Book Bits | 30 May 2020

The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy
Tim Harford
Summary via publisher (Little, Brown)
In Fifty Things that Made the Modern Economy, the revolutionary, acclaimed book, radio series and podcast, bestselling economist Tim Harford introduced us to a selection of fifty radical inventions that changed the world. Now, in this new book, Tim Harford once again brings us an array of remarkable, memorable, curious and often unexpected ‘things’ – inventions that teach us lessons by turns intimate and sweeping about the complex world economy we live in today.

Corruption and Fraud in Financial Markets: Malpractice, Misconduct and Manipulation
Carol Alexander and Douglas Cumming
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Corruption and Fraud in Financial Markets identifies potential issues surrounding all types of fraud, misconduct, price/volume manipulation and other forms of malpractice. Chapters cover detection, prevention and regulation of corruption and fraud within different financial markets. Written by experts at the forefront of finance and risk management, this book details the many practices that bring potentially devastating consequences, including insider trading, bribery, false disclosure, frontrunning, options backdating, and improper execution or broker-agency relationships.

Perfectly Confident: How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely
Don A. Moore
Summary via publisher (Harper Business)
An expert on the psychology of decision making at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business helps readers calibrate their confidence, arguing that some confidence is good, but overconfidence can hinder growth. A surge of confidence can feel fantastic—offering a rush of energy, even a dazzling vision of the future. It can give us courage and bolster our determination when facing adversity. But if that self-assurance leads us to pursue impossible goals, it can waste time, money, and energy. Self-help books and motivational speakers tell us that the more confident we are, the better. But this way of thinking can lead to enormous trouble.

The Hour of Fate: Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and the Battle to Transform American Capitalism
Susan Berfield
Review via The Economist
Most authors might be content to write about either John Pierpont Morgan, possibly the world’s most famous banker, or Theodore Roosevelt (pictured), one of America’s best-loved presidents. But “The Hour of Fate” by Susan Berfield is richer for tackling them together. Set during Roosevelt’s first term, which saw the pair locked in battle, then co-operate to resolve a national crisis, her book vividly brings both men to life.

GATT and Global Order in the Postwar Era
Francine McKenzie
Summary via publisher (Cambridge U. Press)
After the Second World War, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) promoted trade liberalization to help make the world prosperous and peaceful. Francine McKenzie uses case studies of the Cold War, the creation of the EEC and other regional trade agreements, development, and agriculture, to show that trade is a primary goal of foreign policy, a dominant (and divisive) aspect of international relations, and a vital component of global order. She unpacks the many ways in which trade was politicised, and the layers of meaning associated with trade; trade policies, as well as disputes about trade, communicated ideas, hopes and fears that were linked to larger questions of identity, sovereignty, and status. This study reveals how the economic and political dimensions of foreign policy and international engagement intersected, showing that trade was not only instrumentalised in the service of particular policies or relations but that it was also an essential aspect of international relations.

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