Book Bits | 11.23.13

Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters
By Walter A. Friedman
Summary via publisher, Princeton University Press
The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they failed to predict the devastating crash of 1929.

Strategic Risk Management: A Practical Guide to Portfolio Risk Management
By David Iverson
Summary via publisher, Wiley
Since all investors seek maximize returns balanced against acceptable risks, successful investment management is all about successful risk management. Strategic Risk Management uses that reality as a starting point, showing investors how to make risk management a process rather than just another tool in the investor’s kit. The book highlights and explains primary investment risks and shows readers how to manage them across the key areas of any fund, including investment objectives, asset allocation, asset class strategy, and manager selection. With a strong focus on risk management at the time of asset allocation and at the time of implementation, the book offers important guidance for managers of benefit plans, endowments, defined contribution schemes, and family trusts.
Does Capitalism Have a Future?
By Immanuel Wallerstein, et al.
Summary via publisher, Oxford University Press
In Does Capitalism Have a Future?, a global quintet of distinguished scholars cut their way through to the question of whether our capitalist system can survive in the medium run. Despite the current gloom, conventional wisdom still assumes that there is no real alternative to capitalism. The authors argue that this generalization is a mistaken outgrowth of the optimistic nineteenth-century claim that human history ascends through stages to an enlightened equilibrium of liberal capitalism. All major historical systems have broken down in the end, and in the modern epoch several cataclysmic events-notably the French revolution, World War I, and the collapse of the Soviet bloc-came to pass when contemporary political elites failed to calculate the consequences of the processes they presumed to govern. At present, none of our governing elites and very few intellectuals can fathom a systemic collapse in the coming decades.
Working the Pivot Points: To Make America Work Again
By Frank Islam and Ed Crego
Review of speech by co-author Islam via The Globe
His main points included the pivot points of individual economic well-being, education, and innovation. He focused on addressing the up and coming generations of Americans, and all that there is to be done in order to secure a bright future for America. He believes the only nation standing in the way of America’s future success is America itself. Directly addressing the students in the crowd, Mr. Islam urged them to take control of their future and stressed the importance of education. He stated that the future of not only the nation, but the world rests on the shoulders of our young generation. He strongly believes that the solution to ensure the future success of the nation is to concentrate on early childhood education.
A Global History of Trade and Conflict since 1500
By Lucia Coppolaro and Francine McKenzie
Summary via publisher, Palgrave Macmillan
This volume is a major historical contribution to the enduring debate about whether trade makes peace more likely. In nine detailed historical case studies – spread over 500 years and spanning the globe – the contributors explore the dynamic between trade and conflict and examine the consequences of their intersection, direct and indirect, immediate and long term, anticipated and unexpected, transformative and destructive. The contributors break new ground by collectively showing that trade and conflict have been reciprocally constitutive: trade sparks conflict and conflict in turn provokes the adaptation of trade.
The Science of Algorithmic Trading and Portfolio Management
By Robert Kissell
Summary via publisher, Academic Press
Its emphasis on algorithmic trading processes and current trading models sets this book apart from others. As the first author to discuss algorithmic trading across the various asset classes, Robert Kissell provides key insights into ways to develop, test, and build trading algorithms. He summarizes market structure, the formation of prices, and how different participants interact with one another, including bluffing, speculating, and gambling. He shows readers the underlying details and mathematics required to develop, build, and test customized algorithms, providing them with advanced modeling techniques to improve profitability through algorithmic trading and appropriate risk management techniques.