Passionate Purchases

Nothing inspires envy like real estate. That's been true for generations, but perhaps never more so than today, as home prices are on a tear in cities across the country.

FRESH IDEAS

There was a time when a business leader was someone straight from Central Casting. They were the suit-clad CEOs of the alphabet-soup companies--GM, GE, IBM, AT&T--at the pinnacle of American business.

REAL ESTATE: LIGHTS, CAMERA... CLOSET!

Forget blogs. For desk jockeys, the Web offers a better genre of goof-off sites: online real-estate listings. But while most of these sites offer the same tired set of photos--look: another crummy shot of the living room!--one site's upping the ante in an increasingly competitive industry.

MARKET: TOO MUCH INFO?

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is all but certain to boost short-term interest rates to 3 percent, its eighth hike in a year. But for some market-watchers, the deeper insight into the Fed's thinking won't come from the brief rate announcement, but three weeks later when the Fed releases the minutes of its deliberations.Until January, the Fed kept these notes under wraps for six weeks, until after its next meeting.

SCHOLARSHIPS: HOLDING LESS SWAY

For students admitted to several colleges, the clock is ticking: most schools require a deposit by May 1. Choosing can be tough enough--and these decisions are becoming trickier as schools offer more merit scholarships in hopes of luring brighter students to campus, which helps in rankings.

CEO'S: TRAGIC LESSONS LEARNED

When it comes to succession planning, corporate boards usually prepare for disaster by putting together what they call "the envelope," which contains instructions on who takes over if the chief executive is suddenly incapacitated.

QUICK READ

The Chairman: A Novel by Stephen FreyAs the new chairman of a major private-equity group, Christian Gillette must not only oversee 27 companies and raise $15 billion for a new fund, but has to figure out who murdered his former boss and attempted to kill him at the funeral--before they try again.

FROM HARVARD TO LAS VEGAS

If you fly into the Las Vegas airport, grab a cab and ask the driver to take you to the town's most fabulous casino, you might arrive at the door of Mandalay Bay, which has a giant shark aquarium, the best pool and classy restaurants like Aureole.

'THE PRESIDENT ON LINE 1'

When NEWSWEEK last sat down with Jack Welch, in December 2000, he'd just picked Jeff Immelt as his successor, and the U.S. Supreme Court had just cemented George W.

BUILDING A BETTER CEO

During normal times, serving as the chief executive of a big company is an enviable position: interesting work, rich pay and a corporate jet at the ready.

THE GREEN MACHINE

Annual meetings can be a dangerous place for chief executives. You never know when a Michael Moore-style protester will grab the microphone and start heckling.

GENDER: FORMULA FOR SUCCESS

During Harvard president Larry Summers's now infamous talk, he sparked a firestorm by arguing that biology might be a factor in holding women back in their science and engineering careers.

BULLY IN THE PULPIT

They're called change agents. They swoop in to transform stodgy institutions, using their power of persuasion--or brute force--to implement their bold agenda.

PRINTING CASH, FOR NOW

The sign in the window at Staples appears altruistic: "Recycle your empty inkjet cartridges," it urges. "We'll donate $1 to local education." But this program isn't aimed only at saving the world--it's also intended to swipe some milk from the cash cow known as printer consumables.

IT'S MUELLER TIME

In the past decade the ski industry has surely gone corporate, with publicly traded companies like Vail buying up resorts and diversifying into hotels. But as the M.B.A.s schuss into ski country, there remain some traditionalists who believe stocks and snow don't mix.

KING OF THE HILL

For some skiers, the midday meal is a modest repast--say, a brown-bag lunch, some watery cocoa or a bowl of expensive chili eaten elbow-to-elbow in a drafty mountainside cafeteria.

SHOPLIFTING: THE FIVE-FINGER FIX?

The holidays are not just the busiest time for shopping--they're also the busiest time for shoplifting. For retailers, so-called shrinkage--which includes employee theft and return fraud, along with folks' taking the five-finger discount--is a $34 billion-a-year problem.

COLLEGE: PIMP MY... RENTAL

Today nearly every college student has a cell phone and an iPod, but there's one possession that remains rare on many campuses: a car. Due to limited parking, many schools restrict students from keeping vehicles.

YOGA: STRETCHING AN EMPIRE

When the Internet boom came crashing down, high-tech entrepreneurs Rob Wrubel and George Lichter were left with bad backs from too much time on airplanes and in front of computers.

RE-ENGINEERING 2.0

When it comes to using technology to re-invent how companies do business, Michael Hammer wrote the book on the concept. His 1993 best seller "Reengineering the Corporation" (with coauthor James Champy), launched thousands of corporate reorganizations--and nearly as many "Dilbert" strips.

SWIMMING UPSTREAM

For shopaholics, the village of Freeport, Maine, spells danger. The main street is lined with merchants offering all manner of temptations, from $285 Allen Edmonds shoes at one end to the $2,500 Thos.

MATING BEHAVIOR 101

It was just after sunset on a warm day at the College of New Jersey. Under a rising moon, the soccer team ran the field in the lighted stadium. Outside the student union, a guitar duo played an acoustic set.

Is This Any Way To Run An Airline?

Michael O'Leary is sitting in his spartan office on the outskirts of Dublin airport, wearing headphones and crooning along--badly--to the U2 classic "Bad." "If you twist and turn away," he warbles, in a key that makes a visitor wish a jet would roar overhead.

NO ROAD TO RUIN

For anyone who drools over home-makeover shows, visiting the KB Home studio in Las Vegas is like a child's trip to Disney World. The showroom is filled with granite counters, oak cabinetry, sleek appliances and young couples tricking out their dream home.

TAKING DEPRESSION ON

On the long list of worries Mom and Dad have when a child goes to college--grades, homesickness, partying--there's a new issue: the apparent rise in mental illness on campus.

SOME OF THE SMALL SURVIVE

Joseph Diaz is standing in a Wal-Mart in suburban Boston surrounded by "shut-up toys." That's his name for the cheap playthings--93-cent blocks, 88-cent kites--shoppers buy to quiet their kids.

BUSINESS: THE ANTI-WAL-MARTS

The toy business is a cruel place these days. The latest reminder came last week, when Toys "R" Us announced plans to split its company in half--and possibly get out of the toy business altogether.

PLUMBING: THE FUTURE OF FLUSHING

Americans are used to ordering things ranging from french fries to popcorn in small, medium or supersize. Now those same decision-making skills may become useful in the bathroom, thanks to an innovative plumbing technology: dual-flush toilets.

DEALING WITH DEPRESSION

On the long list of worries that Mom and Dad have when a child goes to college--grades, homesickness, partying--there's a new issue gaining prominence: the apparent rise in mental illness on campus.

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