Book Bits | 1 August 2020

How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps
Ben Shapiro
Excerpt via NY Post
It is simply undeniable that capitalism, founded on protection of property rights — the ideology of the Founding Fathers — has been uniquely successful in spreading peace and prosperity both domestically and around the globe. Since the dawn of the Enlightenment, the enshrinement of individual rights, and the advent of protection for private property — the roots of capitalism — global GDP has increased exponentially, in shocking fashion.

Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives
Howard J. Ross
Summary via publisher (Rowman & Littlefield)
To be human is to be biased. From this simple truth, nationally recognized diversity expert Howard J. Ross explores the biases we each carry within us. Incorporating anecdotes from today’s headlines alongside case studies from over 30 years of diversity consulting, Ross helps readers understand how unconscious bias impacts our day-to-day lives and, particularly, our daily work lives. And, he answers the question: “Is there anything we can do about it?” by providing examples of behaviors that the reader can engage in to disengage the impact of their own biases.

Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World
Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West
Review via The Economist
Using clever anecdotes, nods to online culture and allusions to ancient philosophy, the book tells ordinary readers how to spot nonsense—even if they are not numerical whizzes. As well as sketching the difference between correlation and causality, the authors outline visualisation techniques and explain machine learning to arm people against assertions that seem, and so probably are, either “too good or too bad to be true”.

Die with Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life
Bill Perkins
Essay by author via MarketWatch
Everybody knows they should be saving for the future and investing their savings so the money grows into a plump nest egg in time for retirement. Likewise, we know we should have a rainy-day fund, too, even if millions of Americans who, either out of necessity or sheer carelessness, live paycheck to paycheck.
But consider the flip side: overly prudent savers who end up saving up more than they’ll ever need in retirement, and at a high cost to their present selves. Maybe you’re one of them.

Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?
Alexander Keyssar
Q&A with author via Harvard Magazine
The title of Alexander Keyssar’s new book—Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?—is also, he says, the question Americans ask themselves every four years. The Stirling professor of history and social policy at the Harvard Kennedy School recently spoke with Harvard Magazine about the book and about why the Electoral College, an institution that’s been unpopular almost from the moment it was founded, has prevailed to this day.

Financial Planning Insights: Insights Gained from Two Decades as a Financial Planner
Chase Armer
Summary via Amazon
Have you ever dealt with an important but complicated financial decision? Have you ever received financial advice that conflicted with advice from another source? Have you ever wondered if the conventional wisdom that many financial gurus share fits your financial situation? The truth is there is no one right way to do financial planning. Everyone’s situation, goals, and feelings about money are unique. Financial professionals also have their own perspectives, experiences, and biases that influence their advice. Therefore, it is important to explore and understand the rationale behind the financial advice that you receive so that you can weigh the pros and cons to decide the best path for you.

Hidden Wealth: The Secret To Getting Top Dollar For Your Business
Terry Monroe
Summary via Amazon
If you are planning to sell or are considering selling your business in the next twelve to twenty-four months, you need to start planning now. But where do you even start? In Hidden Wealth, accomplished advisor Terry Monroe shares stories of successful businesspeople who, without knowing, left millions of hard-earned dollars on the table because of their lack of knowledge. Worse yet is the self-inflicted mental strain and grief that can occur when selling a business. Inside, you’ll learn how to recognize your situation, deal with the business that you have built over the years, and maximize the money you will receive when you do decide to cash out of the business.

Assetization: Turning Things into Assets in Technoscientific Capitalism (Inside Technology)
Edited by Kean Birch and Fabian Muniesa
Summary via publisher (MIT Press)
In this book, scholars from a range of disciplines argue that the asset—meaning anything that can be controlled, traded, and capitalized as a revenue stream—has become the primary basis of technoscientific capitalism. An asset can be an object or an experience, a sum of money or a life form, a patent or a bodily function. A process of assetization prevails, imposing investment and return as the key rationale, and overtaking commodification and its speculative logic. Although assets can be bought and sold, the point is to get a durable economic rent from them rather than make a killing on the market. Assetization examines how assets are constructed and how a variety of things can be turned into assets, analyzing the interests, activities, skills, organizations, and relations entangled in this process.

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