Book Bits | 1.18.14

The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance
By Eswar S. Prasad
Summary via publisher, Princeton University Press
The U.S. dollar’s dominance seems under threat. The near collapse of the U.S. financial system in 2008-2009, political paralysis that has blocked effective policymaking, and emerging competitors such as the Chinese renminbi have heightened speculation about the dollar’s looming displacement as the main reserve currency. Yet, as The Dollar Trap powerfully argues, the financial crisis, a dysfunctional international monetary system, and U.S. policies have paradoxically strengthened the dollar’s importance.

Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating
By Paul Oyer
Summary via publisher, Harvard Business Press
Conquering the dating market–from an economist’s point of view. After more than twenty years, economist Paul Oyer found himself back on the dating scene–but what a difference a few years made. Dating was now dominated by sites like, eHarmony, and OkCupid. But Oyer had a secret weapon: economics. It turns out that dating sites are no different than the markets Oyer had spent a lifetime studying., eBay, and other sites where individuals come together to find a match gave Oyer startling insight into the modern dating scene. The arcane language of economics–search, signaling, adverse selection, cheap talk, statistical discrimination, thick markets, and network externalities–provides a useful guide to finding a mate. Using the ideas that are central to how markets and economics and dating work, Oyer shows how you can apply these ideas to take advantage of the economics in everyday life, all around you, all the time. For all online daters–and for anyone else swimming in the vast sea of the information economy–this book uses Oyer’s own experiences, and those of millions of others, to help you navigate the key economic concepts that drive the modern age.

A Better World, Inc.: How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems…Where Governments Cannot
By Alice Korngold
Essay by author via The Guardian
It’s multinational corporations, and not governments or non-profits, that have the vast human and financial capital, advanced technology, international footprint, market power and financial motivation to solve the world’s the world’s most daunting problems. This is the claim I make in my new book, A Better World, Inc: How Companies Profit by Solving Global Problems … Where Governments Cannot, released today.
For example, Johnson Controls joined real-estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle to retrofit the Empire State Building for energy efficiency in 2012. The Clinton Climate Initiative and Rocky Mountain Institute also collaborated on the project. The groups estimate the project will cut energy costs by 38%, saving $4.4m annually and reducing carbon emissions by 105,000 metric tons over 15 years.

Models at Work: A Practitioner’s Guide to Risk Management
By Jawwad Farid
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
Risk Management’s greatest failure has been its inability to simplify its factual presentation and connect with board and executive team members in a language that they can understand and relate to. By using simple well established tools,Models at Work takes readers through a journey that cuts across models, frameworks, practice, data, markets, countries and case studies. A central theme of the book it is that we need sophistication in analysis, not complexity in modeling; that risk models don’t work in isolation and for a risk function to be successful it needs to focus on presenting results that are understood by broader audiences, not just the mathematically inclined.

Investing in Energy: Creating a New Investment Strategy to Maximize Your Portfolio’s Return
By Michael C. Thomsett
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
We rely on energy for everything we do, from putting gas in our cars to heating our homes. With energy products at the forefront of so many different industries, the global economy would not be able to function without them. As such, the energy sector has more trading volume that any other commodity. Investment strategy expert Michael C. Thomsett sets forth a range of topics representing the fundamentals as well as the technical features of energy investing, from financial and market factors to the study of price movement. Broken into four essential sections, Investing in Energy guides the reader through the basics to get started, how to trade in energy, specific trading and investing strategies, and ideas for focusing your analysis and understanding of this market.

Economics for the Curious: Inside the Minds of 12 Nobel Laureates
Edited by Robert M. Solow
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
Alfred Marshall, the founder of modern economics, once described economics as ‘the study of mankind in the ordinary business of earning a living’. In Economics for the Curious, 12 Nobel Laureates show that ‘the ordinary business of earning a living’ covers a wide range of activities, as they take readers on an engaging tour of some of the everyday issues that can be explored using basic economic principles. Written in the plainest possible language, Nobel Laureates including Paul Krugman, Eric Maskin, Finn E. Kydland and Vernon Smith confront some of the key issues challenging society today–challenges that claim attention in any phase of the business cycle.