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You Don’t Know Bezos

Reed Saxon/AP

The Amazon founder and new Washington Post owner sends his employee ominous questions marks, rants about ‘stupid pills’ in office emails, and has a unicyclist father, according to a new book.

For his upcoming book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Bloomberg Businessweek writer Brad Stone was refused an interview with his subject, the Amazon founder and now Washington Post owner—but he still managed to cobble together an exhaustive history of the online marketplace by talking with "hundreds of current and former friends" of the enigmatic leader. From tracking down Bezos's birth father to spilling the businessman’s best insults, here are the most revealing bits from an excerpt released on Thursday.

Same Old

Yellen Won’t Change the Fed

Franck Robichon/Landov

She hails from Berkeley and, some supporters hope, will make the Fed less beholden to Wall Street. But Russ Roberts says we’re in for more of the same bank-friendly policies.

After President Obama announced her nomination Wednesday, Janet Yellen will likely become the first woman to head the Fed. The Maestro has morphed into the Mistress.Summers has exited stage right, chased not by a bear, but by the indignant howls of those who saw him as unfit—too hawkish, too connected to Wall Street, and insufficiently empathetic. There is a breathless debate over whether Yellen will be the most powerful woman in America so far, perhaps above a Secretary of State or a Supreme Court justice.

A New Age

The Woman in Charge

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg, via Getty

The guys on Wall Street will report to a woman as their boss—but that isn’t what’s truly remarkable. For the first time in a generation an actual Democrat will be in charge of monetary policy.

After months of indecision and the flotation—and puncturing—of a Larry Summers trial balloon, President Obama is set to nominate Janet Yellen to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve.The fact that Yellen,the current vice chair of the nation’s central bank, is a woman isn’t the most remarkable historical fact about her impending appointment. Of course, that is remarkable. For the first time in their careers, the heads of Wall Street’s investment banks and hedge funds will, in effect, be reporting to a woman as their boss.

Shutdown Impact

It’s Worse This Time

Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty

If 1995 is any guide, the government shutdown won’t be too bad, right? Wrong, says Daniel Gross. Ours is a very different economy.

I’m generally an optimist about the resilience of the U.S. economy, its ability to bounce back from shocks and power through disasters, whether they’re imposed by nature, markets, or politics. But today, four years into an expansion that few people saw coming, I’m more pessimistic than many about the impact of the shutdown.The predictions have come fast and furious. The shutdown costs $300 million in lost gross domestic product per day, according to IHS Global Insight.

Debt Disaster

It’s Much Worse Than 2008

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Don’t let the Excel-and-PowerPoint set fool you into thinking blowing through the debt limit is no big deal. The tsunami of value destruction would dwarf the Lehman Brothers implosion, says Daniel Gross.

Generals always fight the last war. And financial analysts always analyze the last crisis. So with the rapid approach of the October 17 debt-limit deadline, it’s no surprise the Excel-and-Powerpoint set are dusting off their histories of the Lehman Brothers debacle. Many Republicans may view blowing through the debt limit and potentially missing a few interest payments as no big deal. In a Pew Research Center poll released Monday, 54 percent of Republicans said the U.

Ca$h Money

Meet the New Benjamins

Mark Wilson/Getty

Don’t be fooled by the blue ribbon that’s he got, he’s still Benjamin Franklin from the Federal Reserve. Daniel Gross on the $100 bill’s 100th-birthday facelift.

The U.S. government remains shut, crippling a growing range of businesses and gumming up the gears of commerce at home and abroad. Amid all this chaos, however, America is about to launch a new version of one of the government’s most important and valuable products: the $100 bill.The Federal Reserve this week is rolling out new Benjamins as part of its continuing efforts to stay ahead of cheaters. “The U.S. government basically redesigns Federal Reserve notes to stay ahead of counterfeiting,” said Michael Lambert, associate director at the Federal Reserve.

Get Comfy

Business Longreads

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From the richest man in Brazil losing nearly everything to the ambitions of The Guardian, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of October 5, 2013.

How Brazil’s Richest Man Lost $34.5 Billion Juan Pablo Spinetto, Peter Millard, and Ken Wells—BusinessWeek Going from one of the richest men in the world to the verge of bankruptcy in the span of 18 months seems impossible. And yet, through a combination of hubris, ignorance and excess, Eike Batista did just that. Once a symbol of Brazil’s high-powered growth, Batista is now also a symbol of its current struggles.A Virginia Businesswoman’s Mission to Save Somalia Keith Kloor—Washington Post Magazine 1.

Doing Fine

Investors Not Bothered by Shutdown

Spencer Platt/Getty

Markets are just fine.

With the government withholding money from all but its necessary functions, you’d think the financial markets would be freaking out appropriately. You’d be wrong. The Dow Jones Industrial Average actually rose 76.10 points on Friday, and the 30-stock average declined just 1.2 percent over the course of the week. Investors seem to see the shutdown as no big deal—yet. Many reportedly don’t think this shutdown will go on long enough to be too much of a problem and are counting on the Fed to keep the economy going. But the debt-ceiling battle in a couple of weeks could cause problems. Said the president this week, “When you have a situation in which a faction is willing potentially to default on U.S. government obligations, then we are in trouble.”

Read it at Wall Street Journal

Little Birds

Gaming the Twitter IPO

Kacper Pempel/Reuters

The company has grown massively in a short time, to 215 million users. But can it turn a profit? Daniel Gross isn’t so sure.

Twitter is going public. After filing a stealthy filing a few weeks ago, on Thursday afternoon, the company filed a formal S-1. This granted investors, gawkers, and the generally curious a look under the hood of the company for the first time.What they found shouldn’t be surprising to veteran internet-related companies: it’s a firm with insane growth in eyeballs, rapidly growing revenues, no profits (yet), and a quasi-messianic do-good mission.

Trickle Down

Shutdown Hits the Private Sector

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Define ‘nonessential.’ From mines to loans to oil fields, businesses across the country say they need federal employees back on the job to keep their work going. By Daniel Gross.

You know the adage. For want of a nail, the shoe was lost, triggering a chain of events that leads to much greater debacles. For want of a nail, ultimately, the kingdom was lost.That’s a great lesson in leverage—how the removal of one small, seemingly insignificant item can trigger much larger consequences. It’s also a great metaphor for the way in which the government shutdown is affecting the economy. Fox News may tell its audience that the shutdown is in fact a “slimdown.


Shame on You, Walmart!

With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.

  1. Obama Gets Credit for Stock Market Play

    Obama Gets Credit for Stock Market

  2. Twitter’s IPO: World Reacts Play

    Twitter’s IPO: World Reacts

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    Phone Throwing App Is Awful


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