Yearly Archives: 2018

The richest person in the world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, added more money to his fortune in 2018 than any other billionaire

Jeff Bezos.

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Jeff Bezos.
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David Ryder/Getty Images

  • Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, was the only person in the world in 2018 to amass a net worth that topped $100 billion.
  • According to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, Bezos has a net worth of $123 billion, which is $24 billion more than his reported wealth at the end of 2017.
  • Bezos is the founder of Amazon and the aerospace company Blue Origin, as well as the owner of The Washington Post.

In a year when the biggest names in tech were embroiled in scandals, there’s at least one executive who managed to get out of 2018 unscathed: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who saw his net worth increase by more than any of his billionaire peers.

Bezos claimed the title of world’s richest person at the beginning of the year and unseated the Microsoft founder Bill Gates from his 24-year streak at the top of Forbes’ ranking of the richest Americans. Now the Amazon CEO can say he increased his wealth in 2018 – by $24 billion, to be exact – by more than any of the richest 500 people in Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

Bezos finished off the year with a net worth of $123 billion, and he’s the only person on the list to have a 12-digit net worth. But that isn’t even Bezos’ peak net worth – over the summer, he surpassed a net worth of $150 billion to become the richest man ever in modern history.

To put that in perspective, Bezos makes almost $4.5 million in a single hour. With that wealth, spending $88,000 to him is like an average American spending $1, Business Insider calculated.

Bezos hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, if Amazon’s rapid expansion in 2018 into cloud computing, pharmaceuticals, and other industries is any indication.

Read more: We did the math to calculate exactly how much money billionaires and celebrities like Jeff Bezos and Kylie Jenner make an hour

But while Bezos saw his net worth rise, other billionaires didn’t see the same success. Amid Facebook’s year of data leaks and a rise in public distrust of the company, CEO Mark Zuckerberg lost more money than anyone else on Bloomberg’s index. Zuckerberg’s net worth took a hit of almost $20 billion this year and is now pegged at a cool $52.9 billion.

Rounding out the top five billionaires on Bloomberg’s ranking are Gates ($90 billion), the investor Warren Buffett ($82.9 billion), the CEO of LVMH, Bernard Arnault ($67.3 billion), and the Spanish fashion executive Amancio Ortega ($58.7 billion).

A CEO who’s faced hundreds of rejections over her 20-year career waits 24 hours to send an email that more often than not helps turn ‘no’ into ‘yes’

Maria Hatzistefanis, founder and CEO of Rodial.

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Maria Hatzistefanis, founder and CEO of Rodial.
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Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Rodial

  • Maria Hatzistefanis has been rejected hundreds of times in her career since founding the skincare company Rodial in 1999.
  • She said she learned to turn a “no” into a “yes” by waiting a day after a rejection and then following up with a pledge to improve her business and try again in the future.
  • Young entrepreneurs have a tendency to blame the other party for their rejection, but the ability to take criticism leads to more positive results.

Maria Hatzistefanis has been rejected hundreds of times in her career.

Since founding the skincare company Rodial in 1999, Hatzistefanis has heard “no” from countless stores that didn’t want to sell her products.

But 20 years later, Rodial products are available in more than 20,000 stores in 35 countries. They can be found in stores like Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom, Bluemercury, and Bloomingdales. Hatzistefanis has parlayed her success into a book deal and a podcast, and even scored her company a coveted partnership with Kylie Jenner.

Hatzistefanis says she can attribute much of her success to an important skill she’s learned over the years: turning a no into a yes.

“I’ve always been driven by a no,” Hatzistefanis told Business Insider.

The key, she said, is the ability to reflect on what made you get rejected in the first place. That’s a contrast from earlier in her career, when she’d deal with rejection by blaming the other party and even questioning their judgment.

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“When you’re a young entrepreneur, in the beginning you want to unpack the rejection and say, ‘Oh no, my product is the best and you’re wrong,'” she said. “But I’ve learned you shouldn’t burn any bridges, even if you don’t like what the other party says.”

“Just try to learn from it. Try to look at it without emotion and just read and analyze, and see if there is anything with that rejection that I can learn from to improve myself, my product, my company, to take me to a yes.”

Hatzistefanis said one rule of thumb she’s developed is that after getting rejected by a prospective client, she’ll wait a day, then write them an email thanking them for the consideration and pledging to try to earn their business in the future.

“I’ll generally say, ‘Thank you for your prompt response, I do understand your situation that there’s no space right now, but I would love to keep in touch, and I’ll be in touch in 12 months. I’ll show you progress, and hopefully we can connect at that point,'” she said.

Read more: A CEO who starts Monday mornings with her most ‘boring and difficult’ tasks says any chronic procrastinator should do the same

“Time can fix things,” she said. “It is hard, but you have to give it a 24-hour window. You should never react there and then.”

It’s that kind of measured response that landed her products on the shelves of Harvey Nichols, the luxury department store in London that Hatzistefanis called her “dream store.”

“It took me seven years of knocking on their door,” she said.

“It’s all about being persistent,” she said. “You’re going to get a lot of nos, you’re going to get a lot of doors slammed in your face. But you have to be resilient and you have to keep going and believe in yourself.”

Chase has announced the Freedom card’s Q1 bonus categories — including 5% cash back at CVS and Walgreens

The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network.

Chase freedom

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Chase

  • The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back – or 5x points – in different categories each quarter.
  • The categories for the first quarter of 2019 have been announced.
  • You can combine your cash back with the points earned from cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, making it even more valuable.

Chase offers two strong cash-back cards – the Chase Freedom, and the Chase Freedom Unlimited– that offer great rewards that you can combine with the points you earn from other cards. While both cards are slightly different, they’re both great options and both earn points quickly. I personally have both cards.

What’s unique about the regular Freedom is that while it generally earns 1% cash back – or 1x Chase Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent, if you combine that “cash back” with the points you’ll earn from a card like the Sapphire Preferred– it earns 5% (or 5x points) in a different bonus category each quarter.

Chase has announced that this year’s Q1 bonus categories are:

  • Gas stations, including convenience stores like 7 Eleven when they have gas pumps
  • Tolls, which includes loading up an EZPass account with credit
  • Purchases made at drugstores, including major brands like CVS and Walgreens

Any purchases that fall into those three categories will be eligible to earn 5% throughout January, February, and March. The category list is a decent one, especially since drugstores sell such a wide variety of essentials – and, of course, if you drive often, gas and toll expenses can add up quickly.

The bonus is capped at $1,500 of spend each quarter. After that, you’ll still earn the normal 1% back. Keep in mind that in order to get the bonus, you need to activate your account each quarter. To do so, just log into your account or visit this site.

Chase usually announces Q2’s categories sometime in March; and activation is scheduled to start on March 15.

If you don’t have the card, this is a good opportunity to sign up. In addition to points you earn from spending, you’ll get a sign-up bonus of $150 (or 15,000 Ultimate Rewards points) when you spend $500 in the first three months.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Freedom from Insider Picks’ partner: The Points Guy.

Here are the 4 biggest winners and 4 biggest losers in college basketball this week

  • The AP Top 25 Poll saw no movement at the top heading into the new year, but with conference play beginning next week, don’t expect the consistency at the top of the poll to last much longer.
  • The Big Ten led all conferences with seven teams in the rankings while the Pac-12 fell out of the AP Top 25 Poll entirely for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
  • Here are the four biggest winners and losers of Week 9 of the college basketball season.

Winners


▲ No. 1 Duke Blue Devils — Top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll for second consecutive week

Freshman sensation Zion Williamson and the Duke Blue Devils haven’t stepped on the hardwood in 11 days, but that hasn’t stopped Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his band of ultra-talented freshmen from maintaining the top spot in the AP Top 25 Poll for the second consecutive week. All credit goes to the second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-ranked teams in the poll, who have collectively taken on the likes of Eastern Michigan, Binghamton, and Tennessee Tech throughout the past week.


▲ No. 13 Kentucky Wildcats — Up 3 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty

A week after picking up a signature win against the North Carolina Tar Heels, John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats continued their success against ACC opponents with a 71-58 win against their in-state rival Louisville Cardinals. The Wildcats now enter SEC play with a three-game win streak under their belts and a good shot at dominating a conference filled with talented rosters.


▲ No. 24 Nebraska Cornhuskers — Enter the AP Top 25 Poll after dropping out last week

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Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

The Nebraska Cornhuskers dropped out of the AP Top 25 Poll last week due to no fault of their own, but they have returned to the rankings at No. 24 in the country thanks to a win against the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs Saturday. The Cornhuskers have won four straight contests, including December wins against the Creighton Bluejays and Oklahoma State Cowboys. Nebraska now faces an uphill climb in conference play, as seven of the top 25 teams in the nation reside in the Big Ten.


▲ Seton Hall Pirates — Received 24 votes in the AP Top 25 Poll

The Seton Hall Pirates are the latest team to take down a previously unranked opponent, and they did so in glorious fashion. Former walk-on Shavar Reynolds knocked down the buzzer-beating three through contact and hepled secure yet another impressive win for Seton Hall’s resume. The Pirates have taken down the Miami Hurricanes, Kentucky Wildcats, and Maryland Terrapins this season and dropped a very close decision against the Louisville Cardinals. With conference play starting soon, expect Seton Hall to make waves in the Big East.


Losers


▼ No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers — Down 7 spots in the AP Top 25 Poll

Up until this week, the Wisconsin Badgers’ two losses on the season came at the hands of the Virginia Cavaliers and the Marquette Golden Eagles, both of whom are ranked amongst the top 20 teams in the country. On Saturday, however, Wisconsin suffered a stunning loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and subsequently dropped seven spots in the AP Top 25 Poll. The Badgers will need to right the ship quickly as a grueling Big 10 schedule – complete with six ranked opponents – rapidly approaches.


▼ Arizona Sun Devils — Dropped out of AP Top 25 Poll

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David Becker/Getty Images

One week after coming out on the right end of one of the biggest upsets of the young season – AKA taking down the top-ranked and previously undefeated Kansas Jayhawks – the Arizona State Sun Devils dropped a brutal one-point decision to the unranked Princeton Tigers. Now, the Sun Devils have fallen out of the AP Top 25 Poll rankings and taken the Pac-12’s seven-year streak in the Poll along with them. They may very well be the best team in the conference, but that isn’t saying much this season.


▼ St. John’s Red Storm — Unranked

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Elsa/Getty

The Chris Mullin-led St. John’s Red Storm was one of the last remaining undefeated squads in the nation but had not been ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll. Now that they’ve sustained their first loss of the season thanks to the Seton Hall Pirates’ last-second buzzer beater, the Red Storm are unlikely to make their way into the rankings this season. At least St. John’s will have a shot at revenge when they host the Pirates February 23.


▼ UCLA Bruins — Unranked

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Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Once the kings of the college basketball world, the UCLA Bruins have experienced one of the most stunning falls from grace of any program in the NCAA. That decline came to a head this week as the Bruins capped a three-game losing streak with a stunning 15-point home loss to the Liberty Flames Saturday. The university parted ways with head coach Steve Alford – who has boasted a 124-63 record in his five and a half years at the helm – after a brutal 7-6 start to the season put him on the hot seat. With rumors swirling about how the team deliberately quit on Alford because “they hate him,” UCLA heads into conference play without a head coach and with a serious morale issue to boot.

4 books business leaders love that will help you take your career to the next level

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eukukulka/Shutterstock

  • Being a manager requires thinking a little differently.
  • If you want to become a manager, it’s important to start thinking like your leadership team.
  • Here are four books that senior business leaders read that can help you take your career to the next level and become a manager.

Business leaders think differently, and that’s what sets them apart.

Once you know how your leadership team thinks, you’ll be able to unlock doors to the management level. Either your bosses will realize that you have what it takes to move up the ranks, or you will be better situated to advocate for yourself during a salary negotiation with a manager.

Here are four of the most read books among senior business leaders. Since these books have gained notoriety among management teams, it will help you to understand how they approach various business challenges. In turn, you’ll be better situated to anticipate their thought processes and become a better manager yourself.


‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ by Ben Horowitz

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Amazon

Ben Horowitz was the cofounder and CEO of Opsware, a B2B software company that was sold to HP for $1.6 billion. Today he is a general partner at the well-known venture fund, Andreesen Horowitz.

Three years ago, Horowitz published “The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” a book revered by technology business leaders – everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Peter Thiel has endorsed it.

In the book, Horowitz drives home the need to minimize politics in the workplace. Office politics can cause rifts within organizations, and distract employees from doing their best work. In order to prevent office politics, each company must create a clear promotion policy that all employees understand.

Horowitz suggests that each position within the company have a clear job description that includes skills required to be successful in the role. Furthermore, he recommends that promotions be reviewed by a special committee to avoid inter department misalignment.


‘The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries

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Amazon

“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else” this is a key takeaway of Eric Ries’s bestselling book, “The Lean Startup.” Ries is the former cofounder and CTO of IMVU, which hit a $40 million run rate in 2010.

Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Andreesen have both endorsed Ries’s book as a revolutionary approach to creating an innovative business.

Ries argues that the best way to develop a product or service is to focus on finding product-market fit as quickly as possible. To do this, he suggests developing a series of minimum viable products (MVPs), which are rough examples of what a more polished version of the product or service could look like.

The fast production cycle lets them quickly get customer feedback, which prevents them from investing an inordinate amount of time in developing a product or service that customers won’t use.


‘High Output Management’ by Andrew Grove

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Amazon

While he was CEO of Intel, Andy Grove published a seminal work of business management advice, “High Output Management.” It has received glowing reviews from the Wall Street Journal and from Peter Drucker, a well-known business writer.

Grove provides ample advice for senior managers. He says that the manager’s job is to leverage her business acumen by improving the performance of her subordinates. This is the key difference between an individual contributor and a manager. A manager uses subordinates as a productivity multiplier.

Grove writes expansively about the importance of one-on-one meetings led by the subordinate. The subordinate should come prepared with a meeting outline, and the manager coaches the subordinate through challenging business decisions. In time, the subordinate will require less and less coaching, at which point, the manager will have helped to dramatically improve the productivity of this employee.


‘Crossing the Chasm’ by Geoffrey Moore

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Amazon

The psychological makeup of people who bought the first addition of the iPhone is very different from those who waited to purchase an iPhone until the fourth or fifth generation. Geoffrey Moore presents business leaders with a framework for taking a product or service from those early adopters to the early majority in “Crossing the Chasm.

“Crossing the Chasm” posits that the best way to break into mainstream markets is by focusing go-to-market efforts on a narrow group of prospective customers that if won, can act as reference customers within specific industries.

By winning over a few influential anchor customers, it will be considerably easier to win over similar businesses. That’s a main tenant of Moore’s book, and it has been used by successful upstarts like Wealthfront (now valued at $700 million) to disrupt billion-dollar industries.


Your company’s senior leadership team thinks about business differently than you do. They take a strategic, big-picture approach to thinking about organizational structure, go-to-market strategy, employee development, and business development.

By understanding the elemental business lessons put forth by innovative business minds, you’ll be able to develop the same business acumen that propelled your bosses to the top.

The fiancé of missing Colorado woman Kelsey Berreth has been formally charged in her death even though her body hasn’t been found

Patrick Frazee was charged in connection to Kelsey Berreth's death.

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Patrick Frazee was charged in connection to Kelsey Berreth’s death.
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Teller County Jail/Facebook

  • Patrick Frazee was formally charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder in connection to the death of his fiancée Kelsey Berreth.
  • The formal charges come 10 days after he was arrested in his home in Teller County, Colorado, on December 21.
  • Berreth, Frazee’s fiancée, was last seen on Thanksgiving. Her body has not been found.

The fiancé of a Colorado woman who has been missing since Thanksgiving has been formally charged in connection to her death, despite her body not being found.

Patrick Frazee, 32, was formally charged on Monday with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder in connection with the death of Kelsey Berreth, according to KKTV.

The body of Berreth, who was last seen on Thanksgiving, has not been found.

Kelsey Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor, was first reported missing by her mother on December 2.

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Kelsey Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor, was first reported missing by her mother on December 2.
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Facebook/Missing mother – Kelsey Berreth

The two charges of first-degree murder relate to two different theories as to what happened to Berreth.

The first charge said Frazee “unlawfully, feleniously, after deliberation, and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, caused the death of Kelsey Berreth,” according to court documents seen by KKTV.

The second charge said Frazee “unlawfully and feloniously, acting alone or with one or more persons, committed or attempted to commit Robbery and, in the course of or in furtherance of that crime, or in the immediate flight therefrom, the death of Kelsey Berreth, a person, other than one of the participants, was cause by anyone,” the court documents said.

Frazee was arrested at his home in Teller County on December 21, according to a press release from the Woodland Park Police Department.

On Friday, police in Colorado executed a search warrant at the home of Patrick Frazee, left. Frazee's fiancée Kelsey Berreth, right, has been missing since Thanksgiving.

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On Friday, police in Colorado executed a search warrant at the home of Patrick Frazee, left. Frazee’s fiancée Kelsey Berreth, right, has been missing since Thanksgiving.
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Facebook/Missing mother – Kelsey Berreth

Read more: Fiancé of missing Colorado woman Kelsey Berreth is arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder

Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young said at a December 21 press conference that they found evidence in Berreth’s townhouse that suggests she was killed there.

He said Frazee has been the only person arrested in connection to Berreth’s disappearance, and he was unsure whether more arrests would be made.

Berreth, a flight instructor and mother of one, was last seen alive on Thanksgiving, when surveillance cameras captured her entering a local Safeway with her infant daughter.

Frazee told authorities that he later picked up his daughter and hadn’t seen Berreth since.

The couple were engaged and shared a child, but never lived together, Berreth’s mother said at a press conference earlier this month.

INSIDER reporter Ashley Collman contributed to this article.

8 keto-friendly foods you should be eating, according to chefs

Avocados are low in carbs, making them a pretty good keto food.

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Avocados are low in carbs, making them a pretty good keto food.
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Flickr/shakethesky

  • The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that encourages your body to rely on stored fat as its main energy source.
  • The keto diet consists of many high-protein, high-fat, and low-carb foods.
  • As is the case with any diet, not all keto-approved foods are necessarily healthy for you.
  • Some of the most popular keto foods that chefs recommend are avocado, coconut, cauliflower, and eggs.

The goal of the keto diet is to keep your body in ketosis, which is when your body uses stored fat instead of the glucose from carbs as its main energy source. With keto diets, there’s a focus on foods that are high in fat and protein but are low in carbs.

Whether you’re on the keto diet or are planning to start it, here are a few keto-approved foods chefs recommend adding to your grocery list.


Avocados and coconuts are high in plant-based monounsaturated fat.

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Avocados are high in fiber.
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Shutterstock

Chef Mareya Ibrahim, author of “The Clean Eating Handbook,” told INSIDER that because avocados and coconuts are both high in plant-based monounsaturated fat and are extremely versatile, they should be a staple in any keto diet.

“Avocado can help lower cholesterol and is high in fiber, too, so it helps with digestion and ‘moving things along,'” she said. “Meanwhile, coconut helps with healthy brain function, lowering cholesterol, and preventing inflammation and degenerative disease.”


Green smoothies and low-sugar juices can be a nice way to add veggies and protein to your diet.

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Smoothies are easy to customize based on your personal preferences or keto goals.
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Flickr

Making sure you’re getting enough protein is important on a keto diet, but micronutrient-dense foods, like veggies, should also be actively incorporated throughout the day. Chef Michael of Snap Kitchen told INSIDER that an easy way to sneak in some veggies if you aren’t scooping enough onto your plate is through smoothies and fresh juices.

“While meats and cheeses are easy for snacking through the day, it is important to keep lots of vegetables in your diet for fiber, minerals, and water-soluble vitamins,” Chef Michael said. “Staying hydrated and maintaining electrolytes is just as important and you can drink water and low-sugar juices and smoothies throughout the day to accomplish this.”


Cauliflower is incredibly versatile.

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It can be fried, roasted, or used as an ingredient in other dishes.
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liz west / Flickr

“Personally, my favorite ‘keto ingredient’ is by far the humble vegetable cauliflower. It may come as a surprise, it’s incredibly versatile and can be used in a number of different ways,” Chef Try Silverson told INSIDER.

When it comes to cauliflower, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Silverson said it can be used to make tortillas, pizza crust, mashed cauliflower, or even fried cauliflower.

Read More: 11 surprising foods you can eat on the Keto diet


Grass-fed and organic proteins can be tasty options.

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The keto diet oftentimes involves a lot of meat consumption.
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Business Insider

No matter your diet, NYC-based recipe developer, food stylist, and TV culinary producer, Clare Langan told INSIDER that the quality of the food you’re putting into your body should be a priority.

“Oftentimes on keto people are eating a lot of dairy, meat, and fat,” Langan explained. “I recommend choosing organic, grass-fed options. I also think they taste better.”


Cashews are rich in minerals and micro-nutrients.

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Cashews contain healthy fats.
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iStock

Nuts are incredibly nutrient-dense foods that are typically loaded with healthy fats. Vegan celebrity chef, Miyoko Schinner highly recommends incorporating cashews into your diet because they’re rich in minerals and micro-nutrients that include magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc.


Eggs are a keto staple for many.

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You can even use them to make cloud eggs.
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iStock

Fried, scrambled, poached, on the side, or in the batter, home chef and author of “Keto Living Day by Day,” and “Keto Gatherings” Kristie Sullivan said eggs are one of the best foods for keto dieters.

“[Eggs] contain all of the essential amino acids and they contain some important micronutrients such as selenium, choline, and a few B vitamins,” Sullivan told INSIDER. “Eggs are a perfect choice to keep hunger at bay for at least four to six hours, which is really important when you’re on the go and trying to follow a low-carb lifestyle.”

Read More: 10 ways to cook an egg that you probably haven’t thought of


Ribeye can also be an excellent choice.

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Ribeye is a pretty good source of protein.
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iStock

“Similar to eggs, ribeye is nutritionally dense, providing essential amino acids that our bodies need. Since ribeyes tend to be fattier cuts, they are also high in saturated fats and tend to be very tender,” said Sullivan. “The nutrition in beef is more bioavailable, which means that the body absorbs it more easily than some of the micronutrients in vegetables.”

She added that beef is loaded with micronutrients as well as iron and zinc.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

The 18 best sports movies and documentaries of 2018

Movies like

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Movies like “Creed II” and “Uncle Drew” rocked the box office this year, but neither topped our list of best sports movies and documentaries of 2018.
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MGM

  • Each year, Hollywood comes out with a new crop of gripping, thrilling sports films, and 2018 was no exception.
  • Movies like “Creed II” and “Uncle Drew” rocked the box office, while “The Miracle Season” stole viewers’ hearts and “Free Solo” took their breath away.
  • Check out INSIDER’s rankings of the best sports movies and documentaries of 2018.

The same core components that make a great movie – likable and relatable characters, inspiring storylines, remarkable underdogs, and more – are some of the many reasons fans are so drawn to sports. It’s no wonder, then, that Hollywood comes out with a new crop of movies centered around sports year after year.

2018 was no exception.

Movies like “Creed II” and “Uncle Drew” rocked the box office, while “The Miracle Season” stole viewers’ hearts and “Free Solo” took their breath away.

We ranked the top sports movies of 2018 according to their IMDb Rating. If two movies had the same IMDb Rating, the movies with more reviews were given the higher ranking. In each slide, we also included the film’s Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer Score, Audience Score, and Critics’ Consensus when they were available.


18 — Alex & Me

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Rotten Tomatoes

IMDb Rating: 5.5

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 71%

Summary: After failing to earn a spot on the soccer team, middle schooler Reagan Willis trains with USWNT superstar Alex Morgan for a chance at redemption.


17 — Uncle Drew

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Temple Hill Productions

IMDb Rating: 5.7

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 51%

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: “Kyrie Irving’s crossover to comedy is amiable enough to score with basketball fans, but Uncle Drew is held back by formulaic plotting and too much product placement.”

Summary: Legendary streetballer Uncle Drew – played by NBA All-Star Kyrie Irving – makes a long-awaited return to the Rucker Classic tournament in Harlem alongside his old squad, including Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, and Lisa Leslie.


16 — Amateur

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IMDb

IMDb Rating: 5.9

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 70%

Summary: A 14-year-old basketball prodigy navigates the dark underbelly of amateur athletics as he is recruited to play for an NCAA prep school.


15 — Swimming With Men

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IMDB

IMDb Rating: 6.3

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 46%

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Swimming with Men touches on thought-provoking themes surrounding modern masculinity, but ultimately never manages to do much more than tread water.”

Summary: An accountant who has not seen much success in his professional or personal life turns to an all-male synchronized swimming team for fulfillment.


14 — First Match

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The Wrap

IMDb Rating: 6.3

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 82%

Summary: A teenage girl who spent years in foster care joins the boy’s wrestling team in a bid to reconnect with her estranged father.


13 — The Miracle Season

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IMBD

IMDb Rating: 6.5

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 86%

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: The Miracle Season has a worthy real-life story to tell, but one-dimensional characters and aggressively maudlin storytelling undercut any emotional uplift.”

Summary: After losing its star player and team leader to a tragic accident, the Iowa City West High School volleyball team bands together to vie for a state championship against all odds.


12 — John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection

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Steve Powell/Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 6.6

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 78%

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection offers a compelling analysis of what made its subject special – and gives audiences a courtside seat to a pivotal match.”

Summary: Set at the 1984 French Open final between John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection shows the left-hander’s tennis brilliance and emotional pitfalls through 16-mm-shot footage.


11 — Don’t Cry for Me England

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IMDb

IMDb Rating: 6.8

Summary: A General introduces Buenos Aires to the game of soccer during the 1806 British invasion of the city.


10 — The Last Race

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MSN.com

IMDb Rating: 7.0

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

Summary: A local stock car race track and the blue-collar workers who call it home face the financial duress of a real estate development boom.


9 — Zion

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IMDb

IMDb Rating: 7.2

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 86%

Summary: Based on a true story, Zion follows Zion Clark, a wrestler born without legs, as he uses wrestling with and against his non-disabled peers as an outlet while enduring the trials and tribulations of living in foster care.


8 — Back to Berlin

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IMDb

IMDb Rating: 7.4

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Summary: In the summer of 2015, the Maccabiah games – otherwise known as the Jewish Olympics – were hosted in Germany for the first time since World War II at the same site as Hilter’s infamous 1936 Olympics. Back to Berlin follows eleven motorbikers as they carry the Maccabiah torch alongside the Israeli flag on a journey from Tel Aviv to Berlin.


7 — Trautmann

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Cinema.ch

IMDb Rating: 7.6

Summary: A German POW, goalkeeper Bert Trautmann refuses repatriation at the end of World War II and instead settles in Lancashire. He eventually overcomes his villainous reputation by valiantly defending the goal during Manchester City’s FA Cup Final victory in 1956 despite breaking his neck mid game.


6 — The Merger

source
IMDb

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%

Summary: A former Australian professional football player returns to his hometown to coach the local footy team to help bring together an otherwise run-down town.


5 — Andre the Giant

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 90%

Summary: A look into the life and career of André Roussimoff – a 7-foot-5 professional wrestler better known as Andre the Giant.


4 — Creed II

source
MGM

IMDb Rating: 7.9

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 88%

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: “Creed II’s adherence to franchise formula adds up to a sequel with few true surprises, but its time-tested generational themes still pack a solid punch.”

Summary: Against the advice of trainer Rocky Balboa, heavyweight boxer Adonis Creed prepares for the fight of his life against Viktor Drago, the son of his father’s killer.


3 — Basketball: A Love Story

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Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 100%

Summary: Some of the biggest names in basketball discuss their love for the game and its intersection with topics such as race, class, politics, media, and business.


2 — Glass Jaw

source
Glassjawmovie.com

IMDb Rating: 8.3

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 99%

Summary: Former champion boxer Travis Austin seeks to redeem himself both in the ring and outside of it after losing everything and going to prison.


1 — Free Solo

source
National Geographic

IMDb Rating: 8.6

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 95%

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Free Solo depicts athletic feats that many viewers will find beyond reason – and grounds the attempts in passions that are all but universal.”

Summary: Free soloist climber Alex Honnold attempts one of the most daring athletic feats in history by becoming the first person to scale El Capitan – the 3,000-foot vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park – without a rope or protective gear.


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Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The 22 best NFL touchdown celebrations of 2018

Russia arrested a US citizen on spying charges, but the government shutdown makes it hard to get answers on how the Trump administration will respond

Vladimir Putin at the G20 Leaders' Summit 2018 in Argentina.

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Vladimir Putin at the G20 Leaders’ Summit 2018 in Argentina.
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Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images

  • A US citizen identified as Paul Whelan was arrested in Russia on Friday and charged with espionage, and it’s not clear how the Trump administration plans to respond.
  • This appears to be linked to the fact the State Department is one of the agencies impacted by the government shutdown.
  • The State Department was slower to respond to queries on Whelan’s arrest and one spokesperson said they could not respond because they’ve been furloughed.

A US citizen identified as Paul Whelan was arrested in Russia on Friday and charged with espionage, and it’s not clear how the Trump administration plans to respond.

This appears to be linked to the fact the State Department is one of the agencies impacted by the government shutdown.

When INSIDER reached out to State for a comment on Whelan’s arrest, it initially received an automatic response from a spokesman that stated, “I am not in the office because of the furlough resulting from the lapse in U.S. Government appropriations.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the National Security Council told INSIDER to “check [with] State” when asked for a comment on Whelan’s arrest.

The US embassy in Moscow also did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.

In a December 26 Facebook post, the embassy made it clear it’s not operating at full capacity during the shutdown.

“At this time, scheduled passport and visas services in the United States and at U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits,” the embassy said. “We will not update this account until full operations resume, with the exception of urgent safety and security information.”

A State Department spokesperson eventually responded to INSIDER and said the agency was aware of Whelan’s arrest.

“We have been formally notified of the detention by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Russia’s obligations under the Vienna Convention require them to provide consular access. We have requested this access and expect Russian authorities to provide it,” the spokesperson said.

Read more: A US citizen has been arrested in Russia on spying charges

It’s not unusual for a government agency to take some time to respond to queries from reporters, nor is it out of the ordinary for the White House to tell journalists to ask certain agencies about matters they’re likely to take point on.

But this situation is still telling in terms of how a government shutdown impacts US diplomatic operations.

A spokesperson for the State Department told INSIDER employees were notified at the start of the shutdown whether they’re in a position that qualifies as “excepted” or “non-excepted.”

“As outlined in the Department’s guidance, excepted functions include those necessary for emergencies involving ‘the safety of human life or the protection of property’ and those necessary for activities essential to national security, including the conduct of foreign affairs essential to national security,” the spokesperson said.

“Many of the Department’s bureaus and posts are implementing shutdown procedures, including the furlough of personnel performing non-excepted functions,” the spokesperson added. “Approximately 33% of U.S. direct hire overseas employees and approximately 45% of U.S. direct hire domestic employees have been furloughed.”

The spokesperson also said that consular operations, including visa and passport services, will continue “as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations.” Overseas embassies and consulates are also expected to continue to provide “routine and emergency U.S. citizen services.”

Some State Department operations are continuing because of available residual balances, including Diplomatic Security; Defense Trade Controls fee-funded services; Overseas Buildings Operations; Education and Cultural Affairs; International Narcotics and Law Enforcement; Population, Refugees, and Migration; and the Office of Foreign Missions.

“Those entities with residual balances available for payroll and other specified activities will continue operating until their respective balances are insufficient to continue,” the State Department said.

David Rothkopf, a foreign policy expert and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the State Department’s response to Whelan’s detention goes beyond the limitations presented by the shutdown.

“It would certainly seem, based on the response [INSIDER] got, that the State Department’s ability to respond has been impacted by the shutdown,” Rothkopf told INSIDER. “That said, it is not unheard of for the State Department to be reticent on such matters nor is it unusual for the White House to punt to the State Department. It is more unusual for the Russians to take someone like this into custody rather than expelling them … and that of course, suggests the individual may be used in a trade, for [Maria] Butina for example.”

Read more: Accused Russian agent Maria Butina pleaded guilty to engaging in a conspiracy against the US

Pointing to a New York Times report that said the State Department did not spend any of the millions of dollars it’s been allocated to combat Russian election meddling, Rothkopf added that “the issue at the current State Department is not money.”

“Even without the furlough they are soft-peddling pressure on Russia – even as Russian attacks on the US continue and further evidence of their plots against US democracy is revealed,” Rothkopf said.

A British army captain has become the second person ever to cross Antarctica alone and unaided. He retraced the steps of a friend who died.

Glaciers are seen in Half Moon Bay, Antarctica, February 18, 2018.

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Glaciers are seen in Half Moon Bay, Antarctica, February 18, 2018.
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Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

After 56 days of travel, British Army captain Louis Rudd has become the second person ever to cross Antarctica alone and unaided.

Rudd reached the Ross Ice Shelf on Friday, finishing the treacherous crossing just two days after American Colin O’Brady achieved the same feat.

Both explorers set out in early November, though Rudd told The Observer that he did not think of the trek as a competition. In fact, Rudd said he was unaware of O’Brady’s plan to cross the southern continent until a few days before Rudd left the United Kingdom.

The 49-year-old British adventurer skied more than 900 miles in honor of explorer Henry Worsley, a close friend who died while trying to complete the same journey in 2016. In an interview with The New Yorker, Rudd said Worsley introduced him to polar exploration, teaching him how to move through blinding whiteouts and spot crevasses in the ice.

Both O’Brady and Rudd kept their load light, since neither man got resupplied. That means they had to pull all their food, fuel, and gear behind them on a sled. Each explorer brought only one pair of underwear, but their provisions still weighed a significant amount. O’Brady said he carried about 400 pounds, more than 50% of which was food.

Rudd told The Observer that in the mornings, he ate porridge with hot chocolate. For dinner, he consumed freeze-dried meals and protein shakes. Before setting off, he said, he also bought 70 bags of tropical trail mix. Rudd snacked on milk chocolate bars, salami, and cheese as well.

O’Brady’s diet throughout the trek was more tailored – the American worked with a sponsor to design special high-calorie “Colin Bars” based on his nutrition needs.

Both men said they lost significant amounts of weight as they battled their way across the ice. Rudd estimated that he lost about 33 pounds over the last two months – roughly one-fifth of his weight.

“I’ve got chicken legs, my arms are stick thin,” he told The Observer. “I had to sew a tuck into the waistband of my underpants and thermal leggings after I felt them slipping down when I was skiing.”

‘This is horrific’

In January 2016, Worsley decided to abandon his journey just 30 miles from the finish line. He had been unable to leave his tent for two days, so he called for emergency help and was airlifted to a hospital in Chile.

The 55-year-old explorer underwent surgery for bacterial peritonitis – an infection in the tissue lining his abdomen – but he died due to organ failure.

To honor Worsley’s life, Rudd carried a flag featuring the late explorer’s family crest.

But until the end, it was uncertain whether either he or O’Brady would succeed in crossing Antarctica, Rudd said. Every person who had tried before them either gave up or died.

The trek was both the longest distance either man had ever traveled in Antarctica and the longest time spent alone. Even though O’Brady’s training included a 400-mile test run in Greenland, the American said nothing could have fully prepared him for more than 50 days of solitude.

Read more: An American adventurer has become the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unaided. His training included Buddhist retreats and a 400-mile trek in Greenland.

Rudd said he sometimes found it difficult to keep going.

“I skied through some horrendous conditions,” he told The Observer. “I would be skiing along thinking, ‘my God, this is the worst place in the world right now; this is horrific’.”

Rudd passed the time listening to audiobooks – including three biographies of Winston Churchill – and music by Pink Floyd and U2, he said.

O’Brady waited for Rudd to finish

Both men began their journey at the Ronne Ice Shelf and reached their destination at the Ross Ice Shelf.

A map shows Colin O'Brady's path from the Ronne Ice Shelf to his destination.

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A map shows Colin O’Brady’s path from the Ronne Ice Shelf to his destination.
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Colin O’Brady/The Impossible First/Business Insider

During his trek, Rudd’s only contact with other people came during a one-hour stop at a scientific base at the South Pole. About 15 or 20 people cheered him on at the base, though Rudd told The Observer that completing the trek alone and unaided meant he was prohibited from going inside or accepting any supplies.

When the British adventurer completed his journey on Friday, O’Brady was waiting for him. In an Instagram post, the American congratulated Rudd and said the two men now had a “lifelong bond.”

View this post on Instagram

Day 56: HUMAN CONTACT. There he is! Captain Louis Rudd arrived at the finish line this afternoon. I’ve been waiting here to greet him – the only other person on the planet to have completed this crossing. It is amazing to see him and be the first to congratulate him in person! Not to mention it’s quite refreshing to see and speak to another human being after the long, quiet walk the last two months. We certainly have a lifelong bond now having both completed this epic journey. Quoting Lou, “It’s a miracle that we both cracked this in the same year, after many people failing over the years to complete this crossing.” Agreed, Lou! I’m reminded of when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile and in quick succession many others followed – proving that what was once thought to be impossible can become attainable when people believe in their minds that it can be done. Lou, well done my friend and major congratulations! Lou has now spent more than 200 days on the ice on 3 expeditions and is one of the most experienced Antarctica expeditioners. It’s an honor to know you, and it will be great fun debriefing all of our experiences over the coming days as we make our way out of Antarctica together. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

A post shared by Colin O'Brady (@colinobrady) on

“This has been one of the most profound and meaningful experiences of my entire life, and without a doubt my proudest accomplishment,” O’Brady wrote on Instagram. “This journey has cracked me open to my core and nearly broken me many times.”

The men didn’t get to return to the comforts of civilization as quickly as they’d hoped, though. On December 29, O’Brady said in an Instagram post that poor weather had prevented pilots from reaching the ice shelf, so the two explorers were still camping out in Antarctica, waiting for a plane.

The forecast initially predicted that the men would not be able to leave until Monday, December 31; O’Brady said he was concerned about running out of food while they waited, since the two men only had enough for 48 more hours.

But a plane managed to pick them up yesterday, and they flew to Union Glacier, Antarctica’s main hub for expeditions and research. Both men will then head to South America on their way home.