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The latest news on Business Insider Lists from Business Insider

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    Beyonce Jay Z Blue Ivy

    With a combined net worth of nearly $1 billion from albums, movies, fashion, record studios, and other business endeavors, Beyoncé and Jay Z are the most powerful couple in entertainment, and together they ranked 50th on Business Insider's recent list of the 50 most powerful people in the world.

    Between performances that rake in millions of dollars each to political connections and special foreign travel privileges, read on to see how Mr. and Mrs. Carter became one of the most powerful couples in the world.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 most powerful people in the world

    Beyoncé Knowles was born in 1981 to Mathew, a successful Xerox salesman, and Tina, a hair stylist. She grew up in a comfortable four-bedroom house in Houston, Texas, which she calls "my foundation."

    Source: The Independent, Business Insider

    Jay Z grew up quite differently. Born Shawn Carter in 1969, he was raised by a single mother in the projects of Brooklyn. His mother Gloria told CBS she never suspected he would be a superstar.

    Source: CBS News

    Beyoncé started singing and performing at a young age. When she was seven, she won a talent competition by performing John Lennon's "Imagine."

    Source: The Independent, Business Insider


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Elon Musk book 4x3

    Reading about business can give you a leg up in your industry, or just provide timeless advice for conducting yourself in the workplace.

    Amazon recently released its list of the best-selling books of 2015, including the most popular business and investing books.

    Whether you run a company, work for one, or work for yourself, these 20 books are guaranteed to teach you something new. Scroll down to see which books made the list.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 best-selling books of 2015

    DON'T MISS: The 17 best books of the year, according to readers

    20. "Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!" by Nicholas Carlson

    Yahoo had been through hell and back before Marissa Mayer, at the age of 37, took the helm of the company in 2012. Just her presence gave many employees hope for the future of Yahoo, but many also doubted she could actually save the internet company — which has encountered turbulence of late. 

    Insightfully written by INSIDER editor-in-chief Nicholas Carlson, "Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!" traces Mayer's journey from Google exec to Yahoo CEO, and her transformation of Yahoo from an old-fashioned content company to an innovative tech company.

    Find the book here »

    19. "Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out" by David Gelles

    A business reporter for the New York Times and a devoted practitioner of meditation for two decades, Gelles shares the reasons why mindfulness meditation may be the key to happier employees, more efficient companies, and less stress in the office.

    Companies from General Mills to Patagonia to Google have adopted mindfulness practices and have seen reduced health-care costs among employees, and better leadership outlooks among upper management.

    Buy the book here »

    18. "Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation" by Dean Jobb

    In 1923 Leo Koretz, a charismatic and fast-talking attorney in Chicago, vanished completely — but not before swindling hundreds of people out of millions of dollars.

    A story almost too incredible to believe, "Empire of Deception" recounts the history of one of the longest frauds in history — "one that out-ponzied Charles Ponzi himself"— and the dark, seductive side of business.

    Find the book here »

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Why Not Me Mindy Kaling

    No one knows good books better than the people who read them.

    Book recommendation sharing website Goodreads just released its 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, the only major book awards chosen by readers themselves.

    Goodreads users rated books that were published this year in a number of genres; the highest-rated book in each was declared the winner.

    Keep scrolling to see the best books from 2015.

    SEE ALSO: 25 books that will blow your mind

    FICTION: "Go Set a Watchman" by Harper Lee

    In the sequel to "To Kill a Mockingbird," Scout Finch, now 26, returns to Alabama from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. When she learns some unsavory information about her family and her hometown, it stirs up old memories in what was then a region stuck in the middle of the tense Civil Rights movement.

    Harper Lee's "Go Set a Watchman" continues the stories of Maycomb, Alabama's most beloved characters.

    Buy the book here »

    NONFICTION: "Modern Romance" by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg

    In "Modern Romance," comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg take a hilarious and intelligent look at what it's like to date in the digital age.

    Speaking both on- and off-stage with fans from around the world, Ansari and Klinenberg examine the way in which dating has changed over the last few decades, and how the internet has made it better... or worse. Ansari injects his own humor and personal experience into this exploration of love and the paradox of choice.

    Buy the book here »

    MYSTERY/THRILLER: "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins

    Every day Rachel takes the commuter train to London, and every day she passes the same house occupied by a couple who seem perfect. Rachel gives them names and even makes up a backstory about their life together. That is, until one day, when the train passes by and Rachel sees something disturbing. She becomes wrapped up in the lives of people she only knew in her imagination, who it turns out may not be so perfect after all.

    Hawkins' "Girl on the Train" is a masterful thriller that chills from beginning to end.

    Buy the book here »

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Yale selfie

    Obviously, college is more than just football games and dorm parties — it's also a lot of work. But some students are working harder than others.

    Nichea company that researches and compiles information on schools, analyzed its data to find the colleges where students work the hardest.

    To come up with this ranking, Niche looked at the academic rigor and student workload at traditional four-year schools in the US.

    It took the academic grade for each school based on the quality of the professors, academic achievements of incoming students, graduation rates, and student reviews of their academic experience. Niche also calculated a composite score of users' responses to questions pertaining to study habits, class attendance, homework, office hours and study sessions, and overall workload. Each factor was given equal weight and combined into Niche's final score out of 100.

    Visit Niche for more college rankings, and read on to see the top 50 schools where students hit the books the hardest.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 best business schools in the world

    DON'T MISS: The best public high school in every state

    50. University of Virginia

    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Niche score: 90

    From day one, UVA students put in tremendous effort.

    "You'll be working your [butt] off, but you should be learning, too," one freshman said.

    A sophomore agreed: "The professors for the most part are extremely approachable, libraries are a great and beautiful option for studying, and classes are extremely difficult but worthwhile if you put the necessary time into them."

    Visit Niche for more information on the University of Virginia.

    49. Emory University

    Atlanta, Georgia

    Niche score: 90.1

    "The workload is difficult, but there are exceptional professors who make it worthwhile," one sophomore reported.

    Students also point out that time-management skills are key to handling the workload.

    "Emory is definitely not an easy school in terms of academics, but what you get out of your education is very rewarding," one freshman said. "As long as you manage your time well, you should be able to manage your workload while keeping up with your social life."

    Visit Niche for more information on Emory University.

    48. Colgate University

    Hamilton, New York

    Niche score: 90.3

    "My classes are heavy in reading and writing and I have a rather large workload," one freshman noted.

    But there are upsides.

    "Teachers are great and always there to help you, and my biggest class is 30 people," they added.

    Visit Niche for more information on Colgate University.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    F-35A F-35B

    Today's most sophisticated aircraft are like something out of science fiction.

    In a few years, drones that can fit in the palm of a person's hand and 117-foot-wingspan behemoths capable of launching satellites into space will both be a reality.

    At the same time, drone and advanced-fighter technologies will spread beyond the US and Europe, and countries including China, Russia, and Iran will have even more highly advanced aerial capabilities.

    Here's our look at the most game-changing aircraft of the past few years — and the next few to come.

    VIDEO: 11 game-changing military planes from the last 15 years

    F-35 Lightning II

    The F-35 program may cost as much as $1.5 trillion over its lifetime. But the fifth-generation fighter jet is also supposed to be the most fearsome military aircraft ever built, a plane that can dogfight, provide close air support, and carry out bombing runs, all with stealth capabilities, a high degree of maneuverability, and the ability to take off and land on aircraft carriers.

    It hasn't quite worked out that way so far, and problems with everything from the plane's software system to its engines has both delayed its deployment and contributed to its astronomical price tag. And it isn't nearly as effective in some of its roles as existing aircraft. For instance, the F-35 is notably worse at close air support than the A-10, which is slated for retirement.

    But the US has more than 1,700 F-35s on order. Like it or not, the F-35 will be the US' workhorse warplane for decades to come.

    F-22 Raptor

    The predecessor to Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II is the single-seat, twin-engine F-22 Raptor, currently the most advanced combat-ready jet on earth.

    The US is the only country in the world that flies the F-22s thanks to a federal law that prohibits the jet from being exported. Lockheed Martin built 195 F-22s before the last one was delivered to the US Air Force in May 2012.

    Despite the program's cost and the jet's advanced features, it saw combat for the first time relatively recently, during the opening phase of the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in late 2014.


    Russia's Su-50, also known under the prototype name of the T-50 PAK-FA, is the Kremlin's fifth-generation fighter and Russia's response to the F-35.

    Though still in prototype, Moscow thinks the Su-50 will ultimately be able to outperform the F-35 on key metrics including speed and maneuverability. The stealth capabilities of the Su-50, however, are believed to be below those of the F-22 and the F-35.

    The Kremlin plans to introduce the Su-50 into service by 2016. Once the plane is combat-ready, it will serve as a base model for the construction of further variants intended for export. India is already co-designing an Su-50 variant with Russia, and Iran and South Korea are possible candidates to buy future models of the plane.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    drake hotline bling

    Anytime something funny or noteworthy happened this year, you can bet the internet had already gif'ed, meme'd, and tweeted all about it.

    We looked back and rounded up the moments from 2015 that sent us into tweetstorms, from Drake's "Hotline Bling" video to Zayn leaving One Direction to #TheDress that's either black and blue or white and gold.

    Read on to relive all the times the internet nearly exploded this year. 

    SEE ALSO: 27 people who determine what's cool in America

    DON'T MISS: RANKED: The top 10 hottest YouTube videos of the year

    When "Left Shark" was the real winner of the Super Bowl.

    Katy Perry performed "California Gurls" at the Super Bowl in February among a sea of beach-themed backup dancers, but it was the awkward dance moves of the shark to her left that stole the show. Appropriately dubbed "Left Shark," the dancer's apathetic movements quickly caught fire on social media, inspiring meme after meme and becoming the most talked about moment of the show.

    When the New York Times Magazine asked if we would go back in time to kill baby Hitler.

    In October, the New York Times Magazine posted the results of a survey in which readers answered the question "If you could go back and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it?" True to form, Twitter exploded with jokes about the ridiculousness of the question and "Baby Hitler" became a trending topic. Some laughed off the inquiry, while others criticized the ethical implications it raised.

    Even presidential candidates weighted in: Jeb Bush would do it, but Ben Carson would pass.

    When no one could agree on what color this dress is.

    Is it black and blue? Or white and gold? No one could agree on the color of a striped lace dress posted by Tumblr user swiked and picked up by BuzzFeed. The raging debate shook the internet, seemingly ending friendships and tearing apart families as #whiteandgold became the top trending topic on Twitter. Everyone had an opinion, including stars like Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian West, and the dress became one of the most meme'd events of the year.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Art Basel 2015

    Turning 40 is a major milestone. You're getting older, but you're still young enough to do something crazy, like bungee jump or take a trip on a whim. There's a good chance that you probably have more money to spend, too. We've come up with a bucket list of 40 things everyone should do before they turn 40.

    SEE ALSO: 30 experiences everyone should have before they turn 30

    DON'T FORGET: Follow Business Insider's lifestyle page on Facebook!

    Celebrate New Year's Eve in a foreign city.

    Challenge yourself to complete something that seems impossible. Compete in the Ironman Triathlon, climb Mt. Everest, or finish a 100-mile race.

    Splurge on a meal at The French Laundry in California, or another three-star Michelin restaurant.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Last year was a year to remember: Three countries ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. We came closer than ever to editing genetically linked diseases out of our DNA. Taking action to prevent gun violence is a bigger priority. And, after years of anticipation, McDonald's finally launched all-day breakfast.

    Yes, 2015 was one for the books. It wasn't all good, but the world changed in many ways that will continue to shape our future.

    Keep scrolling to see 25 ways the world changed in 2015.

    NOW CHECK OUT: The 55 best Reuters photos of the year

    AND: The top 50 franchises of 2015

    Donald Trump changed the political game.

    Trump's inflammatory statements and proposals — to ban Muslims from entering the US, or saying the Mexican government sends its "rapists" across the border — have only served to embolden his supporters. At the end of December, Trump had a sizable lead over other Republican candidates, with 39% of GOP support, according to a nationwide CNN/ORC poll.

    The rising support is not due to a lack of reprimand from the media or the public — even members of his own party have condemned his remarks. But unlike other politicians who reverse course and apologize for their blunders, Trump has stuck to his guns and not changed, or apologized for, his opinions. He says exactly what he thinks and feels and this, perhaps, could be his Trump card.

    ISIS became a more powerful and deadly terror threat.

    Attacks led by affiliates of the terrorist group ISIS in Paris in November that left 130 people dead, as well as the takedown of a Russian airliner in October that killed all 224 people on board, were among a number of "lone-wolf" terror attacks have made ISIS public terror enemy No. 1.

    Feelings of alienation and a rift among Sunni and Shiite communities in Iraq and Syria, as well as chaos in Syria and other political turmoil in the Middle East, gave the terrorist group a hand in gaining momentum in 2015, and even in recruiting people from the UK, the US, and other countries.

    The US has made fighting Islamic extremist forces like ISIS and other terrorist groups a priority since September 11. And other countries like Egypt, Syria, France, the UK, and Russia are now banding together to dismantle a violent organization.

    We came closer than ever to editing human DNA.

    This year, scientists used CRISPR/Cas9 — a gene-editing tool that uses a "find-and-replace" technique to replace faulty genes with potentially healthier ones — to modify genes in pigs to make their organs viable for transplants into humans. What sets CRISPR apart from other gene-editing tools is that CRISPR is easier and less expensive to use than tools of the past.

    CRISPR has also been used to edit the genes in mice that were genetically predisposed to muscular dystrophy, and to make super-muscular beagles. It has major potential to edit out genetic diseases from humans, and by 2017 scientists will use it to try to treat human adults with a rare form of blindness.

    The only potential downside is that editing a gene out of one species could have unintended consequences on another — for example, if we edited mosquito DNA to prevent the species from spreading dengue fever to humans, but accidentally transferred the modified gene to a related species and wiped it out.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    2x1 underrated colleges 2015

    We often hear about the best colleges in the US, but there are dozens more outstanding schools that don't always get the recognition they deserve.

    To discover the most underrated colleges in America, we compared US News and World Report's rankings of the best universities and the best liberal-arts colleges in the country with PayScale's 2015-16 College Salary Report, which ranked more than 1,000 colleges and universities based on their graduates' mid-career salaries.

    We considered two factors: reputation and future earnings, specifically looking for schools that had relatively low rankings on the US News list but high mid-career salaries. You can read the full methodology here.

    Pace University topped the list, with the Missouri University of Science and Technology and the New Jersey Institute of Technology rounding out the top three.

    Scroll to learn more about the 50 most underrated colleges in America.

    Additional reporting by Melissa Stanger.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 best colleges in America

    DON'T MISS: The 24 best liberal-arts colleges in America

    50. University of Dayton

    Location: Dayton, Ohio

    Median mid-career salary: $88,700

    The Catholic institution in Dayton, Ohio, encourages its nearly 9,000 students to actively practice their faith through liturgies, spiritual retreats, and special programs such as PORCH (People of Respect, Compassion, and Hope). UD's website says it is also committed to making the school "greener, more global, and more diverse."

    49. Oklahoma State University

    Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma

    Median mid-career salary: $86,700

    The Stillwater campus is the flagship of the Oklahoma State University System, and the school is in the top 25% of universities by return on investment. While athletes and sports enthusiasts flock to OSU for its championship-winning teams, the school is also a prominent research university and offers 200 undergraduate majors through its six colleges.

    48. University of St. Thomas

    Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

    Median mid-career salary: $91,300

    There are plenty of opportunities available on St. Thomas' main campus in St. Paul, Minnesota, where students take advantage of the school's 90 undergraduate degrees or work toward a self-designed specialty degree. St. Thomas encourages students to get off campus, too — the school offers 150 study-abroad programs in 50 countries.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    1968 Mustang Fastback GT 390 bullitt replica

    Cars may be machines, but they can still be incredibly sexy.

    Curving lines, powerful engines, and outrageous luxury draw people in like nothing else.

    That's why we've assembled this list of the 50 sexiest cars of the past century.

    We've got American muscle, Italian speed, and British luxury. We even have Swedish power.

    Some of these cars were lemons, some were total flops. Others were wildly successful and are still on the market today. But every last one is packed with sex appeal.

    As the calendar switches from 2015 to 2016, let's have a look back at some incredibly cool cars.

    [An earlier version of this post was written by Alex Davies.]

    50. A rather hefty ride, the Hummer H2 has none of the sleek characteristics that often note a sexy car. Its appealing, brawny look marked the heyday of the big American SUV.

    49. A product of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Miura was one of the first cars Lamborghini built to rival Ferrari (Ferruccio Lamborghini founded the car company after making his money in tractors). The model pictured here once belonged to Frank Sinatra.

    48. Maserati was founded in 1914, but it didn't build a grand touring car (for luxury and long drives) until 1957, when the 3500GT went into production. With room for four and a straight-six cylinder engine, it was a beautiful machine.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    New Year's Eve Times Square

    You can watch the ball drop on TV or online from anywhere, but if you happen to be in New York on December 31, Times Square is a classic place to ring in the new year.

    The New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is co-produced by the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment and takes a year of planning to put on.

    Here is just some of the planning that goes into organizing the biggest New Year's bash in the world.

    Planning for New Year's Eve begins the day after last year's bash.

    When the streets are finally cleaned of noisemakers and confetti, planning for the next New Year's Eve celebration begins. This includes booking entertainment, making the ball bigger and brighter, working with sponsors, and all the other things viewers don't see going on behind the camera.

    New Year's Eve, Times Square, Ball Drop

    The ball today weighs almost 17 times what the first ball weighed.

    Made of iron and wood, the first New Year's Eve ball to be dropped from the flagpole at One Times Square in 1907 weighed 700 pounds. The ball today weighs 11,875 pounds. The celebration begins when the ball is raised at 6 p.m.

    The televised event gets bigger and better every year.

    While a million people gather in Times Square to watch the live performances every year, another million and a half from over 200 countries tune in to watch the event online from a live webcast, which you can also view on your smartphone through the Times Square Ball App or the Times Square Crossroads App. Jessie J will headline the performances this year, singing John Lennon's "Imagine" moments before midnight; she will be joined by Daya, Wiz Khalifa, Demi Lovato, Carrie Underwood, and others.

    The celebration continues Dick Clark's tradition of "New Year's Rockin' Eve."

    The program still takes the name of its original host of 40 years, though today it's hosted by TV and radio personality Allison Hagendorf who, for her fourth year, will ring in the New Year with a few co-hosts.

    New Year's Eve in Times Square confetti

    The confetti that rains down on Times Square has messages written on it.

    Pick up a piece of confetti from the street and you'll likely find a note on there written by someone wishing for good things for the next year, or letting go of something from the past one. The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment actually do a trial run of the confetti a couple of days before New Year's Eve.

    Revelers are ushered into "party pens" just before 6 p.m.

    Police officers start letting people, in groups, into sectioned-off areas known as "party pens" just before the New Year's Eve bash begins at 6 p.m. (though many people wait around hours before then to get a good view of the ball drop). But once you're in, coming and going is not permitted.

    Each year someone new gets to drop the ball.

    Each year the mayor and a special guest pushes the Waterford crystal button that activates the descent of the ball down the Times Square flagpole. Last year, representatives from the International Rescue Committee had the honor; this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will be joined by special guest Global Citizen, represented by Global Poverty Project CEO Hugh Evans.

    New Year's Eve revelers in Times Square

    The countdown to the new year always ends with a kiss at midnight.

    Kissing at midnight is a New year's tradition, one which hundreds of thousands of revelers in Times Square uphold. The tradition is even turned into a contest, sponsored by Nivea, where a winning couple gets to kiss on stage.

    This year, Americans watching the celebration on TV or online will also get to vote for one of two couples to be the "First Couple of 2016." The winning couple will be married and outfitted in Times Square by tuxedo company Generation Tux founder George Zimmer himself.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    warren buffett

    Business Insider recently released its list of the most powerful people in the world, and 10 of the top 50 included hedge fund managers, bank CEOs, and other magnates in the finance industry.

    To determine the ranking, we considered more than 100 of the most influential players in business, politics, and entertainment and evaluated their influence using metrics in four major areas: economic power, command, newsworthiness, and impact— a subjective measure that captures how important they are in their respective spheres.

    We then narrowed down the list to just those in the finance industry, adding six finance heavyweights who narrowly missed our top 50. You can read the full methodology here.

    Read on to see the 16 most powerful people in finance in the world. 

    Editing by Alex Morrell with additional research by Andy Kiersz.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 most powerful people in the world

    DON'T MISS: The 20 most powerful people in tech

    16. George Soros

    Title: Chairman, Soros Fund Management and Open Society Foundations

    Country: US

    Age: 85

    Born in Budapest, George Soros lived through the Nazi occupation of Hungary during WWII before fleeing to England and later settling in the US. He remains actively interested in politics today and recently made news for supporting the refugees flooding into Europe, a move Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban saw as an attempt to undermine the authority of European nations. Soros is also seen as a friend to liberals and an enemy of conservatives in the US, and he donated $2 million to super PACs supporting Hillary Clinton earlier this year.

    Touted as "the man who broke the bank of England," Soros is best known in the finance world for the Quantum Fund, a hedge fund he launched in 1973 under his Soros Fund Management company. In 1992 he shorted the British pound, a risky move that ended up earning the fund $1 billion in a single day and solidifying Soros’ place in finance. Quantum Fund also generated annual returns over 30% under Soros' leadership, making it one of the most successful hedge funds of all time.

    Today, Soros, who has a personal net worth upwards of at least $23.3 billion, remains chairman of Soros Fund Management, which manages more than $25 billion in assets. He’s also the chairman of Open Society, an organization he founded in 1979 that operates as a network of foundations and partners across the globe who promote the values of open society and human rights.

    15. Ding Xuedong

    Title: Chairman and CEO, China Investment Corporation

    Country: China

    Age: 55

    As the chairman and CEO of China Investment Corporation, the world’s fourth-largest sovereign wealth fund, Ding Xuedong manages over $700 billion in assets. A longtime employee of China’s finance ministry, Ding was appointed as chairman in 2013, following the exit of Lou Jiwei months prior.

    The fund, founded in 2007, oversees China’s foreign exchange holdings. CIC has branched out into countries all over the globe, from Canada to Russia to Australia, and in November it expressed interest in purchasing a development site near Sydney Olympic Park, a deal worth about $660 million.

    In addition to managing CIC, Ding also oversees China International Capital Corp, a huge investment bank that went public in November— the first Chinese company to do so in months. China curbed IPOs during a market plunge, but CICC’s IPO built confidence that the market had stabilized. 

    14. Lloyd Blankfein

    Title: CEO, Goldman Sachs

    Country: US

    Age: 61

    As the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein oversees the company’s $880 billion in total assets. Goldman is one of the strongest banks on Wall Street, ranking in the top two (alongside rival JPMorgan) in global investment-bank revenue across fixed income, equities, and banks for the first nine months of the year.  

    With a personal net worth topping $1.1 billion, Blankfein officially became a billionaire this summer as well. Most of his wealth is tied up in Goldman stock, but the CEO also owns a significant amount of real estate, including a duplex on Central Park West.

    In September, Blankfein announced that he is battling cancer — a “highly curable” form of lymphoma, as he described it — but the banker isn’t slowing down. Blankfein continues to run the company as usual, coming into the office every day and keeping GS on top of Wall Street.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Jessica Knoll Luckiest Girl Alive

    One surefire way to find great books to read is to see which ones top the best-seller charts.

    Amazon recently released its list of the 20 best-selling books of 2015, and chances are, if you haven't already read a few of these yourself, you know someone who has.

    It's not too late to read — or reread — the best sellers of the year. Keep scrolling to see which books made the list.

    SEE ALSO: The 17 best books of the year, according to readers

    20. "A Spool of Blue Thread" by Anne Tyler

    "A Spool of Blue Thread" spans four generations of the Whitshank family — a loving group of people who share laughter, tender moments, milestones, and the challenges of growing up — but just like any other family, they also experience disappointments, heartache, jealousy, and deep-rooted secrets.

    From Baltimore in the 1920s to the summer in 1959 when Abby Whitshank fell in love with Red, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler paints an intimate picture of a flawed, but close-knit, family.

    Buy the book here »

    19. "The Stranger" by Harlan Coben

    Adam Price is living the American Dream, with a big house, beautiful wife, great job, and two wonderful kids. Then he runs into The Stranger and learns a secret about his wife, Corinne, that could unravel everything.

    No one knows who The Stranger is. He appears out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly, but not before leaving people, like Adam, in the dust. "The Stranger" is another dramatic cliffhanger from prolific suspense writer Harlan Coben.

    Buy the book here »

    18. "The Crossing" by Michael Connelly

    Even though Harry Bosch retired from his detective job with the LAPD, the work isn't over. Bosch's half-brother is an attorney who believes his client has been framed for murder, and he need's Bosch's help now more than ever.

    Bosch takes the case as a favor to his brother, but when the real killer discovers that Bosch is hot on his trail, a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse ensues.

    Buy the book here »

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Poolesville High School

    Each state has a ton of public high schools, but some really stand out.

    Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, just released its 2016 rankings of the best public high schools in the US. We took a look at which school earned the top slot in every state.

    The ranking examined over 100,000 schools based on 27 million reviews from more than 300,000 students and parents.

    They rated schools in areas like academics, teachers, student culture and diversity, and resources and facilities. (Read more about the methodology here.) Many are charter or magnet schools, meaning they pull in qualified students from around their districts.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 best public high schools in America

    DON'T MISS: The 50 smartest private high schools in America

    ALABAMA: Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School

    Location: Montgomery

    Academics: A+

    Student culture & diversity: A

    Teachers: A+

    Resources & facilities: B-

    "Providing students with a tough and rigorous academic environment, Loveless consistently develops [students] that colleges are actively seeking," one senior said. "The school makes you appreciate the value of a good education, and instills motivating values in the students."

    ALASKA: Unalaska Junior/Senior High School

    Location: Unalaska

    Academics: N/A

    Student culture & diversity: N/A

    Teachers: N/A

    Resources & facilities: N/A

    "Most of our teachers know the students personally," one junior reported of the small school, which earned an overall A+ grade from Niche. "All of our teachers encourage us to do our best and get help if needed. They are usually available before and after school for anyone who needs it."

    ARIZONA: University High School

    Location: Tucson

    Academics: A+

    Student culture & diversity: A

    Teachers: A+

    Resources & facilities: C-

    "This school is challenging but definitely worth it," one sophomore said. "If you put in the work, this school will prepare you very well for college."

    Another sophomore noted, "University High School is a unique school that gives students the freedom to express themselves through their academic experiences. Teachers are overall caring, and the variety of AP classes offered give a fantastic head-start for college."


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    4x3 50 most powerful people 2015_obama

    It isn't just wealth. And it isn't just control over people or resources. No, true power is a potent combination of money and influence that enables people to help shape the world. But only a select group of people really possess the economic and political clout to effect global change. For better or worse, their decisions affect millions, shake industries, and change nations.

    Business Insider has compiled the following list of the world's most powerful people — heads of state, billionaires, CEOs, and entertainers. To determine the ranking, we considered more than 100 of the most influential players in business, politics, and entertainment, and we evaluated their influence by using metrics in four major areas: economic power, command, newsworthiness, and impact— a subjective measure that captures how important they are in their respective spheres.

    Because the majority of these people span several industries, we took the logarithm of each and mapped those logarithms to a standardized scale, which allowed us to combine the metrics. (See our full methodology here.)

    US President Barack Obama, leader of the world's chief superpower, takes top honors, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, ruler of the a country making a serious challenge to US supremacy. Read on to see the full list of the world's 50 most powerful people right now:

    Editing by Alex Morrell with additional research by Andy Kiersz.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 most powerful companies in America

    SEE ALSO: The 25 richest self-made billionaires

    50. Jay Z and Beyoncé

    Titles: Singer (Beyoncé), rapper and entrepreneur (Jay Z)

    Country: US

    Age: 34 (Beyoncé), 45 (Jay Z)

    Music's biggest power couple, Beyoncé and Jay Z turn nearly everything they touch into gold, which has helped them mint a combined fortune of $950 million.

    Beyoncé shocked the music industry in 2013 when she released an album on iTunes without promotion — it went on to sell over 5 million copies thanks to hits like "Drunk in Love" and "Partition."

    Jay Z is consistently one of the highest earners in music, reportedly raking in $56 million last year through his many ventures, including his Roc Nation music label and its sports division. Though his streaming service, Tidal, encountered some turbulencethe hip-hop mogul himself forgot he owned it— Jay Z is still just about everywhere in the entertainment industry.

    49. Mukesh Ambani

    Title: Chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries

    Country: India

    Age: 58

    Mukesh Ambani took over as the chairman of Reliance Industries when his father, the company's founder, Dhirubhai Ambani, died in 2002. The enormous industrial conglomerate generates $61 billion in annual sales from its interests in energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and, more recently, telecommunications.

    Ambani is the richest person in India with a personal fortune of over $23 billion. He owns a 27-story Mumbai mansion that cost $1 billion to build.

    And if Ambani's projections for India's economy prove correct, expect that net worth to soar. Four years ago, Ambani predicted that India would grow from a $1.4 trillion economy in 2011 to a $30 trillion economy by 2030 — a bullish estimate considering that India's GDP today stands at $2.2 trillion.

    48. Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán

    Title: Leader, Sinaloa Cartel

    Country: Mexico

    Age: 60

    Mexican drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán is perhaps the wealthiest and most notorious gangster on the planet, with a net worth of $1.1 billion. The leader of the infamous Sinaloa Cartel, El Chapo has been accused of importing over 180,000 kilos of cocaine into the US. Drug-enforcement experts estimate his cartel's annual revenues at greater than $3 billion.

    Cunning and evasive, El Chapo escaped from a Mexican prison in July (not for the first time) by way of a labyrinthine tunnel he may have paid $50 million in bribes and construction costs to have built. The US State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million to anyone with information leading to his arrest.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Eating an apple

    Staying fit and healthy and losing weight are the two most common New Year's resolutions in America, but choosing the right diet depends heavily on what you hope the diet will achieve.

    US News evaluated 38 of the most popular diets based on how easy they are to follow, their ability to produce short- and long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness, safety, and their potential to help prevent or manage diabetes and heart disease, and chose the best one in nine different categories.

    Tried and true, Weight Watchers was rated the best diet choice in three out of the nine categories.

    Whether you're trying to lose weight, manage your diabetes, or simply eat healthier, check out the diets that will help you stick to your New Year's resolution.

    SEE ALSO: Dietitians, nutritionists, and food psychologists got together and ranked the best diets of 2016 — here's their top 10

    AND: Here's why it's so hard to keep your New Year's resolutions

    BEST FOR WEIGHT LOSS: Weight Watchers

    Weight Watchers has been around for years, but now that Oprah is behind it, the diet has again spiked in popularity.

    The diet, which claims you can lose up to two pounds a week (a safe amount, according to the UK's National Health Service) operates on a SmartPoints system that supports choosing healthier foods that will fill you up (think protein and fiber) over foods that are lower in nutritional value. 

    Weight Watchers puts no restriction on what you can eat and is flexible for those with dietary restrictions, but the point-counting process can be tedious and the program can cost anywhere from about $20-$70 a month.

    BEST FOR LOSING WEIGHT FAST (TIE): HMR program and the Biggest Loser diet

    The Health Management Resources program (HMR) tied with the Biggest Loser diet for the best rapid weight-loss diet.

    HMR depends on meal-replacement shakes, bars, and cereals for weight loss. Experts say that meal replacements lead to three times as much weight loss compared to traditional diets. Meals are delivered to you, which is another pro; however, shakes and bars can become bland after a while, and the diet makes it difficult to go out to eat.

    The Biggest Loser diet, based on the reality TV show of the same name, drills in the importance of exercise as a companion to a healthy diet. The diet emphasizes portion control with nutritionally dense foods and getting "up off the sofa." It's a lot of work and a bit expensive, but it's effective and offers no restrictions on the foods you can eat.


    "DASH"stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and the plan involves lowering sodium intake to prevent and lower high blood pressure, which, if left untreated, can cause heart and kidney disease, stroke, and blindness.

    DASH was not developed for weight loss and can be more work-intensive and a bit pricier than other diets, since it emphasizes fresh groceries, but it's heart-healthy and nutritionally sound.

    The DASH diet recommends working down to a maximum sodium intake of 1,500 mg a day (the FDA daily recommendation is less than 2,400 mg) and eating fresh produce, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Conestoga High School

    Your early education greatly affects how and what you learn, as well as if and where you go to college.

    Some families are so intent on sending their kids to the best schools that they relocate to join new school districts.

    Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, just released its ranking of the 2016 best school districts in America. The ranking was based on the grade each school district earned in overall experience, which included key factors such as the strength of academics, quality of teachers, school resources, student culture and diversity, student life, and student and parent reviews.

    At the time of calculation, Niche's database contained records for 12,153 school districts — ones without sufficient data were not included in the ranking. Read more on the methodology here.

    Below are the 25 best school districts in the US.

    SEE ALSO: The 25 best public high schools in America

    DON'T MISS: The best college in every state

    25. Township High School District No. 113 — Highland Park, IL

    Total schools: 2

    Academics: A+

    Teachers: A+

    Resources & facilities: A

    Student culture & diversity: B-

    Extracurriculars at Deerfield High School are abundant, one commenter said. "We have everything from book club, anime club, Athletics, gima, model UN, movie club, environmental club, choraliers, plays/musicals, truly you name it."

    One senior at Highland Park High School said every teacher "wants the students to succeed" and they "structure their classes in ways that help their students learn and retain the material in an easy way."

    24. Aspen School District — Aspen Township, CO

    Total schools: 5

    Academics: A+

    Teachers: A+

    Resources & facilities: A+

    Student culture & diversity: B

    "The student-teacher dynamic is incredible. Most teachers are familiar enough with their students to respond to their first names, rather than their surnames," one Aspen High School junior commented. "They also offer help during office hours with understanding, and tend to be sympathetic towards scheduling issues involving IB classes and the even distribution of work. The student body is generally accepting of sexual orientation, racial, and socioeconomic differences."

    23. Hinsdale Township High School District No. 86 — Downers Grove Township, IL

    Total schools: 2

    Academics: A+

    Teachers: A+

    Resources & facilities: A+

    Student culture & diversity: A-

    One senior at Hinsdale Central High School commented that "there is a constant competitive atmosphere [but it] pushes kids to do better since all their peers are trying to do the same. The majority of the students are working towards a mutual goal, that is going to a good college."

    Commenters also said that safety at the high school is important. "The nurse is always available, the school psychiatrists are great, and social workers are decent. I never felt threatened there," said one user.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Nest

    Some of the most awaited sequels, prequels, and original novels are set for publication this year, which means 2016 is a great year to make "read more" one of your New Year's resolutions.

    Our friends at book recommendation sharing website Goodreads have come up with a list of the most-anticipated reads of 2016.

    Goodreads looked at the books set for publication in 2016 that users were most frequently adding to their "to-read" lists.

    Keep scrolling to see the 15 books readers can't wait to get their hands on this year.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 best-selling books of 2015

    "The High Mountains of Portugal" by Yann Martel

    Publication date: February 2

    "Life of Pi" author Yann Martel's first book since 2011, "The High Mountains of Portugal" begins in Lisbon in 1904, when a young man named Tomás discovers an old journal that takes him on a journey to find a mysterious artifact that could redefine history.

    Thirty-five years later, a Portuguese pathologist finds himself on the same quest, and fifty years later a Canadian senator finds himself following their footsteps as well. Martel's beautiful story spans decades and mixes modern fable with heartwarming bedtime story.

    Find the book here »

    "Glass Sword" by Victoria Aveyard

    Publication date: February 9

    The highly anticipated sequel to No. 1 New York Times young-adult best seller "Red Queen,""Glass Sword" follows Mare Barrow, a member of the lower class whose blood is red, unlike those of the elite silver-blooded class. However, she still manages to wield the same superhuman powers as those in the Silver class, making her seem like an imposter — albeit a dangerous one — to the royal court.

    But she's not an imposter, and Mare escapes the royal court, discovering along the way that she's not the only one of her kind.

    Find the book here »

    "A Gathering of Shadows" by V.E. Schwab

    Publication date: February 23

    Kell is a traveler-magician: He can travel between parallel universes within the same magic city. The second book in Schwab's "A Darker Shade of Magic" series, with Kell now rid of the shadow stone, he must pass between the parallel Red London and Grey London and protect them both from Black London before it rises again.

    Heavily doused in magic and fantasy, "A Gathering of Shadows" is a book of adventure, heroism, friendship, and good vs. evil.

    Find the book here »

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    4x3 most successful movies of 2015

    Hundreds of movies come out every year, but only a fraction become hits. Business Insider decided to rank the most successful movies of 2015 based on global box-office performance, critic reviews, and fan ratings.

    We started with a group of the 150 highest-grossing films of the past year through the weekend ending Dec. 20 — culled from Box Office Mojo — and then subtracted their production budget to arrive at a box-office profit figure. We also compiled critic ratings from review aggregator Metacritic (scale: 0 to 100) and fan ratings from IMDb (scale: 0 to 10). We combined these three metrics by taking their geometric mean and ranking the movies based on that composite score. We included some films on our list that technically opened in 2014, as their wide-release box office run took place primarily in 2015.

    Our top 50 grossed a combined $19 billion worldwide at the box office. Many were reboots or extensions of a franchise, including Vin Diesel's action blockbuster "Furious 7," which claimed the top spot thanks to strong reviews from fans and critics as well as an expectations-shattering $1.3 billion box-office profit worldwide.

    With only one weekend under its belt, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" vaulted to No. 9 after a record-breaking $529 million opening weekend; it will likely ascend higher in the final days of 2015.

    Read on to see the 50 most successful films of 2015:

    SEE ALSO: THE A-LIST: The 30 coolest, most famous people in Hollywood right now

    DON'T MISS: The 10 biggest box-office bombs of 2015

    50. "Woman in Gold"

    Global box office sales: $61.6M

    Production budget: $11M

    Box office profit: $50.6M

    Critic rating: 51

    Fan rating:7.3

    In "Woman in Gold," Helen Mirren plays a World War II survivor trying to reclaim her family's possessions that were stolen by the Nazis — including a valuable painting — with Ryan Reynolds serving as her lawyer. Critics were lukewarm about the treatment of this true-to-life tale, but audiences were more forgiving.

    49. "Black Mass"

    Global box office sales: $94.6M

    Production budget: $53M

    Box office profit: $41.6M

    Critic rating:68

    Fan rating:7.2

    Detailing the rise of notorious Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, "Black Mass" earned approval as one of the best gangster movies in years. And after a string of curious, underwhelming film decisions, Johnny Depp is once again in prime form in the lead role as the kingpin.

    48. "Still Alice"

    Global box office sales: $43.9M

    Production budget: $5M

    Box office profit: $38.9M

    Critic rating: 72

    Fan rating:7.5

    Still among the best actors in the business, Julianne Moore proves it once again in "Still Alice," in which she plays a Columbia University linguistics professor stricken by early-onset Alzheimer's. Released in time for the 2015 award season, Moore won an Academy Award — she had been nominated three times previously — and a Golden Globe for best actress, likely helping the film secure a nice profit at the box office during its wide release this year.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    inside out

    As past awards shows have proven, big numbers at the box office don't always translate to film quality or critical acclaim.

    With the 2016 Academy Awards fast approaching — nominations are announced January 14 and trophies are handed out February 28 — we decided to take a look at the films with the best chances of taking home an Oscar, according to critics' reviews.  

    To determine the ranking, we found the highest-rated movies eligible for the 2016 Academy Awards on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, two websites that rate movies based on aggregated critic reviews. We calculated the geometric mean of the two scores to determine a final score for each movie. (We didn’t consider movies that didn’t have at least 15 critic reviews on each website).

    Some movies getting major awards buzz — like "The Revenant"— don't crack this list because of divided critical reception.

    Read on to see which Oscar-eligible films critics loved the most from the past year.

    SEE ALSO: The 50 most successful movies of 2015

    DON'T MISS: The 10 biggest box office bombs of 2015

    30. "Best of Enemies"

    Metacritic: 77

    Rotten Tomatoes:94%

    As the presidential election campaigns of 1968 entered a frenzied summer season, ABC hired William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal to film live on-air coverage of the Republican and Democratic conventions. But Buckley, the conservative founder of National Review, and Vidal, a left-wing author with a loud mouth, held deeply opposing political views — along with deep-seated hatred for each other — and the interviews quickly turned into explosive debates, ushering in a new era of captivating television.

    This historical documentary delves into a turning point in American political coverage, one that longs for prolonged conflict and anger, and features prudently chosen clips and interviews that crisply illustrate the on- and off-screen drama.

    29. "Bridge of Spies"

    Metacritic: 81

    Rotten Tomatoes:91%

    Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks team up once again inthis Cold War thriller, which features Hanks as a lawyer with the unenviable task of defending a captured Russian spy in court. The film embraces the dark side of the war, reminding the audience of the fear it induced back then while also touching on the current anxieties regarding the war on terror.

    Mark Rylance is getting awards consideration for his portrayal in a supporting role of the accused Russian spy with a Golden Globe nomination.

    28. "The Martian"


    Rotten Tomatoes:93%

    Based on Andy Weir's best-selling novel of the same name,"The Martian"features a stellar performance from Matt Damon as a botanist stranded on Mars and left for dead after a manned mission encounters turbulence.

    The biggest hit of the fall season is getting best-picture Oscar buzz as well as best-actor consideration for Damon and best-director for Ridley Scott. At the Golden Globes, the film took home the award for best motion picture comedy or musical, and Damon was named best actor in the same category.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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