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Take a Break For The Holidays

December 23, 2016, 4:20 PM UTC

If you’re actually at work today, please stop as soon as you can.

This is serious. The next ten days are the only part of the year when much of the Western world honors an unspoken agreement to take it easy. You’d be crazy not to use every minute of it. You already know the reasons: You work too hard and sleep too little. But you may not fully realize how bad this problem is for you, your family, and your colleagues.

By working too much and resting too little you become cranky and more pessimistic. Your judgment is poor and you can’t solve problems well, which is hardly surprising because you can’t think clearly or remember what you hear. Your health deteriorates because exhaustion makes you hungrier and loads up your body with stress hormones. You crave sugar and carbohydrates, making you fat, which increases the risk of sleep apnea, which means you’ll sleep even less and make all these problems worse.

Ah, you say, but this is the price I must pay in order to do the mountain of work in front of me. But it isn’t true. You actually accomplish less by pushing yourself too hard.

If you chronically overwork and under-rest, a good night’s sleep won’t cure what ails you. You need several consecutive days of abundant rest combined with stress-reducing activities. Don’t overthink this. You just need to take time to do what fulfills you and makes you happy.

That is, you desperately need this break.

So please don’t squander it. After all, it comes but once a year. Treasure it, relish it. Relax like there’s no tomorrow.

That’s what I’m planning to do. I’ll see you back here, rested, relaxed, and energized, on January 3.

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What We're Reading Today

Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse agree to huge fines
John Cryan's Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $3.1 billion and allocate $4.1 billion for consumer relief in a settlement over mis-selling mortgage backed securities. Cryan and regulators have been negotiating for months, after the DOJ proposed a $14-billion penalty. Tidjane Thiam's Credit Suisse agreed to a $5.3-billion settlement, including $2.48-billion fine. CNBC

Trump pressure Lockheed on F-35
President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that the costs of Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter are too high. He asked Dennis Muilenburg's Boeing to "price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!" which lacks the F-35's stealth capabilities. The F-35 program accounted for about 20% of last year's revenues at Marillyn Hewson's Lockheed. Fortune

Berlin suspect killed in Milan
Suspected Berlin attacker Anis Amri was shot during a routine police check in Milan. Police say he opened fire when asked to produce his ID. A Tunisian native, Amri lived in Italy until being asked to leave after a stint in prison. He had asked Germany for asylum in April.  BBC

Building Better Leaders

When boards allowed investors a say on CEO pay...
...shareholder value increased by 5% between 2006 and 2010. INSEAD Knowledge

New entrepreneurs often make the mistake... 
...of trying to sell too many items and features.“Every business only sells one thing,” says ZipRecruiter CEO Ian Siegel. “The key is identifying what that one thing is your customers expect from you and being the best at it." Fortune

If a coworker goes over your head...
…without consulting you, first make sure you're reading the situation correctly, since it could have been a simple misunderstanding. Then talk to the employee, focusing on solving the problem at hand before restating the proper line of communication.  Harvard Business Review

Countering Opinions

Bridgewater tries to automate management 
Ray Dalio's hedge fund, famous for "radical transparency," is developing software that incorporates all the recorded meetings and airing of employees' weaknesses. The goal is a system that can give an employee step-by-step directions on how to spend each day, down to when to make certain phone calls. The secret project is still in development. WSJ

TJ Maxx's anti-internet strategy
While most retailers have struggled with the transition to e-commerce, Ernie Herrman's TJX Companies is simply rejecting it. For the holidays, the company's Marshall's and Home Goods chains sell only gift cards online, while its TJ Maxx sells a limited range of clothing. Herrman doesn't plan on changing the strategy. Bloomberg

Trump calls for more nukes
Countering decades of non-proliferation policy by presidents of both parties, Trump says that the U.S. should expand the number of nuclear warheads at its disposal until "the world comes to its senses." The tweet came soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia needs to strengthen its nuclear arsenal. The U.S. has deployed 1,550 nuclear warheads in strategic locations, with just under 5,000 in its arsenal.  Washington Post

Up or Out

Former DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman has joined Goldman Sachs's board.  Reuters

Fortune Reads and Videos

Oprah Winfrey loses 40 pounds, and...
...Weight Watchers stock jumps 15%. Winfrey is a shareholder. Fortune

Now that Microsoft's purchase of LinkedIn is completed...
…here's what needs to be fixed on the social site. Tweaking the interface and reducing spam would be a good start. Fortune 

The most unusual items found by TSA agents this year...
...include a Hello Kitty gun, a replica suicide vest, and a fake corpse. Fortune

Restaurants and stores open on Christmas Day
If you're hungry, options include Applebee's, Denny's, and Steak 'n Shake. Fortune

Happy Birthday

General Motors CEO Mary Barra turns 55 tomorrow.  CNN

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau turns 45 on Sunday.  Biography

Produced by Ryan Derousseau