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What is being read

Their latest cover, 'The Illustrated Man', on Barack Obama takes an analytical look at why his ratings have been slipping in the past few months. One of the main reasons is that Americans are increasingly viewing him as Muslim. Sharon Begley, a columnist, disagrees with this notion and in her article explores the possible factors behind this trend. In his defense, she argues that he went to a Christian church in Chicago, was married in a Christian ceremony, is raising his daughters as Christians, and is a practicing Christian. "Associational distortion and GOP complicity are certainly part of the explanation for the belief that Obama is Muslim. So is the prevalence of something psychologists call motivated reasoning. " (GOP or Grand Old Party is a traditional nick name for the Republican party. ) People seeking out information to confirm what they already believe is called motivated reasoning. "They do not "search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief. " In this internet age, there is no shortage of sources you can find "proving" that Obama is Muslim (or that the moon landings were faked, or other false claims). "People completely ignore contrary information" and "develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information, " Steven Hoffman, visiting assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, explained. "

With the global rise of the celebrity CEO, some new stories are being told. Michael Skapinker in his article 'The Global Dream' writes, "Over the last two decades, with new markets springing up around the world, the celebrity CEO has become more than an American institution - and the CEO biography has gone global as well. " While the original American CEO rose to the top in spite of his national circumstance, his new age counterparts are succeeding precisely because of them. "The aspiring billionaire must struggle with his country's poverty and isolation rather than his own. " He explains his point by taking the example of Sony's co-founder Akio Morita and a passage from his memoir Made in Japan, "Morita describes his wealthy background (" I was born the first son and fifteenth-generation heir to one of Japan's finest and oldest sake-brewing families" ), which contrasts sharply with the catastrophes of living through World War II in Tokyo. In the early postwar days, Morita and his staff ran the company that would become Sony in an office so bomb-damaged that they had to hold up umbrellas indoors when it rained. " Similarly, he quotes Infosys cofounder Nandan Nilekani's Imagining India: "the 'hum and thrum' of entrepreneurial India has to be set against its electricity problems, failing schools, lousy health care, and political tensions. It is easier, he confesses, to be optimistic about India when one is far away from it. " Skapinker highlights the stark contrast between work culture present in America with that in the Third World. "In Banker to the Poor, Yunus recalls having to speak with potential female customers through curtains, as they were not permitted to talk to men outside the family. "

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