(Not) Going to the Chapel

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way

While you may be familiar with the Carpenters’ number-one 1970 hit “We’ve Only Just Begun,” you probably didn’t know that the song got its start as the soundtrack to a bank commercial.

Over wordless, soft-focus, close-up scenes of a young couple getting married in a California country church, the singer croons about the adventures the newlyweds have in store. The ad concludes with the couple driving off into the evening, followed by the words: “You’ve got a long way to go. We’d like to get you there. The Crocker Bank.” Continue reading “(Not) Going to the Chapel”

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How Bank Culture Drives Success

Two years ago, Adam Grant became famous with a very big idea: that generosity toward others gets you farther in business than selfishness. Grant’s basic argument is simple: There are three kinds of people in the world, givers, takers and matchers (those whose dominant style is determined by whether they’re dealing with a giver or a taker). Crude intuition suggests that in a cutthroat world, takers get ahead. Grant marshals evidence from psychology and behavioral economics to suggest that on the whole, givers have an advantage—especially over the long run, when true colors eventually show.

At just 31 years old—already the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an instructor at ABA’s Stonier Graduate School of Banking—Grant published Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success to wide acclaim. Continue reading “How Bank Culture Drives Success”

The Ties that Bind

Attire, for whatever reason, has always been a favorite frontier for young people to battle the norms of their elders. At my Memphis high school, the boys once objected to the neckties we were made to wear: to their constriction, to their formality, and, most of all, to their impracticality. We raised the great rallying cry of modernity, “They’re not good for anything!” One of our teachers gamely played along.

The uselessness of the necktie is its virtue, he said. It gives us not only the obvious, an appreciation for ornament, but also something far more valuable: a way of expressing our human character that is not explained by our immediate needs or wants. Continue reading “The Ties that Bind”