The Sunday Times

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Who are the heroes and zeroes in the leadership stakes in this crisis? It is pretty straightforward to select the real failures: those running the Chinese Communist Party, who misled the world about the unleashing of the virus; the bosses at the World Health Organisation, who swallowed the lies…

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This week I intend to be more optimistic. Readers have complained that my recent columns have been too pessimistic, and I suspect they are right. We all need cheering up in these dark times. So I shall attempt to shrug off the fear and suspicion that surrounds us and…

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With at least half the nation idle, sitting at home all day, people have plenty of time to think. This can be dangerous. Most of us are built for action rather than lengthy reflection — particularly in a time of universal fear about illness, death and a collapsing economy….

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What is anything worth any more? What value should investors ascribe to companies, property or bonds? The ease with which seemingly solid businesses have come close to collapse in a matter of days is a vicious reminder that projections of future earnings are merely well-informed guesses. Investors suddenly find…

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Our way of life is more fragile than we thought. So much we used to take for granted is no longer possible. Perhaps most of us were too complacent. Now every sinew is being stretched in a battle to stay healthy and afloat. Whole industries are on life support,…

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The industries I know and love — hospitality and entertainment — are collapsing. Virtually all restaurants, bars, clubs, theatres, cinemas, hotels, visitor attractions and cafes are shut and taking no income at all. None of us know when these tens of thousands of special places might reopen. This has…

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The past month has been very testing for many businesses. Trading has been disrupted, employees and customers are fearful of falling ill and entrepreneurs are worrying about meeting the payroll. Some financiers are definitely preparing for the worst. A big private equity firm — for the present, nameless —…

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It seems the government plans to scrap entrepreneurs’ relief in the budget on Wednesday. This would be a damaging move that sends a terrible message to risk-takers — especially those running scale-up companies that add the most economic value. The tax break, which allows founders to pay 10% capital…

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Is business a virtuous pursuit? Sadly, there are few well-known philosophers today who write about the moral obligations of the commercial world. In the past, it was different. The 18th-century philosopher Adam Smith, who, more than anyone, invented the entire discipline of economics, also wrote important books such as…

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It is said that culture is more important than anything in determining the success of a business. A company’s culture is mostly a reflection of the character of its leader. In short, a good boss breeds good culture. I have been fortunate enough to witness such entrepreneurs in action…

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