IF A CEO wanted to spend more time with his family, he never would have made it to the C level. Something else is going on. Few have a change of heart while they have more than a couple of heartbeats left in their lives.


When a television personality is given an on-air sendoff, you can bet it was negotiated into the severance package. When a corporation announces it is returning to its core competencies, you fully understand that their diversity attempts failed miserably and cost everyone a bundle.

All these statements are the boilerplate of the business media. Your job as an investor in industry is to try to get behind the investor relations armor plate to understand what is happening to your money. By the time these announcements make it to the public square, it is usually long since past time to make any reasonable moves.

How best to read the future? First, read. The future is there. It is buried in the daily details. A missed quarter, the departure of a senior vice president, the silence after a product launch — all tell you that things may not be as they seem. You cannot predict or time the future with any degree of accuracy, but you surely can see things coming at their normal glacial speed.

Staying ahead of slow-moving ice is within almost everyone’s skill set. Just pay attention and go beyond the press release news flashes that have been worked over for weeks in advance. The Friday before a holiday weekend is the classic burial ground for less-than-stellar information. When the euphemisms begin to flow, the glacier is on the move. You can learn the meanings of all of these things with a little practice.

If you want your bottom line to grow, reading between the lines is required reading.

Jack Falvey is a frequent contributor to the Union Leader, Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal. He can be contacted at Jack@Falvey.org.