18 Oct 2012
The economists’ voice 2.0
Aaron S Edlin and Joseph E Stiglitz
Columbia University Press
Edited by Aaron S Edlin and Joseph E Stiglitz, The economists’ voice 2.0 is an in-depth collection of essays written by many contributors for the online journal The economists’ voice. Edlin – the Richard W Jennings Professor at the University of California, and Stiglitz – professor at Columbia University have devised this autonomous collection for students and those interested in the financial developments shaping the world. Varying from academics to presidential advisors, this collection contains 32 essays tackling issues from healthcare reform, the effects of financial regulatory reform, and the possibilities for ratings reform, to the issue of limiting bankers’ pay. A riveting read when considering the current uncertainty for western economies, it is thorough yet acutely direct.
Consent of the networked
Censorship has been a contentious issue since the dawn of the media revolution. The invention of the internet was designed to liberate users, but for every occasion of freedom, there are privacy violatations, and never more so than today. Sudden changes to privacy setting on social networking sites are just the beginning. Apple removes politically controversial apps at government requests and for its own commercial reasons. Many western companies sell surveillance technology to oppressive regimes globally. Google struggles with censorship demands from governments in many democratic countries, while public concern over the vast quantities of information it collects about its users increases. MacKinnon argues for the freedom of internet users in this compelling read.
The invisible hands
John Wiley & Sons
Steven Drobny takes an informative approach to the 2008 financial crisis by bringing to light the secrets of the surviving and profiting hedge fund managers, through revealing interviews as a starting point on how the economy can recover today which he then develops. Dobny also gives relevant guidance on how traditional investors, including pensions, endowments, foundations, and family offices should reassess how they approach asset allocation and portfolio construction for a better future. Insightful and direct, The invisible hands reveals how the surviving hedge fund managers approach markets, risk and the broader ideas in question, as well as giving advice on how investors should be approaching money management in today’s uncertain economic world.
Making the European monetary union
Harvard University Press
With reports of economic destruction continuing to stream through daily news feeds, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer uncertainty of the situation. Harold James offers an in-depth account to help understand the European monetary crisis: by tracing behind-the-scenes negotiations using an array of sources that were previously unavailable, most notably from the European Community’s Committee of Central Bank Governors and the Delors Committee of 1988, which set out the plan for how Europe could reach its goal of monetary union. Debated but never resolved at the time of the euro’s invention, James contends that the financial crisis cannot be singularly blamed on the euro, when the constant friction between politicians and technocrats assisted in its final downfall.
The power of habit
Breaking habits can be extremely difficult, and when these habits are engrossed within a business, finding a breakthrough is near impossible. In The power of habit, Charles Duhigg explains the scientific discoveries that determine why habits exist and how they can be changed. Duhigg highlights a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential for transformation, exploring why some business minds struggle to change, when others seem to transform instantly. Habits start in the brain, and Duhigg visits laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and how they can be broken. He explores reasons on how the right habits are crucial to the performance of leaders, resulting in the difference between many who have failed and those who go on to succed.
Random House Business
Artificial intelligence has been at the forefront of technological development: whether to fulfill the natural instinct to explore, or to assert the egos of those involved – the margin between computer and human thought is vastly narrowing. In Dark pools, Scott Patterson accounts the story of a group of ‘whiz kids’ who created a radical new trading system in which machines trade anonymously with other machines, making and losing fortunes in the blink of an eye. This state-of-the-art technology has transformed the financial markets, but it has also raised some disturbing and integral questions. Have people lost control over technological innovation? How can this system be monitored, let alone regulated? Gruelling and terrifying, Patterson questions the future of the human inquisitive mind.
The hour between dog and wolf
Former Wall Street trader John Coates responds to the many banking scandals in The hour between dog and wolf, by examining how when thinking, both body and brain are employed. When taking risks, this becomes intensified, whether at work, in sport, or on the financial markets. Behaviour can become irrational when the global economy is in such a regular turmoil, and this can greatly affect recovery and future market-led decisions. Coates has shown that under the pressure of risk, human biology transforms individuals into different people. Traders and investors are particularly prone to this, showing signs of split personality dependent on success or failure. Exploring issues that affect both companies and traders, Coates offers tangible insight into subconscious patterns.