This is the time of year when we begin to fret about a gift for the graduating high school senior in our life. Here are two ideas:
* A share or two of stock in Marvel Entertainment Group, publisher of Spiderman, Wolverine, X-Men, and other classics of the comic-book genre. Be sure to include a copy of the company's third-quarter 1991 report, which features Hulk and Spidey discussing Marvel's net income, gross margins, and earnings per share. As for the stock, it was trading at 25¼ per share at press time, up from the initial offering price of 181/8 on July 16, 1991, when Marvel went public. But lest you be tempted to think of this as the place to park all the money you've been saving for your kid's education, consider that Marvel's current price/earnings ratio is 37 -- enough to give even Spiderman a touch of vertigo.
* A copy of Body and Soul (Crown, 1991), by Anita Roddick, cofounder and managing director of the Body Shop International. Tom Peters calls it the best business book for a 20-year-old. I'd say it's the best business book for young people of all ages. In fact, it may be the only book about business you have much hope of getting a teenager to read. It won't satisfy serious readers in search of insights into the management of this wildly original organization. But Roddick's inspirational account shows how business can be as noble an endeavor as any other -- and thereby challenges the antibusiness cynicism lurking in every healthy teenager's soul.* * *