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BALANCE SHEET

Afriend of mine used to live by the phrase leverage your future. As we were starting our careers in Manhattan, his extravagant lifestyle never ceased to amaze me. From his Park Avenue apartment to his vast collection of Hermès ties, he seemed to possess all the trappings of success. Yet he was always short on cash. In fact, each day he asked to borrow lunch money from me. I was comfortable with that until I realized that these were uncollateralized loans. Thus, when he showed up to work with a new tie each day, I was subsidizing each tie with lunch credits. In fact, his leverage-the-future model was built on his friends’ backs. Years later, I realized that numerous companies in corporate America employ this model . . . and my ...

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