October 19, 2013
Book Bits | 10.19.13
● The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present
By David Runciman
Summary via publisher, Princeton University Press
Why do democracies keep lurching from success to failure? The current financial crisis is just the latest example of how things continue to go wrong, just when it looked like they were going right. In this wide-ranging, original, and compelling book, David Runciman tells the story of modern democracy through the history of moments of crisis, from the First World War to the economic crash of 2008.
A global history with a special focus on the United States, The Confidence Trap examines how democracy survived threats ranging from the Great Depression to the Cuban missile crisis, and from Watergate to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. It also looks at the confusion and uncertainty created by unexpected victories, from the defeat of German autocracy in 1918 to the defeat of communism in 1989. Throughout, the book pays close attention to the politicians and thinkers who grappled with these crises: from Woodrow Wilson, Nehru, and Adenauer to Fukuyama and Obama.
● Global Financial Contagion: Building a Resilient World Economy after the Subprime Crisis
By Shalendra Sharma
Summary via publisher, Cambridge University Press
This book is an authoritative account of the economic and political roots of the 2008 financial crisis. It examines why it was triggered in the United States, why it morphed into the Great Recession, and why the contagion spread with such ferocity around the globe. It also examines how and why economies – including the Eurozone, Russia, China, India, East Asia, and the Middle East – have been impacted and explores their response to the unprecedented challenges of the crisis and the effectiveness of their policy measures. Global Financial Contagion specifically looks at how the Obama administration's policy missteps have contributed to America's huge debt and slow recovery, why the Eurozone's response to its existential crisis has become a never-ending saga, and why the G-20's efforts to create a new international financial architecture may fall short.
● Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet
By Sarah Elton
Summary via publisher, Chicago University Press
By 2050, the world population is expected to reach nine billion. And the challenge of feeding this rapidly growing population is being made greater by climate change, which will increasingly wreak havoc on the way we produce our food. At the same time, we have lost touch with the soil—few of us know where our food comes from, let alone how to grow it—and we are at the mercy of multinational corporations who control the crops and give little thought to the damage their methods are inflicting on the planet. Our very future is at risk.
● Smart Machines: IBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing
By John E. Kelly III and Steve Hamm
Q&A with co-author via IBM Research News
IBM Research: What is the era of cognitive computing?
Steve: John and other leaders at IBM believe that we’re on the cusp of a new era in computing. Scientists at IBM and elsewhere are creating machines that sense, learn, reason and interact with people in new ways. These machines will help people penetrate complexity and make better decisions.
You can think of a cognitive system as a truly intelligent assistant that helps individuals live and work more successfully, and that helps organizations become more efficient and effective. The implications are huge for individuals, businesses and society as a whole. With these technologies, we will be able to make the world work better and more sustainably.
● Predictive Business Analytics: Forward Looking Capabilities to Improve Business Performance
By Lawrence Maisel and Gary Cokins
Summary via publisher, Wiley
This forward-thinking book addresses the emergence of predictive business analytics, how it can help redefine the way your organization operates, and many of the misconceptions that impede the adoption of this new management capability. Filled with case examples, Predictive Business Analytics defines ways in which specific industries have applied these techniques and tools and how predictive business analytics can complement other financial applications such as budgeting, forecasting, and performance reporting.
● Lessons from the Economics of Crime: What Reduces Offending?
Edited by Philip J. Cook, et al.
Summary via publisher, MIT Press
Economists who bring the tools of economic analysis to bear on the study of crime and crime prevention contribute to current debates a normative framework and sophisticated quantitative methods for evaluating policy, the idea of criminal behavior as rational choice, and the connection of individual choices to aggregate outcomes. The contributors to this volume draw on all three of these approaches in their investigations and discuss the policy implications of their findings.
Posted by jp at October 19, 2013 4:28 AM