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A boom based on little more than a bezzle

When the future arrived in 2007, we learnt that others had febezzled from us on a massive scale. And that we had also febezzled from ourselves.

Box-tickers should not be the ones making decisions

Typically reasons given for judgment are rationalisations after the event, the consultation is a formality rather than a sincere search for opinions, and the accountability is a matter of extensive paperwork rather than a genuine appraisal of performance.

Financial models are no excuse for resting your brain

Diversification is a matter of judgment not statistics. A model will tell you only what you have already told the model and can never replace, though it can enhance, an understanding of market psychology and the factors that make for successful business.

Could Napoleon have coped in a credit crunch?

The financial innovation that was once the means of spreading risk is now an unmanageable source of instability.

Surplus capital is not for wimps after all

John explains why capital is the stuff you have to protect yourself and why banks can never have enough of it.

Why pain is good – in both medicine and finance

John describes the vital role that pain - the gift no-one wants - plays in the evolution of business and finance.

Smoking, cynicism and sheer muddled thinking

The measure of the productivity of an activity is the public and private benefit from a good or service that results from that activity.

Buy as bankers move from denial to depression

Although the progress of grief is predictable, it is also slow. Sell on denial, buy on depression, was my advice to investors last year and it looks still valid today.

Lennon was right about music and the man

The notion that extending intellectual property rights in the music industry would provide pensions for ageing and impoverished crooners is an engaging fantasy.

No need to own the road: buy the tollbooth

Mr Buffett’s success demonstrates the weakness of one economic theory, the efficient market hypothesis, and the strength of another – the central role that the pursuit and defence of economic rents plays in modern corporate life.

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