Book Bits | 12 May 2018

Investing for the Long Term
By Francisco Parames
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
World-renowned investor Francisco García Paramés shares his advice and tips on making smart investments in this must-have book for those looking to make smarter choices for their portfolio. Investing for the Long Term is divided in two parts. The first is formed by three chapters covering Francisco’s education and first steps, his initial experience as an investor working alone, and the team work after 2003. The second part of the book covers the cornerstones of Francisco’s philosophy. It starts with a chapter in Austrian economics, in his view the only sensible approach to economics, which has helped him enormously over the years. It follows with an explanation of why one has to invest in real assets, and specifically in shares, to maintain the purchasing power of ones savings, avoiding paper money (fixed income) at all costs. It follows with an explanation of why one has to invest in real assets, and specifically in shares, to maintain the purchasing power of ones savings, avoiding paper money (fixed income) at all costs.

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy
By Mariana Mazzucato
Lecture by author via London School of Economics
In her new book, The Value of Everything, which she will discuss in this lecture, Mariana Mazzucato, argues that if we are to reform capitalism, we urgently need to rethink where wealth comes from. Which activities are creating it, which are extracting it, and which are destroying it? Answers to these questions are key if we want to replace the current parasitic system with a type of capitalism that is more sustainable, more symbiotic: that works for us all.

A Thirsty Land: The Making of an American Water Crisis
By Seamus McGraw
Summary via publisher (University of Texas Press)
As a changing climate threatens the whole country with deeper droughts and more furious floods that put ever more people and property at risk, Texas has become a bellwether state for water debates. Will there be enough water for everyone? Is there the will to take the steps necessary to defend ourselves against the sea? Is it in the nature of Americans to adapt to nature in flux? The most comprehensive—and comprehensible—book on contemporary water issues, A Thirsty Land delves deep into the challenges faced not just by Texas but by the nation as a whole, as we struggle to find a way to balance the changing forces of nature with our own ever-expanding needs. Part history, part science, part adventure story, and part travelogue, this book puts a human face on the struggle to master that most precious and capricious of resources, water.

Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society
By Eric A. Posner and E. Glen Weyl
Review via The Economist
In “Radical Markets” Glen Weyl, an economist at Microsoft, and Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, argue that the ideals of thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Henry George can still inspire radical change. Such luminaries were unafraid of challenging the status quo. Following suit, Mr Posner and Mr Weyl want to expand and refine markets, putting them to work for society as a whole.
In truth, the policies they advocate are so radical that they are unlikely ever to be adopted. But they may help jolt liberals out of their hand-wringing, and shape a new line of market-oriented thinking, as Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom” did almost six decades ago. That too was an idealistically pro-market book, unconcerned with the feasibility of its proposals. The authors of “Radical Markets” open with a Friedman quote.

Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level
By James K. Sebenius, et al.
Summary via publisher (Harper)
In this guide to the art of negotiation, three Harvard professors—all experienced negotiators—offer a comprehensive examination of one of the most successful dealmakers of all time. Politicians, world leaders, and business executives around the world—including every President from John F. Kennedy to Donald J. Trump—have sought the counsel of Henry Kissinger, a brilliant diplomat and historian whose unprecedented achievements as a negotiator have been universally acknowledged. Now, for the first time, Kissinger the Negotiator provides a clear analysis of Kissinger’s overall approach to making deals and resolving conflicts—expertise that holds powerful and enduring lessons.

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
By John Doerr
Summary via publisher (Portfolio)
Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.

Detonate: Why – And How – Corporations Must Blow Up Best Practices (and bring a beginner’s mind) To Survive
By Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
Without meaning to, and often with the best of intentions, most organizations continually waste precious time and money on processes and activities that don’t create value and no longer make sense in today’s business environment. Until now, the relatively slow speed of marketplace evolution has allowed wasteful habits to continue without consequence. This reality is ending. Detonate explains how organizations built up bad habits, identifies which ones masquerade as “best practices,” and suggests alternatives that can contribute to winning in the marketplace. With a focus on optimism and empowerment, it focuses on an approach and mindset which are critical to successfully compete in an era characterized by profound technological advances and uncertainty.