Archive for July, 2006

On Vacation

July 23, 2006


I’ll be on a three-week break starting this week, travelling, visiting family and celebrating our boys’ first birthday (I can’t believe it is going to be a year already). I do plan to make an occasional post but I will be taking a bit of a break from blogging as well. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer so far.

Here are some of my favourite posts from my archives:

Summer Reading List

July 20, 2006


Summer is a good time for catching up on the books you have been meaning to read. Here is my list of business and finance books that are on my reading list (I’ve read some of them already):

  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell: Mr. Gladwell, a native of Waterloo, who now lives in New York, writes a very engaging book about how our sub-conscious mind makes split-second decisions and how these decisions can be uncannily accurate or lead us astray. This book is so fascinating and un-putdownable that I was able to finish it in two evenings.
  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell: After reading Blink, I want to read this book, which Mr. Gladwell describes as follows: “It’s a book about change. In particular, it’s a book that presents a new way of understanding why change so often happens as quickly and as unexpectedly as it does.”
  • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Not many investors realize that investing involves dealing with a range of possible outcomes, each of which has a certain probability of happening. Mr. Taleb, a professional trader, writes a scholarly treatise on probabilities and randomness and how we are frequently unable to deal with them. While, I found the book to be thought provoking, it is written in an essay format and jumps between topics in a seemingly random manner.
  • The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century by Thomas L. Friedman, is called “an exciting and very readable account of globalization”.
  • The Long Tail by Chris Anderson promises to be a best-seller business book this year. The book is an expanded version of this article published in Wired magazine.

The Income Tax Increase

July 20, 2006


I get paid bi-monthly and I recently received my pay stub for the first half of July. As you may recall, the Harper Government introduced a 1% cut in the GST starting July 1st and increased personal income taxes at the same time. Much ink has been spent debating whether the new tax cuts ultimately put more money in our pockets.

My recent pay stub reveals that starting July 1st, I am paying about $9 more per month in income taxes (assuming the company payroll department got the taxes right). So, I have to spend more than $10,800 per year in goods and services subject to the GST to be better off than before. A quick glance at our spending patterns indicates that we would probably make up the shortfall through savings in the GST. However, as many readers have pointed out, the government could have kept things simple by just cutting the income tax, rather than a hodgepodge of tax cuts.