From the May 01, 2011 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Henry Jarecki: Jarecki’s law


imageFM: While in the midst of numerous challenging careers you have launched companies, purchased islands, taught psychiatry and produced movies. How do you find the time?

HJ: I don’t know. You just wander through your life and one thing or another comes up that seems interesting and you get involved in it: I run a biotechnology company that looks for patterns in drugs, I wrote a text book in psychotropic agents some years ago and I always have been interested in the development of medications for psychiatric disorders. I have a group that does natural history science studies in the Caribbean. I get interested in a lot of different things, all of them fun; I have great colleagues who support me in it, it is all good stuff. There is nothing you can’t do if you are willing to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a reflection of what I call Jarecki’s law of time, which is if you are working 10 hours a day you can get four times as much done as when you work five hours a day because you don’t have to communicate. You are saving all that communication with colleagues or you are maximizing the amount of communication you can have with colleagues. I believe that a lot of the breadth of things I have been lucky enough to do comes from that principle.

FM: Before you were involved in markets you were a highly esteemed psychiatrist. How has your medical training helped you in your business career?

HJ: Not as much as one would imagine. My psychiatric training was in biological psychiatry in the treatment of severe mental illness with psychotropic agents. That is what I wrote about, where I did research. To this day I remain professor of psychiatry at Yale and do work with colleagues there on psychiatric interests. But I never had an interest in the reflections of interpersonal relations and I never really thought of myself as particularly competent in interpersonal relations. The only thing that did me any good was training in group therapy. I took great interest in therapy group development. I ran therapy groups out of my practice in New Haven. If you learn something about how groups operate you can manage an organization better. Otherwise you are just flailing about and wondering what you are supposed to do next.

Click here for a PDF of Jarecki's recent lecture on "The Relationship Between Commodity Futures Trading and Physical Commodity Prices."

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