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Management Styles of the Rich and Fictional

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Believe it or not, you can learn a lot from some successful moguls who just happen to be completely made up. Here's a look at the management strategies of some of our favorite fictional leaders.

1. Scrooge McDuck

This self-made Scottish duck tycoon, with holdings in mines and mills, seems an almost infallible industrial titan. He does have a few cracks as a businessman, though. For one thing, the opportunity cost of keeping all of one's money in a giant vault is vast. Even a conservative investment strategy could net Scrooge millions in interest each year, but he prefers to swim around in his coins instead. Also, Scrooge's willingness to appoint his young, probably under-qualified nephews to key positions within his empire smacks of nepotism. Moreover, any good human-resources manager will tell you that having a male boss running around without pants on all day is a multimillion-dollar lawsuit just waiting to happen.

2. Cosmo G. Spacely

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George Jetson's boss at Spacely Space Sprockets isn't going to get many "World's Best Boss" coffee mugs. (If they even drink coffee in the future.) His diminutive stature belies his enormous drive to make irate videophone threats to his employees. Rather than seeking to maximize shareholder value with his sprocket business, Spacely focuses on destroying his chief competitor, Cogswell Cogs. This Ahab-like pursuit often leads Spacely to act irrationally, injuring the company's long-run prospects. Furthermore, Spacely's penchant for firing his employees at the drop of a hat exposes the company to a slew of wrongful-termination lawsuits.

3. C. Montgomery Burns

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Homer Simpson's glowering boss at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant has always been a leader in new and ruthless business strategies. When his employees requested coffee breaks, for example, he outsourced the entire plant to India. In another incident, he devised a marketing coup to block out the sun to foster more demand for his product. His penny-pinching tactics have occasionally backfired, though. His tightfisted refusal to continue the company's dental plan led to a long and expensive strike, and his total disregard for safety codes has several times brought the plant to the brink of meltdown.

This article was excerpted from our upcoming 'Business School in a Box.'

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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