What's up in business books, magazines, TV in December

BUSINESS CALENDAR

Dec. 4: Luxury-home builder Toll Bros., three weeks after disclosing a 41% drop in fourth-quarter revenue, releases full results for the past quarter.

Dec. 5: Bank of America shareholders vote on the company's purchase of Merrill Lynch.

Dec. 15-16: Federal Reserve Board holds its last meeting of the year.

Also, Best Buy reports third-quarter earnings (Dec. 16). The nation's largest electronics-store chain warned of sharply falling sales last month.

Dec. 23:Shareholders of Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank and shareholders of Cleveland-based National City Bank vote on PNC's takeover of National City.

CHECK IT OUT

Goldman transformation

For Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs gs, the hard part is just beginning. The 139-year-old Wall Street firm countered a threat to its survival in September by changing into a commercial bank. A wrenching transformation may be in the offing, warns Bloomberg Markets in the December edition.

The investment banking model of relying on capital markets is busted, Bloomberg says. Goldman is going to need the stability of a large deposit base to compete with the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, the magazine says.

What's more, Blankfein must lead at a time when the bank's "fierce partnership culture, high levels of compensation and trading acumen" must adapt in a rapidly changing industry.

Jobs' backup

Fortune magazine asks the question: Who is heir to the CEO post at Apple aapl? Since Steve Jobs' "frightfully skinny and pale" appearance at a company event in June, writes Adam Lashinsky in the Nov. 24 edition, the blogosphere has spun full tilt wondering about their hero's health.

Jobs is a pancreatic cancer survivor, and the mere hint of another health scare can knock billions of dollars off Apple's market value. It happened in October when a false Web report about a Jobs heart attack lopped $10 billion off the market cap.

Excitable investors should relax, Lashinsky says. There's a capable replacement in the wings.

That would be Tim Cook, Apple's chief operating officer and its interim CEO for two months in 2004, when Jobs was recovering from cancer surgery.

Cook has essentially been running Apple for years, Lashinsky says.

John Connors, a Seattle venture capitalist, calls Cook the "Gen. Petraeus of the corporate world, the kind of guy who lets his results speak for themselves."

By Gary H. Rawlins, USA TODAY

WATCH, LISTEN & READ

On TV ...

Secret Millionaire

Fox, premieres Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET

We've seen poor people get rich on reality shows. Now, we get to watch rich people pretend to be poor.

On Secret Millionaire, real-life millionaires are disguised as unemployed drifters and embedded among unsuspecting people living in downtrodden areas such as Watts in Los Angeles or a Pennsylvania mining town. The millionaires get minimum-wage jobs and experience "real life" alongside the people who live it every day.

The philanthropic twist is the millionaires will give at least $100,000 of their own money to community members they deem most worthy of their largess.

The concept seems ripe for exploitation, but executive producer Greg Goldman says the show was an incredible, life-changing experience for everyone involved.

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