Book Bits | 12.14.13

Turbulent and Mighty Continent: What Future for Europe
By Anthony Giddens
Summary via publisher, Polity
The currency of the European Union, the euro, is used in economic transactions world-wide. Yet the EU is mired in the greatest crisis of its history, one that threatens its very existence as an entity able to have an impact upon world affairs. Europe no longer seems so mighty, instead but faces the threat of becoming an irrelevant backwater or, worse, once again the scene of turbulent conflicts. Divisions are arising all over Europe, while the popularity of the Union sinks. How can this situation be turned around? It is a mistake, argues Anthony Giddens, to see the misfortunes of the euro as the sole source of Europe’s malaise. The Union faces problems shared by most or all of the developed states of the world. Reform in Europe must go far beyond stabilizing the euro, formidable and fraught though that task may be. Introducing an array of new ideas, Giddens suggests this is the time for a far-reaching rethink of the European project as a whole.

Understanding the Myth of High Growth Firms: The Theory of the Greater Fool
By Malin,Brännback, et al.
Summary via publisher, Springer
Drawing from a fresh review of the literature, their own primary research and experience in entrepreneurial ventures, the authors argue that the relationship between growth and firm performance is, in fact, inconclusive. Despite the strength of contemporary bias, there is strong evidence that the growth-profitability relationship is problematic. For example, rapid growth may lead to considerable organizational challenges that can seriously constrain a firm’s ability to generate sustainable profits. Also, it is not uncommon that a growth firm becomes a victim of its own success.

Cycle Analytics for Traders: Advanced Technical Trading Concepts (Wiley Trading)
By John F. Ehlers
Summary via publisher, Wiley
This is a technical resource book written for self-directed traders who want to understand the scientific underpinnings of the filters and indicators they use in their trading decisions. There is plenty of theory and years of research behind the unique solutions provided in this book, but the emphasis is on simplicity rather than mathematical purity. In particular, the solutions use a pragmatic approach to attain effective trading results. Cycle Analytics for Traders will allow traders to think of their indicators and trading strategies in the frequency domain as well as their motions in the time domain. This new viewpoint will enable them to select the most efficient filter lengths for the job at hand.

Dynamism, Rivalry, and the Surplus Economy: Two Essays on the Nature of Capitalism
By János Kornai
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
In Dynamism, Rivalry, and the Surplus Economy, János Kornai examines capitalism as an economic system and in comparison to socialism. Kornai explains his view of capitalism as an economy of surplus—a chronic excess of supply of goods and labor. This environment breeds rivalry among producers, which in turn encourages innovation. Socialism, on the other hand, is defined by a shortage of goods and labor and excess of demand. Whereas socialism is slothful and imitative, capitalism is dynamic and progressive. The two essays of this book will explore these differing ideologies on macro and micro levels, ending with definitive explanations of how the systems work and how they develop.

More than Money: Five Forms of Capital to Create Wealth and Eliminate Poverty
By Paul C. Godfrey
Summary via publisher, Stanford University Press
Is poverty inevitable? No, says author Paul Godfrey. More than Money shows how organizations can win the fight against poverty and create prosperity for people at the base of the pyramid in the developing and developed world. This book presents a novel framework that shows how five types of interrelated capital—institutional, human, social, organizational, and physical—enable development and sustainable growth. In addition to a widely-applicable model, Godfrey provides principles to guide application. Core chapters articulate each specific form of capital and provide examples of how it contributes to the triple bottom line. Not just a theoretical examination of poverty, More than Money delivers timely advice to organizations that produce goods and services, implement policies, and create meaningful change on the ground.