Matthew Budman

I'm a freelance writer and editor, mostly on business and social issues, and author of Book Collecting Now: The Value of Print in a Digital Age. I've spent my life immersed in words, and it's great to have a place to put many of them. Here are most of my post-college bylined articles, organized loosely by category, including a section with entire issues of The Conference Board Review, which I edited for six years.

Can We Turn Back the Rising Tide of Incompetence?

You know who they are. And if you don’t know, be assured that everyone else does. They’re the incompetents. And they’re everyone’s greatest frustration: This department would run so well if it weren’t for that guy. In almost any division, department, office, there’s a weak link—someone who has to be worked around, someone everyone knows never to involve in key projects, someone who makes everyone’s life a little more difficult, someone who holds back the rest of the group.

The Lost Evening: Drinking the Night Away with Hemingway and Bailey

It was a warm summer night and we walked into the bar and started looking for the men we were supposed to meet and one of them saw us and walked over. "Matthew?" he said. "Mark Bailey." He looked a little tight already even though no one had started drinking yet and we followed him to a table where his partner sat and the partner stood up and put out his hand. "Eddie Hemingway," he said.

Men Not at Work: Q&A with Hanna Rosin

“For women, there’s still the question of diversity at the very top,” says Hanna Rosin, and indeed, articles and books continue to lament how few female CEOs and directors populate the corner offices of corporate America. But just a level or two down, women not only have achieved equity—in many industries and professions, they have surpassed men, and that fact has enormous implications for both employers and employees.

It's huge, it's horrifying, it's . . . a Stephen King novel!

I think I started with "The Dead Zone" and "Firestarter," and maybe "Night Shift," all from the local library. And I remember carrying home "Christine" the week it showed up on the NEW shelf and reading it in one three-hour Saturday sitting. That was 1983. Since then I guess I've read—give or take a few—about a thousand novels. Maybe half have had Stephen King's name emblazoned in huge red or gold letters on the cover. All right. A minor exaggeration.

Will We All Be Unemployed?

When we hear about manufacturing jobs moving overseas— whether in steel, cotton, textiles, or Buicks—it doesn’t sting all that much anymore, unless, of course, a family member is among the pink-slipped unlucky. Somehow it seems inevitable—progress, even: The United States is continuing its forward movement, leaving behind the remnants of the Industrial Age and bringing its diverse workforce into the Information Age, ready to lead the way.

The Rage Within: For African-American Scholar Cornel West, Anger Can Be a Good Thing

It's become palpable enough to taste. Gunfire rings out in the night; local TV news programs lead with what bleeds. Polls proclaim that a majority of Californians feel something must be done about the "immigrant problem." Politicians, unwilling to embrace progressive economic policies, decry affirmative action and welfare programs and promise to build more prisons. Like rats deserting a sinking ship, we crawl over the top of each other in order to survive. Call it fear. Call it hate. Call it rage.

A Higher Consciousness: Q&A with Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey

“Do you know how most corporations get their mission statement?” John Mackey asks. “They hire consultants who come in and write it for them. So it’s not authentic; it didn’t come out of the essence of what that business is.” Mackey, cofounder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, is severely critical of business as traditionally practiced. Basically, he’d like every company to be run as his own is: highly collaborative, egalitarian, empowering, green, and closely integrated with the community—in other words, conscious.

Openers: Corporate Unsustainability

To many people outside the business world, sustainability is just corporatespeak for environmental concerns. Inside, its meaning keeps expanding to encompass every point at which an organization interacts with the rest of the world—supply chains, product life cycles, risk. Indeed, for many companies, after years of work reducing emissions and waste, it’s easy being green—it’s everything else that’s a problem.

Does It Really Pay to Pay for Performance?

You're a CEO, with a $1 million base salary and stock-option incentives worth up to $4 million. You work as hard, as smart, as you can. You steer the company deftly through complex markets. You function at the peak of your abilities. You provide the firmest leadership you can. OK. Start over. You're the same CEO, with the same $1 million salary—but now your incentives top out at only $2 million. Now how hard, how smart, do you work? How firm is your leadership? Where do you steer the company? And if you insist that your performance would be no different, why should the company dangle that extra $2 million?

Balancing Act: Q&A with Gen. George Casey, U.S. Army chief of staff

These are turbulent times for the U.S. Army, a massive organization that’s still not quite big enough to handle the extraordinary demands being placed on it. As chief of staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. is on the hook for recruiting, training, and retaining troops to fight two wars—and planning for any number of unforeseen crises—all while operating at a level of accountability and transparency that your average Fortune 500 CEO would find untenable.
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