● King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone
by David Carey
Review via Basil and Spice
“King of Capital” describes how Blackstone went from two guys and a secretary to being one of Wall Street’s most powerful institutions, far outgrowing its much older rival KKR; and how Steve Schwarzman, with a pay packet one year of $398 million and $684 million from the Blackstone IPO (which came later in 2007), came to epitomize the spectacular new financial fortunes amassed in the 2000s. Along the way, private equity firms tried — and largely succeeded — in improving their image from predatory “grave dancers” that “stripped” — sold off the assets — of companies they bought and “flipped” — quickly resold the companies, often to foreign companies that closed plants, laid off workers and beggared whole communities.
● Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street
By Charles Gasparino
Review via Intellectual Conservative
For decades big business has been cast in the role of a conjoined twin with the Republican Party. Wall Street, the domain of some of America’s biggest businesses, in terms of absolute money power has been considered the worst of the worst when it comes to “fat cats” and amoral greed. So what is the connection between Wall Street and Barack Obama? Charles Gasparino, an investigative reporter and author of several very revealing books on the world of high finance has the answer to that question…
Bought and Paid For reads, in many respects like a story. The characters are real people and the real anecdotes reveal their intentions, their motivations, and other reasons why Big Finance has become so closely involved with Big Government. We learn what is in it for both sides, and why it is unlikely that either side will call a halt to the relationship voluntarily. The run up to the 2008 presidential election is covered in detail; who received how much money from whom, and what it was used for. What Wall Street really believed about Barack Obama and John McCain. How the money Wall Street money machine works, and why the vaunted financial reform regulations of 2010 haven’t and won’t solve any problems. Perhaps most important to many Americans, why the so-called government stimulus hasn’t stimulated anything.
● The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account
By Maria Bartiromo
Review via Balance Junkie
A couple of weeks ago a representative of the public relations firm handling CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo’s new book sent me an email asking if I would care to review it. I quickly agreed, but my interest stemmed more from a curiosity about the tenor and approach the book would take rather than its actual contents. The book is called The Weekend That Changed Wall Street: An Eyewitness Account. It’s about that fateful September weekend a little over 2 years ago when the 158-year-old financial icon Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, sending global financial markets into a panic.
● The New Road to Serfdom: A Letter of Warning to America
By Daniel Hannan
Video of speech by author in a forum on his new book via the Cato Institute.
● The Impending World Energy Mess
by Robert L. Hirsch, Roger H. Bezdek, Robert M. Wendling
Review via Huffington Post
The market does some crucial jobs so well that we’re tempted to make a quasi-religion of it. But at other jobs it fails: for example, at giving a timely signal to prepare for “peak oil.”
In their new book, analyst Robert Hirsch and his colleagues take on the coming decline in global oil production, or as they put it, “the impending world energy mess.” They estimate that a decline will start in 2-5 years, following the present “fluctuating plateau” on a graph of production.
The kicker is their conclusion that, once we start a “crash program,” shifting our fleet of vehicles will take “more than a decade”; and building the infrastructure for new fuels, 10-20 years.
● Macroeconomic Essentials, 3rd Edition: Understanding Economics in the News
By Peter E. Kennedy
Summary via publisher (MIT Press)
This introductory text offers an alternative to the encyclopedic, technically oriented approach taken by traditional textbooks on macroeconomic principles. Concise and nontechnical but rigorous, its goal is not to teach students to shift curves on diagrams but to help them understand fundamental macroeconomic concepts and their real-world applications… This third edition has been revised and updated throughout. New material covers the subprime mortgage crisis and other subjects; new “curiosities” (boxed expositions of important topics) have been added, as have “news clips” about recent events.