Ten signs of recovery and renewal

April 3, 2009, 9:45 PM UTC
Fortune

I’m an optimist. Always have been. So take with a grain of salt–or sugar, perhaps–these signs of hope across the board:

1. Maybe print isn’t dead. My new Kindle 2 makes me think that even though we may not be reading magazines and newspapers on paper a decade or two from now, long-form stories and beautiful page design can endure. (My Monday Postcard, “Amazon: Thinking beyond the Kindle,” stirred debate about whether Amazon’s e-reader is worth the $359 price. I say: Yes. I’m saving a lot already on newspapers and books. My cost for Book 1 of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series: $6.04.)

2. E-books could help educate the world. On Tuesday, Marie-Josee Kravis, buyout king Henry’s wife, stopped by with Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, who heads the Afghan Institute of Learning. Dr. Yacoobi has built dozens of education and health centers across Afghanistan and won this year’s Kravis Prize for non-profit leadership. As we sat in my Fortune office, I downloaded a book in less than 60 seconds (“Buy The Lords of Finance,” Kravis suggested. So I did). “That’s amazing!” said a wide-eyed Dr. Yacoobi. And we sat there contemplating how one Kindle per school might help educate poor children the world over. Once, that is, Amazon gets Kindle functioning internationally.

3. Spring is here! It’s gloomy in Manhattan today, but my Postcards colleague, Jessica Shambora, told me this morning that she saw yellow flowers sprouting in Central Park.

4. The fittest survive. Walking down Broadway to work today, I noticed the bright lights of Zara at 66th and Broadway. The hot Spain-based apparel retailer is replacing Circuit City–shuttered and bankrupt–which replaced Tower Records, another dinosaur. Retail evolution continues apace.

5. The bull is back. Who knows? But let’s enjoy the biggest four-week rise in the Dow in more than 70 years.

6. There’s life after being fired. Jim Donald, ousted early last year from his CEO perch at Starbucks , is keeping plenty busy speaking, teaching, consulting, and more. His Guest Post, published Wednesday, has attracted more traffic than any other Guest Post we’ve run–except for Walter Stoiber’s “The Great Depression, as I remember.” My 91-year-old Uncle Walt’s inspiring piece is Postcards‘ best-read Guest Post ever.

7. Jobs are out there. Read Jessica’s “Here’s where to find a job,” posted yesterday.

8. Rock stars do good. Last night I spent a bit of time with the board of Bono’s Product RED: Bobby Shriver, former Viacom CEO Tom Freston, Kleiner Perkins partner Juliet Flint, RED CEO Susan Smith Ellis, and the U2 frontman himself. Can I just tell you that Bono, beyond working hard to eradicate global poverty, is a genuinely nice guy? That nice-guy professionalism helps him attract VIP supporters–Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, to name two–and it also helps his rock-star longevity. Freston (who built MTV and is now working with Oprah as well as Bono) pointed out last night that the Beatles were together for less than a decade. U2 is 33 years old and as strong as ever.

9. New York baseball lives on. Tonight the Mets play their first game, against the Red Sox, at brand new Citi Field–naming rights acquired by Citigroup before the big bank collapse. Tonight’s even more historic first game: the Yankees vs. the Chicago Cubs to christen the new Yankee Stadium.

10. The weekend is finally here. Enjoy the games, get rest, and recover!