Last January, a well-known consultant interviewed for this annual feature observed, “I wish 2009 was already over.” That prescient thought became an almost universal sentiment over the course of the following 12 months. It was a year in which nearly every business, household and piece of conventional wisdom was tested by an economic tsunami that only now appears to be slowly receding. In its wake: record unemployment and economic dislocation, as well as declining or lost ...

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