Business Diary: Sound advice for borrowers

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The Independent Online

You've seen the movie (played out in real time over the past 12 months), now read the book. Jason Manolopoulos's new tome, Greece's Odious Debt: The Looting of the Hellenic Republic by the Euro, the Political Elite and the Investment Community, is an enjoyable romp through the story of how Greece got caught out in the international economic crisis. It begins with a tip from Aristotle Onassis, which his countrymen appear to have taken just a little too literally: "To be successful, keep looking tanned, live in an elegant building (even if you're in the cellar), be seen in smart restaurants (even if you only nurse one drink) and if you borrow, borrow big".

Social ventures get competitive

Now look – we at The Independent are big fans of social investment, businesses where managers aren't solely motivated by profit but also want to do some good for the world, but even for us social venture top trumps is a bit much. Still, that's what we've just been sent by the promoters of Big Venture Challenge, a new contest to find social entrepreneurs. The top card, for the record, is Divine Chocolate, which beats allcomers both on its stats for turnover and the number of people helped each year.

Another sport we gave the world

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the American business magazine, has news of a hot new craze among up-and-coming executives in the country: table tennis. Who says the Americans are world leaders? We humble Britons recognised years ago that the sport could go hand in hand with businesssuccess: just ask John Varley, the former chief executive of Barclays Bank, renowned for his ping pong prowess. Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green plays a mean game too.

Dimon's tough love on housing

Had your home repossessed? If so, don't feel bitter about the mortgage company that took your keys – it was doing you a favour. Just ask Jamie Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, one of America's biggest banks, who doesn't have much time for those complaining about the millions of Americans who have lost their homes. "Giving debt relief to people that really need it, that's what foreclosure is," he says. You should be thanking him.