Personal Finance. Money. Investing.

If it was possible to rewind back to 1999, we’d all invest in Apple stock instead of that VHS Recorder. In a new study by, we analyse the priciest stocks of 2019 and what you could have bought with $100 over the decade.

Amazon is the most expensive stock, with the average stock price calculating to a whopping $1,752 - meaning $100 couldn’t buy you any stock, whilst in the year 2000 you’d be able to afford just two.

As one of the top e-commerce platforms in the world, Amazon gets more than 197 million visitors each month, and in 2018 the company’s share of the US e-commerce market hit 49%.

Based on the average stock price of Apple in 2000, $100 could have bought you around 35 stocks, whilst this same value wouldn’t buy a single stock based on 2019’s average stock price.

Steve Job’s innovative and visionary approach led to Apple becoming one of the biggest tech giants in the world. The launch of the iPod revolutionised the portable media player market, eventually launching iTunes which essentially changed the world’s understanding of digital media and the music industry.

Who’s worth more?

Microsoft top the leaderboard this 2019, with the company’s net worth being valued at $1 trillion - one of the only three companies to pass this figure, with Apple and Amazon being the other two in recent years.

Amazon takes second place for net worth, being worth around $928.5 billion, whilst Apple follows behind on $892.1 billion.

Despite Apple taking third place for net worth, the brand still remains champion for yearly revenue. In 2018, the giant made over $265.6 million - higher than both Amazon and Microsoft who made $232.9 and $110.4 million respectively.

What are unicorns? 

A unicorn business is a startup with a valuation of $1 billion, they are privately held and rely on venture capital. The name ‘unicorn’ comes from the rarity of businesses gaining such success.

Which sector is taking the lead?

Despite unicorn companies being private and not being publicly traded, if you’re hot on investment and want to keep an eye on which sectors seem to tip the edge, we’ve taken a look at the sectors which are most likely to become unicorns.

With over 360 companies being valued at $1 billion this year, the e-commerce sector took the lead, with 42 companies being declared as unicorns. This was closely followed by Fintech, which saw 39 companies join the leaderboard, whilst Internet Software & Services took third place with 32 companies.

Ian Wright from stated: “Unfortunately we can’t go back in time and invest that $100 we spent on junk, in Apple or Amazon! However, this research reveals just how quickly some of these brands have grown in the last few years, and how privately held start-up companies are also experiencing huge valuations from investors taking big risks to be successful.”

Investments of the 2000s

To see how much $100 could have bought you in the 2000s, or find out more about unicorn start-ups in more detail, you can take a look at’s tool here.

It’s the annual event that sets in motion plans for the year and goals for the future, as world leaders and top economy experts meet to discuss priority issues and global solutions, through panels, talks and parties.

This year’s meeting in Davos, like every other year, was full of highly debated topics and drama, with major appearances, like Prince William, and absentees, i.e. Donald Trump. Below Finance Monthly lists the top 5 things about the 2019 World Economic Forum.

1. Climate Change

Climate change may seem like it was a hot topic 10 years ago, but it’s still very relevant today, as many economic and business decisions revolve around water consumption, global warming and ocean sustainability, according to talks at this year’s event.

Famous TV voice and broadcaster David Attenborough led the talks and screened a new climate focused TV programme, warning that “the Garden of Eden is no more.”

From a business perspective, much of the discussion revolved around the power of social media, in changing companies’ attitudes towards climate change, in the face of reputation damage. During a panel discussion, Burberry (BBRYF) board member Orna Ni-Chionna said: "Things change instantly because of the power of social media…” In reference to Burberry’s recent debacle, she said: "When this was discovered, the social media theme that rocketed to the top was 'Burberry burns.' It took me about five minutes to send an email to our Chief Executive and ... it took our Chief Executive three weeks to have a completely new policy.”

Regarding business in a future full of climate change challenges, Christina Figueres, Founder of Global Optimism had this to say: "I think people are beginning to realise that there is no business on a dead planet."

2. Significant Absences

A second major talking point at the WEF 2019 was the lack of certain prominent figures. ‘No shows’ are a hot topic every year and often reflect the state of crisis being discussed at each event.

This year British Prime Minister Theresa May took an absence, claiming she is “focused on matters here”, i.e. Brexit, which understandably warrants some urgency. The lack of this world leader at such an important global event does however have some impact on the proceedings and talks that go on.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry replaced Mike Pompeo last minute on a panel, leaving Pompeo to chime in over video conference, in a very Trump-like manner, with issues surrounding populist disruption. He stated: “New winds are blowing across the world. People are asking questions that haven’t been asked or taken seriously for an awfully long time.” In this case, his absence delivered an even stronger sense of urgency to his message.

Fortune reports that thanks to US President Donald Trump’s absence at the event, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took the spotlight, presenting his vision for the future of a “new Brazil.” In his speech, he promised to eradicate corruption, implement privatization of some industries, and turn the tables when it came to his country’s global reputation.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were significant absences.

3. Economic Slowdown

With Brexit, economic tension between China and the US, GDPR and other matters at hand, it’s no surprise the world’s economies are slowing down. This was one of the major talking points at Davos 2019.

On the opening day of the forum, IMF chief Christine Lagarde stated: "The bottom line is that after two years of solid expansion, the world economy is growing more slowly than expected, and risks are rising.”

One of the main points to come out was that following the 2008 financial crisis, banks took unusual and dramatic steps to prevent economic collapse, the impact of which we are experiencing today in the form of slow recovery and a slow reversal of those measures, with still historically low interest rates and little space for manoeuvre. In fact, following a figure of 6% growth last year, the IMF just recently re-lowered its estimates for global economic growth in 2019 to 3.5%.

On top of this are political pressures that make it even harder for banks to respond to the slowdown. Neil Shearing, Chief Economist at Capital Economics, said: "With the global economy likely to slow over the coming quarters, it seems more likely that central banks will continue to come under fire from populist leaders.”

4. Venezuela

As summarised in this Finance Monthly feature on hyperinflation, Venezuela has been undergoing serious difficulties in the past decade. Hyperinflation has rendered the nation weak, due to political corruption and poor decision-making on the government’s part. In recent news, Juan Guaido has been officially recognised as Venezuela's Interim President, replacing President Nicolas Maduro.

As a consequence, protests ensued across the country, though protests have been ongoing for months if not years now. During the forum, the EU, attempting to defuse the situation, has consequently called for an election to take place. An EU statement threatens that if elections are not called within 8 days, the EU will also recognise Guaido as the Venezuelan President. Maduro immediate response was to expel US diplomats and threaten the same for Spanish diplomats.

According to CNBC, former Venezuelan Minister, and currently a writer and journalist at Davos, Moises Naím said: "Venezuela has a very long road ahead, Venezuela has to be rebuilt, relaunched, rethought, remade…There is no doubt that the behaviour of guys with guns will define much of what will happen in the coming days and shape politics in Venezuela.”

5. Brexit

The WEF 2019 couldn’t go by without everyone discussing one of the world’s biggest gamechangers, Brexit. On the lips of almost each and every one of the 3000+ attendees, Brexit is a concern among many in the business and politics world.

As British Chancellor Philip Hammond stood in for his PM Theresa May, his goal was to reassure world leaders and business officials that his government is doing the best it can when it comes to reaching a deal pre-29th March. He emphasized that the consensus on the ‘leave’ vote is that it is still to be respected and implemented, but that a no-deal scenario would not be the best outcome for those who voted ‘leave’ after all. He has since confirmed that a “no-deal Brexit would be 'a betrayal' of the promises made in the referendum campaign.”

In a separate appearance, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said in regards to the challenges businesses face against Brexit: “There are a series of logistical issues that need to be solved, and it’s quite transparent that in many cases they’re not…There is a limited amount that many businesses can do to prepare if there are going to be substantial delays on the logistical side.”

With businesses embracing big data, new tech and digital media, the role of traditional CFO is evolving from financial expert to strategic partner, data analyst, talent curator and more. With the support of several data streams, James Booth, Chief Financial Officer at Instant Offices explains for Finance Monthly what this new era of the multidiscipline strategist means and how there is more potential than ever for CFOs to be the architects of change within business.

Five Factors Keeping CFOs Up at Night

  1. Brexit

Around 75% of CFOs worry Brexit could have a negative impact on business in the long-term, compared to just 9% who don’t, according to Deloitte. Along with Brexit risks, weak demand and the prospect of tighter monetary policies are ranked as the top worries for CFOs in 2018. Despite high levels of uncertainty across the board, research shows CFOs are still highly focused on growth plans, and the level of desire to expand business over the next year is at its highest since 2009.

  1. Skills Shortages

According to research, 44% of CFOs have reported recruitment difficulties and skills shortages in 2018. To add to the challenge, The Open University Business Barometer revealed a massive 91% of UK organisations say they have had difficulties hiring skilled employees in the last 12 months.

  1. Rising Stress Levels

78% of UK CFOs believe stress levels are set to rise in the next two years as workloads increase, business expectations grow, and companies face a lack of staff, according to Robert Half. Research also shows CFOs expect their finance teams’ workloads to increase, while 52% are planning to hire interim staff as a short-term solution.

  1. Big Data

Research firm IDC predicts that by 2025, we’ll see 163 trillion gigabytes of data output every year. And a recent study by Accenture suggests that by 2020, 90% of a CFO’s time and efforts will be spent on working with data scientists to turn data into actionable insights that organisations can use for strategic decision-making.

  1. Increased Cyber Security Threats

Studies from Verizon show that 59% of cybercriminals are motivated by financial gain and are likely to target finance and HR – areas which fall into the CFO realm – suggesting CFOs are going to be expected to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

Top Five CFO Priorities for the Upcoming Year

In Q2 of 2018, CFOs listed the following as strong priorities for business in the following 12 months:

  1. 49% say increasing cash flow is the top priority
  2. 47% say reducing costs
  3. 37% say introducing new products and services and expanding into new markets
  4. 18% say expanding by acquisition is a priority
  5. 14% say raising dividend or share buybacks

What Skills will CFOs Need by 2020?

The CFO Must Become a Leader of Innovation: New tech, including AI, will become a core part of the innovation strategy within businesses looking to remain competitive, and CFOs will be required to understand the opportunities presented by new tech to drive growth. By 2020, 48% of CFOs are set to be using AI to improve performance.

CFOs Must Embrace Big Data: According to a report by the ACCA and IMA, the CFO and finance team is set to be at the heart of the data revolution. In order to make sense of the large volumes of data the world will be generating by 2020, CFOs will need to be able to accurately interpret data to generate quality, actionable insights for CEOs and board-level decisions.

The CFO Must Manage Risk Under Scrutiny: As tech grows and presents more complex risks to business, expectations on the CFO will be high. They’ll be required to implement and manage cutting-edge risk management processes within the finance department and business as a whole. A proactive approach towards threats will be key. One report by NJAMHA showed four in ten finance chiefs currently own or co-own cybersecurity responsibility within their organisations.

The CFO Must Prepare Talent for the FuturePrepping talent for a finance role was once the domain of HR, but in order to prepare new employees for the future of finance, CFOs are going to be required to increase involvement to ensure new employees can multitask, show technical competence and handle business strategy. Around 42% of CFOs are also prioritising soft skills as a key element for future hires.

The CFO Must Be a Leader in a Rapidly Changing Workplace: With the consumerisation of real estate becoming a global trend, more businesses are choosing an agile approach to office space to expand into new markets, reduce costs, increase networking opportunities and improve staff happiness. Tied into this, the modern CFO will need to develop leadership skills to not only manage talent but also implement development strategies that work across remote teams with geographic and language differences.

Today, the role of the CFO has evolved from financial expert to a multidiscipline strategist. In addition to traditional accounting and finance responsibilities, by 2020 research shows the top priority for CFOs will be keeping pace with technology and harnessing big data.

Nowadays, CEOs expect CFOs to have an impact on business direction and strategy more than ever before. And while the question of who owns analytics is still an open question across sectors, according to a report by Deloitte, finance is the area most often found to invest in analytics at 79%, and CFOs can use it to bridge the gap between strategic and operational decision-making.

Initial Coin Offerings are one of the most tempting investment options for those hoping to profit from the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency. However, the lack of regulation has allowed ICO investors to become targets of sneaky schemes.

Though ICOs have snowballed, with more than 750 being invested in during 2018 alone, the number of scams has also steadily risen, with more victims of fraud falling prey to cryptocurrency criminals.

Following Satis Group’s revelation that approximately 80% of 2017 ICOs were identified scams, new data from Fortune Jack has found that just ten of the most high-profile ICO scams have swindled $687.4 million from unsuspecting investors.

In fact, the notorious Pincoin and iFan scam stole $660 million, with an estimated 32,000 investors falling prey to the money-making plot from Modern Tech.

As cryptocurrency continues to dominate headlines, more investors are pouring cash into ICO schemes in the hope of turning a quick profit. And with more than 150 scams listed on popular website Deadcoins, it’s easy to see how inexperienced ISO investors are being suckered.

The losses have become so prevalent that the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched its own ISO scam in a bid to show investors how easy it is to set up such schemes.

The top ten most notorious ICO scams to date

Scam name Amount of money scammed ($)
Pincoin and iFan 660,000,000
Plexcoin 15,000,000
Bitcard 5,000,000
Opair and Ebitz 2,900,000
Benebit 2,700,000
Bitconnect 700,000
Confido 375,000
REcoin and DRC 300,000
Ponzicoin 250,000
Karbon 200,000


Despite the SEC warning that ICOs “bring an increased risk of fraud and manipulation” due to the lack of regulation, the number of ICOs as well as the amount invested has increased over the past year.

In 2017 $6,240,046,555 was raised across 371 ICOs. However, in 2018 a staggering $20,074,423,238 has been raised across 789 ICOs to date.

This reveals a 222% increase in the amount raised in 2018 so far, compared to the full year of 2017. Additionally, there is a 113% increase in the number of ICOs in 2018 so far compared to 2017.

If Satis Group’s suggestion that almost 80% of 2017’s ICOs were identified scams is correct, 297 ICOs in 2017 may have been fraudulent. If this trend was to continue in 2018, 631 ICOs could be fraudulent.

Despite such shocking statistics, ICOs remain a relatively popular investment in 2018, with $20.1 billion being invested into ICOs so far.

The amount invested in ICOs in 2018 to date

Month Money invested ($)
January 1,985,750,821
February 1,660,013,613
March 4,173,112,271
April 1,268,948,460
May 1,985,596,961
June 5,778,213,703
July 809,577,207
August 989,375,043
September 1,423,835,159


So, what are the red flags that may alert you to an ISO scam? The following were present in the most high-profile incidents:

- Silence from companies when contacted by investors

- Lack of a whitepaper and inconsistencies on the ISO website

- Fake Linkedin Profiles of “the team” with stock images or stolen photos

- Any text humourous or otherwise outlining a scam

- Promise of fixed profit or guaranteed ROI

(Source: Fortune Jack)

You’ve seen a lot of content, articles, warning and advice on cybersecurity, with hundreds of firms trying to sell you next level cyber protection. So, before you do anything else, you need to know what exactly it is you’re protecting yourself against. Below Suid Adeyanju, Managing Director of RiverSafe, lists 10 threats you need to be aware of.

In early July IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute released a new report titled ‘Cost of a Data Breach Study’. In this study it was reported that that the global average cost of a data breach and the average cost for lost or stolen information both increased. The former is up 6.4% to £2.94 million while the latter increased by 4.8% year over year to $112.57. This shows that cyberattacks on enterprises continue to rise. In particular over the last two years there has been a continual stream of concerning data security breaches.

One of the ways that organisations can defend against attacks is to ensure staff understand and are educated about the cyber threat landscape.

Understanding Threats to your Business

Getting the right technology, services, and security professionals is only a part of tackling the cyber security problem. It is also important that companies get a clear understanding of the cyber threat landscape. This means knowing where these types of attacks can come from and in turn, who is leading the attack (whether it be an individual or group). Often, knowing the answer to these types of questions leads to an understanding of the motive and makes countering the attacks easier. So, in this article, I wanted to highlight the areas of the cyber threat landscape that enterprises should be aware of.

  1. Nation State: This kind of hacking is often government versus government. It is often functionally indistinguishable from cyber terrorism, but the defining trait is that the attack is officially sanctioned by a country’s government. These attacks can involve not only hacking but the use of more traditional spying as well.
  2. Insider Threat: This is one area where many businesses least expect a threat to come from: inside the business itself. A reportfrom A10 Networks revealed that employee negligence is a major cause of cyber attacks. Employees unknowingly allowing hackers into the business through unauthorised apps. And, on the very rare occasion, a disgruntled employee could try and bring the business down in revenge, so it is always important to investigate who could have access because there is every chance that the threat could come from the inside.
  3. Individual Attackers: When you think of the stereotypical hacker most thoughts turn to a hooded youth sitting alone in their room. This is the individual attacker and their motives are often more one of curiosity and learning. They want to see if they can hack a system rather than attempt anything malicious. This is the most neutral cyber threat.
  4. Industrial Espionage: Sometimes an unrelated group and other times a rival business, cyber threats that deal with industrial espionage have the motive of creating problems for your business. The most common reason for industrial espionage is to discover the secrets of a rival business, often through spying. However, it could also involve destroying valuable data or, with some IoT devices, physically breaking the technology. Anything that can push a business over a competitor.
  5. Cybercriminals: Much like the individual attackers, cybercriminals are an all-encompassing cyber threat. Almost all hackers are criminals in some way and the motives can vary from demanding money, to setting up crypto-mining, to damaging company property. Whatever they do it won’t be a good thing.
  6. Phishing and Ransomware: These are some of the most common types of attacks you’ll find cyber criminals performing. These attacks are motivated purely by financials and exist to either scam a business out of money or hold valuable company data at ransom. Sometimes this can be a distraction to hide something more nefarious. Therefore, organisations need to make sure they are prepared for any escalation.
  7. Ethical Hackers: An ethical hacker is the opposite of a cybercriminal, as the term ‘ethical’ implies. These types of threats are often undertaken for the sake of a company, and often have been paid for by the business to see if it can hack into its own servers. These hackers test the security resilience of a business and locate areas that are vulnerable, before an ‘unethical’ hacker comes along.
  8. Hacktivists: A hacktivist is a sub-set of cybercriminals whose motives are more ideological. As the name references, a hacktivist is essentially a cyber activist. They are using hacking purely to push an agenda, whether political, religious, or otherwise, rather than a financial motive. A hacktivist attack can be something as simple as changing the text on a company website to a more nefarious act that interferes with the day to day running of the business.
  9. Cyber Terrorism: While hacktivists don’t always cause damage, a cyber-terrorist will. Just like real terrorism, cyber terrorism exists to bring terror to your business, country and customers. Examples include the attacks on the NHSlast year which aimed to bring systems down in hospitals and cause chaos and fear.

By understanding all the different types of attacks in the cyber threat landscape it can help you build your cyber defence by identifying a motive and being able to trace what kind of opponent your business is facing, as well as if this is an attack aimed primarily at an individual, an organisation or a national-level threat where the solution would be to work with other companies to stop the attack as a team.

15 Ways To Make One Million Dollars | Sunday Motivational Video from Alux.

How hard is to make one million dollars? How fast is to make one million dollars? What is the fastest way to make one million dollars? How long until you make one million dollars? What is the best job to earn one million dollars? What can you do for one million dollars? How to get rich? How to make more money? What books to read to understand money? How to earn more money? Can writing books make you rich? How to license a patent? What is dropshipping? Can saving money make you rich? How to save money to make money? What is ICO? How to make an app that makes money? Can having a blog make you rich? How many views do you need to earn one million dollars?

The top 5 biggest real estate companies in the world. We take a look at the top 5 biggest real estate companies in the world, and compare figures such as profit, sales, market value and assets.

The rapidly expanding tech startups industry is progressively becoming the future and face of the business world and those who want to nurture their inner Elon Musk are increasingly travelling abroad to emerging tech hubs. Although, Silicon Valley still remains the undisputed destination for startups and venture capitalists, a new crop of global tech hubs are rapidly expanding to match the talent oozing out of the Bay Area.

A recent study by has revealed the best rising tech hubs for people who are seeking entrepreneurial opportunities. The research took into account the average internet speed, the average business valuation, and cost of living, among other metrics.

1. Boulder, US - With the second highest internet speed, Boulder has over 5,000 business investors and an average business valuation coming in at $4.3 million. Boulder is a prime location for those wanting to start their next tech-startup.

2. Bangalore, India
- In spite of an average internet speed of 11mbps, Bangalore has over 6,000 investors and an average business value of $3.4 million making it one of the best locations on the Asian continent.

3. Johannesburg, South Africa - As one of the most affordable tech hubs for young innovators, Johannesburg boasts reasonable average monthly rent cost of $416. The city has an average business valuation of $3.6 million and over 1,200 investors.

4. Santiago, Chile - With 1,201 startups, Santiago is considered as a new home for tech startup companies, making it a great destination for those in the South American continent. The city has an average monthly rent cost of $372, making it the second cheapest city to live behind Colombo in Sri Lanka.

5. Stockholm, Sweden
- Named the 9th happiest country in the world, Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and ranks number 5 for the World's Rising Tech Hubs. The city also scores highly for its internet connectivity with the second highest average internet speed of 42mbps behind Houston, Texas.

Digital Hotspots
Connectivity is a non-negotiable in the 21st century working world, especially for tech startups. Although Houston has only having 322 public wifi hotspots, the city number one for the highest average internet speed of 65 mbps. Stockholm offers some of the highest internet speed outside of the United States at 37 mbps.

Recently, there has been growing trends of millenials moving abroad for greater work opportunities. Bangalore is great for young innovators as it call home to over 7,500 startups and the largest amount of investors (6,236). While Boulder in Colorado has the highest average business valuation of $3.4 million.


The cost of living is one of the biggest concerns for many young people especially when the majority of their capital is being used to fund their venture. Helsinki has the highest average monthly rent cost of $1,548, with Tel-Aviv ($1,338), and Boulder ($1,250) respectively. Whereas Lagos has the lowest infrastructure score of 2.4, with the highest being Stockholm (4.27).

Although many still regard cities such as Silicon Valley as one of the few locations where entrepreneurs can develop their untapped entrepreneurial talent. This new study gives insight to the best alternatives rising cities to live and work for innovators outside the overcrowded Bay Area.

Following on from last year’s top 10 must read finance books, Tamir Davies, content writer and researcher for Savoy Stewart, advises Finance Monthly on the top 10 business books to look out for, with her own blurb on each and some advice on which reader they are best suited to.

The first month of 2018 is done, and as we continue into the next few months, many Brits will have set aspiring goals and achievements to mark off their bucket lists for the remainder of the year. Whether it be a personal or professional accomplishment, the new year marks a ‘new you’, with a never-ending list of books to read, websites to browse, knowledge to be attained and situations to be resolved. Whilst it’s incredibly easy in this modern world to turn our eye to the internet for a quick fix, we have become incredibly complacent to picking up a book. There is nothing quite like opening freshly printed books, with that lingering sweet smell resembling notes of vanilla flowers and almonds. And even the manufactured smell of new books can’t be mistaken for being better than the world wide web.

If you’re looking to build your collection and to learn something new in your professional field, albeit financial and or business related, here are the 10 most inspiring must-read business books.

1. Cryptocurrency: Advanced Strategies and Techniques to Learn and Understand the World of Cryptocurrency by James C. Anderson

Cryptocurrencies have most certainly made their financial mark on business, proving to be worthy investments for the future of currency. Considering how many Brits have become self-made millionaires after holding onto the currency, it’s no surprise that those investing in cryptocurrencies are looking to know more than just the basics. Perhaps you’re asking yourself more in-depth questions such as ‘why does it have any value?’. Cryptocurrency: Advanced strategies and techniques to learn and understand the world of Cryptocurrency will answer all your questions of interest, demonstrating how this new inventive currency will fit into the modern economy. The book assesses its effect on the economy, how it will grow and shape finance, and finally whether it is sustainable.

Read this book if: You’re bored of conventional strategies to make money and looking to help change the world that little bit more.








2. When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn't the Life You Want by Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis, the founder of When to Jump, presents his book When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want, for anyone who feels they have reached a career crossroad. Do you follow your dreams, or do you stick it out because you need the money, the security and longevity of a job that is in front of you? Mike Lewis goes through in detail the ‘Jump Curve’, what he describes are four steps to wholeheartedly pursue the career you have always dreamt about. The book is a beautiful collection of curated stories from like-minded people who share how they took a leap into the unknown. Mike Lewis recently won the Goldman Sachs accolade for ‘100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs’.

Read this book if: You’re sat at your office desk, reading this post and thinking ‘what am I doing here?’.








3. Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

Crushing It, explores how entrepreneurs and influencers who left their career path which had been somewhat mapped out for them, and went on to build thriving and highly successful businesses. The four-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk hopes in his new book to inspire similar business men and women with dreams of doing what they love, by offering a unique perspective and lessons to be taken which would help with taking their career to a new level. Gary shares stories of those who have grown wealthier, by adopting principles discussed in his book. Gary dissects every social media platform to help anyone of any career field or title how to maximise and optimise their brand presence.

Read this if: You’re a lively individual, looking for something new to dabble in. Perhaps you’re not doing it for financial gains.








4. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway

We all log into Facebook, purchase from Amazon, use software from Apple and search for what our heart desires from Google. But have you ever considered their ultimate power as giants of the 21st century? Scott Galloway, in his new book The Four, asks fundamental questions, such as ‘how did the Four infiltrate our lives so completely that they’re almost impossible to avoid (or boycott). Scott Galloway is one of the world’s most celebrated and prolific business professors, and has deconstructed the methods and strategies used by these ‘Four’ giants, and shows you how you can apply the same measures and principles of their tenacity to your own business ventures.

Read this if: You love or loathe these giants of the world, but wish to replicate their deepest, darkest methods of success.








5. Business for Bohemians: Live Well, Make Money by Tom Hodgkinson

Tom Hogkinson, a renowned journalist has combined his wisdom for cash flow forecasts, tax returns, and anything business related, in his book Business for Bohemians, with practical advice and engaging anecdotes to create a refreshing outlook on how to create a greater level of freedom in our working careers. No matter your business dreams, this book will equip you with the skills to turn your talent into a profitable and enjoyable business. The book will navigate how to become a wizard of excel, a social media maven and the art of negotiating with clients, companies and friends, when business is just business.

Read this if: You fear losing your mogul personality when building your business.









Click to reveal the NEXT 5 must read business books of 2018!


S&P Global Ratings said that its top 50 rated European banks turned a corner last year, a decade after the start of the financial crisis, and are likely to continue down this brighter path in 2018, according to the report, ‘The Top Trends Shaping Major European Banks In 2018’.

Idiosyncratic developments aside, there was clear forward momentum, culminating in a raft of positive rating actions (outlook changes and upgrades) across a number of European banking systems in the third and fourth quarters.

"These actions reflected principally our view of improving economic risks, helped by massive monetary stimulus from central banks, and supportive industry risks, notwithstanding the emergence of fundamental long-term business model challenges," said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Giles Edwards.

Elsewhere, for example in Sweden and Germany, our concern about looming asset bubbles receded somewhat. What's more, for a few banks, we recognized a strengthening in their balance sheets, typically improving capitalization or a growing bail-in buffer.

We start 2018 with no fewer than 15 of the top 50 European banks carrying a positive outlook and only three with negative outlooks on the issuer credit ratings (ICRs), suggesting that this should be another year of generally positive ratings developments.

Under this supportive base case, here are trends we expect to play out in 2018:

Slightly improving profitability, aided by improving economic activity, sustained low NPA formation, and efficiency measures to offset weak revenue growth.
Improved dividend-paying capacity.
Generally stable balance sheets owing to solid economic conditions, modest net lending, NPA stock reduction, and given substantial enhancements in capitalization and funding.
Copious issuance of subordinated instruments to ramp-up bail-in buffers.
Further divestment of government stakes in banks such as ABN, AIB, Bankia, and Belfius, rescued in the financial crisis.
Possibly, the improvement in fortunes of some currently underperforming major banks: Barclays, Commerzbank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, and Royal Bank of Scotland.

"However, European banks' progress in areas like NPA reduction and debt issuance and the emerging improvement in economic activity could yet be undone if political risks rise or market conditions deteriorate significantly," Mr. Edwards said.

Furthermore, we continue to monitor the long-term challenges that European banks face:

Optimizing business models to ensure sufficient and sustainable profitability,
Leveraging the benefits of the digital era while fending off nimble emerging challengers,
Delivering effective measures to avoid disruption and franchise damage from cyberattacks and customer data mismanagement.

(Source: S&P Global Ratings)

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From AI to IP, with GDPR and cybersecurity in the midst, Karl Roe, VP Services & Cloud Solutions at Nuvias, tells Finance Monthly what’s in store for organisations using the cloud in 2018.

The Rise of AI

2018 will see Artificial Intelligence (AI) drive a transformational change among organisations and impact on cloud use.

ICT isn’t getting any simpler, and businesses are being forced to move faster as their customers’ requirements become more demanding. This is driving innovation in areas like AI, but automation of past processes won’t be enough to keep up with the “need for speed” in business agility.

We will see lots more AI projects and initiatives in 2018; it will be the cornerstone of change in automation of ICT. Proactive, automated, non-human decisions are now a necessity. Are the robots coming? Yes, they are – but we still need to develop the Intellectual Property (IP) to drive them.

IP Will Be Key

With emerging technologies like AI becoming more prominent in 2018, organisations are demanding bespoke software and solutions that solve their specific business problems.

As a result, companies are increasingly working with cloud service providers to gain a competitive advantage – this includes using public cloud providers to power their IP-centric solutions. Investment in infrastructure development is diminishing, replaced by a need for specific business-driven solutions that require unique software to bring these solutions to life.

From Partnering to Strategic Alliances

IP is the key, but many end users don’t have the time, resources or in-house skills to create their own unique solution that gives them the business advantage they require.

As such, they are forging long term business relationships with technology service providers who understand their need for change, and develop specific IP or software which utilises public cloud services, embraces AI, and most importantly which solves a business or specific customer problem.

Public cloud providers also need these strategic partner alliances to ensure there is a shorter time to value in moving workloads to the cloud, and providing solutions that move beyond IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) to fully utilising PaaS (Platform- as-a-Service).

PaaS as the Basis for Digital Transformation 

We are starting to see the SaaS (Software- as-a-Service) players now extending into PaaS in response to customer demand.

Customers that are using a SaaS kingpin like CRM want to extend that platform into other use cases and requirements. It’s been a long time coming but as the world moves to a cloud-first strategy, the complexity in integrated public clouds is driving companies to explore PaaS.

Secure Cloud Services & Cyber Security get Board Visibility

Cloud services have been a safe bet in the Boardroom in recent years, but now the question is, are they truly secure? Decisions to utilise cloud services have been a relatively easy Boardroom decision, due to their known cost and agility. But with more and more high-profile data breaches, questions are now being asked around cloud security at a Board level within businesses.

The damaging nature of cyber-attacks is now clearly in the line of sight of Board members. GDPR will also raise more questions at this level, making cyber security in the cloud a Board level priority.

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