not available to pay creditors," Governor Alejandro García Padilla told CNBC on Monday. This week on Money Talking, Charlie Herman talks with Allison Schrager from Quartz and Peter Coy from Bloomberg Businessweek about the high cost of Puerto Rico's debt and what the solutions being proposed could mean for states facing similar financial crises.

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At Work: When Your Boss Isn't So Bright

There are a lot of bad bosses out there. "As I like to say, there are different flavors of bad bosses," adds Amy Gallo, an editor at the Harvard Business Review. When the flavor is "dumber than you," it's hard to know how to proceed. You don't want to be disrespectful, but you don't want to sit stagnant in a job where you're not learning. If you think you're smarter than your boss, Gallo set out specific strategies about what you might do in her article, What To Do If You're Smarter Than Your Boss. 1. Accentuate the Positive: Have some humility and think about the ways your boss might actually have an edge on you. "It's your job, as his direct report, to unearth that expertise or unearth that experience you can learn from," Gallo said. 2. Cool down: Don't lead a coup. Your boss likely reached the heights where they currently sit for a reason. Trying to replace them or getting them fired not work out as you plan. 3. Find a stand-in: If you're not learning anything from your boss, go to other people in your organization. Don't be disrespectful to your boss, but ask some of his/her other colleagues for advice and mentorship. 4. Consider an exit. Only after you make good efforts to learn from the people in the building, if you're still having a hard time, it might be time to leave the company. [Listen to Gallo talk through these steps with Money Talking host Charlie Herman.]

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The Year Money Wouldn't Sit Still

It's been nearly eight years since the financial crisis, and interest rates have sat stagnant for just as long. Now, the Federal Reserve is ringing in the New Year early with some long-awaited news: a quarter-point raise in interest rates. This slight hike could be a sign of more moderate rates in the year ahead, and some are watching warily. The news polishes off a year full of business developments: the plunge in oil prices, the Chinese stock market crash, the historic climate plan agreed to in Paris, and the record-making mergers and acquisitions. And that's only a few of the top business stories of the year. Money Talking host Charlie Herman talks with Rob Cox from Reuters Breaking Views and Rana Foroohar from Time Magazine to highlight the year's biggest economic moments and to make some predictions for the year ahead.

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At Work: Take Back The Night

"Crazy times" at work are to be expected — busy periods when you're expected to work after hours to stay on top of things are par for the course in a demanding, fast-paced career. But if you're sending emails well into the night at all times of the year, that might actually be a problem. "You're never taking that opportunity to rejuvenate...that will give you a fresh perspective at work," Maura Thomas, founder of RegainYourTime.com and writer for the Harvard Business Review, told Money Talking host Charlie Herman. "If you don't take time to recharge...you're running on empty all the time." Thomas said there are two reasons people chronically send late-night emails. Ambition: Your boss is sending emails late into the evening, and you want to impress by being prompt. Lack of attention management: You can't fight the itch to click that email icon on your smartphone when you're relaxing at home. Thomas said there are simple ways to treat the condition, depending on the cause: If your boss won't stop sending late night emails: Talk to your boss. Especially if your manager claims to want to foster a healthy work environment, she needs to follow through. Discuss what is actually expected of you as a member of the team and how you can get the quality time away from work that you need to keep performing while you work. If you're the offending boss: If you have the technology available to you, schedule your emails to go out for the following morning. There's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get ahead on emails after hours, but you don't want to torment your employees in the process. If you can't stop checking/sending email after hours: It's probably a symptom of being scattered all the time. Distractions come at you from every direction at work. You get used to being interrupted at work, so when you get home, you continue to seek the distractions and pick up your phone and start clicking on your email. You work without meaning to. Thomas says one solution is to practice focus at work: set a timer and focus on one task. If it's feasible, turn off your email while you're working on something that takes your full attention. Practicing focus at work can help you do the same thing at home. Thomas said taking back your off-time needs to be a conscious decision. "There are things that are going to happen all the time," she said. The question is: "Do you want to be a part of every single thing that happens, or do you want to get away sometimes?" Listen to Money Talking host Charlie Herman discuss some ways offices and individuals can try to cure a workaholic culture.

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