First Monday: What's on tap for the business world in October

Editor Laura Conaway says its content is guided by the interactive nature of the Planet Money blog. Last Monday, for example, Conaway says, Planet Money was poised to have a law professor look at the bailout bill. "Then Congress punted the bailout bill, and the Dow started falling," Conaway says. Listeners were nervous, so Planet Money changed course, letting the audience into the process of reporting the story. "We put together a podcast asking three economists, 'Are you scared?' " Conaway says, adding that it's gratifying to be able to respond immediately to what's on the minds of the audience.

The MoneyTrack Method

Subtitle: A Step-by-Step Guide to Investing Like the Pros, by Pam Krueger with Les Abromovitz (Wiley, $24.95, out today)

"This drama (on Wall Street) that has just played out has underscored the need to go back to the basics," says Pam Krueger, co-host of the public-television investment show MoneyTrack. "The basics are what works. This is where the payoff is."

Krueger's new book draws stories from real people like Earl the parking-lot attendant who amassed a $500,000 nest egg on a salary of $12 an hour by using Warren Buffett-style investing and diversification. She includes experts who have appeared on her show, and aims to simplify the wealth-building process.

It's down-to-earth, unsexy, easily digested advice for the novice as well as a refresher for those who already have a hand in the market. Scam alerts detail the dangers of identity theft, mortgage fraud and con artists.

"What got us into this mess is getting away from the basics," Krueger said in an interview.

Also in October

•PBS, 9 p.m. ET Oct. 21:Frontline presents Heat, a sobering two-hour investigation by Martin Smith into climate change and how industries, including automakers and oil companies, are or are not responding to it.

•CNBC, 9 p.m. ET Oct. 14 and 10 p.m. ET Oct. 19:The Nuclear Option takes a look at the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power as an energy source. Though no nuclear power plants have been built in this country in 30 years, ground will likely be broken for a few new reactors in 2009.

By Michelle Archer, Special for USA TODAY


Paulson, consensus builder

When Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson presented lawmakers with his initial three-page proposal to fix the financial crisis, there were howls of protest about his imperious approach — and his close ties to Wall Street.

But in a cover profile in October's Bloomberg Markets, Paulson is depicted as a consensus builder, a style honed during 32 years as an investment banker and eventually CEO at Goldman Sachs.

What emerges is the picture of an executive who transferred "collaborative" skills to the U.S. Treasury. With its culture of collegiality, Goldman Sachs has produced several prominent political figures, including former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin and former New Jersey senator Jon Corzine, now the governor. (In the current financial crisis, Goldman Sachs became a commercial bank, subject to federal regulation.)

Asked why the firm generates so many high-profile Washington officials, Robert Steel, who worked with Paulson at Goldman and the Treasury, says, "Goldman Sachs was not hierarchical, and people learned to work in teams and to work with people well." In the past year, Paulson's coalition-building skills have been put to the test, culminating in last week's frenetic effort to win support for a bailout package for Wall Street.

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