Daniel McGinn

Dream House or Nightmare?

For years Americans custom-built homes with pricey extras expecting high returns on their investment. They're in for a letdown.

Spa Makeover

Canyon Ranch is the ultimate in health resorts. Now it's expanding to condos, day retreats and a cruise ship.

Finance: Blackstone's Billion-Dollar Baby

Fortune magazine hailed Steve Schwarzman as "The King of Wall Street"—but lately there's been more attention on his wallet than his crown. Schwarzman cofounded the Blackstone Group, the private-equity giant whose $4.1 billion initial offering last week constituted the biggest IPO in five years.

How Housing Developers Really Work

At just past 10 a.m. one morning this week, auctioneer James Regan stood in the driveway of a large home in central Massachusetts, ringing a handbell. After reading aloud a foreclosure notice, he looked up at the 40 or so onlookers—realtors and clients, bankers, a few curiosity-seekers (including me)—and asked for someone to open the bidding on 2 Copperbeech Circle.

Building an Empire One Block at a Time

Like most parents, Phil and Karyn Corless face a constant struggle to keep their home from becoming overrun with toys. They have a specially designated toy closet in their Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, home, and when playtime is over, they cajole their children—Ethan, 8, and Megan, 5—to store their Play-Doh and Hot Wheels, crayons and Barbies.

You Need to Get to Work!

Steffany Mohan needs to be organized. The dentist from Des Moines, Iowa, runs her own practice, as well as a school for dental assistants on the side. She has three children under 8—and is expecting her fourth in a few weeks.

Corporate Confidant

When Jack Welch ran General Electric, every so often he'd schedule an appointment with a man named Ram Charan. They'd sit in Welch's corner suite and spend a couple of agenda-less hours talking about business, people and the world.

Taming To-Dos

It's true-confession time: how many messages are in your in box? How often do you check your e-mail? And just how many items did you check off your to-do list today?

Free Your Mind

Nearly a century ago, engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor conducted time-and-motion studies of factory workers to determine the most efficient way to work. In the 21st century, fewer Americans toil in factories—and many of us sit in front of computer screens, trying desperately to break away from answering e-mails to get our real work done.

Hot or Not?

What a difference a year makes. For the last few autumns, when America's real estate agents met at their annual convention, much of their shoptalk focused on navigating the red-hot housing market.

It's Splitsville

For centuries, European royalty has kept country estates to complement their urban castles. In 19th-century America, Gilded Age millionaires built Newport mansions as getaways.

Real Estate: Not Your Father's Retirement

The 3,000-acre site west of Phoenix isn't much to look at--not yet, anyway. Far from urbanity, past a highway sign warning no services next 38 miles and amid acres of saguaro cactus and creosote bushes, only a few streets have been built and a few foundations poured.

Are There Blue Skies Ahead?

There's no popping sound--not yet anyway. But for doomsayers who've been worried about a housing bubble, data released last week brought long-awaited news: after months of slowing sales, in August the median existing home price fell by 1.7 percent, the first year-over-year price drop in more than a decade.

The Benefits of Busy

For many families, figuring out how many after-school activities are too many is a struggle. For parents who fear they're "overscheduling" their children, a new study carries a soothing message.

Man of Leisure

If anyone needed a good vacation during the past few years, it was Steve Case. In early 2000, the celebrated founder of America Online engineered AOL's merger with Time Warner, which turned into the dot-com era's most disastrous deal.

Getting Back on Track

It's 4:30 on a weekday afternoon and ordinarily Caterina Bandini would be tracking headlines, tweaking scripts and preparing to take her seat at the anchor desk for the 5 o'clock news at Boston's NBC affiliate.

Trading Places

When women talk about managing work and family life, the verb they commonly use is "juggle." If one continues that metaphor, Sylvia Ann Hewlett has become the most skilled color commentator on this juggling act.

Midlife: Time to Start a New Career

After pink slips and midlife crises, a generation of seekers is beginning to create Career 2.0. In doing so, they may redefine the idea of retirement.

Marriage by the Numbers

Twenty years since the infamous 'terrorist' line, states of unions aren't what we predicted they'd be.

Building Success

By the time Jonathan Reckford was 42, he'd crafted a corporate résumé that would inspire envy: he'd earned a Stanford M.B.A. and done stints at Goldman Sachs, Walt Disney and Best Buy.

The Aftermath: Built Like a Brick House

It's a lesson understood by anyone who's read the story of the Three Little Pigs: the stronger you build a house, the less likely it is to blow away when a wolf--or a hurricane--starts huffing and puffing.

Twenty Years Later

It turns out that getting married after age 40 wasn't quite as difficult as we once believed.

College: Smart Picks?

It's a seasonal hazard for colleges: students love to see the famous onstage at graduation, but odds are that somebody will get upset. At Boston College, some faculty are protesting the fact that Condoleezza Rice was invited to speak at its May 22 ceremony, complaining that Iraq war policies conflict with BC's Jesuit values.