What did you do in the great financial crash, grandad?

Reuters European HQ in Canary Wharf London, pictured in 2006
I remember asking my grandfather what he’d done in the Second World War and his answer held me spellbound.

Whether tales of the financial crisis of 2007-2008 that more or less kicked off ten years ago today will similarly capture children’s imagination in years to come seems unlikely, even though its lessons are arguably not too much less significant for future generations.

Why? Because failing to learn the lessons of the past bodes ill for an ever more integrated global financial system and world economy, and that means his, your, my – our wealth and prosperity. Continue reading

Surf – the story behind Australia’s 1,000m kayaking success

Australia has won eight Olympic medals in 1,000m kayak racing. It owes much of that success to another sport altogether – surf life saving.

surfskiBased on the training regime developed by beach lifeguard services across the country, surf ski racing has become an established pathway for paddlers to progress to kayak racing on the Olympic stage.

Sprint kayaking isn’t the only Olympic sport to have benefited from the size and strength of surf lifesaving – at the London Games in 2012 more than 60 Australian athletes in the country’s swimming, water polo, rowing and kayaking teams declared a background in competitive surf lifesaving. Continue reading

Australians plot quest for kayak gold

Australia's Mens K4 is aiming for a podium place at the Rio Olympic GamesAustralia’s top sprint kayakers have arrived in Germany for the World Cup in Duisburg. It’s the first major International Canoe Federation (ICF) World Cup competition of the year and marks the beginning of teams’ final preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

Two more World Cup events will follow, the next on 27-29 May in Racice, the Czech Republic, and the final event in Montemor-o-Velho in Portugal on 3-5 June. Continue reading

Corporate culture and respect for all

Obama fist pumps a White House cleanerYou can tell a lot about an organisation by how its leaders treat their most junior colleagues.

As a newly hired writer on a financial magazine back in the 1990s, I was summoned in my second week for lunch with the senior partner of one of the UK’s leading accountancy firms. As my soup grew cold, he took me to task for my title’s ‘attitude’ to his firm, berating me for the numerous apparent editorial transgressions of colleagues. Continue reading