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Whimsical silk ties earned Sam Carlisle enough cash to see him through university in style — but turning his clothing sideline into a full-time business meant thinking bigger.

The theology graduate came up with a solid business structure and a plan for expansion, but then hit a wall. “It quickly became apparent that it was too much for me to do on my own,” he said.

That realisation did not stop Carlisle trying to handle everything himself, even though his time was being consumed by tasks he was not particularly good at. “My strengths are design and big-picture strategy but, when it comes to implementing things, I’m weaker,” he said. “I’m also not so great at the publicity bit, but when you are building a brand that’s what you need to do.”

Read more in The Sunday Times

It doesn’t take brains to look intelligent, possums…just put on a pair of large, blue-framed spectacles

There is surprisingly little scientific evidence about how spectacles change the way in which people are seen — as opposed to how they see — but what there is seems to correlate with the Hollywood idea that the quickest way to turn an actor into a scientist is to make him wear a pair of unflattering specs.

It may even help the actor to get into the part: a study found that people felt more competent and scholarly when asked to complete tasks while wearing glasses, compared to doing it without them, says Carolyn Mair, a reader in psychology at the London College of Fashion.

Exactly what type of specs do this best is harder to ascertain, given the lack of academic research. But studies of fashion more broadly suggest that a traditional shape in a neutral colour is probably best for someone who wants to convey an air of professional competence.

Read more in The Times

Why it’s hard to live by the rules

Regulatory restrictions are making it harder for the boards of financial services groups to hire “generalist” non- executive directors, a new report contends.

Conducted by the search firm Per Ardua, the survey of FTSE 350 chairmen working in the sector found most are now highly focused on risk and regulatory issues, but also that some feel this raises the possibility that meeting the broader needs of the business will be secondary to satisfying the regulators.

Most people in the sector feel increased regulation is a good thing, even when it increases boards’ workloads, said Simon Hearn, the chief executive of Per Ardua. “But some chairmen went on to say that there is such a focus on risk and remuneration committees that they don’t have any room on their board for generalists, and that they need some because they are the people more likely to be the next chairman.

Read more in The Sunday Times

Freelance journalist and writer